Lesson 5: Revelation
Excerpt from ‘A Drama: God Reveals Himself to Man’
Setting: The beginning. A void, uninhabited corner of the universe. The emptiness and blackness of space are overwhelming and the silence is heavy.
Characters: The Godhead, hosts of Heaven observing from a distance
God: Let the heavens and the earth come into existence. Bring forth the world, and may the natural forces from My very being saturate it.
[Earth is created – it is without form and void]
God: Let there be light.
[And there was light. And God saw the light and it was good.]
[The rest of the Creation sequence continues…]
Setting: Mid-day in the Garden, day six of Creation.
Characters: The Godhead, pile of dirt
God: Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.
[God kneels on the ground and begins scooping dirt into piles. As He works, He maneuvers the soil so that it slowly begins to take shape. Soon, the figure of a man, a sculpture lying prone on the grass, is evident. God bends over the figure’s head and breathes into his nostrils the Breath of Life. The figure, now a living being, sits up and stretches his arms wide.]
God [admiring His handiwork]: This is very good. Hello, Adam.
[And then, God dusts off His hands and walks away, never to be seen or heard from again…]
Somehow, I don’t think so!
Can you imagine being there, in the Garden of Eden, just before God vivified the pile of dirt that would become the First Man? Surrounding you would be nature in it’s pristine, unblemished state. Animals, splendid and majestic, roam about, enjoying their new home. The weather is absolutely perfect; the air is sparkling, crisp, and in its purest form. Plants and flowers sway boldly in the afternoon breeze, leaves and petals, through intricate and complex patterns, perfectly stitched on to branches and stalks. Nature is in a state of divine equilibrium. The Creator is in the center of it all, kneeling in an open field, about to perform His greatest work yet. Edge closer to the pile of dirt, now supine sculpture, and watch as God bends over and in the most intimate manner, breathes His breath into His masterpiece. Your eyes widen as the rough soil is transformed into soft skin. Your heart skips a beat when this perfect being opens his eyes for the first time and looks around him, taking in the entire scene at once. Perhaps you allow your gaze to follow his and you see everything as he does – tree, giraffe, waterfall, flower…God. You both stop and stare at God. Imagine that first meeting of created and Creator. In the truest and realest sense, God had revealed Himself to Adam.
Now, we can imagine the personal one-on-one time that God spent in the garden with Adam. Perhaps He taught him what to look for when he was classifying the animals. Maybe He clued him in on the scientific intricacies of the sonar communication of whales or the growth cycles of certain plants. Whatever they did, we know through the Bible that after the fall of man, that kind of face-to-face communication dissolved and we have yet to get it back. Rather than establish that God set the Earth spinning and then walked away to focus on “more important matters”, the Bible is clear that God continues to communicate with all those who will listen, even today. For instance, nature persists, despite centuries of abuse and decay, and testifies of creative and intelligent power. God is the Great Communicator, and has set up a variety of ways to get through to us so that we might continue in a relationship with Him.
It’s easy to suppose that people in the “days of the prophets” in the Old Testament were “lucky” because they had someone in the flesh communicating God’s wishes, wisdom, and rebuke. But that was then; what about now? Has God left us in silence in these last days?
Paul, in Hebrews is clear:
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe…
– Hebrews 1:1,2
God reveals Himself:
- through nature (Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:18-20)
- through our conscience (Romans 2:14,15)
- through prophets (Amos 3:7)
- through His word (scripture) (2 Timothy 3:14-16)
- through His Son (Jesus) (John 1:1,2; Hebrews 1:1-3)
There are plenty of questions regarding how God makes Himself known. The topic of God’s revelation of Himself can be a tricky one since the only way to truly and objectively know something or someone is to see it and experience it with all of our senses. Has God provided a way for us to know Him objectively? Does that matter? What can we learn of God through scripture, a book that has been buffeted around through history and is the sole tangible source of our knowledge of God? How is the Holy Spirit related to what and how much (if anything) we can know of God? Does God ever prevent people from coming to a full knowledge of Him?
Finally, if a significant portion of God’s outreach effort to us is through His word, how can we practically determine the truth of His character?