Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
THE BIBLE, A DIVINE REVELATION
ITS NEED, INTERNAL PROOFS. ITS PLAN. WISDOM, POWER, JUSTICE AND LOVE PERMEATE THE PLAN. THE ATTRIBUTES OF ITS GOD.
SO FAR there have been discussed of our subject, The Bible, its generalities, its literosity and its books. In this discussion so far the nature of the Bible—what the Bible actually is—as such has not been discussed. It is the purpose of this chapter and of a number of subsequent chapters to investigate this phase of our subject. The Bible may be defined as a Divine Revelation. The English word, revelation, is the equivalent of several Greek words used in the New Testament: phanarosis (manifestation, 1 Cor. 12: 7; 2 Cor. 4: 2), epiphaneia (bright shining, 2 Thes. 2: 8; 2 Tim. 1: 10; 4: 8; Tit. 2: 13) and apokalypsis (uncovering, Rom. 16: 25; 1 Cor. 14: 26; 2 Cor. 12: 1, 7; Eph. 3: 3; Rev. 1: 1). It means a manifestation of persons, principles and things in the domain of religion. There are other revelations than those in the domain of religion. Thus there are scientific, historical, archeological, philosophical, artistic, mathematical, mechanical, etc., revelations. None of such are intended to be discussed here, where we limit ourself to the domain of religious revelation. The persons revealed in the domain of religion may be the true God or false gods, their agents, and the true or false principles and things connected with the pertinent revelation. The idea of a revelation, of course, implies a revealer, the contents of the revelation, the persons to whom the revelation is given, and usually the agent or agents through whom the revelation is given.
Revelations in the domain of religion are of two kinds: natural and supernatural, or superhuman. Before defining these two forms of revelation it would be well to explain in what sense we use these and their
related terms. As is well known, the word nature is used in a variety of senses. In the widest of these senses it means creation and the forces, laws and order displayed in it. In this sense it would include every person, principle and thing, except God, e.g., it would not only include mankind, but the various orders of spirit beings, like the Son of God and the good and evil angels, as well as the forces, laws and order belonging to such. But we will not use the word nature in our present discussion in the widest sense of the word, as just defined, because so defined it includes much of what we expect to include under the term, the supernatural, as the preceding sentence shows. Rather, for our present purpose we will use the word nature in a somewhat narrower sense, i.e., the material animate and inanimate universe, its forces, laws and order, as it and these appear to the reason and observation of man. From this sense of the word, nature, spirit beings and their peculiar forces, laws and order are excluded, as not belonging to the material animate and inanimate universe and its forces, laws and order. Such spirit beings and their peculiar forces, laws and order we include in the realm of the supernatural. By the natural we mean that which pertains to, is the quality of, nature as explained in our second definition. By the supernatural we, of course, do not mean anything that contradicts or violates nature as just defined, but what is higher than nature and beyond man's power to fully grasp, though he may know some things about it. It is for this reason that we use the term superhuman as a synonym of the term supernatural.
Just as there are forces, laws and order that form a part of nature, so there are other, higher, beings, forces, laws and order that are part of the supernatural; hence we call them supernatural. These include God and the other spirit beings and their peculiar forces, laws and order. The different modes of existence and substances in these two spheres, of course, imply that they contain different beings, forces, laws
and orders. And because the supernatural is higher than the natural, it can manifest itself amid, penetrate and permeate the natural, and that in ways that the natural cannot penetrate or pervade the supernatural, as, e.g., humans can themselves penetrate and permeate the things pertaining to the brute creation, like dogs, birds, etc. But when such manifestation, penetration or permeation is made by the supernatural, it is not done contrary to nature, even as human penetrations and permeations do not violate nature in dogs, birds, etc.; rather in some matters it does this by manipulating known natural forces and laws in ways that may not yet be understood by us or by manipulating higher natural forces and laws in displacing the operation of lower natural forces and laws, even as is frequently done in the natural sphere, e.g., the heavier-than-air ships and birds overcome the laws of gravity in their flights, or by entering the sphere of nature and doing things there beyond the ability of natural forces and laws to perform, as, e.g., dogs, birds, etc., are unable to perform some things performed on them by humans, all the time without violating yet not using natural forces and laws to accomplish its purposes. It is because the supernatural is higher than the natural that it can do such things with or amid nature. Man's ever-increasing power over inanimate nature displayed in the world of science and invention well illustrates the various phases of the supernatural's operation in the first two of the three ways just indicated; and man's doing things in the realm of beasts, e.g., taming them, that these by their forces and laws can neither do nor understand, man all the time accomplishing this without violating or using the beasts' laws of nature.
