Natural Revelation

Feinberg on Natural Revelation

“Natural revelation unveils to all humans, regardless of time and place in history, the truth that a supreme being, God, exists, and it demonstrates something of his divine attributes such as power, wisdom, and goodness. These truths are known through the use of reason applied to the created and preserved (in existence) universe. In addition, apart from any form of special revelation, each human has a basic moral sense of right and wrong, an understanding of some basic rules of moral conduct, and a conscience that accuses those who disobey the rules and exonerates those who obey. Each person, by the light of human reason reflecting on these moral rules and in conjunction with the workings of conscience, knows that she or he has broken the rules and deserves to be punished for doing so. However, natural revelation does not tell how to remove the guilt and punishment for wrongdoing so as to satisfy the demands of a God who demands moral perfection” (John Feinberg, Light in a Dark Place, 75).

For the latter kind of revelation–the kind that tells us how to remove our guilt and punishment–one must look to special revelation, what God has made known in the Bible. In that revelation, we discover that because of God’s great love, Christ has paid the price for our sin and we can be forgiven for our sin.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy and History of Ideas at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern.

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