PAPER NO. 12
THE NECESSITY FOR SCRIPTURE
General Revelation Requires Special Revelation
Understanding the necessity for Scripture is the first step in the process of rationally going from General Revelation to Special Revelation. After Necessity there is understanding Content, Origin, Existence, Transmission, Completion, Translation, Clarity, Sufficiency and Interpretation (see Paper No. 11).
The existence of moral evil in man and the existence of natural evil as a call back (mercy) require special revelation/Scripture (SR) to show how God can be both just and merciful to man.
- Moral evil is an act contrary to human nature as a rational being. It is the failure to use reason to see what is clear. It is to not seek, not understand and not do what is right (Romans 3:10). It is to neglect, avoid, resist and deny reason (NARD) in the face of what is clear about God. If there is no clear general revelation, there is no inexcusability (sin) (Romans 1:20).
- The inherent consequence of moral evil (NARD) is meaninglessness, boredom and guilt. This is spiritual death (the wages of sin is death—Romans 6:23; in the day that you eat you will surely die—Genesis 2:17; you that were dead in your trespasses and sins—Ephesians 2:1). The just punishment for sin is inherent in sin and therefore present, now and always, not merely future and imposed (popular view of hell).
Natural evil (NE) is suffering from circumstance. It is suffering from toil, strife, old age, sickness and (physical) death. It can be intensified corporately to war, famine and plague.
- NE is not original in creation. If God is all good and all powerful then he could, would, must have and therefore did make a world that was good, that is, without NE/physical death.
- NE is not inherent in moral evil; spiritual death is inherent in moral evil, not physical death.
- NE is therefore imposed by an act of God.
- NE as imposed is not inherent and therefore is not punishment.
- NE is not imposed arbitrarily; it is imposed because of the moral evil of one person.
- NE is not imposed unnecessarily but because of the depth of moral evil (NARD).
- NE is imposed as a call back from moral evil; suffering is a call to stop and think.
- NE serves to restrain, recall from and remove moral evil. Physical death is a call back from sin and spiritual death.
- NE as a call back is therefore mercy, not justice (punishment).
- NE as mercy requires SR (Scripture) to show how God can be both just and merciful at the same time: mercy cannot set aside God’s justice; mercy must satisfy justice since God is infinite, eternal and unchangeable in his justice.
- Since by one man, as representative head, physical death entered the world and passed to all, by one man, as representative head, it must be removed.
- One can never know apart from SR how another man can be found who will take away the sin of the world. Only SR makes known the mystery of the Incarnation of the one who takes away the sin of the world.