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Revelation and Holy Scripture
Propositional and Nonpropositional revelation
Revelation refers to any act in which God is revealed to human beings. The
characteristics of revelation are that it reveals knowledge of God/God's nature. In
Christianity there are 2 types of revelation. 1) Propositional, 2) Nonpropositional
The word `Holy' originally meant `setapart' from the world, like God which is why
the two are linked. For religious believers books like the Bible and Qur'an are
set apart because they are revelatory.
God revealing himself to a person is often called an act of `divine disclosure'.
E.g. God giving the 10 commandments to the Prophet Moses.
For Christians, the Bible, from its origins, is revelatory and a source of authority.
Refers to God directly revealing truths/facts about his nature to people (facts are
revealed so beyond debate or doubt.) without error or need of reinterpretation.
The role of faith with respect to propositional revelation is to accept the
revelation God has revealed. (Islam = submission to God.)
Aquinas argued that even if faith cannot be demonstrated to be true in the same
way as science, it is better than opinions. They are truths revealed by God but
they are not demonstrated using human reason.
Believers in propositional revelation do not reject the use of reason. They would
say God can be revealed through, using reason, in the world e.g. the
cosmological argument or teleological argument.
Distinction between revelation and natural theology. Natural theology refers to the
process of learning about God from the natural world using reason.
Aquinas = revelation accepted as genuine if it is in accordance with Church
teachings (v.important). Need to see if it fits with Church teachings as they are
Suggests receiver is passive, however psychologically the human mind does
not passively receive knowledge. We could make a mistake and not learn
things (revelation) accurately.
How can one known which revelations are true propositions?
What about conflicting true propositions from different religions?
There is no way directly to verify or prove that propositional revelations
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Refers to the idea that God does not reveal facts or truths to people instead the
religious believer recognises God acting in human history and human
experience e.g. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character Sherlock Homes as
impressed by the beauty of nature.
Throughts are raied to the possibility of God through the beauty found in the
world around them. This revelation of God is indirect and a manner of
interpretation (human beings recognition of God's acts).…read more