God’s Word our Rule: General Revelation

Studies through the Westminster Confession of Faith.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17)

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,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat. (Psalm 19:1-6)

Verses 1-6 of Psalm 19 show how creation makes the glory of God plain – “the heavens” and “the sky” (v1), the “day” and “night” (v2) and “the sun” (v4b-6). All these things leave men and women with no excuse of unbelief in God. Therefore, David praises God for all these wonderful revelations of himself that have been put to us as mankind.

Through these cosmic activities, God is speaking. God is revealing himself to the whole world, “The heavens declare the glory of God“.

From creation we learn that there is a God and so humanity has no excuse – Paul reiterates this in Romans 1:19-21:

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Not only do we have creation bearing witness to the existence of God, but Paul explains later in Romans 2:14-15 that we also have the law “written on [our] hearts“, along with our “conscience” and “conflicting thoughts” that all point to this one truth. These revelations in nature do not only reveal that there is a God, but they also imprint on our hearts the law (1:32) and leave us with no excuse (2:1).

Yet creation is constrained to this one thing – to “declare the glory of God“. There is need for more than creation. It isn’t enough to bring people to a saving knowledge of Christ. Creation leads people to God but stops there. This is where the Word of God comes in – where he reveals the answer to man’s terrible sin, where he reveals the gospel (Romans 10:13). God has not chosen to reveal his gospel through creation but through his Word, his Son, Jesus Christ (John 1:1). His special revelation is reserved for the Scriptures, the Word of God.

*     *     *

For these studies I’m using The Westminster Confession of Faith Study Book by Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. available at Amazon.co.uk for £8.99. Bargain.

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