“This understanding, and seeing, and hearing, is possible only … in the enlightening of the eyes by the salvation of God … But this seeing and hearing is not a projection of the believing subject, but an actual finding and seeing, and hearing! Here nothing is ‘read into’, but is only an understanding of the reality of revelation.” (General Revelation, pp.131-132, emphasis original).
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There’s a wonderful hymn entitled, “Loved with everlasting love.” In this hymn, there’s a verse which says, “Heaven above is softer blue, earth around is sweeter green; something lives in every hue, Christless eyes have never seen: birds with gladder songs o’erflow, flowers with deeper beauties shine, since I know, as now I know, I am His, and He is mine.”
There is a real revelation in creation – “Something lies in every hue.” This is real. God is revealing Himself to us through the created world.
How do we come to a true appreciation of the glory of God in creation? It’s through the knowledge of Christ, our Saviour, that our eyes are opened to see the world in a new way.
Some people speak of the wonder of nature, but they miss the glory of God. They may acknowledge the existence of God. Often they will look at the world of nature and say something like this, “The re must be something, somewhere.” Something, somewhere – that seems to be the level at which many people are at when it comes to thinking about the posiibility that there be a God behind all that we see in the world.
Sadly, many people who have caught a glimpse of the wonder of nature have not turned their eyes upon Jesus. When we turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full on His wonderful face that we begin to see the world with new eyes. God’s revelation has always been there for us to see, but we haven’t seen it clearly because we haven’t come to see the wonder of the greater revelation of God’s salvation.
There’s another illustration which may be helpful. The Word of God has been compared to a vinyl record (or CD or casssette). The message is on the record, but we only hear it when we turn on the play the record. We could use this illustration in connection with general (or creational) revelation. The world is like the record. The revelation is there. To appreciate the revelation, we need to respond to it. We do not simply say, “I to the hills will lift my eyes” (Psalm 121:1), and leave it there. We go on from there to say, “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). We do not stop with looking at the hills and getting a vague sense of something greater than ourselves. We look beyond the hills to the Lord. As we do this, our eyes settle on another “hill” – “On a hill far away stood an old, rugged Cross”, “There is a green hill far away outside a city wall, where our dear Lord was crucified who died to save us all.”
This is what the Berkouwer quotation is getting at. There really is a revelation in God’s creation, but our true appreciation of all that it signifies – the glory of God – only becomes real to us – in the deepest sense, in a saving way, when God shines His light into our hearts so that we receive “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
When we see “general revelation” like this, we see it in close and direct connection to His “special” revelation” – salvation received from the God of grace through faith in His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. By emphasizing the centrality of Christ, we don’t say that “general revelation” doesn’t matter. We are, however, stressing that we must not get stuck at the level of “general revelation”, when God is calling us to receive the greater blessing of salvation.

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