04 April, 2017

Argument: “What about ‘natural revelation’ and the religious aspirations of men worldwide?”



“How can we explain the religious aspirations of men everywhere, even of those who did not come in touch of the Christian religion apart from a ‘common grace’ of God? And what about ‘natural revelation’?”




Prof. David J. Engelsma

The answer to your question is found in Romans 1:18-32. All men are not only religious. They also have knowledge of God; indeed, they know God (v. 21). Specifically, they know God's Godhead and eternal power. The source of this knowledge, for those who have never heard the gospel or read a Bible, is creation, including themselves as part of creation. There is an operation of God upon them and within them in connection with the objective testimony to God by the creation so that they know the existence and power of God: “God hath showed it [“that which may be known of God”] unto them.” Reformed theology has called this act of God upon mankind outside the sphere of Bibles and the teaching of the gospel “natural revelation.” This, in distinction from the special revelation of the gospel.
All mankind know the existence, eternity, and power of God.
This makes them inveterately religious.
But observe what the result of this knowledge of God apart from the gospel always is.
It is never the pure worship of God, faith in Him, and salvation.
Rather it is the rebellious refusal to worship Him and the dishonoring of Him by idolatry.  Because of the “natural revelation,” man must and will worship. But he invariably corrupts the worship of the one, true God, whom they know, in idolatry.
Further, this natural revelation does not have salvation as its purpose. Rather, its purpose is to leave all humans without excuse (v. 20). Only the revelation of the gospel has the power and purpose of salvation. Nevertheless, man is guilty for his refusal to worship the one, true God revealed in creation. His refusal is deliberate. God therefore punishes mankind outside the sphere of the gospel by giving humans over to sin, particularly the sin of homosexuality, which is the extreme judgment of God upon humans outside the sphere of the gospel. As humans change the truth into the lie of idolatry, so God changes the natural sexual relation into perversity in His judgment.
Romans 1 is the answer to your question.
There is nothing good about the natural man’s religiosity, nor anything saving. Nor anything that is due to grace, including a common grace. On the contrary, it serves by God’s purpose to leave the ungodly without excuse. There is saving purpose and power only in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, in the gospel, as is the point of the apostle with Romans 1:18ff., as the immediately preceding context in Romans 1 shows. 



More to come! (DV)

No comments:

Post a Comment