What is Natural Revelation?

The Bible teaches that God made all creation and has put His attributes on display for us in it.

We call this “natural” revelation because it is something that God has made known in creation. This does not mean that the creation is God but only that God makes creation to reflect aspects of His glory. We can also call this “general” revelation because it goes out to all people. Everyone can see and hear it. We are surrounded with this revelation of God. By virtue of being made in His image the knowledge of God is plainly before us.

 

It is important to understand that we cannot know anything about God unless He reveals Himself to us. God is infinite, and we are finite. The distance between God and man is so great that we could not know anything about Him or what He requires if He did not reveal Himself to us (WCF 7.1). As Isaiah says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” There are two ways that God reveals Himself to us. Theologians classify these as “special” and “general” or “natural” revelation. Special revelation is when God speaks in His Word, the Bible, and would also include God speaking in the Son (Heb. 1:1-2). It is in particular times and places that God speaks, it is special in that it clear and direct.

Natural revelation is God speaking and making Himself known in His creation. The Bible teaches that God made all creation and has put His attributes on display for us in it. We call this “natural” revelation because it is something that God has made known in creation. This does not mean that the creation is God but only that God makes creation to reflect aspects of His glory. We can also call this “general” revelation because it goes out to all people. Everyone can see and hear it. We are surrounded with this revelation of God. By virtue of being made in His image the knowledge of God is plainly before us.

So the creation speaks the glory of God:

Psa. 19:1-4: The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun…

Natural revelation is ‘as plain as day.’ We see it and cannot hide from it. The creation is, in a sense, talking to us. It is telling us everywhere that the Triune God is real. This does not mean we are always listening to it.

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