General and Special Revelation (Revisted)

From a Judeo-Christian perspective, an unseen God has revealed himself to humanity through the created universe (“…maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen”)[1], which is often referred to as general revelation.  This type of revelation is clear and certain and is always bestowed upon humanity. “There is no environment where [humans] can flee to escape the revelational presence of God (Ps. 139:8). God’s natural revelation goes out to the end of the world (Ps. 19:1-4) and all people see His glory (Ps. 97:6).”[2]

However, general revelation gives a limited understanding of God and of his relationship with humanity, and so God provided further revelation or special revelation through the God-man, Jesus Christ, in order to communicate his salvation plan to humanity (“…For us and our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate…”)[3]

Moreover, God provided other special revelation by communicating in human language (“…He has spoken through the prophets…”)[4]. He revealed himself in written form where, on a few instances, he physically wrote on stone tablets the words he wanted to communicate (Ex 24:12; Ex 31:18). On other occasions, God verbally dictated to human writers his words for them to write (Ex 24:24; 34:27-28). He also used more collaborative means in the process by speaking through the words of human writers in order that humanity would have “the whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, humanity’s salvation, faith and life.”[5]


[1] Nicene Creed; http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html

[2] Greg L. Bahnsen, Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith. (Texarkana, AR: Covenant Media Foundation, 1996), 38.

[3] Nicene Creed; http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html

[4] Nicene Creed; http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html

[5] Westminster Confession of Faith, ch. I Of the Holy Scriptures, pt.VI http://www.reformed.org/documents/westminster_conf_of_faith.html