Having pointed out the spheres and some of the relations of the two forms of revelation, we will now make a few explanations on natural revelation. It is the manifestation, the disclosure, the uncovering of persons, principles and things in the domain of religion that nature in the second sense defined above
makes to man. As nature so defined comes under the operation of man's reason and observation, it discloses to him certain things. As he contemplates the starry heavens, the sun, the moon, the earth, the skies, the succession of day and night and the seasons and observes the forces, laws and order prevailing therein, they suggest to his reason that there must be a wise, just, loving and powerful God, who caused them to come into existence, then adjusted them in such ways as work good ends and also sustains them in their good order by their pertinent forces according to certain laws. Furthermore, as his own nature, physically, mentally, morally and religiously, comes under his contemplation, it not only reveals to him the existence of a wise, just, loving and powerful Creator, Provider and Preserver, but through his moral and religious qualities, like veneration, conscientiousness and benevolence, as he studies them, it makes him see that he owes this God supreme love and obedience and owes his fellows a measure of love; and thus nature reveals to him certain principles to which he is obligated to render obedience. Thus he is shown by nature certain religious doctrines and ethical principles. These doctrines include certain basic teachings on God, in His nature and attributes and on His providence; and these ethical principles include certain basic teachings on man's duty toward God and his fellows. Moreover, as man contemplates his physical, mental, moral and religious condition, it reveals to him the thought that in all four of these aspects he has lacks, faults and weaknesses that prevent him from doing perfectly his duty Godward, manward and selfward, and that incline him, and often cause him to do the reverse of his duty to these. Hence nature reveals to him his sinfulness. And as he contemplates all of these things nature teaches him that he ought to amend his ways Godward, manward and selfward, and to make some amends to those against whom he has sinned. Nature does not, however, give him perfect ideas on any of these subjects, and utterly
breaks down in revealing to him how truly to make a satisfactory atonement for himself, nor does it solve many problems as to his existence nor any on the hereafter.
That the Bible recognizes that there is a natural revelation such as was just described, quite a number of its passages, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, testify. Ps. 19: 1-6 is one of these. Here the order, beauty, harmony and utility of the heavens and the earth, the day and night, the minutia of earthly conditions and the course of the sun, moon and stars, are spoken of as manifesting God's glory in His works of wisdom, justice, love and power. Ps. 104 gives these thoughts in even greater detail in its description of nature and its creation and preservation. Many other Old Testament passages, particularly from job, could be quoted to prove that nature gives man revelations of God's being, His attributes and His character, and inculcates the thought of his duty toward God. We find in the New Testament the thought of God's being and of His goodness and providential care over mankind as revealed in nature, in which He left a witness of Himself as the Giver of rain from heaven and fruitful seasons supplying human need (Acts 14: 17). St. Paul (Acts 17: 24-28) sets forth the fact of such a natural revelation as being given to lead men into closer communion with God. He gives an exceedingly fine testimony on the subject that nature reveals God to man in Rom. 1: 19, 20, showing, among other things, that nature reveals to mankind God in His eternal power and Deity. And in Rom. 2: 14, 15 he shows that nature in the condition of man's mental, moral and religious qualities manifests to man that there are vestiges of God's law in man's heart and mind, his conscience bearing witness and his intellect ("thoughts") giving him accusing and excusing thoughts. Thus the Scriptures themselves witness that nature has given man a revelation of persons, principles and things in the religious domain.
