God has graciously revealed Himself to Mankind through His Creation and His Word. Natural Revelation is God’s attempt outside of Scripture to awaken our need for Him.
The Task of Theology
- Theos – Greek word for “God”
- Logos – Greek word for “word,” “idea,” or “logic”
- Systematic Theology seeks to take themes scattered throughout the Bible and compile them together into orderly explanations of essential doctrines.
- If we only study isolated passages, we miss the complete picture of what God is communicating.
- The major categories of theology are Bibliology (The Study of the Scriptures), Theology (The Study of God), Anthropology (The Study of Man), Hamartiology (The Study of Sin), Christology (The Study of Christ), Pneumatology (The Study of the Holy Spirit), Soteriology (The Study of Salvation), Ecclesiology (The Study of the Church), and Eschatology (The Study of the End Times).
Religion is our attempt to relate to God, but theology is the study of how God has related to us.
The Problem with Theology
- Identity – God created Man in His image, and ever since then, we have been trying to repay the favor.
- Authority – From the Garden of Eden, Mankind has been bent and determined to redefine what is classified as good and evil.
- Clarity – Postmodern thinking espouses that there is no absolute truth.
- Illiteracy – Our culture is increasingly becoming more biblically illiterate.
- Brevity – Our short attention spans and bitesized appetites for study create an unwillingness to develop a biblical theology.
- Immutability – If our theology is biblical, that means it needs no improvement, but our insatiable desire to discover something new entices us to create something heretical.
The Revelation of God
- The only way we could know anything about God is if He chooses to reveal it to us.
- Special Revelation – God’s precise information about Himself that He reveals to us through Scripture.
- Natural Revelation – God’s preliminary information about Himself that He revleas to us through Creation.
- Psalm 19:1-11
Natural revelation tells us about God’s reality, but special revelation tell us about His identity.
- Matthew 16:13-23
Truth is not created by us; it is revealed by God.
The Nature of Natural Revelation
- Above Us – The scope and complexity of the universe screams to the need for an intelligent Designer. (Cosmological Law).
- Romans 1:19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
- Around Us – The manner in which Earth can sustain life displays a unique level of intentionality (Teleological Law).
- Acts 14:17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.
- About Us – The soul level at which humans operate distinguish us from other beings (Moral Law).
- Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
In Creation, God left traces of who He is to arouse our attention for a more thorough truth contained within Scripture.
Jesus’ ministry only lasted three years, but the effect of it has completely changed history. In studying the critical components of his ministry, we can better ascertain the purpose for which he came.
We know little about his life between the birth of Jesus and the beginning of his ministry. The gospel authors reported very sparse details, but what we do know provides excellent insight into his preparation for the ministry.