Ohio Christian University
PH3000 – Transformed Worldview
Jerome Van Kuiken
Looking at two different definitions of the word nature, I gained a better understanding of what the phrase, “God in Nature”, means. The first said that it was, “the essential qualities or characteristics by which something is recognized” (www.wordnetweb.princeton.edu), and the other described it as, “The material world and its phenomena” (www.answers.com). The earth, and everything in it, is “God in Nature”, it has the very nature of God Himself, just as it is the nature of a flower to bloom. Nature is just one of the ways that God speaks to mankind. So, in other words, God is in nature, and nature is in God.
Some things are learned, and some things come natural to you, you don’t know how or when they became a part of you, but you just somehow know how to do them. I believe if we’ll listen in a little harder we can hear the voice of God instructing us on how to do things a little simpler, and a little better. Just like the farmer in Isaiah, I too have experienced God enabling me to do things I was never taught. I am a singer/songwriter, and there are times I come up with things musically, and I know it is from God because I definitely wouldn’t have normally thought to do it that way. General revelation involves God’s witness through creation itself. General revelation is open to all who will receive it, for it is all around us. One thing that I have learned through general revelation is that, experience may not always be the best teacher, but it is necessary to gain wisdom in certain things, like how to discipline your children the right way. Art has played the leading role in most of my life, especially the art of music. There are times when I am feeling down, but a song will come from within, or from someone else, and it will lift my spirit. “Most Christians are comfortable using general revelation to build a house or evaluate nutrition. They are often far less comfortable using information from disciplines like psychology or anthropology (also general revelation).” (Curtis 1996) I believe it is difficult for most Christians to accept the studies of psychology and anthropology, because it is more personal, dealing with the human mind, and behavior. Christians believe we are to be disciplined in our minds by gaining the mind of Christ through His Word, and if we study too deep into our emotions and feelings (which are natural), we miss the mark. Sometimes our human emotions can cause us to think twice about the Word of God. I used to think that people who were mentally disabled had some form of demon possession, because of stories from the scripture, but as I got older and learned more about chemical imbalances in the brain etc…my opinion about that was changed. The Bible says “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9). This is why, as Christians, we cannot solely depend on studies of the human mind and behavior. Some people refuse to accept God for who He is because of their human experiences. I knew a man once who hated God or that thought of Him because he had lost his mother at a very early age. He became bitter and began to believe God had killed his mother, so God could not be all good. Theologians with nature & Guthrie arguments
“Theologians argue that man's universal understanding that there is a divine being stands as an indication for his existence.” (Wead). Shirley Guthrie (Guthrie, Christian Doctrine, Revised Edition, pages 41-42), lists six arguments used by philosophers and theologians through the centuries: “ (1) the world is not self-explanatory, (2) the universe displays purpose, (3) world history and personal experience point to God's existence, (4) conscience bears witness to the existence of God, (5) we have spiritual awareness of a divine presence deep within, and (6) the world seems to function in a rational way.” Two areas general revelation is useful
“Besides man's ability to reason that there is a God, general revelation is often employed in two other areas. First, it is used to reason that there is a basic set of moral values that all men reason to be true.”(Wead) It is always said that you don’t have to teach a child how to lie, it just comes natural for them to do it, and it is the adult’s responsibility to correct that behavior. I believe we are just born with a set of moral standards built in our conscience. The child lies to begin with, because most likely they did something wrong, and are afraid of the possible consequences. “Second, we reason that general revelation provides us with insight into the nature of God that we could not appreciate through special revelation alone.” (Wead). For example, our universe bears the mark of intelligent design and purpose. God speaks to us through His creation and it is not for lack of evidence that people reject God; it is because they refuse to see. General revelation is open to anyone who will open their eyes and see. General and Special Revelation
General revelation, I believe was meant to be discovered through our senses, for it is in the world around us. Some things are more apparent, and other things you have to dig a little deeper to find out. Like the body and the way that it functions, we know we have a brain that sends messages to our bodies, keeping things going, but since we don’t see those brains, we must dig a little deeper to learn from it. For it too, is a part of the world around us. Nothing about DNA or nuclear fusion is found in Scripture, yet few would deny that those constitute part of reality.”(Curtis 1996). Special Revelation is the Scriptures.” In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets, at many times and in various ways.” (Hebrews 1:1). The writers were led by the Holy Spirit to communicate exactly what God was saying. “Curtis sees general revelation as an interpreter of special revelation. In other words, when we read the Scriptures we use our experience of nature to validate what we read in Scripture.” (Wead). Summary
I have gained a better understanding of how useful general revelation is to the believer. I think sometimes we as Christians, get so spiritually minded that we forget there is a whole world around us, which may not necessarily be mention in the Bible, but is meant to couple with scripture to get a better understanding of the “Bigger Picture”, so to speak.
Curtis, M. Edward (1996). Transformed Thinking, Loving God With All Your Mind. JKO Publishing The Significance of General Revelation to Our Understand of God by David W. Wead. www.wordnetweb.princeton.edu
Holy Bible (nkjv)