Supernatural revelations are of two kinds: (1) true and good, (2) false and evil. The former come from God, ministered through true and good agents; the latter come from Satan and his associated demons, ministered through deceived or evil agents. Here we will say a few words on the false and evil revelations. Their coming from evil spirits proves them to be supernatural, though false and evil revelations. Satan's power to palm off false and evil revelations finds a support in natural revelation; for nature makes the natural man know the things of natural revelation, and occasions him to desire more knowledge of God, virtue and man's hereafter; and Satan, laying hold on this desire, has deceived the bulk of mankind on pertinent subjects through the false religions which he has palmed off on the bulk of mankind through deceived and designing agents. He began this early in mankind's history, yea, in the garden of Eden, by teaching Eve the first three falsehoods ever uttered: (1) that people when dead are alive, conscious (ye shall not surely [really] die, Gen. 3: 4); (2) that at death they change their mode of existence by becoming spirits (ye shall be as gods, angels, spirits, v. 5); and then (3) will go to bliss or torment (knowing [experiencing] good [bliss] and evil [torment] v. 5). These three original false revelations Satan has perpetuated to this day; and they are to be found in all the false religions of the world. Yea, he has even deceived the bulk of the Christian denominations on these three subjects. He has used them to enslave to him and his purposes the bulk of mankind. Furthermore, to their further enslavement to him and his purposes he has everywhere taught the doctrine of the Divine right in three forms: (1) the Divine right of rulers (that the rulers are God's direct appointees and vicegerents and do only right; hence their subjects are to obey them implicitly); (2) the Divine right of the clergy (God speaks through them alone as His mouthpieces; hence the laity are obligated to believe and obey them with blank, unquestioning
minds); and (3) the divine right of the aristocrats (these are God's stewards and almoners; therefore the common people are to be subject to their economic arrangements). By these six doctrines he gained control of the bulk of the human family. Generally he added polytheism and idolatry to his revelations and varied them as time, circumstances and popular education and character made necessary. So greatly has he intermingled his revelations with the natural revelation that almost nowhere do we find the latter pure and free from his superadded delusions. If we keep in mind the false and evil form of supernatural revelation we will be able to refute certain objections to the Bible as a Divine revelation. The bulk of what will be presented will refer to the true and good supernatural revelation.
We now come to the discussion of the possibility of a supernatural revelation. Apart from atheists nobody has ever denied that there is a natural revelation; but additionally to atheists pantheists have denied the possibility of a supernatural revelation, though deists while admitting its possibility have denied its actuality. The possibility of a true and good supernatural revelation implies the possibility of a communication between the God of heaven and earth—the infinite Being and individual men. The possibility of such a communication depends on whether God can be the communicator of such a revelation, and on whether man can be the receiver of such a communication. On God's side the possibility consists of His ability to express His thoughts to whomsoever He will; for He, the Almighty, can do anything that He wills (Luke 1: 31; Ps. 115: 3). If He has made the universe together with their forces, laws and order, and if He can preserve it and them, certainly He has the ability to do the less difficult thing of giving a supernatural revelation; and if Satan can make a supernatural revelation, as the existence of the heathen religions proves he can, certainly God can make a supernatural revelation. Hence to deny such a possibility to God is to make Him less
able than Satan! On man's side the possibility consists in his ability to receive such a communication; and this is certainly possible; for if he can receive the natural revelation, a more difficult thing to receive than a supernatural revelation, he certainly can receive a Divine revelation, a less difficult thing; and if he can receive a Satanic revelation, he certainly can receive a Divine revelation. This proves its possibility.
