How is God known?

Our conversation about how God is known in the world began with some thoughts about God being known through the created order (general revelation), although there seemed to be agreement that while general revelation might indicate a God, it would be a stretch to see it pointing to the God.

Most of the conversation centered on God being known through special revelation, although it quickly became apparent that conversations about divine action in the world are not without problems of their own.

In our discussion of Scripture as a way in which God is known, the question arose as to whether it is appropriate to view Scripture as revelation or as a record of revelation (c.f. Karl Barth). The danger in viewing a text (letters on pages) as revelation seems to be that the book itself becomes the center of attention and whether or not the events of the narrative actually bear any relationship to real states of affairs in the universe rather gets lost. When Scripture is viewed as a record of revelation then there is a sense in which the text points back to certain events and that it is the events that constitute revelation, not the words about the events.

One issue concerning Scripture as a way in which God is known still sits on the table with no real wrestling yet occurring. Here it is: before you are two books – let’s say the Bible and the Qu’ran – and you are asked, “Why this book, why not that book?” – the rules of engagement are that quoting from your book of choice to justify it over the other is not allowed (because then quoting from the other book to justify it over your book is fair game, and we just go round and round citing our own favorite text in the face of citations from someone else’s favorite text). So, seriously, what do you say? I have a three-minute answer and a four-hour answer, but I’m keeping quiet until some other people take a shot at it.

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