Why think that (4) … God would reveal himself in words

Have you ever wondered why God created the universe? What his purpose is? We’ve already explored some reasons for thinking that God cares about us but does that actually mean? What purpose did God have in creating us? And what part do we have in God’s plan? One big clue is our ability to form relationships, not only with other people but also, in principle, with God. So if God intended there to be creatures like us, capable of forming relationships with him, then it seems a fair bet that this was his purpose in creating us (or at least part of it).

But relationships don’t just happen. They require communication. Imagine trying to form a relationship with someone without any communication. How would you know what they like or dislike? How would you know which things make them happy and which things really get on their nerves? How would you get to know them and share things with them without some form of communication? And the same is true of a relationship with God. If God wants us to have a relationship with him then he needs to reveal information about himself. He needs to tell us what he is like and what his expectations are and what sort of relationship he is interested in. Without this information it is simply not going to happen.

So God needs to reveal information about himself. How’s he going to do it? One possibility would be to reveal himself directly to everyone. Now perhaps the sheer immensity of his glory prevents mortals perceiving God directly, perhaps mortal minds would simply go kaput if faced with the true reality of God. But there are other ways God could have revealed himself, say, sending an angel to visit everyone personally and explaining that God exists, explaining that God wants a relationship and performing whatever miracles that would be needed to convince each person. That, we must presume, is something God could do but it is obvious that he hasn’t.

Here’s the problem: if the existence of God is obvious then it would severely limit our free choice as to whether to enter into a relationship with him or not. If we were faced with an angel who proved to us irrefutably that there was a God of unlimited and unquestionable power it is likely that we would feel compelled by fear to serve God. And that won’t do. Because what God wants is a loving relationship, for people to choose freely whether to enter into that relationship or not. And therefore God needs to be subtle so that people have a real choice: to trust in God, if they choose, or to deny God and go their own way, if they prefer. So we would expect God to reveal himself to mankind, so they can form relationships with him, but we would not necessarily expect to reveal himself directly to each person individually.

So whilst we might reasonably expect God to reveal information about himself, we should not expect God to do this in a coercive way. More likely God would reveal himself through an intermediary – someone or something that could speak on God’s behalf without forcing people to enter into a relationship with God. One option would be a spokesperson – like a prophet or religious teacher – but their impact is going to be limited. They can only speak to a limited number of people at one time and once they died the message would be gone. A better alternative would be a written message. Something that could be copied multiple times and sent to different parts of the world, and something that would outlive any one individual. It could contain enough information to form the basis of a relationship but would not be intimating or imposing; it would only be influential over those who accepted it. In the ancient world (when there was no radio, television or internet) a written text is the only form of mass communication.

From the 1933 edition of the Bible in the Sout...

From the 1933 edition of the Bible in the Southern Min language (specifically in a Taiwanese dialect influenced by the Amoy (Xiamen) dialect of the time), written in the Latin script. The text itself is in the public domain. This photo is of a recent reprinted edition and is released into the public domain by A-giâu 09:19, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC). The pages shown are of the Book of Proverbs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are limitations to any piece of writing. In a world of many languages, any book would need to be translated and interpreted to make it accessible throughout the world. Any book, if it was to be accessible to its initial readers, would be written with the cultural assumptions of that society. As societies change over time, newer generations might find the cultural assumptions made the book to be unfamiliar or even peculiar. But none of these limitations would be insurmountable as long as readers we focused on the purpose of the book: to build a relationship with God.

The book I have been describing is, of course, the Bible. The point is that it is not unexpected that God should use a book like the Bible to reveal himself. The reasonable next question is whether there is any evidence that the Bible is a revelation from God.

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Preceding articles:

Why think that (1) … Jesus existed?

Wy think that (2) … Jesus claimed to be something special

Why think that (3) … Jesus rose from the dead

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Related articles:

  1. Science and God’s existence
  2. Did the Inspirator exist
  3. Does He exists?
  4. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  5. It is a free will choice
  6. Christianity is a love affair
  7. Without God no purpose, no goal, no hope
  8. Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people
  9. Nuturing a close relationship with God
  10. Our relationship with God, Jesus and eachother
  11. A time for everything
  12. Life is too precious
  13. God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supplies
  14. Around pre-existence of Christ
  15. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  16. Jesus begotten Son of God #9 Two millennia ago conceived or begotten
  17. How is it that Christ pleased God so perfectly?
  18. The Song of The Lamb #2 Sevens
  19. Christ having glory
  20. Marriage of Jesus 10 Old and New Covenant
  21. Kingdom Visions of a Man, Throne and Great crowd
  22. He may found a kingdom and empire which shall be literally ‘universal’
  23. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  24. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  25. Miracles of revelation and of providence 1 Golden Thread and Revelation
  26. Miracles of revelation and of providence 2 Providence
  27. Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people
  28. Dignified role for the woman
  29. Many Books, yet One
  30. Fragments from the Book of Job #7 Epilogue
  31. Isaiah’s Book of the Messenger of Glad Tidings
  32. Bad things no punishment from God
  33. A Plan spoken of in long past times
  34. You God hold the future
  35. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #9 Prayer #7 Reason to pray
  36. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  37. Zionism comments and the place of Jerusalem in the world
  38. Bible Book of books
  39. The Word of God

