Thoughts on Divine Revelation
- Ephesians 1:9-10 – For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
- 2 Peter 1:3-4 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.
- Jesus is the mediator and the fullness of ALL Revelation.
- Our proper response to God’s revelation is to freely assent to it and commit our entire self to God. Since faith is a gift of God, we must have the grace of God to illumine our mind and move the will to believe. For this to happen, we need the help of the Holy Spirit (John 6:44) – no one can come to God unless the Father draws him.
- God has spoken through Jesus, the eternal Word, who enlightens us all, so that we can dwell with Him (John 1:1-18).
- Jesus was sent as “man to men.” He speaks the words of God and completes the work of salvation. To see Jesus is to see God (John 5; 17). Jesus perfected revelation in fulfilling the work by words and deeds; by signs and wonders; and through His death and resurrection; and by the sending of the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Truth.
- Jesus freed us from the darkness of sin and death. He raises us up to eternal life.
- Obedience should be given to God since He is the beginning and end of all things, can be be known with certainty from created reality by the light of human reason. It is through revelation that religious truths (which by their very nature accessible to human reason) can be known with solid certitude (no trace of error).
- Through divine revelation, God communicates Himself and the eternal decisions of his will regarding our salvation.
- The divine treasure from this divine revelation totally transcends the understanding of the human mind.
- The fullness and completion of revelation is brought to completion in Jesus. This revelation is to be handed on to all generations.
- Jesus commissioned the Apostles to preach to all people the source of all saving truth and moral teaching, to impart to them heavenly gifts. The Gospel was promised in former times though the prophets. Jesus fulfilled those promises.
- The Apostles handed on what they received from Jesus. This revelation was not only fulfilled by oral preaching but in writing.
- In order to keep the Gospel “forever whole and alive within the Church,” the Apostles left bishops as their successors, giving them the apostolic authority to guard and protect the truth. Sacred Tradition and Scripture is like a mirror in which the pilgrim Church on earth looks at God.
- Through the Holy Spirit what was handed to the Apostles assured that the Church “moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her.”
- “Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For Sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, while sacred tradition takes the word of God entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and hands it on to their successors in its full purity, so that led by the light of the Spirit of truth, they may in proclaiming it preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence.”
- Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture form ONE sacred deposit of the Word of God committed to the Church.
- The task of authentically interpreting this Word has been entrusted exclusively to the Church. This authority is exercised in the name of Jesus.
- Because Sacred Scripture is divinely inspired, we must acknowledge that it is without error and for the sake of salvation. Sacred Scripture teaches truth, refutes error, reforms manner and discipline in right living.
- The Old Testament reveals the knowledge of God and His mercy and love.
- The New Testament is a divine witness of these realities: the word of God is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe; the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us in His fullness and truth; Jesus established the Kingdom of God on earth; the work of God is made complete in Jesus by His death, resurrection, and ascension; and He draws all men to Himself.
- The Gospels have a special preeminence among all Scripture because they are the principle witness for the life and teaching of the Incarnate Word – Jesus.
- The Church venerates Sacred Scripture as she venerates the Body of Christ.
- “Sacred theology rests on the written word of God, together with sacred tradition, as its primary and perpetual foundation. By scrutinizing in the light of faith all truth stored up in the mystery of Christ, theology is most powerfully strengthened and constantly rejuvenated by that word. For the Sacred Scriptures contain the word of God and since they are inspired, really are the word of God; and so the study of the sacred page is, as it were, the soul of sacred theology. By the same word of Scripture the ministry of the word also, that is, pastoral preaching, catechetics and all Christian instruction, in which the liturgical homily must hold the foremost place, is nourished in a healthy way and flourishes in a holy way.” (Dei Verbum §24)
Source: Dei Verbum, Providentissimus Deus, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church (Pontifical Biblical Commission), Humani Generis
Art: Fra Angelico, The Last Supper, c.1450-53