The pantheist denies such a possibility, on an alleged metaphysical ground, as follows: A revelation of the Infinite to the finite is impossible, since the finite cannot grasp the Infinite. To this metaphysical twaddle we give several answers: First, it misstates the matter; for a Divine revelation does not imply that man will thereby be made to comprehend God in His infinity; all that is needed in a Divine revelation is that it makes something of God known to man, a something needed in order that man may obtain the blessing designed by the revelation, which, of course, does not imply that God will make Himself in His infinite capacities comprehensible to man. Second, it denies to God both power and liberty. But as the Almighty He can do anything He wills; and as a free moral Agent He can will to do anything in harmony with His character of perfect wisdom, justice, love and (will) power, for power as an attribute of character is will power. The reason pantheists use such an argument is their view that God is the sum total of all existence, attaining to consciousness and to his highest development in man; hence his God cannot make a supernatural revelation to man, since the pantheists' god is not supernatural; neither in his god infinite, nor absolute, nor perfect; for if man is his highest expression he cannot be infinite, or absolute, or perfect; since man, his highest developed manifestation, is finite, limited and imperfect. Hence we call his reasoning on this subject "metaphysical twaddle," and may add, it is self-contradictory. Pantheists have altered their objection into the following tenor: As there are two actors implied in
a revelation, its giver and its receiver, an infinite giver could not find an adequate receiver in imperfect man; hence he could not give a perfect revelation; it would have to be made imperfect by its receiver in the act of receiving it. This reasoning is to be answered somewhat like the above. It assumes a wrong view: that God gives His whole truth in the revelation, whereas He gives only that much of it as is needed for the purposes of the revelation. Nowhere do the Scriptures suggest that God gives us all He knows, nor that the Bible reveals everything about God, the former of which would require us to be omniscient, and both of which, of course, our finite faculties could not grasp. Hence the pantheists' reasoning is beside the mark, sets up a man of straw to kick over, and is inapplicable to the actual contents of the Divine revelation.
Pantheists offer a third objection: A supernatural revelation is miraculous, and therefore is incredible. Conceding that it is miraculous, we deny that that would make it incredible; for since miracles are not contrary to nature, though in some cases above nature, why should they be incredible? Of course, to one who denies the personality of God, except as he allegedly attains personality in humans only, and to one who shuts his eyes to the fact that Satan has made revelations in heathen and other religions, and to one who shuts his eyes to the miracles of modern science, e.g., radio, television, etc., and to the fact that very learned people can and do communicate some of the thoughts to illiterates and babes, i.e., such of them as are adapted to the latters' needs and capacities, revelation as a miracle may seem incredible, but to one who believes in a personal God of perfect wisdom, justice, love and power, and who keeps his eyes open to the facts referred to in the preceding parts of his sentence, revelation as a miracle is quite credible. However, in another connection we will discuss the question of miracles as related to giving a Divine revelation.
The need of a Divine revelation lodges in man's calamitous condition and his inability to rescue himself therefrom. This calamitous condition is manifest in a number of forms. In the first place, it is physical. He finds himself in an environment that is fraught with death-dealing conditions from which he cannot rescue himself. He is born with a dying life and imperfect body into these conditions that seize upon his body and life and wrestle with them in a gradual and ever-increasing success in severing them from one another, eventuating in their complete severance—death. Death lurks in the food we eat, in the fluids we drink, in the air we breathe, in the surroundings in which we dwell, in the work we do, in the extremes of climate we experience, often in the medicines we take for our cure, in the struggles we enter, in the droughts, famines, pestilences, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, tidal waves, wars, revolutions, enmities, disappointments, sorrows, losses, failures, oppositions, hardships, necessities, pains, fevers, diseases and operations we have to undergo. Often the very means used to find rescue from these evils prove fatal. Earnest, variformed, strenuous, whole-souled, prolonged and industrious have been the efforts put forth to stay off death's advance, but all in vain. Its pursuit of us always has the same result—our defeat and death's victory. Certainly a Divine revelation is needed to explain death to us in its cause, mission and cure, for, unaided, man can neither solve the riddle, nor effect the cure of death.
Again, man's calamitous condition is also a mental one, and that from various standpoints. Hence he needs mentally a revelation. At best his intellectual powers are in an imperfect condition, at worst in a deplorable condition. Always, if one lives long enough, they decay: The memory fails, the senses give way, the perceptive powers weaken and the reasoning powers lose their ability. Man's intellectual powers are inadequate, even with the aid of the natural revelation, to solve the problem of existence. The questions, What am I?
