One of the central threads in Christian thought is that God has revealed himself. It was GOD who revealed himself. It wasn’t man who invented God, not this God anyway. Man has always been very fond of creating Gods and has done so with a fair degree of industry. That’s not in dispute at all. As Calvin famously said, “man’s nature is a perpetual factory of idols.” Humans are always seeking to make God in our own image. Humans are always seeking to anthropomorphise elements of the natural world and think of them and worship them as Gods; the sea Gods and the tree Gods and Gods of various regions. That’s not in dispute. But that’s not Christianity. The God of Christianity is precisely not in man’s image. There are similarities – relational, creativity, communication through words etc. – but those similarities don’t come from us upwards but from him downwards. GOD has revealed himself.
And God has REVEALED himself. That is, humans have not searched for God. Would not search for God. Romans 3:11 is classic here, “[There] is no one who seeks for God.” No one’s looking for him, not really. Some people are looking for help, some people are looking for comfort, some people are looking for a clear conscience, some people are looking for security, some people are looking for power, but none are seeking God, and certainly not seeking him simply for who he is. And those who do, those who are seeking for him are seeking for him only because of the prior work of God in revealing himself. If humans seek it is because and only because God has made the first move and has revealed himself. Let to ourselves, there “is no one who seeks God.”
And we say that God HAS revealed himself. We are not waiting for him to reveal himself. We are not looking for a more complete revelation. We are not waiting for another Testament. We are not waiting for further prophecy or another Spirit-inspired one who will reveal more fully our God. God HAS revealed himself fully and finally and completely in Jesus Christ. Hebrews 1 puts it this way, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature”. Jesus himself says it like this in John 14, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” It’s not that God will reveal himself. It’s not that God might reveal himself. It’s that God HAS revealed himself.
And both Hebrews 1 and John 14 tell us that what God has revealed is HIMSELF. When God gives to us he gives the most valuable reality in the universe, himself. He has not revealed something other, something else. The “what” of God’s revelation is a “who”. And the “who” is himself.
GOD has revealed himself.
God HAS revealed himself.
God has REVEALED himself.
God has revealed HIMSELF.