We can’t deduct who God is from what we’re like. God is spirit and God is holy. He is our Creator and our Lord. That means that knowledge of God will demand of us reverence, obedience, and worship. It also means that such knowledge will have to be given to us. We won’t be able to discover it on our own. If we are to know God, God must reveal Himself. And the place He has revealed Himself is through the inspired revelation of Scripture.
The ultimate end of general revelation is that it leaves people without excuse for failing to recognize the nature of their Creator. But it conveys nothing regarding the way by which a fallen human being might gain access to or secure reconciliation with his Creator to escape judgment. That is why God deemed it necessary to also reveal Himself directly through special revelation. He did it so that fallen humans would know the fullness of God, how to be redeemed from God’s wrath toward sinners, and how to live and please God.
God’s Word by John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue taken from Biblical Doctrine by John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue, copyright 2017, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org. Page 73.
General Revelation in Scripture [verses] Special Revelation in Scripture: Only condemns/Condemns and redeems. Harmonizes with special revelation but provides no new material/Not only enhances and explains in detail the content of general revelation but also goes significantly beyond that explanation. In its perceived message needs to be confirmed by Scripture/Is self-authenticating and self-confirming in its claim to be God’s Word. Needs to be interpreted in light of special revelation/Needs no other revelation to be interpreted since it interprets itself. Is never equated with Scripture by Scripture/Has no peer.
God’s Word by John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue taken from Biblical Doctrine by John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue, copyright 2017, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org. Page 75.
Natural minds can see the world and conclude that there is a God. By human reason it can only be known that He exists, not who He is. To the natural reason He is the “unknown” and the unknowable God. He can only be truly known by supernatural theology, the revelation of Scripture.
The God we encounter everywhere in Scripture, though mysterious to us, though we strain at the leash of language to describe Him faithfully, though we know He is more than our small thoughts can achieve – still, God is truly knowable according to His own self-revelation. We can receive His testimony to Himself at face value without fear of missing who He really is.
Theologians regularly speak of general revelation and special revelation. By the former is meant that non-redemptive knowledge of God to be found in creation and conscience, a knowledge that is universally accessible (hence, “general”). By the latter is meant that redemptive knowledge of God as revealed in the person of Christ, the living Word of God, and in the Bible, the written Word of God, a knowledge that is restricted to the recipients of saving grace (hence, “special”).
General revelation is the essential prerequisite to special revelation. And special revelation is that which redemptively supplements and interprets general revelation. Therefore, if by God’s gracious and sovereign enablement and enlightenment, any unbeliever responds positively to the revelation of God in nature (and conscience), God will take the necessary steps to reach him or her with the good news of Christ whereby they may be saved.
God does not reveal information by communication: He reveals Himself by communion. Revelation is a personal meeting of God with man. It is a meeting of mind with mind or person with person
General Revelation- Given to all, Intended for all, Sufficient for condemnation, Declares God’s greatness. Specific Revelation- Given to few, Intended for all, Sufficient for salvation, Declares God’s grace.
The one is addressed generally to all intelligent creatures, and is therefore accessible to all men; the other is addressed to a special class of sinners, to whom God would make known His salvation. The one has in view to meet and supply the natural need of creatures for knowledge of their God; the other to rescue broken and deformed sinners from their sin and its consequences.