Monday, July 02, 2007

The Unsurpassed Poetry of Israel:

The creation is the first revelation of God, the beginning and foundation of all subsequent revelation. The biblical concept of revelation is rooted in that of creation. God first appeared outwardly before his creatures in the creation and revealed himself to them. In creating the world by his word and making it come alive by his Spirit, God already delineated the basic contours of all subsequent revelation. But immediately linking up with the event of creation is the action of providence. This, too, is an omnipotent and everywhere-present power and act of God. All that is and happens is, in a real sense, a work of God and to the devout a revelation of his attributes and perfections. That is how Scripture looks at nature and history. Creating, sustaining, and governing together form one single mighty ongoing revelation of God.

No nature poetry has surpassed or even equaled that of Israel. To the devout everything in nature speaks of God. The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. God's voice is in the great waters. That voice breaks the cedars; it rumbles in the thunder and howls in the hurricane. The light is his garment, the heavens his curtain, the clouds his chariot. His breath creates and renews the earth. He both rains and causes his sun to shine upon the just and the unjust. Herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, indeed, all things come not by chance but by his fatherly hand. The Bible's view of nature and history is religious and hence also supernatural. Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Volume 1, Prolegomena, pp. 307-08.
This paragraph is from the section on Revelation in Herman Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics that I'm reading through right now. Before this, Bavinck emphasizes that there is no distinction between "natural" and "supernatural" revelation. It's all supernatural. The second part of the above paragraph is an eloquent statement of his contention that even general revelation can only be understood through special revelation. In other words, the believer sees that the "heavens are telling the glory of God" because special revelation has revealed that fact to him (i.e., Gen 1-2).

Very interesting.

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