Whence came I? How came I to be in my present condition? How can I gain deliverance from it? Why am I here? Wither do I go from here? Why is evil permitted? What is the hereafter to be? He has not been able by his unaided powers to answer rightly, as is evident from the greatly conflicting and unsatisfactory answers that even the ablest of men have given to these questions. He has the greatest perplexity in his efforts to understand inanimate nature about him, as well as his relations to his fellows. How few can reason out even approximately correctly the problems that confront them as spouses, parents, children, relatives, friends, acquaintances, strangers, business associates, employers and employees, rulers and citizens, prison officials and prisoners, military, naval and aerial officers and privates! How imperfectly do the ablest grapple with questions of science physical and social, art, literature, history, law, philosophy, government, invention, etc.! Religion is a sphere in which the wildest mental confusion exists. Look at the conflicting views on God: atheism, materialism, agnosticism, pantheism, deism, rationalism, evolutionism, skepticism, polytheism and perversions of theism. The errors on God, angels, spirits, a Savior, means and methods of salvation, death and the hereafter are a sure proof that mentally man cannot, unaided, unravel the intellectual questions involved in religion, and thus cannot solve his relations to God, to the world and to his fellows here and hereafter. The many religions and sects in each religion are other evidences of the same fact. Man's mental unsoundness is apparent, but he knows no cure for it. As its worst it is insanity, imbecility, ignorance, delusions and hallucinations. And added to this, demons through power-grasping, self-exalting, luxury, honor and money-loving agents, exploit men's mental weaknesses, to their further debasement intellectually. Nor do man's unaided intellectual powers suffice to rescue him from these evil mental conditions, otherwise the efforts of over 6,000 years of human
history to rescue him therefrom would have borne some pertinent fruit, instead of making the problem all the more insoluble, as increasingly such attempts have done: the abler the attempters have been the worse the resultant confusions. Mentally, therefore, man is in desperate need of a Divine revelation, both for a diagnosis and cure of his mental infirmities.
Man's calamitous condition is also a moral one which humanly is insoluble, and hence needs a revelation to rescue him therefrom. Human experience and history are filled with facts that prove man to be varyingly morally corrupt, i.e., corrupt in his relations with his fellows, some more so, some less so, but all corrupt. The family is replete with proofs of this. There is not a perfect husband and wife, parent and child in the world. All are guilty of some infractions against the family tie, however attenuated, and some are grossly so, as the domestic infelicities, strifes, infidelities, disregard and transgression of pertinent rights, patricides, matricides, filicides, fratricides, sororicides, alienations, separations, desertions, divorces, disinheritances, betrayals, etc., prove. Human ability is unable to cure these evils. In governmental relations more or less corruption prevails, hence the history of nations is replete with tyrannies, exploitations, conquests, wars, revolutions, anarchies, treacheries, conspiracies, cruelties, briberies, laxities in administration, judicial injustices, legislative crookedness, international lawlessness, claims of Divine right with ruthless suppression of opponents, oppression, despoiling other nations of possessions, violations and repudiations of solemn and binding treaties, support of, and union with false religions, persecution of dissenters, special privileges to favorites, hypocrisy, dishonest and selfish diplomacy, etc. All of this evidences corruption in the state. Here, too, human ability can work no cure. Much wickedness has characterized aristocracy, as it has existed in nobility and wealth. History gives innumerable examples of moral evil in this sphere: exploitation, slavery, serfdom,
legal technicalities, evasions, delays and violations, frauds, dishonesty, special privilege, monopolies, creating financial and military panics and wars, indifference to the masses, gambling, wanton luxury and waste, unfair and destructive competition, corruption of politics, elections, morals and government, support of oppressive and persecuting governments. Human nature cannot cure these evils. In the labor world there has been much of moral evil, like class discontent, envy, hatred and violence, repudiation of contracts, limitation of production, unjust strikes, sit-downs, coercion, riots, bloodshed, revolutionism, incendiarism, etc. Nor does humanity have the power to heal these.
