Crash Goes the Da Vinci Code/Part 2
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2005|
|While it may be true that some world religions and cults are based on manmade fabrications, Christianity is based on historical God-sent revelation— both general revelation and special revelation.|
by Dr. Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries, P.O. Box 2526, Frisco, TX, 75034. 214-618-0912. www.ronrhodes.org (Used by permission.)
Is All Religion Based On Fabrication?
DAN BROWN’S POSITION:
“Every faith in the world is based on fabrication. That is the definition of faith—acceptance of that which we imagine to be true, that which we cannot prove.” (Page 341) “Those who truly understand their faiths understand the stories are metaphorical …. Religious allegory has become a part of the fabric of reality. And living in that reality helps millions of people cope and be better people.” (Page 342)
THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER:
While it may be true that some world religions and cults are based on manmade fabrications, Christianity is based on historical God-sent revelation— both general revelation and special revelation. “General revelation” refers to revelation that is available to all persons of all times. An example of this would be God’s revelation of Himself in the world of nature (Psalm 19). By observing the world of nature around us, we can detect something of God’s existence, and discern something of His divine power and glory. We might say that the whole world is God’s “kindergarten” to teach us the ABCs of the reality of God. Human beings cannot open their eyes without being compelled to see God. Indeed, God has engraved unmistakable marks of His glory on His creation.
There are, of course, limitations to how much we can learn from general revelation, for it tells us nothing about God’s cure for man’s sin problem. It tells us nothing of the “gospel message.” These kinds of things require special revelation. But general revelation does give us enough information about God’s existence that if we reject it, and refuse to turn to God, God is justified in bringing condemnation against us (Romans 1:20).
“Special revelation” refers to God’s very specific and clear revelation in such things as His mighty acts in history, the person of Jesus Christ, and His message spoken through Old Testament prophets (like Isaiah and Daniel) and New Testament apostles (like Paul and Peter).
GOD’S REVELATION IN HISTORY. God is the living God, and He has communicated knowledge of Himself through the ebb and flow of historical experience. The Bible is first and foremost a record of the history of God’s interactions among Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the twelve tribes of Israel, the apostle Paul, Peter, John, and all the other people of God in biblical times.
The greatest revelatory act of God in Old Testament history was the deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt. God, through Moses, inflicted ten plagues on the Egyptians that thoroughly demonstrated His awesome power (Exodus 712). God’s demonstration of power was all the more impressive since the Egyptians believed their many false gods had the power to protect them from such plagues.
Note that the historical miracles and events wrought by God were always accompanied by spoken words. The miracle or event was never left to speak for itself. Nor were human beings left to infer whatever conclusions they wanted to draw from the event (fabrications). God made sure that when a significant event occurred there was a prophet at hand to interpret it. For example, Moses was there to record everything related to the Exodus. The apostles were there to record everything related to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. God has revealed Himself in history, and He always made sure that His historical actions were adequately recorded!
GOD’S ULTIMATE REVELATION IN JESUS CHRIST. The only way for God to be able to fully do and say all that He wanted was to actually leave His eternal residence and enter the arena of humanity. This He did in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus was God’s ultimate “special” revelation.
Scripture indicates that God is a Spirit (John 4:24). And because He is a Spirit, He is invisible (Colossians 1:15). With our normal senses, we cannot perceive Him, other than what we can detect in general revelation. Further, man is spiritually blind and deaf (1 Corinthians 2:14). Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, man has lacked true spiritual perception. So humankind was in need of special revelation from God in the worst sort of way.
Jesus—as eternal God—took on human flesh so He could be God’s fullest revelation to man (Hebrews 1:2,3). Jesus was a revelation of God not just in His person (as God) but in His life and teachings as well. By observing the things Jesus did and the things Jesus said, we learn a great deal about God. For example, God’s awesome power was revealed in Jesus (John 3:2). God’s incredible wisdom was revealed in Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:24). God’s boundless love was revealed and demonstrated by Jesus (1 John 3:16). And God’s unfathomable grace was revealed in Jesus (2 Thessalonians 1:12).
These verses serve as the backdrop as to why Jesus told a group of Pharisees, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me” (John 12:44). Jesus likewise told Philip that “anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Jesus was the ultimate historical revelation of God!
GOD’S REVELATION IN THE BIBLE. Another key means of “special” revelation is the Bible. In this one book, God has provided everything He wants us to know about Him and how we can have a relationship with Him.
God is the one who caused the Bible to be written (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). And through it He speaks to us today just as He spoke to people in ancient times when those words were first given. The Bible is to be received as God’s words to us and revered and obeyed as such. As we submit to the Bible’s authority, we place ourselves under the authority of the living God.