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THE QUESTION :- IF GOD REVEALS, THEN HOW AND WHERE? INTRODUCTION Philosophers who say that God shows his nature and intentions to humans (as opposed to humans “finding” God through reason), then discuss how God reveals. If God reveals, then God takes the initiative. There are 2 concepts of Revelation.
A proposition is a statement, a set of words. These are often put down in dogmas, creeds or “statements of belief.” This then gives us God’s revelation in words (holy books, words of leaders etc.) For “Religions of the book”, God has spoken/revealed in the actual words: the “words of God.” This has big implications for holy books and leaders. This generates an “I-It” relationship. Faith is accepting the words as being from God and therefore true: “divinely authenticated truths.”
This view accepts that there can be some truths that we can know by reason (for example that God exists) but others that can only be known through God’s revelation (for example, the Trinity.) Propositional is more associated with Fides (belief that.)
1.Find 4 examples of a “statement of belief.” You must include one Religion other than Christianity 2.Write out the following Biblical references and explain what they are saying about the “words of God”:- 2 Timothy 3 verses 15&16. Ephesians 3 verses 3-5. Hebrews 4 verse 12. Matthew 13 verse 5. Isaiah 40 verse 8.
In a part a, for Level 7 you will need to include “where appropriate, diversity of views and/or scholarly opinion.” In a part b you need for a Level 7 “different views, including where appropriate, those of scholars.” In question 1 you could include people such as Luther, Calvin and Barth under “Propositional.” Below is an account of the work of Karl Barth that you could use to exemplify the Propositional view.
Barth said that Natural Theology (man’s attempt to discover God) is a misunderstanding of the focus of Revelation. God is the focus, as the revealer, not man as the receiver. God’s revelation is in God’s Word, Jesus Christ found in the Bible and in the Church’s preaching. Humans should just accept the revelation by having faith.
Human nature cannot find God as human nature has been corrupted by “The Fall.” God chose to be revealed through Jesus so this is the only way of knowing God. Divine revelation is what is true. It is not open to trial by reason. If reason seems to go against divine revelation, then reason is wrong.
a)Find out more about Barth’s views on Jesus as the Word of God. Write out 10 points to present to your class. b)If human nature is corrupted by “The Fall” what does this mean for humans today? List 5 “issues” that may arise from this. c)Do you think that human nature is corrupt/tainted? With examples, explain why you agree or disagree. d)What do you think Barth’s view of Religions other than Christianity would be? Explain why. e)Think of a time when your “reasoning” may have been “right” and when it may have been “wrong.” Be prepared to tell the class about it.
As the name suggests, revelation is not found in the actual words of holy books or leaders. Revelation is in the event that the words are describing. The words therefore are of secondary importance. They are human efforts to understand the events, to grasp the meaning behind them. They are not the revelation.
Karl Rahner:”the apostles had a global experience... lying behind propositions.” Schleiermacher: when we feel dependant on God, this experience contains the revelation. G. Moran: revelation is a “personal communion of knowledge, an interrelationship of God and the individual within a believing community.” J. Macquarrie: “revelation is not primarily given in the form of statements.”
From the views of these scholars, explain in your own words how you know that they have a non- propositional view of revelation.
1.Martin Buber: “I and Thou.” He said revelation should be an I-Thou meeting, a meeting with another person. Contrast this with I-It, where the meeting is with an object and not a person.
2.Ludwig Wittgenstein: “Seeing as/ experiencing as.” This can be shown by picture puzzles where some see them as X and others see them as Y. One event is experienced in many ways.
3.Blaise Pascal: “Hidden God.” This God shows enough of Himself for those who wish to see, but will “hide” from those who do not wish to see. 4.R.M. Hare: “bliks.”
a)Find out what the term “blik” means. b)Summarise his story of the lunatic and the University dons. c)What does Hare mean when he says Religion is “a blik?” d)How does this link with seeing as/experiencing as? e)How does this help us to understand the Non- propositional view?
THE PERSON OF JESUS. There are many events involving him. Different people experienced him in their everyday lives. Humans wrote about him. What is written depends on their experience of him. So, the words are not the direct words of God. The words could be various and very different, depending on the person’s experience of him.
Suggest a title that the following may give to Jesus based on their experience of him. The first has been done for you:- a)The Romans = a troublemaker. b)The disciples = c)A person he is believed to have healed = d)A person who never saw him do anything special = e)A person who heard him preach = f)Mary = g)Joseph = h)Me =
Prepare for a class presentation where you explain the main points of the 2 types of Revelation. Start with a diagram of areas to cover:-