Revelation and Holy scripture

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A2 Philosophy: Revelation and Holy scripture
There are two broad forms of revelation:
General revelation: is available to all people at all times and in all places.
Examples of this include: through conscience or the beauty of nature which is
interpreted as the voice of God.
Special revelation: God's revelation of himself to particular persons at
definite times and places. In this category sacred writings E.G the revelation of
the Torah to Moses would fall.
One issue with special revelation is that we assume that the revelation of the
Bible is special revelation, the question remains as to the way in which the
scripture was revealed. Was God revealing facts or information (a propositional
revelation) or was he merely making himself known rather than revealing facts
Propositional: Traditionally revelation of scripture has been interpreted in
this sense. When God revealed himself to the writers of scripture, he revealed
truths or facts about himself. This means that God's word is inerrant (without
error) because it is the word of God, the writers did not interpret it which
would lead to mistakes, it is the exact word of God. The writers were passive
recipients of God's revelation to humanity. This means that for philosophers
such as Aquinas, a supporter of this view, faith can be described as "belief that".
In order to accept God's revelation, this requires us to believe that certain
propositions are true. This means that for someone who accepts propositional
revelation, the biblical stories such as the creation story in Genesis are exactly
as they say they are, even if scientific evidence says otherwise. "all scripture is
inspired by God" 2 Timothy.
Non-Propositional: non-propositional revelation is a more modern approach
to scripture. This means that when God is revealed to the writers via religious
experiences, facts and truths are not communicated. The experience is ineffable
(cannot be described) and then the writers attempt to put their experience
into words by later reflecting on it. Schleiermacher believed that biblical
texts came about as writers reflected on their experiences. Unlike in
propositional revelation where it is important to simply accept the facts given,
non-propositional revelation requires more faith and trust in what is said has
an element of truth. Faith is a "belief in" it is not a matter of facts and
information. Through non-propositional revelation God is revealed indirectly.
Aquinas and propositional revelation: Aquinas in Summa Theologiae
suggested that "faith" concerns knowledge about God who is transcendent.
Although that is more certain than opinion, it is not as certain as scientific
knowledge. Aquinas argued that even if faith cannot be demonstrated to be
true in the same way as science, it is better than opinions. He believed that
faith was based on something factual, which opinion, in his thinking, is not.

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However, faith is not as certain as science as faith cannot be proved true by
reason. Propositional revelations are truths revealed by God but they are not
demonstrable using human reason. It is important to note that believers in
propositional revelation do not reject the use of reason. What they are saying
is that God's revelations are not provable by human reason, but they would also
say that God could be revealed through using reason in the world.…read more

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Non-propositional revelation
Instead of facts being revealed, the religious believer recognises God acting in
history and in human experience and God is revealed through this. According
to this view of revelation, a religious book, for example the Bible, is a witness
to and record of how the revelation of God has been understood in history by
religious believers. God has acted in history, and the perceptions of the people
who witness the revolutionary acts are what are recorded in the Bible.…read more

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Consciousness is a great thing. It does
not however, lead Dawkins to belief in God.
3- The propositional approach requires our use of reason. Barth argues that
when we use our reason and faith together we can often go wrong. He
makes a distinction between human insight and divine revelation. Our
insight is not God being revealed, it is a sign to God but his actions are
the only thing that allow God to be revealed.…read more

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However, other Christians believe it is extremely
dangerous to disregard parts of the Bible in such a way as if Christians
allow the authority of the bible to be called into question, the whole
message of Christianity is at risk.
Fundamentalist views of the interpretation of the Bible
-Fundamentalism is commonly used to describe a very conservative and
literalist approach to the Bible.…read more

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God, different responses to life. There are also many different
types of literature such as poems, history, songs and stories. Therefore it is
difficult to believe that they were all divinely inspired by the same God.…read more


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