Philosophy Theology

General Revelation and What About Those That Have Not Heard of God?

I have recently discovered a love for hunting. If you know me this may seem crazy, but I really like being out in the woods with my dad, brother, and my rifle. This past weekend I went hog hunting with my dad. We got to drive and be in the most beautiful land and just marvel at the beauty of nature. I look all around and think, “There must be a God.” The beauty of creation is just shouting out to glorify God.

While I am sitting in a beautiful rain shower looking into the woods, I think that this is a type of general revelation. The idea that those who have not heard the gospel or read a Bible still have access to God through this concept. My dad and I discussed a lot about church and theology. This lead me to studying general revelation and the function it has for Christians.

Functions of General Revelation

  1. Showing us God Glory
  2. It makes people morally culpable
  3. Saving knowledge of God

Glory to God

Psalms 19:1-4

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
    and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
    and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
    their voice is not heard;
yet their voice[a] goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
    and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
    and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
    their voice is not heard;
yet their voice[a] goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world In them he has set a tent for the sun.

The Psalmist here states that the heavens glorify God. The firmament, or the heavens or sky, but especially when it comes to tangible things, is sign of his handiwork. Then it talks about how knowledge is gained from the night. In verses 3 and 4, we see that the Psalmist is talking about nature and how it speaks to the glory of god.

People are Morally Culpable

We will look at Romans 1:19-20 and Romans 2:15-16 makes us morally culpable.

Romans 1:19-20

19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse”

Romans 2:15-16

15 They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

The first verse shows that God through creation he has made himself accessible to humanity. This causes all humanity to be morally responsible for not following God.

We also see that the law is written on our hearts and that they can be judge or excused by the knowledge that they do have.

Saving Knowledge of God

The question that came to my mind, while out in the woods and enjoying God’s creation is can this knowledge alone save people that have never heard of God.

I want to start with the qualifier that while I believe it is theoretically possible, I think that is it very uncommon and rarely happens that people find salvation through general revelations.

Romans 2:7

to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;

This shows that by seeing the revelation through creation and God’s handiwork by responding positively can have the possibility of being saved.

The Old Testament shows this with multiple people like Abraham, Job, Rehab and Melchizedek.

This Old Testament people did not have Christ, but were obviously saved through the knowledge at which they had.

It seems to me that not having conscious knowledge of Christ does not necessitate that you can not be a benefactor of Christ’s grace.

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