Revelation -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 094:375 (Jul 1937)
Article: Revelation
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer


Revelation

Lewis Sperry Chafer

(Continuing the Series on Bibliology)

Introduction

In its theological usage, the term Revelation is restricted to the divine act of communicating to man what otherwise man would not know. This extraordinary form of revelation, since it originates with God, is, of necessity, largely dependent on supernatural agencies and means. Nothing could be more advantageous to man, nor is there aught more certain than the fact that God has spoken to man. The satanic question, “hath God said?” (Gen 3:1)-ever the substance of human rationalism and doubt as to divine revelation-is engendered by the “father of lies” and is foreign to natural intuition of man.

Having made man in His own image and having endowed man with the capacity to commune with Himself, it is reasonable to expect that this competency in man would be exercised; that in due time God would disclose to man truth concerning Himself and His purposes, also man’s true place in the divine plan of creation-his relation to God, to eternity, to time, to virtue, to sin, to redemption, as well as to all other beings in this universe in which man’s life is cast. Adam, created as he was at the zero point of all knowledge and experience which accrues to man through the process of living, had much to learn even within the sphere of that which is unfallen. God, we are told, came down and talked with Adam in the cool of the day. But if unfallen man needed the impartation of knowledge, how much more does fallen man, whose whole being is darkened, need to be taught of God! To the latter must be given the added truth regarding sin and redemption. God has spoken. To this end the Bible

has been written, and the revelation to man of that great body of truth which man could not acquire for himself and which the Bible discloses is its sublime and supreme purpose.

1. Three Important Doctrines Distinguished.

a. Revelation and Reason.

Systematic Theology does draw its material from both revelation and reason, though the portion supplied by reason is uncertain as to its authority and, at best, restricted to the point of insignificance. Reason, as here considered, indicates the intellectual and moral faculties of man exercised in the pursuit of truth and apart from supernatural aid. A right evaluation of reason is too often lacking. Certain men have held that, without divine guidance or assistance, man can attain to all truth which is essential to his well-being here and hereafter. In all discussions bearing on this problem, reason must be wholly divorced from revelation if it is to be seen in its actual limitations. Such a s...

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