Where Do Special Revelation and Divine Law Come from

What is the relationship between divine inspiration and the idea of divine fatherhood of the Bible? According to Wolterstorff, these are very different phenomena. Inspiration has to do with God`s supervision over the production of a text, while divine authorship has to do with God`s permission of a text (Wolterstorff 1995: 41-42). In principle, God could authorize or appropriate a particular text—make it His own by “signing” it, so to speak—without having supervised or influenced its production in any way. Of course, God must do something for authorization to occur, for example, to influence the canonization process. For Wolterstorff, however, the status of the Bible as written by God does not depend entirely on its inspiration. That is, special revelations must be believed and implemented before they can be meaningful to the individual. Revelation, as commonly understood, has to do with the distraction of ignorance. The counterpart of the “revealed” is therefore the “hidden” (Wolterstorff 1995: 23). However, the term has many meanings or uses – religious and non-religious – that are analogous to each other. First, a distinction must be made between the process and the meaning of the product of the word. “Revelation” can refer either to the act or process of revealing something, or to the content that is revealed. Second, while in ordinary speech one can “have revelation” without a revelator (an agent who reveals), in religious contexts revelation is generally understood as a “personal matter” (Helm 1982:14; Mavrodes, 1988: 96). Abraham, however, considers the arguments drawn from the evidence to be “complementary to the call to oculus contemplationis.” Miracles, for example, have a veritable epistemic cargo, and the kind of data referenced in the compelling argument about revelation can raise questions about God`s causal role in the production of text.

A common view is that the Bible (or Quran) acquires its status as revelation and/or “written” by God because it was inspired by God. It is generally accepted that inspiration is a special divine influence on the authors of the biblical books. (Not all theologians accept this view of biblical inspiration, but see, for example, Trembath 1987: 5, 109-118; Burtchaell 1969: Kap. 5.) Divine influence could take many forms (Davies 2009:41–44; Burtchaell, 1969). According to “verbal inspiration” theories, God gives fairly detailed advice by controlling the authors` choice of words. However, this theory does not necessarily imply divine “dictation”; Dictation theories are best conceived as a subtype of verbal inspiration. “Content theories” also come in various forms. Some include detailed divine guidance at the level of statements or statements, while other versions present inspiration as limited to the main ideas of the text. It is also possible to postulate different degrees and modes of inspiration in different parts of the Bible (O`Collins 2016a: 160-161). Another, relatively recent theory suggests that God, through His “average knowledge,” could have controlled the human authors of the Bible of Providence without depriving them of their freedom (Craig 1999). Finally, the theory of “social inspiration” (sometimes “ecclesiastical inspiration”) attempts to take into account the fact that biblical books have a complex genesis that includes, in addition to authors and publishers, processes of oral transmission in liturgical and other social contexts (Benedict 1965:24-26; Barr, 1983: 27; Farkasfalvy, 2010: 211).

If God is to control the outcome of such a process, He will probably have to influence social groups over long periods of time. No one can look up at the stars at night and ignore God`s greatness and wisdom. Isaac Newton was right when he said: “This most beautiful system of sun, planet and comets could only come out of the advice and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being. 1 It is known that even the most remote tribes in countries such as Africa and South America were endowed with this sense of God.2 From the beginning, man was able to see the Creator in His creation. The miracle of growth from plant to seed; the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into a butterfly; the thrill of sunrise, “from the faint pinkish redness to the majestic orb”; the ability of birds to build their nests; the beauty of music; the elegance and power of mathematics; the perceptual capacity of language. All these things, for those who are willing to hear, cry out that there is a God. Despite the personal experience of redemption of Noah and his family, few of his descendants saw fit to preserve the knowledge of God. In a short time, a national rebellion against God took place when people rejected God`s intentions for them and instead tried to exalt themselves by building a city and tower (Genesis 11:1-4). Again, God acted in judgment, confusing their language and scattering them on the face of the earth (Genesis 11:5-9); but again, he also acted mercifully, calling Abraham from whom he would give birth to a special people through whom he would reveal more of himself and his plan of salvation (Galatians 3:6-14), and through whom the Savior would be born. Scripture is both an account of past events and God`s explanation of them.

For example, Paul wrote the following to the Corinthians: Despite all this, and on behalf of all mankind, Adam and Eve rejected God and accepted evil. In their foolishness, they chose to believe the word of the serpent, which God called deceitful and wicked (Genesis 3:6-7). They were judged for their sin: Eve would give birth to children in pain and be ruled by her husband; Adam procured food on the ground by toil and hard work; both would eventually die (Gen.