The Self-Revealing God

We could have no knowledge of God except for His revelation.

Foundations for a Christian Worldview: God (7)

And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” Exodus 34.6, 7

The God of the Christian worldview
In a most introductory way, we have been considering God as He is presented in the first five books of the Bible, the Law of Moses. We begin our study of Christian worldview with God. He is the Creator of the world and all things. He sustains and rules the creation. And it seems very clear that God has an abiding interest in how things should go with the creation and its peoples.

The Christian worldview unfolds “under the heavens”, as Solomon might say. And from just what we’ve seen about God thus far, this only makes sense. There is but one God, Who created and rules all things, and Who consists in three Persons, each one equally God, bound together in a fellowship of being, communion, collaboration, and complementarity. The Three-in-One God is eternal. He has always existed, He will always exist, and He is altogether unchanging. He is the Great “I AM.” The eternal God is also holy; He is perfect in all His virtues and ways, lacking nothing. The holy God is sovereign; everything is from Him, subsists by Him, and is subject to His purposes and will. And this God is also gracious. God loves the world and its creatures, and He especially loves that people He has chosen for Himself – to be a holy people before Him, to glorify Him and extend His blessings to the world.

There is no other God besides this God. The entirety of the Christian worldview derives from God, focuses on knowing and serving God, orients all its activities unto God, and shapes its adherents to seek Him and His Kingdom and glory in all they are and do.

And we know all this about God because He has revealed Himself to us. The Three-in-One, eternal, holy, sovereign, and gracious God is a self-revealing God. He calls people to know Him, and to realize His good and glorious purposes and plan. The self-revealing character of God is crucial to the wellbeing of His creatures, and especially humankind.

To recover God’s good plan
God’s plan for His people was for their good (Gen. 1.31; Jer. 29.11). He created all things very good, and He gave His people dominion over the creation, to develop and extend that goodness over all the earth and to all its creatures. The fall into sin did not cancel God’s plan; instead, He extended His covenant to His chosen people, that they might recover a measure of what had been lost at the fall, and enjoy the good blessings He intended for them from the beginning. 

But none of this would have been immediately evident to people, because sin had blinded them to God’s purposes (cf. Rom. 11.8ff). Made in His image, to know and love God, sinful people turn away from Him, preferring their own ideals and wiles to His ways and will. If God wants people to know His will and blessings, He cannot rely on them to figure these out for themselves. He has to make Himself and His purposes known, and it is His pleasure to do so clearly and abundantly.

Thus, just as God revealed Himself to Moses from out of the burning bush, so He made Himself known to His people through the books of the Law, in manifestations of glory and power, in His clear and undeniable presence in their midst, and in His spoken and written Word. By receiving and heeding His revelation, God’s people would know Him, receive the blessings He intended for them, and begin the work of extending those blessings to the world.

Vehicles of revelation
The Christian worldview insists that God does not leave us to our own wits and wiles, to grope and guess about what’s right or best, or to figure out His being, purposes, or will. He reveals Himself and His will in a variety of ways.

The vehicles of divine revelation, as revealed in His Law, are varied: He makes His glory known through created things. The heavens and the earth and all the creatures in them declare the presence and display the glory of God, inviting people to seek and consider Him and His will. God reveals His will through divinely-sent spiritual messengers – part of that vast realm of unseen things which we will consider in our next study in this series. In the books of Moses, God communicated to His chosen people in dreams. He instructed them to create artifacts and institutions of culture that reveal His character and will, and enable His people to be refreshed and reinforced in their calling. He spoke to His prophets in actual words, and He spoke through them in the words they proclaimed to His people. And by Moses’ hand, God encoded His purposes and will in written words.

We are surrounded by windows onto the glory of God, avenues of divine revelation whereby we may learn more about the God Who made, keeps, redeems, and loves us. Our privilege and calling is to make good use of these many vehicles of divine self-revelation, that we might have a fuller view of God, increase in love for Him, and organize our lives and world to bring Him the greatest possible glory.

The worldview which begins to unfold in God’s Law instructs us to look to God, through all His means of revelation, but fundamentally, through His Word, so that we might know Him and His will and, knowing Him, might fear, obey, love, serve, and glorify Him in all we do.

Because the worldview of goodness and blessing God has promulgated in His Law depends, for its realization, on knowing Him, God has abundantly accommodated to our sinful and helpless estate by making Himself known to us through words and deeds. We can know God, and knowing Him is the sum and substance of the life He offers (Jn. 17.3). Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord (Hos. 6.3), so that we may enter into His covenant and worldview, enjoy His blessings, and live in His goodness all our days.

Questions for reflection
1. Why is it important to know that God reveals Himself and His will to people?

2. Give some examples of the many ways God revealed Himself in the Law of Moses.

3. How should people respond to the revelation of God? What may we expect as we do?

Next steps – Preparation: God reveals Himself to His people in His Word and through His world. How can you improve your use of these vehicles of revelation to help you in knowing, loving, and serving the Lord? 

T. M. Moore

The Christian worldview focuses on Jesus. Do you know Him? Our book, To Know Him, can help you answer that question confidently, and equip you to tell others about Jesus as well. Order your copy by clicking hereFor a handy compendium of the laws, statutes, and precepts contained in the Law of God, grouped according to the Ten Commandments, order our book, The Law of God, by clicking here.

All the studies in this series on Foundations for a Christian Worldview are available in PDF and can be downloaded for free 
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At The Ailbe Seminary, all our courses are designed to help you grow in your Christian worldview. Watch this brief video (click here) to get an overview of our curriculum, and to see again the place of Jesus in the Christian worldview.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore