Chapter 3

God's Revelation

So far, we’ve been talking about the Bible’s claim that God desires a relationship with us.

But if God desires a relationship then...

Why does it seem like God is so hard to find?

Why doesn't God just show up?

Is the Bible - this book that claims to describe what God is like - actually reliable?

These are some of the questions we'll explore in this chapter.

...Then we are lost forever, without hope.

If God were just a far-off, unconcerned deity...

Yet from the very first chapters of the Bible, God comes to a fearful Adam and Eve and asks,

“Where are you?”

At this point, many people have asked why God doesn't just simply

make himself known?

If we think about it though, an all-powerful God could reveal himself to us pretty easily...

He could simply open the skies and shout for all to hear.

Then everyone on earth would have to acknowledge that he is there.

It's God!!
No Way.
However, eventually what would happen if God really did this?
Author Frederick Buechner imagines that such a spectacular display would cause an immediate response of terror, panic and awe, and then eventually the following scenario:

In order to convince people that the message was not just some million-to-one freak of nature, I would be tempted to have God keep on rewriting it in different languages,

sometimes accompanying it with bursts of pure color or with music celestial

"Several years would go by and God's proof of himself would still be blazing away every night for all to read.

that finally the last hardened skeptic would be convinced that God must indeed exist after all."

frederick buechner,
the magnificent defeat

Buechner contends that the

fundamental question is:

So what if God exists?

what would that accomplish besides a certainty of knowledge that a powerful being exists?

We need to know what God created us for.

Dr. gregory boyd in letters from a skeptic writes:

“God desires a loving, trusting relationship with us. We were created to this end. Does speaking from the clouds do that?

At best [that] can wow or scare people into submission (and that only temporarily).

They can coerce obedience. [...]
But they do not produce love."

in the Bible, God is described as a
God of Love.
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
1 John 4:16

In order for God to reveal his loving character, other aspects of who he is — namely, his power and glory—must be veiled.

If a holy God is to relate to sinful and finite man, God must regulate his self-disclosure so that we are not overwhelmed.

Danish philosopher soren kierkegaard describes this difficulty in a parable called "The King and the maiden":

Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden. The king was powerful and ruled the entire kingdom.

How could he declare his love for her and know that she loved him in return?

If he rode to her forest cottage with his attendants and with banners flying in the wind...that would overwhelm her.

Do not fear, young maiden!


That wouldn't go well...

In order to convey his love in a personal way, the king would probably need to veil himself - maybe even go to her as a normal peasant.

Similarly, God limits Himself in order that He might relate with us.

So, how does
God reveal Himself?

God chose to portray Himself through

narratives in the Bible...

and most vividly in the person of
Jesus Christ.

In fact, one of the best ways to learn about someone is through stories.

When you hear close friends say something like, "We go way back..." that usually points to some stories that reveal the closeness of their relationship.

Say someone tells a story about a time his car broke down in the desert:

He's miles away from the nearest town and desperately calls his friend for help.

And that friend drives two hours to go find him on that narrow stretch of desert road.

This friend helps him get his car towed and gives him a ride back to his house.

Such a story reveals the true character of this friend. It also reveals the depth of relationship between these two people.

In the Bible we actually find stories that
reveal the character of God.
the bible is not so much a book full of commandments and legal codes as it is an account of
God’s relationship with people.
But before we get to that...
is the Bible actually reliable?
Click here for your free ticket
to the reliability of the bible museum!