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  • Your Purpose For Your Life Vs. GOD’s Purpose of Your Life (foodforthespiritualsoul.wordpress.com)
    If there is anything that I have learned about my own life is that whatever I may have thought was the path for my life, was not necessarily the path that God has meant for my life. In other’s words, God has been constantly teaching me about My Will vs. God’s Will. And this is a constant struggle of the flesh, in every way to understand. Not to mention, a true test of your surrendering to the Will of God, the Father of Creation. It requires for one to take paths, that are illogical to the human mind. It requires you to uphold God’s Words, to the point of where there will be moments where you may be “alone” in this world. I put “alone” in quotes because you see, when we truly have come to understand the Unconditional Love that Jesus Christ demonstrated on the Cross, at Calvary, we will truly feel within the deepest parts of our inner selves, the presence of the Omnipresent God.
  • The Theory of Gods Creation in His Own Image (lajbut.wordpress.com)
    God deliberately created mankind to rule the earth and to accomplish this purpose, He created mankind as His own image- He made man His co-regent/representative rules. The image of God therefore refers to our unique status as human beings rulers in Gods stead, according to His will. We are created as his image to function as He would , were he administrating his own affairs directly.
  • The Purpose of Life (thelifeofastrangercalledme.wordpress.com)
  • Reluctant Progressions. (aldavina.wordpress.com)
    Those that talk about our treatment of other people, the holiness of God and how we are to hold that to the highest reverence, but most importantly, the law in which all laws are firmly rooted upon- the law of love.
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    To trusting that God has our best interests in mind when He gave His final word. To the beauty of progression.
  • The Bible & You (924jeremiah.wordpress.com)
    The Holy Spirit is God Almighty—He’s not some collection of verses. The Holy Spirit wants to say plenty of original thoughts to you that you aren’t going to find spelled out verbatim in the Book.
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    We greatly value having access to the collection of historical documents which Christians call “the Living Word.” But we are not going to pretend that the Book is perfect, because that’s just deception. We are not going to teach you to put your faith in a Book because this is idolatry. God is extremely jealous for our devotion. He commands us to love Him with all that we are, to worship Him alone, and to put nothing else above Him. Many Christians are living in total violation of all these things. They are far more devoted to their own interpretations of the Bible than they are to the teachings of the Holy Spirit. They worship pastors, theologians, and other teachers who claim to be experts on Scripture. They shamelessly exalt the Bible above God by promoting it as some binding contract which He is incapable of breaking. All of these are things which you need to stay far away from if you are going to honor God with your life.
  • Today’s Sabbath Message / “The Holy Bible Versus The Holy Spirit” – Has the Bible Become Our god? (owprince.wordpress.com)
    The Apostles of Christ would refer to The Holy Scriptures (The Torah / Pentateuch) at times to confirm, affirm and proclaim the fulfillment of the promises of God in Christ Jesus our LORD and Savior.  Christ himself often proclaimed that the Holy Scriptures were fulfilled in Him and that The Holy Spirit would reveal all divinely hidden Knowledge and Truth.
  • What About Free Will? (Part 3) (mscottc.wordpress.com)
    According to libertarians, only if we are free to accept or reject God can we have a meaningful relationship with Him.  If our love for God is determined it must mean it is either mechanistically programmed or coerced against our will.  If either notion is true then love would be stripped of its value.  Greg Boyd says, “If love is the goal” of God’s creation of us then love “must be freely chosen. It cannot be coerced. Agents must possess the capacity and opportunity to reject love if they are to possess the genuine capacity and ability to engage in love.”
  • Praying the open view: partnering with God (anopenorthodoxy.wordpress.com)
    most Christians believe that whether God directly intervenes in our world depends at times on whether we petition God to do so. “We have not because we ask not” in the sense that “certain states of affairs that God can and wishes to bring about do not occur because we have chosen not to request that he intervene.” (italics mine) For open theists, how we understand this “because” is what sets an open worldview and its approach to prayer apart from other views. Sanders will emphasize the important of this “because” as well.
  • You are a unique Gospel that God wants to write: Life or lie message? (onedaringjew.wordpress.com)
    Obviously, being a Christian involves having a personal relationship with Jesus but there is content to that relationship. When you lose the Gospel you lose Christ.
  • Which is the True Religion of God? (wifeezat.wordpress.com)
    Each person is born in a circumstance which is not of his own choosing. The religion of his family or the ideology of the state is thrust upon him from the very beginning of his existence in this world. By the time he reaches his teens, he is usually fully brain-washed into believing that the beliefs of his particular society are the correct beliefs that everyone should have. However, when some people mature and are exposed to other belief-systems, they begin to question the validity of their own beliefs.
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7 thoughts on “Why think that (4) … God would reveal himself in words

  1. Pingback: Why think that (5) … the Bible is the word of God | Stepping Toes

  2. Pingback: Don’t be afraid to fall | From guestwriters

  3. Pingback: Those who fear him | Free Christadelphians: Belgian Ecclesia Brussel - Leuven

  4. Pingback: Pascal’s Possibility | Stepping Toes

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  6. Pingback: Are there certain books essential to come to faith – Relating to God

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