General and Special Revelation
Discuss a minimum of two scholarly viewpoints on general and special revelation from the textbook and other references of your choice.
Discuss how general revelation is a part of world religions. Explain how world religions might be influenced by general revelation.
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Theology as the logic of God presents an avenue in which one can make sense of the various aspects of the society concerning religion. Most importantly, it is through the theology that we manage to understand why things happen and how aspects are the way they are. Hence, general and special revelations are two topics concerning theology that require in-depth analysis. With general revelation denoting God’s direct manifestation to everyone and the latter entailing a more specialized or individualized manifestation of God, it is important to evaluate the disparities. Understanding general and special revelation present an individual with a better avenue towards comprehending the manner in which God operates. Therefore, this paper will examine general and special revelation as per the case questions.
Viewpoints on General and Special Revelation
Sampson, (2015) emphasizes that God performs different acts of self-revelation through the use of two different methods: general and special revelation. Accordingly, as the first topic of analysis, God implements general revelation of Himself in two main ways: through revelation to a general public and with a general content. As such, God’s general revelation from the analysis of Sampson, (2015) is more directed to the holistic public. Further Sampson, (2015) asserts that there is no selection of a few in general revelation. The manifestation of God in general revelation is without prejudice with the prospect of preference based on religion not evident. In regards to general revelation, God reveals Himself in two main ways: Creation and Conscience. In the general revelation of creation, Dumsday, (2015) asserts that creation is a true description of the existence of God. It is through creation that it becomes necessary to accept the existence of God. Dumsday, (2015) emphasizes that Psalms 19:1 (“How can everything come from nothing without the action of an outside first cause? It is not logical,”) makes a clear description of the need to accept creation as a manifestation of God. Hence, the most important act by God of general revelation is evident in the creation. As the second act of general revelation, conscience of a man denotes human’s haunting sense of morality. Accordingly, the ability to differentiate right and wrong forms the foundation of human conscience. Further, Dumsday, (2015) emphasizes that human conscience that ensures that an individual differentiates right from wrong forms the foundation of morality and the manifestation of God in an inner manner. The second manner in which general revelation is evident is through content. Power and the genius of design form the foundation of creation. God’s authority, the power of design and might be able to be seen through the beautiful sunset over a given ocean and can even crush people through a tsunami in an instant.
On the other hand, there is the special revelation that entails manifestation of God to only selected few that hear and practice the gospel through reading the Bible. In reference to Sampson, (2015) there is special content that entails the birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension and the coming of Jesus. For comprehension of the gospel to prevail, it is important to read and understand the scriptures. Hence, in special revelation, the different ways in which God manifests Himself is through:
- Speaking with the prophets such as Jeremiah in the Old Testament
- Dictating His word to the apostles in New Testament
Hence, through God’s interaction with both the prophets and apostles, it was imperative to write down the things revealed. The sacred scriptures or the Bible, entail special revelation of God. Sampson, (2015) further emphasizes that the Bible denotes a written form of the Word of God that is a special manifestation to the individuals who uphold the gospel.
General Revelation as Part of World Religions and How World Religions are influenced By General Revelation
General revelation as evaluated is a
disclosure of divine presence to humanity. In the recent years general
revelation has become part and parcel of world religions. In accordance to
Dumsday, (2015) different religions across the globe subscribe to disparities
in their creation story. As the most important manifestation of God, the
creation stories present an overview of how God plays a significant role in our
origins. As a clear example, the Hinduism believes in re-incarnation or the
re-birth of a person, Islam is based on the belief in Allah as the creator of
all whereas Christianity is based on God as the creator of all. Therefore, the
disparity in the creation stories forms a facet of how general revelation
influences world-religion. Additionally, from the analysis of Dumsday, (2015)
general revelation has become influential in world religions through the
prospect of supernatural power and connection to diverse physical objects.
Across the globe different religions present diverse physical objects such as
bones, shrines, animals, amulets and individuals that form a general revelation
of God. As a clear example, Christians have sacred shrines, Muslims exude Mecca
as their sacred location and there is the Indus among the Hindus.
General and Special Revelation are
two topics that are important to understanding religion. From the above
analysis, general revelation takes precedence towards understanding God and the
influence He has on the people. In the contemporary environment, diverse
religions have implemented general revelation as a manner towards accepting the
manifestation of God as evident from disparities in creation stories among
Dumsday, T. (2015). Divine Hiddenness and Special Revelation. Religious Studies, 51(02), 241-259.
Sampson, H. W. (2015). Clouds Are the Dust of His Feet! The Role of Clouds in Scripture: An Example of the General Revelation of God. WestBow Press.