The above may be called group evils. Now for moral evils that afflict individuals: Man's enmity to his fellows produces a large list of moral wrongs, like hatred, envy, jealous, evil-surmising, anger, wrath, murder, vindictiveness, cruelty, indifference, feelinglessness, strife, persecution. Man's sexual corruption produces fornication, adultery, harlotry, white-slavery, incest, rape, concubinage, seduction, obscenity, lust, salacity, dissipation, homosexuality and other unnatural vices, etc., all of which prove man's sexual corruption. Man's dishonesty as to others' property rights is manifest in thieves, robbers, highwaymen, burglars, crooks, cheats, marauders, land pirates, confidence men, gamblers, kidnappers, blackmailers, shop-lifters, smugglers, contrabandists, riflers, plagiarists, kleptomaniacs, brigands, bandits, gangsters, thugs, pickpockets, swindlers, defaulters, embezzlers, card cheats, forgers, counterfeiters, receivers of stolen goods, crime professors and schools, etc. Man's sins with his tongue reveal his moral corruption, as can be seen in his tattling, gossiping, busybodying, lying, perjuring, slandering, backbiting, misrepresentations, distortions, exaggerations, belittlements, perversions, suppressions, equivocations, mental reservations, evasions, frauds, pretendings, lip-service, quackeries, cajoleries, flatteries, scandalizings, defamations, etc. Certainly, these betray moral corruption in man.
Man's moral corruption is manifest in his covetousness, which makes him become guilty of almost all of the offenses that are implied in those enumerated above, when we pointed out his wrongs along the lines of enmities, sexual irregularities, property dishonesties and offenses with the tongue, as well as some pointed out in the family relation. Certainly, they are a huge list proving man's moral corruption. He is unable to cure himself of all of these and, therefore, for his rescue therefrom is in utter need of what only a Divine revelation can manifest to, and give him.
The picture is darker when we view man from the standpoint of his religious corruption. Organized religion exhibits man's religious corruption; for the following are some of the religious evils of which man in organized religion has been guilty. Most religions have taught the doctrines of the Divine right of rulers, aristocrats and clerics, with the enormous evils that have resulted therefrom in state and aristocracy pointed out above, as practically all of them have also taught the errors of the consciousness of the dead, man's change into spirits at death and eternal torment. Here are some of the evil results of the teaching of the Divine right of the clerics: priestcraft, pride, self-exaltation, power-grasping, love of honor, ease and luxury, union of state and religion, intolerance, persecution, hypocrisy, pious frauds, superstition, error, blasphemy of the Divine Person, Character, Plan and Works, justification of wrong in state, aristocracy and religion, secularization and corruption of religion, wars, international and sectarian hatred, rivalry, distrust and revenge, destruction and oppression of true religion, degradation of the laity, dread of the Deity; undue sectarian influence in family and social life, immorality, enforced unnatural life in celibate organizations with its resultant evils. Of course, all organized religion is not guilty of all of these things. There are varying degrees of guilt in some of them of all of these evils, and in some of them of only a part of these evils. But
this in truth can be said: that organized religion, like organized government, business and society, always tends to corruption, and that because man is religiously corrupt, proved by his guilt of foresaid evils.
He is also religiously corrupt individually: for individuals are guilty of varying degrees of idolatry, not only in its gross forms, like worship of the idols of the heathen, but also in its refined forms, e.g., they make idols of sects, creeds, castes, society, government, business, learning in its various forms of the sciences, history, art, literature, philosophy, mathematics, invention, etc., husband, wife, parents, children, home, native land, friends, the opposite sex, property, safety, ease, life, reputation, appetite, strife, enmity, violence, etc. His corruption is seen in his loss of religious Truth and his falling into the various heathen religions. He is more or less corrupt as to religious faith, both as to belief and confidence, having become in most cases a misbeliever, an unbeliever or a disbeliever in many forms as to God, as can be seen in atheism, agnosticism, materialism, pantheism, deism, rationalism, evolutionism, skepticism, polytheism and perverted theism. He has become impious, often blaspheming God, falsely swearing by His name, engaging in various forms of spiritism and occultism. Surely these facts prove man's corruption in various degrees religiously.
