The revelation of God that is available to all man, not expressed in words (non-propositional) or specific actions, but in creation, conscience, and history.
General Revelation is knowledge of God that can be perceived by all mankind. It is universal, available throughout all creation (Ps. 19:1-6; Matt. 5:45). It is also available to all men, although they may not understand it (Acts. 14:17; 17:27; Rom. 1:20; 1 Cor. 11:14). General Revelation is seen in God’s preservation of the world (Col. 1:13; Heb. 1:3) and in his providence (Matt. 5:45, Acts. 17:24-28; Rom. 8:28).
General revelation also encompasses rational arguments for the existence of God. Theologians and philosophers have proposed five major arguments:
- Cosmological Argument (Cause and effect). The universe is the effect of a greater cause, an intelligent Creator. The universe cannot create itself or come from nothing, therefore must have come from something else. God then, is the single uncaused cause.
- Teleological Argument (Order/Intelligent Design). The universe displays an amazing amount of order in its chaos. But even more, it exhibits design which necessitates a Designer.
- Anthropological Argument (Humanity reflects deity) – Man’s extraordinary abilities, superiority over creation, and his “mannishness” (Schaeffer) reflect a greater personal Creator. Some stress man’s rational abilities, while others see the relationships with the Trinity as key to man’s personality.
- Moral Argument (Common Morality) – All men have some sense of right and wrong and some set of common code. Man’s sense of morality reflects the divine image of a moral God.
- Ontological Argument (God’s definition requires existence) – Anselm first set forth this powerful and difficult argument. It argues that the definition of God as the greatest of beings necessitates His existence. 1) The idea of a thing is greater if it exists in reality, than if only in the mind. 2) Man conceives the greatest being – God. 3) For the idea to exist in the mind as “greatest” it must exist in reality or not be the greatest.