What Is General And Special Revelation?
There are two ways that God has chosen to reveal Himself to humanity: General Revelation and Special Revelation. General revelation is the general truths about God that can be seen in Nature. Special Revelation is truths about God and who He is displayed in the Bible. Scripture says that the heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim the work of His hands (Psalm 19:1-4). The book of Romans talks about His invisible attributes and eternal power being clearly perceived in Creation (Romans 1:20). Second Timothy 3:16-17 talks about the Bible being God-breathed. God tells us who He is through His word. He shows us the work of His hands in Creation and He shows us that He desires a relationship with us through His word.
General Revelation Displayed Through The Stars.
It`s no secret that creation bears God`s signature. Have you ever had a chance to look at the night sky in a place where there is little to no light pollution? I grew up in a little town located in South Carolina, and my family lives in the mountains where there`s not a city light to be seen for miles. I often miss walking out on the porch just to see thousands of twinkling stars dancing in the southern sky. I stand amazed at the vast array of stars painted across the sky and the closer you study the intricacies of each star the more you appreciate their beauty.
Genesis 1:16, “Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.”
Stars are exceptionally beautiful, but their Creator is far greater than any night sky one might imagine. He created the earth and saw that “it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). Scripture describes the stars in a way that portrays their creation as an after-thought (Genesis 1:16). Stars are quite breathtaking, yet God crafted all of them by speaking them into existence (Isaiah 40:26; Psalm 33.6; Psalm 147:4). Creation should bring us to a place where we stand in awe of our Creator. He crafted each star, but He chose to make mankind in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27). He is sovereign, and the creation account should point us to a place of trust in the one who knows each star by its name (Nehemiah 9:6; Isaiah 45:6; Psalm 147:4; Psalm 33:6; Genesis 1:16; Genesis 2.19; Isaiah 40.26; Psalm 119). We can clearly see that there is a creator, and He has chosen to communicate with us through Scripture.
General Revelation Displayed Through Biology
I had an opportunity to have a conversation with people who can describe God`s creation in more detail than I could. Dr. Kurt P. Wise attended the University of Chicago, continued His education at Harvard University, and graduated with a Ph.D. in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. He is a Creationist who takes a firm stance on taking the book of Genesis literally. I spoke with Mr. Wyatt Stevens who has a Biology degree from the University of New Mexico and is currently a student at Ethnos360 Bible Institute. I also had the pleasure of speaking with Mrs. Hillary Wilson who is on staff here at Ethnos360 Bible Institute. She received her Bachelor`s Degree, at Kansas State University, in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to them about how God reveals Himself through General revelation!
The Intricacies Of God`s Design
I asked Dr. Wise about his thoughts on what the most beautiful aspect of God`s creation was. He said, “Even as a child, as an amateur photographer, my favorite photographic subjects were flowers—especially close-ups with dew-drops hanging from the petals. The intricate detail, the remarkable diversity, and the vibrant colors always amaze me about God’s infinite care, infinite creativity, and infinite beauty in creating them. Almost equally striking is the beauty in the heavens. The vastness, the stunning diversity, and the variety of color in things that humans [seldom] appreciate strike me with God’s transcendence, creativity, and glory.” I also asked him, “What part of creation inspires in you a sense of awe of God?” He describes, “…holochroal eyes of trilobites…theses eyes (of an extinct organism) were arguably the most complex eyes of any organism ever created. They allowed the trilobite (an animal that swam in water) to see 360 degrees in front, under, behind, and atop them in three dimensions in a swat about 30-40 degrees from the vertical, with the clarity that comes with simple eyes combined with the ability to detect motion that comes with compound eyes.” I was astonished at his answer because of the complex nature of something as small as an eye! I asked Wyatt Stevens, “What was your favorite part about what you studied?” He said, “I have always been fascinated with God`s creation, and being able to take a really deep dive into some of the more complex intricacies of God`s creation was incredible.” Wyatt and I got into the discussion of DNA and genetics and how fascinating that part of God`s creation is. Wyatt commented, “It`s a code and a code can be nothing but design. It`s piles of information in a…tiny nucleus of a cell.”
The Relationship Between Science And Scripture.
Science is such a gift from God because I can learn so much about all the fine details of His creation. I asked Hillary Wilson, “How did Biology help you grow deeper in your Christian understanding and faith?” She said, “One example I can think of is the comparison that can be made between an ecosystem and the body of Christ. In an ecosystem, if you remove one factor – no matter how small it seems – you can guarantee that the rest of the ecosystem will be affected in some way. Whether it’s an insect species being removed, plant species, etc., every other species of that ecosystem will eventually be impacted by that change. This is also how God has designed His body to work. We all have been given gifts and a purpose within God’s Family, and if we weren’t present carrying out that purpose, the effect would be felt by the whole Body. We are made to work together as a system and not independently! We need each other…to serve the Lord at our full potential, and it’s a gift and a blessing to do so!”
The Creator Cares For Us
I asked Dr. Wise, “Are there any Scripture verses that mean more to you now, due to your understanding of Biology?” Dr. Wise spoke about how “Jesus’ comments about the lilies of the field and the sparrows [and] stress[es] how much more God cares for us than He cares for His biological creation. But the astonishing amount of wisdom and the stunning number of things that He must orchestrate to care for lilies and sparrows show how incredibly deeply God desires [a] relationship with us (Matthew 6:25-34; Luke 12:22-32).” I asked Mrs. Wilson about her understanding of Biology through a biblical worldview and how it differed from that of viewing Biology through a naturalistic worldview. She said, “Many of my classmates held a naturalistic worldview…In my view, the purpose of Creation is to point to God and bring Him glory. They would talk about how nature itself was intelligent and how species are continuing to evolve to be better and better…. But they could never give much of a purpose for it other than for the species to live, die, and become food and nutrients for the next round of life. To me, that seemed extremely hopeless in comparison to getting to know and worship the God and Creator of everything!” God deeply desires a relationship with us, but there are still unreached people groups who don’t have a Bible in their heart language. They can see the work of God`s hands in Creation, but they don’t know their Creator and that He desires a relationship with them.
Luke 12:24-28, “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?… 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?”
General Revelation And The Unreached
What role does God`s Creation play in the life of an unbeliever? I asked, “How do you think God may uniquely use a knowledge of biology to further the Gospel to unreached people groups?” Dr. Wise said, “God’s biological creation was designed in such a way to awe all people and to open their hearts to hear God’s revelation about Himself and His nature (Romans 1:18-20). So, long before the first missionary ever reaches any tribe, those people already know there is a God…The part of the story they do NOT have from the biological creation is the Good News, so the biological creation (in concert with the rest of His creation and the Holy Spirit) prepares their hearts for the Gospel.”
God has revealed Himself through General Revelation, but He also reveals Himself through Special Revelation. Special Revelation is how God communicates with us through His word, the Bible. God revealed Himself in the person and work of Jesus Christ (John 1:1;14; Hebrews 1:1-4). Through Christ, God showed that He who laid the foundation of the earth pursues a relationship with us (Job 38:4-7; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16). Though we are undeserving, through Christ we are given love, mercy, and grace as we are in a relationship with Him.
Hebrews 1:1-4, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
It`s no secret that God`s creation displays His infinite power, wisdom, and care; it bears His signature. Here at Ethnos360 Bible Institute, we desire to be a part of God`s plan to reach all the Nations with the truth of the Gospel. The first step in training with Ethnos360 is two years of Chronological Bible Study. Ethnos360 Bible Institute hosts Catch the Vision weekends throughout the year. Request your free information packet today!