Tuesday, August 18, 2009

God's revelation is firmly established in history?

Last week, the class was told something like this on the topic 'revelation', "History and time are brought into being by God, hence God is also the lord of time. Because God is the lord of time, God can and has used human history to reveal himself. In relation to Special Revelation, God has acted in a particular way in the history of a particular people with a specific purpose of revealing himself to them. God has become part of the historical process while still remained transcendent."

During the Q&A time, I asked for clarification,"But that would be putting a lot of weight on history. Given the emergence of some known un-historicity resulted from historical studies of the Scripture, especially some of the more ancient stories in the Old Testament, how then can we affirm that God has revealed himself in history?"

Roland, our lecturer, replied along this line, "Ancient histories are very different from the modern historiography which came about in the 18th/19th century. If we adopt this modern historiography, all ancient histories would not be considered historical in our modern sense. God has revealed himself through mediation of historical events."

I think I failed to put forth my question clearly. What I meant to ask was this: If the theology of revelation is that God has revealed himself through certain events happened in the past (eg. Joshua's conquest of Canaan), then what happened if we found out that such events were unlikely to have happened because there are evidents that contradict those claims (eg. many of Joshua's conquered cities did not exist during the date of the conquest)?

Too bad, Roland was in a rush. Right after he replied, he asked the class if there was any 'final question'. When I heard that, it was proper that I shouldn't monopolize the time and gave others the opportunity to ask questions too. So I didn't get to follow up and clarify my question with him. I do not know why was he rushing while there are still 5 more minutes left after he answered the final question. Perhaps, I'll check with him at other times.


Steven Sim said...

depending on how u see history, whether history as recorded or history as it is. Ur question will be valid if we see god's revelation in recorded history.

But of course, there are schools which say only recorded history is history.

Whatever it is,some will ask, how can the accidental facts of history be a coherent divine conversation with man?

Which is why "special revelation" is problematic. Too many variables to consider.

Steven Sim

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Steven,

If 'Special Revelation' is problematic, what do you suggest?

I know this is tough question, something that I am struggling for my essay!

reasonable said...

Ask Roland again in the class, anticipate his answers beforehand, and when he answers, probe further, show him that all his answers are resting upon certain assumptions that could not be even shown as likely to be true.

Dun let him get away with easy answers in the class.

Let your iron sharpens his iron. :)

Sze Zeng said...

Hi reasonable,

How I wish to have that luxury to probe Roland's mind, but I should not allow my indulgence to rob away the opportunity of the rest of the class to interact with the lecturer.

So perhaps, I'll do that in my essay. If God willing.