Vernon McGee once said that, “This is the church that Stanley High spoke of when he said: ‘The church has failed to tell me that I am a sinner. The church has failed to deal with me as a lost individual. The church has failed to offer me salvation in Jesus Christ alone. The church has failed to tell me of the horrible consequences of sin, the certainty of hell, and the fact that Jesus Christ alone can save’.” Revelation and sin remain two significant but controversial aspects that have been largely misunderstood by Christians at large. The lack of proper conceptualization of who God is and what sin is are two elements that limit the way Christians understand a righteous life. To fulfill its agenda, this discussion analyzes the aspect of God’s revelation and the concept of sin. By understanding God’s self-manifestation and His perceptions of sin as revealed in the Bible, Christians can get a better chance of self-development and culture fundamental values that nurture the growth of Christianity.
According to theological scholars, revelation has become a controversial word. The justification for this notion is fundamentally underpinned by the evolving world where conceptualization of spiritual issues is evidently changing with time. However, while all these changes are inevitable to the normal human life, what remains inescapable is how religious people feel connected to God or can demonstrate that certain actions are because of God. It is unarguable that the existence of natural activities including the human life is solely linked to God’s presence. However, the controversies surrounding the word revelation are all linked with varying accounts of how God’s presence can be recognized or felt. Standard theological knowledge dictates that human beings are weak because of sin and such, they are not able to identify moments that God reveals Himself. Alternatively, this notion remains challengeable as other scholars perceive it as a personal journey to try and reveal God’s presence. Through isolating themselves from the rest and fasting/praying for several days, most committed people get visions, which they perceive as a sign of God’s communication and thus His presence. Although secular people may perceive it as hallucinations resulting from several days of going without food, Christianity and the Native American indigenous religions perceive it as a way of isolating from the material world and moving closer to the spiritual one. As such, an external point of reference is required to prove so and show that most of the activities happen because of God’s presence.
Through reading the Bible, Christians encounter God as a character among many that exist. However, God stands from other characters in the narrative, in this case, the Bible. Attributes of God as acknowledged by Placher include being faithful, hearing the cries of the weak and loving all people equally. Therefore, besides knowing the infinite character of God, how do we acknowledge his finite one? The answer lies in the Gospel where God reveals himself as Jesus Christ. The greater significance of Jesus Christ was to reconcile the world that was first disintegrating due to improper spiritual guidance. Even though Jesus Christ is widely applauded as the son, God through Him states that ‘here I am’ as indicated by the philosophical analyst Placher. From a general viewpoint, it is important to acknowledge that there are numerous physical and non-physical proofs that signal God’s self-revelation.
Significance of Revelation
Within his analysis, Weaver covers the religious positioning of some various native communities in America. Although the religious principles of each community vary, one aspect that is clearly conceptualized by the followers is that revelation must happen. From a contemporary theological point of view, revelation is compulsory because it announces the presence of God. Religion cannot be assumed to be complete without one getting in touch with God. As covered earlier, God’s presence is revealed in numerous ways, which are all justifiable as long as God’s revelation can be proven. Through revelation, Weaver indicates that most people find the strength to believe in God and the spiritual world in General. For instance, the native Indian communities find it hard to believe in the narratives presented by other modern religions because they lack proper connection to the source power. While these differences play a part in how each group values its religion, revelation remains compulsory as the only way God build’s a bridge to connect with His people. The bridge is necessary in faith and hope development in the Christian World.
The proper definition of sin remains a complex matter, but its origin can be traced from the book of Genesis. Upon creating man, God makes a covenant with him to remain good and faithful to one another. The statement ‘one another’ is used to show the respect that was to prevail between God and man. This covenant, as exhibited in the narrative of Genesis, was broken when Eve was tricked into eating from the forbidden tree by the serpent. From the Christian conceptualization, the broken covenant marked the beginning of sin and its consequences. As such, analysts indicate it as an act that was initiated by the first creations; moreover, all people are inwardly bent towards sinning. Therefore, the experience of Adam and Eve broke the covenant between them and their Creator; hence, sin can be conceptualized as the act of deviating from the divine authority that regulates the fundamental values of a given religion.
With regards to revelation, sin acts as the barrier between human beings and God. As a standard interpretation, sin makes man distance himself from God. Based on the narrative of Genesis, after going against God and realizing that it was immoral, Adam and Eve hid from God in the Bushes. This is a common analogy that applies to all sinners; they do not want to get closer to God. As such, God’s revelation to man remains problematic. Numerous occasions the gospel has indicated that God has tried out to reach to the people, but they have ended up hiding, creating a larger gap. Therefore, by incorporating the statement that ‘God loves the sinner and not the sin,’ it is evident that one of the factors put into account is room for change. The sinner is the man who decided to deviate away from the divine principles. Consequently, the sinner’s advantage is that one, from the mistake of Adam and Eve, knows what is bad and good, and can, therefore, choose to follow good when he decides to do so. Consequently, man is the creation of God thus His child by default. As rational as He is, God does not want to harm man by letting evil rule. In summary, it is relevant to acknowledge that sin has its consequences but as his children, God cannot allow men to wallow in the pool evil forever. It is the sole reason that revelation remains an important element of Christianity.
Dellinger, Lisa. ‘Sin-Ambiguity and Complexity and the Sin of not Conforming’ in Coming to Full Circle: Constructing Native Christian Theology. Edited by Steven Charlestone and Elaine A. Robinson. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015.
Merry, Michael. "On evil, sin, and suffering: toward a hermeneutic of their relation." Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling 58.1-2 (2004): 75-82.
Placher, William. The acts of God: What do we mean by revelation? Christian Century, March 20-27, 1996, 336-342
Weaver, Jace. Revelation and Epistemology-We Know the Land, the Land Knows Us: Places of Revelation, Place as Revelation in Coming to Full Circle: Constructing Native Christian Theology. Edited by Steven Charlestone and Elaine A. Robinson. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015.
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