Who Owes Me Three Dollars?

October 23, 2006

Revelation as history or God as actor. This view m…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 4:25 am

Revelation as history or
God as actor. This view maintains that God reveals himself primarily in his great deeds, especially those which form the major themes of Biblical history. The Bible and the official teaching of the church are considered to embody revelation only to the extent that they are reliable reports as to what God has done. So the real revelation takes place in the form of acts, actions. Only actions are in a proper sense revelation. So, for example, the Exodus event is a revelation. The words about the Exodus, the reports about the Exodus are human fallible witnesses to the events. It is the events that are revelation. What’s revelatory is the event itself. Words are not revelatory, actions are. And the interpretation of those events are not revelatory.

Properly stated it works like this: “The revelation to which scripture attests is a self manifestation by God in historical events, not information about God stated in divinely stated doctrines or concepts.”

The recurrent theme in this approach is the priority of event over interpretation. It wants to be rigorously objective. It gives a lot of space to event. Creeds and doctrines in this view depend upon the prior events of revelation from which they are derived. The events are always richer than what can be said about them. There are no revealed truths. However a naked historical event is not in itself revelation. It is only revelation when the events are understood as disclosures of God.

The Bible is not primarily the word of God but the record of the acts of God together with the human responses elicited by those acts.

For example, you have to start with the humanity of Jesus and work your way to his deity, not the other way around. A Christology from below not a Christology from above. And to do that you start with the resurrection. Christianity stands or falls with the resurrection of Jesus. That is the act of God par excellence. That’s the most significant act of God. Redemptive events in history don’t belong to a salvation history, they just belong to world history. And it [Jesus’ resurrection] is a self interpreting event. Jesus is raised from the dead on the third day and this is a fact that can be read off the surface of world history. It ought to be written in history books just like the battle of Waterloo.

So, again, the Bible is a report of these events. It is not in and of itself revelation.



  1. You have done a poor job hiding your disagreement with this position — and I will wear my disagreement openly!

    First of all, these two statements are contradictory: “the interpretation of those events are not revelatory” vs. “It is only revelation when the events are understood as disclosures of God.”

    Secondly, this view of revelation attempts to dissect “event” from “word”. But God’s Word is active — it is an event in and unto itself. Jesus = the Word become flesh, the Word through which all things created were created, demonstrates that such a dissection is invalid.

    Likewise, an ‘event’ divorced from interpreting word, is demoted to being merely an image, static and lifeless. To use Jacques Ellul’s categorization, it inhabits the realm of Reality, not the Word’s realm of Truth. Such an event is not capable of conveying truth (or revelation) to the observer.

    WARNING: This summarization of Jacques Ellul’s Humiliation of the Word was performed by an untrained amateur. Actual reading of Ellul should not be attempted except as a cure for insomnia! Instead, Ellul should be approached gently, through the following vehicle:


    Comment by son1http://ruberad.wordpress.com — October 23, 2006 @ 2:53 pm

  2. What? Just exactly where in this have you spotted editorial material? I may have lifted the whole thing verbatim out of a book.

    Comment by Bruce S — October 23, 2006 @ 5:57 pm

  3. Which is called plagiarism where I live….so hopefully you will reveal your sources at the end of this series.

    Comment by Sister — October 24, 2006 @ 1:46 pm

  4. Threadjack alert!: What if a journalist finds national secrets in a published book (but the Feds haven’t noticed it), and copies and pastes the national secrets from the book, as a New York Times article? When the Feds read the Times, they want to prosecute, but the journalist doesn’t want the book author to go to jail (because, you know, commies stick together). Is that plagiarism or protecting sources?

    Comment by son1http://ruberad.wordpress.com — October 24, 2006 @ 2:21 pm

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