Module 2 Essay
Sheila D. White
Grand Canyon University
April 18, 2013
Knowing God: The Doctrine Of Revelation
Theology is "the instruction concerning God" or "the deliberation of God."(Grenz, 2000, p.2) It endeavors to disclose the identity of God, the habitation of God, and the character, origin, position and importance of God. Humans commonly acquire information in three ways: through their senses, through their logic/reasoning, and through their faith which denotes confidence in the information given by another.(www.angelfire.com/nt/theology/theology/02rev.html) Theologians posit that knowledge of God is acquired through divine self-disclosure, e.g., God reveals Himself to humans. He does so by means of general revelation and special revelation. This paper will explain how the doctrine of revelation, general, reveals the issue of knowing God; provide the origins of knowledge: and furnish the challenges confronted in acquiring knowledge of God. In addition, it will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of identifying truth about God through general revelation. General Revelation
General revelation is sometimes referred to as natural revelation- the disclosure of God in nature, in providential history. and in the moral law within the heart, whereby all persons at all times and places gain a rudimentary understanding of the Creator and His moral demands.(Thomas, Robert L., 1998, pp. 5-6) The gist of general revelation lies in the fact that all humans are created in the image/likeness of God, exist in God's creation and have the certainty of God imprinted on their sensibilities. This is a non-verbal, non-saving phenomenon which fails to guide anyone to salvation awareness of God. What general revelation accomplishes is "religion" - the comprehensive acknowledgement of humans to the closeness of God in creation, e.g., humans come to know God through the examination of nature. Consequently, it is germane to associate ideas of natural revelation or natural religion to general revelation.(Bolt, John. 2011, p. 316) "Because this general awareness of God is universal, we can speak of a natural religion- a religious response of human beings to the presence and speaking of God in creation"(Bolt, John. 2011, p. 316). The Sources to Knowledge of God
The feasibility of knowing God is a tantalizing thought which frequently brings up the question of how. No human being can thoroughly discern God or be aware of His essential being. Any knowledge we have of Him is limited in part [not to be fully disclosed until the eschaton]. Christian philosophers submit a range of approaches as to what articulates the basic path to gain insight concerning God.(Grenz, Stanley. 2000, p. 45)
Several Christian philosophers believe it is feasible to partially, yet genuinely know God by virtue of intellectual reflection. e.g., that we can discern God by virtue of reasoning or deduction.
A proponent of this method is Thomas Aquinas.
According to Thomas, God can be known through the divine works or "effects" evident to all through our sense of experience of this world. Through this process we can draw certain conclusions concerning God. We may assert that He exist. And by employing the principle of analogy between creation and Creator, we can stipulate whatever must by necessity be true of God as the first Cause of the world.(Grenz, 2000, p. 46)
Thomas recommends three approaches that we can use to deduce information about God: a)via causalitatis (the way of causality)- we can assign definite characteristics to God supported by the perfection we see in nature; b) via negations (the way of negation) -advises us to get rid of any concept of God whereby negative qualities found in creatures are attribute to Him and give God the opposite perfection; c) via eminentiae (the way of eminence)- allows us to assign to God in the most prestigious demeanor the perfections we find in...