Revelation Through Scripture

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  • Revelation and Scripture
    • General revelation = available to all people at all time [beauty of creation]
    • Special revelation = defined as God's revelation to particular people at definite times [this is where sacred writings would fall]
    • There are two views of sacred writings and revelation
      • 1 - Propositional
        • The belief that God directly reveals information to people in factual human terms = the revelation is then written down and becomes holy scripture
        • Any occasion where God speaks directly to an individual is propositional
        • E.g = Adam and Eve [Gen 1-3], 10 commandments [exodus 20], conversion of st paul [acts 9]
        • Believed by fundamentalists, evangelicals and creationists
        • Facts and truths are communicated
      • 2 - Non-propositional
        • The belief that God inspires certain people which, in turn, brings the reality of his message
        • This would mean the Bible represents a two-way process
          • 1 - humans in search of fulfilment receive an awareness of God, 2 - God reveals himself in the events of human history
        • Facts and truths are not communicated
        • E.g in this view, stories concerning Adam and Even and St. Paul are not to be taken literally, these individuals have been inspired rather than spoken to
        • Believed by liberal christians, Hick, Schleiermacher and Bultmann
          • Schleiermacher believed that biblical texts came about as writers reflecting on their religious experiences
    • Criticisms
      • Of propositional revelation
        • Different religions claim different propositional revelations and sometimes truth claims conflict - How can contradictions be resolved?
        • No direct way to verify or prove
        • May not have been recorded accurately as the human mind makes mistakes
      • Of non-propositional revelation
        • They are the result of human understanding and interpretation and not facts so there is no way of resolving debates
        • The content of revelation is entirely due to interpretation so does not reveal anything about God
    • Can we trust the Bible?
      • No
        • Writing of the Bible was a very human process, stories may have been passed down by word of mouth so unreliable
        • The Bible is interpreted in so many different ways, some of the moral commands in the old testament make no sense
        • Belief in the Bible causes many difficulties and conflicts
      • Yes
        • God guided the process of revelation throughout which stops the chance of error
        • There is so much influence in the Bible, millions follow it and it changes lives
        • It is difficult due to old writings but old testament standards are no longer applicable now Jesus has come

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