Man cannot by his own unaided powers overcome his physical, mental, moral and religious corruption any more than a person can lift himself by tugging away at his bootstraps. Some of mankind, apart from a Divine revelation, have made strenuous efforts to effect such a deliverance from their corruption, but have in every case failed. Gautama Buddha, Socrates and Marcus Aurelius are three of the noblest examples of the heathen world who made such efforts, but, as is well known, failed therein in important particulars. In important particulars the natural revelation has failed to stem man's corruption, let alone lift him out of it. Mankind's inability therein is personified in Israel's
pertinent experience, as St. Paul personifies it in Rom. 7, even when aided by a partial Divine revelation. This condition is made all the worse by Satan and his underling demons taking advantage of man, to their advantage and his plunging into deeper corruption. Hence, as the only hope for man's deliverance from his calamitous physical, mental, moral and religious, condition a Divine revelation is necessary.
Is such a revelation to be expected? Yes, if there is a God who is perfect in wisdom, justice, love and power. In El we have treated on the subject of God's existence and His attributes of being and character, and have, both from reason and Scriptures, proved His existence and the perfection of His attributes of person and of character, particularly of the perfection of His character in wisdom, justice, love and power. While God's justice must be involved in His making a revelation, His love can be expected especially to be the moving quality in bringing such a revelation into existence. His wisdom must all along, yea, in foresight, have known man's deep corruption, his helplessness to deliver himself therefrom, and hence his desperate need of deliverance from other quarters than himself, as well as must have been adequate to plan the ways, means and methods of a revelation. His love cannot but have felt deeply for man, as He witnessed his desperate, undone condition. "In all their afflictions He was afflicted (Is. 63: 9). As He must have contrasted man as he actually is with what he should be, the deepest pity must have filled His loving and merciful heart for man; and the deepest longing to deliver him from his calamitous condition, cost whatever it may, must have been felt by Him (which the nature of love dictates). Therefore His love must have asked His wisdom to make a plan for man's deliverance that would satisfy the demands of His justice against man, and thus permit His love and power to come to man's rescue in full harmony and cooperation with His justice. And this plan must have been the Divine Revelation.
Therefore, we assert that a Divine revelation is expectable, because God is what He Is. His character has all the wisdom needed to plan it, all the love to move Him to make it, all the power to enable Him to execute its giving and all the justice needed to take away otherwise insuperable obstacles to its planning, the motivating of its making and giving and the executing of its giving. Therefore we set forth the operation of God's character in wisdom, power, justice and love as the all-sufficient guarantee of the expectability of a Divine revelation. If God is the kind of a God that even nature reveals Him to be, He is to be expected to give us a supernatural revelation, since the natural revelation is not sufficient to deliver man from the great physical, mental, moral and religious calamity in which he finds himself. Hence the God of all mercy, grace and benevolence, whose love has the support of His omniscient wisdom and almighty power, as well as the permission and cooperation of His unfailing justice, is our guarantee for expecting a Divine revelation. On this immovable and unchangeable rock, which rears its head into the eternal sunshine of grace high above the dark clouds that overhang the ocean of the curse, and against whose base all the waves of skepticism dash themselves into innocuous foam, we in faith take our stand on the expectability of a Divine revelation, as its sure pledge.
In the preceding paragraph it was shown that a Divine revelation is to be expected because of the perfection of the Divine character in view of man's fallen physical, mental, moral and religious condition and of his consequent inability apart from a Divine revelation to be rescued from that condition. But there is another consideration that makes a Divine revelation expectable: the constitution of man's Divinely-given disposition as adaptable to, and craving a Divine revelation. Since the natural revelation is not sufficient to satisfy man's deepest mental, moral and religious needs and cravings, nor to provide a solution to his most urgent
mental, moral and religious problems borne in upon him by the Divinely-given constitution of his disposition, that very constitution appeals to the character of God to give him a revelation of Himself, and that character, in view of that Divinely-given constitution, is to be expected to make such a revelation. Augustine put the matter in this way: "O Lord, Thou hast made us for Thyself; therefore our souls can find no rest until they rest in Thee." Man's intellect craves a knowledge of God and of man's relations to God that the natural revelation can neither give nor satisfy. His moral and religious sensibilities crave for a fellowship with God that the natural revelation can neither give nor satisfy. Such cravings of the head and heart, if ungratified, leave man an unsatisfied and miserable being, and that to such a degree as a God of perfect wisdom, justice, love and power cannot tolerate its perpetuity. Hence the existence of such cravings, arising out of the very constitution of man, presupposes that a Being of God's character has made provision for their gratification, i.e., has provided for a Divine revelation.
