Different ways on how God is revealing Himself to humanity
Our limited finite minds can never comprehend the deep things of God. But He provided ways in order for us to know Him. General revelation and special revelation are the two ways on how God revealed Himself to humanity.
Nature and conscience
General revelation is God’s revelation of Himself to all people through nature and conscience.
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.” Psalms 19:1 KJV
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” Romans 1:20 KJV.
Consider the vast universe and the light-year distances among stars and galaxies, it is simply mind-boggling. Use an electron microscope and discoveries of moving nano creatures are endless. These simply tell us that there is Someone who is a super-intelligent Creator.
The special revelation is where God uses people to make known Himself and His will to men. This is where God uses prophets as seen in the history of the Israelites in the Old Testament. Later He sent His Son Jesus in a unique and powerful way.
At the beginning, where sin is not yet present, God talked to Adam and Eve face-to-face.
“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:8 KJV
But this soon ended after man’s fall to sin. Sin put that barrier, and it is painful to both God as the parent and to Adam and Eve as His children.
There are many records in the Old Testament where God appeared and talked to different people in a humanlike form. In Genesis 48:15-16, Jacob uses ‘Angel’ to refer to God. Moses recorded that it was the ‘Angel of the Lord’ that appeared to him in the burning bush, and yet also wrote that “God called unto him out of the midst of the bush” (Exodus 3:1-4). This is also true with the experience of Manoah and his wife as recorded in Judges 13.
God uses men and women, called seers or prophets, to convey His instructions to men. A prophet is a person who proclaims divine messages that may relate to the past, present, or future. Most of these messages are consisting of exhortation, instruction, consolation, or prediction. (1 Samuel 9:9, 2 Samuel 23:2, Jeremiah 1:5 Hosea 4:1, John 1:1-3)
Through the Bible
After the fall and during the first few millennia, God revealed Himself through visions, dreams, and appearances (theophanies). Beginning from Moses and onwards, these experiences were written down; and so we have now these 66 books comprising the Bible “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
Jesus, the God in human flesh, is the ultimate revelation of who God is to humanity. What revelation is more powerful to reveal God than God Himself?
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation.” Colossians 1:15.
Nature tells us that God exists. The Bible reveals the character, activities, and God’s plan for humanity. By dwelling among men, Jesus demonstrated God’s character in a way that men can experience. Knowledge of nature and the Bible has no lasting value if we do not experience God’s love as shown by Jesus.
It is noteworthy to tell that the Holy Spirit is actively working in all these revelations. The Holy Spirit was there when God created this world. The Holy Spirit inspired the Bible writers and is continually guiding the readers as they study the Bible. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that Mary conceived and born Jesus in a manger. The Holy Spirit plays significant roles in the revelation of God to humanity.
Because of sin, pride, and stubbornness, these revelations are not enough to a rebellious heart. God does not want to force people to believe Him. He works with love, and the freedom to choose Him is part of His love. But for many, these revelations are more than enough to embrace the Creator. They can see God’s leading and provisions through these revelations, and because of these experiences, they believe that God is real.