Monday, 8 March 2010

Propositional revelation

Mark Thompson's posts are so long that vague thinkers would think that they are woolly, not recognizing that if the same thing were taken and written down in a book, people would be sitting there going Zap! Pow! Wham! Ugh! Ya got me!

So in the interests of preserving just one of those moments, I present to you:

Another way of approaching this is to insist that a simple equation of revelation and presence or self-manifestation (an equation often found in contemporary theology) is a little too slick. The biblical view of revelation certainly has at its core God's self-revelation. God makes himself known. He doesn't just give us truth about himself from a distance. He gives himself. But powerfully reassuring and savingly effective as God's presence and activity among us is, it is not necessarily —in and of itself — revelatory.

This is presumably why God does not leave this presence and activity unexplained. Ahead of Jesus' incarnation, death and resurrection, God provided the categories to understand it all through the prophetic utterances of the Old Testament (including God's own explanation of what was happening at the time of the Exodus and the divinely inspired poetic prophecy of the Isaianic servant songs).

In the time of his earthly ministry Jesus' own words accompanied his works, providing an authoritative explanation of what he had been doing and why. Finally, the commissioned witnesses of the resurrection, moved by the Spirit as they were, provided God's own viewpoint on the events of Nazareth and Calvary. There is considerable warrant for concluding that in fact it is this verbal accompaniment of God's presence and action in Christ that constitutes the revelation. God did not stand mute before us during the earthly life and death and resurrection of Jesus. He himself expounds the truth about himself and his purposes to which these things are pointing.

Jesus is our redeemer and Lord, but he is also our teacher.

I inserted three paragraph breaks because, as a vague and woolly thinker myself, the 90% chocolate that Mark is offering here was too much for one bite.

1 comment:

Anderson said...

Isn't it amusing that God then gave those disciples gifts of 'tongues' - whether xenoglossy or glossolalia it's still language they hadn't learned in theology school.