Human experience in the varying conditions of men shows that the needy and weak expect external help to supply their deepest needs, and that strong and bounteous men have sought to supply it; hence analogy suggests that man in his universal need and weakness naturally feels after God for the help that only a revelation from Him can give, and which His strength and bounty can be expected to give. Hence normal man has always been willing to receive Divine revelations or what purport to be Divine revelations. The fact that our God-given religiosity does not exhaust itself in worship alone, but additionally craves communion with the Deity, as one of its component elements, i.e., that it is not simply active, but also passive toward God, implies that the God of perfect wisdom, power, justice and love will give us the knowledge needed to exercise both of these functions of our religious nature, which fact implies His giving us a revelation supplying
the knowledge as to, and the power of, exercising such communion. And it is just such help that the Bible purports to offer weak and needy man. Accordingly, not only the character of God as perfect in wisdom, power, justice and love, in view of man's fallen physical, mental, moral and religious condition, makes a Divine revelation expectable; but that same character, in view of the constitution of man, Divinely-given him, calling for the help that only a Divine revelation can give, makes a Divine revelation expectable. In other words, just as God's existence is implied in the constitution of man's mental, moral and religious nature, so the constitution of his mental, moral and religious nature implies the giving of a Divine revelation, when that nature's needs and cravings are viewed from the standpoint of God's wisdom, justice, love and power, and when these attributes are viewed in relation to the Divinely-given constitution of that nature. In other words, a Divine revelation is a necessary postulate of God's perfect character in relation to the constitution of human nature as Divinely-given; for not to give a being so constituted by God a revelation tends to imply that God is not perfect in wisdom, justice, love and power.
Unbelievers of most schools have on various grounds, additional to those already reviewed, denied the necessity and expectability of a Divine revelation. These objections we will briefly review. The following is the first of these reasons: Human reason, being a gift of God, must be perfect, and hence can of itself discover for man's needs all the truth that a Divine revelation could give; hence a Divine revelation is not to be expected, nor is it necessary, since a perfect God never does unnecessary things. We grant that God never does unnecessary things; but we emphatically deny the rest of the above reasons alleged against the expectability and need of a Divine revelation. In the first place, all history and human experience, as well as conscience, deny that human reason is perfect. If
it were perfect it would always think correctly, both inductively and deductively, whereas the multitudes of contrary and contradictory hypotheses, theories, beliefs and practices that abound on physical, mental, moral and religious subjects among mankind demonstrate that human reason is imperfect. The fact that various schools of unbelief advocate such a gross and facts-contradictory error proves that their reason at least is very far from being perfect. Again, while God originally endowed man with a perfect, i.e., flawless, faculty of reason, the fact that it now in so many vital matters leads to error proves that in the meantime gross imperfection has befallen man's reason as a faculty, also that imperfection marks reason as the contents of that faculty. Thus reason as a faculty and as the contents of that faculty is imperfect. Hence we turn the proposition around, and assert that the imperfection of man's reason, in both senses of the term, proves man's need of a Divine revelation. And God's character in relation to that need implies the expectability of such a revelation. The fact that those who have not been graced with a Divine revelation have fallen into the grossest contradictions of one another on the subject of religion, both in its theoretical and practical aspects, proves that reason of its own unaided powers is not capable of discovering for man's needs all the truth that a Divine revelation could give, or that man's needs require.
A second objection to a Divine revelation is voiced as follows: Nature is perfect, hence gives man a perfect natural revelation, which dispenses with the need of a Divine revelation. To this argument we make several replies: That nature, i.e., the universe as it appears to man's reason and observation, is not perfect is, in the first place, evident from the fact that creation, neither as a process nor as a product, is completed, hence cannot in its uncompleted condition be perfect. Again, that it is not perfect, even as represented by this earth, which is the most highly developed planet of our solar system, is evident from the proofs of its