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LIBERY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF DIVINITYGeneral Revelation: Its Legitimacy, Scope, and UsefulnessSubmitted to Dr. Gavril Andreicuţin partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion ofTHEO 525 – D03Systematic Theology IbyRichard ArnoldAugust 23, 2017
ContentsIntroduction.....................................................................................................................................1Thesis ..................................................................................................................................1Importance of the Study ......................................................................................................1Legitimacy of General Revelation ...............................................................................................4The Witness of External Creation .......................................................................................5The Witness of Internal Creation ........................................................................................6Scope of General Revelation ........................................................................................................6What May be Known by General Revelation .....................................................................6The Limits of General Revelation .......................................................................................8Usefulness of General Revelation ................................................................................................9Basis for Knowledge ...........................................................................................................9Basis for Objective Morality .............................................................................................10Basis for Apologetics ........................................................................................................10Objection to the Point of Contact ..............................................................................................11Conclusion ....................................................................................................................................13Bibliography .................................................................................................................................152
IntroductionThesisGeneral revelation is the self-discloser of God given to all of humanity through the witness of the created order alone apart from Scripture. In this paper, it will be shown that general revelation is a legitimate means of developing a limitednatural theology. By limited it is meant that the knowledge obtained from general revelation is not salvific. Through general revelation one may know that there is an omnipotent, moral God who holds humanity accountable. In contrast to Barthian theology and Van Tilian presuppositionalism, it will be shown that general revelation is useful in developing a dialogue with non-Christians concerning the areas of science, ethics, and apologetics. All humans as image bearers of God have an innate sense of God, though this knowledge is suppressed by the unregenerate. Though damaged through the fall, this image of God is a point of contact used by God to awaken and convict. As co-laborers with God, it is therefore a worthwhile endeavor to present arguments derived from general revelation. Importance of the StudyWith the rise of modernism and postmodernism, belief in the existence of God can no longer be assumed. Modernism, in many cases, sought to explain away the existence of God, exalting man’s reason in place of deity and resulting in agnosticism and atheism. Where it did hold on to a belief in God, modernism emphasized general revelation at the expense of the Christ-centered special revelation of Scripture.1This emphasis tended to undermine Christianity 1Gerrit C. Berkouwer, Studies in Dogmatics: General Revelation, (Grand Rapids: William. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955) 11.1
and promote deism and pluralism. A good example of this emphasis can be seen in the writings of nineteenth century theologian Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.2In the twentieth century, Swiss theologian Karl Barth burst upon the scene with his commentary on Romans. In reaction to modernism’s overemphasis on general revelation, Barth completely rejected general revelation. According to Louis Berkhof, “Barth does not recognize any revelation in nature. Revelation never exists on any horizontal line, but always comes down perpendicularly from above.”3Barth does not merely ignore general revelation and natural theology but launches an all-out assault against

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