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Review article

Revelation and Inspiration

Peter M. van Bemmelen ; Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, SAD

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That the living God has revealed Himself and continues to reveal Himself to the human family is foundational to Christian faith. The Scriptures, both OT and NT, present a record of the way God manifested Himself in human history—especially the history of Israel, and supremely in the person of Jesus Christ. Without this divine revelation, human ity would perish, ignorant of God’s true character and will and estranged from Him through sin and guilt.
In Scripture the creation of the world and the majesty, beauty, and bounteous provisions of nature are perceived as manifestations of God’s glory, wisdom, and loving care for His creatures. Such manifestations are referred to in theology as general revelation. However, the present condition of humanity and this world, filled with sin, disruption, disaster, and death, raises serious questions about the pos¬sibility of a true knowledge of God through the natural world or through human experience. Scriptural evidence suggests that such wisdom and knowledge as can be gained from these sources by themselves is inadequate to give us a true understanding of God’s character of love and His intention to save us from sin and death.
God has met this predicament by making Himself known to human beings on a personal level. In theological language this is called special revelation, particularly as it is revealed and recorded in the Scriptures. Fully aware of the various criticisms of the Bible—ethical, historical, linguistic, scientific, philosophical, and theological—we have chosen to focus on the claims made by the biblical writers regarding their own and each other’s writings, and especially on Jesus’ attitude toward and use of the Scriptures. The prophets, apostles, and supremely Jesus Himself accepted the Scriptures as the trustworthy and authoritative Word of God, given by the Holy Spirit in human language. Revelation and inspiration are ultimately acknowledged as divine mysteries; however, even our limited human understanding of these subjects is of crucial importance for a mature, intelligent Christian faith.


Bible, Revelatio, Inspiration

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