Notes on Divine Revelation
According to Roman Catholicism, the story of creation in the book of Genesis is not scientific proof. I listened to a Catholic priest who said that he read a more original story of creation in a Hebrew book of Genesis, and said that the more original story of creation reads more like poetry. Of curiosity to some people, the order of creation in the book of Genesis is somewhat similar to the order of creation that science explains, and also from the Catholic Catechism # 302, “Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe was created ‘in a state of journeying’ (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call ‘divine providence’ the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection … . For ‘all are open and laid bare to his eyes’ (Hebrews 4:13), even those things which are yet to come into existence through the free action of creatures”. Here in this context, creatures mean life that God created.
One theological reason given to explain further that the universe is not complete in creation is that people can be co-creators, from 2 Peter 1:4 (New International Version), “… he [God] has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, …”.
A journey through life may be accepting the eventual goal of heaven. This journey through history supposedly began with a nascent knowledge about God. An early knowledge about God for example about an awareness of an all-powerful God may have been associated incorrectly or willfully to the ideas and creation of false gods. Before words were written, people buried their dead with food, food containers, hunting weapons, utensils, clothing, jewelry and other items. Archaeologist deciphered some of the earliest writings and discovered that some of the early peoples buried their dead for an afterlife. A common question is, “Who told prehistoric people about an afterlife”? Is the idea of God spiritually innate or from a revelation of God as guided by God? Without confirmed proof, people offered possible alternative facts, such as, for example, “The knowledge of an afterlife was to console the living about the finality of death.”
Roman Catholicism claims that science cannot prove the existence of God because, for humans, scientific proof is by and through the five human physical senses; and, God is pure spirit and non-physical; and, therefore God is not biological and neither male nor female. (Jesus was believed to be human flesh, and instead of possessing a human spirit, Jesus had the Spirit of God.) People can use science to study, know and understand the physical works of God.
Some parts of the Jewish religion believe in a feminine side of God. When God created Adam and Eve, God gave to Adam more of one part of the divine image (paternal?), and to Eve more of another part of the divine image (maternal?). Using reverse logic, and whether Adam and Eve were real, or symbolic about what happened long ago, God has both aspects of what we identify as male or female. One saying that has been used about the ‘feminine’ side of God is, “Residing in the bosom of God’s love”. When raising children, parents provide different and sometimes separate roles, for example, for the desired perfection of their children’s health; and, parents ought to respect each other’s good conscience and the developing good conscience of their children with guidance perhaps that their parents provide.
God is revealed only by God and perhaps through an internal and non-physical human spiritual awareness of God, which may also be revealed through non-verbalized utterances to and from the Holy Spirit of God, from St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:14-15 (New International Version), “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; …”.
People can make a prayerful request to the Holy Spirit of God about how to pray, and what to pray when or where, from Romans 8:22-27 (New International Version), “In the same way, the Spirit helps us … . [When we] do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. … because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God”, and from Romans 8:22-25 (New International Version), “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently”.
The intercessions from God provide a service, from Mark 10:45 (New International Version), “For even the Son of Man [Jesus] did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life … for many”. Also, God is not a servant for every groan because God gives people a free will to act. Therefore, a free will effort by people in dialogue or research, for example from the edifications of other people about past revelations, can also inform people about how to pray properly to God, from 1 Corinthians 14:26 (New International Version), “… each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up”, and from Ephesians 4:11-13 (New International Version), “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ [baptized Christians] may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God …”.
No people supposedly has the power to reveal God, which is according to a public revelation from Jesus in Luke 10:22 (New International Version), “All things have been committed to me [Jesus] by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him”, and from John 1:18 (New International Version), “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, …”, literally meaning seeing the real presence of God.
God offers people the ability (sometimes called graces) to be aware of God in themselves, in other people and in nature. For example, people can experience the presence or the works of God during a religious ceremony. For example, people can know the mercy of God after the sacrament of penance, and can experience or know the presence of God during the sacrament of the Eucharist.
People have free will choice to accept, to deny or avoid the divine offer of graces, from the Catholic Catechism # 311, “Angels and [humans], as intelligent and free creatures, have to journey toward their ultimate destinies by their free choice and preferential love. They can therefore go astray. Indeed, they have sinned. Thus has moral evil, incommensurably more harmful than physical evil, entered the world. God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. God permits it, however, because God respects the freedom of creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it …”.
People can be a witness to the works of God in themselves, in other people and in nature. Also, prophets and people who were later canonized as saints wrote to give testimony about the declarations and revelations from God to them, sometimes in private revelations, from Acts 14:17 (New International Version), “Yet [Jesus through the advocations that Jesus sends] has not left … without testimony …”, which is based on John 16:7-11 (New International Version), “… it is for your good that I [Jesus] am going away [after the Resurrection]. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world [Satan] now stands condemned [by his actions].”
If two people each at different times and separately of each other’s experience claimed that they visited an interesting sight at the base of the tallest mountain in the world, and later each person separately and personally described the sight that they saw, and the two descriptions were nearly identical, would you believe them? The answer may be in the amount of belief or faith that you have in the revelations, and the trust in the character of the revelations that you accept, as for spiritual revelations and witnessing, from 1 John 4:1 (New International Version), “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world”.
The graces from God are the same abilities that God possesses and that can be limited by human abilities; and, people should not limit their perception and knowledge of God by the limits of their divine graces and divine mission. When people act in combination with a grace from God and with their free will, then people can be acting in the image or likeness of God, which can be like wearing a sponsored t-shirt, except that people accept and ‘put on’ the image or likeness of God. However, not any one person will receive all the graces to ‘see’ God as a spiritual awareness in every situation that God chooses to be actively involved, including if some of the graces are not necessary for his or her divine mission and salvation, from Ephesians 4:7 (New International Version), “But to each one of us grace has been given as [Jesus] apportioned it”. The number of spiritual graces is unknown, from 2 Corinthians 9:8 (New International Version), “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work”, and from 1 Peter 4:10 (New International Version), “Each of you should use whatever gift [that] you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms”.
Except for the seven Spiritual graces or gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to each person at Baptism (from the Catholic Catechism at # 1831) and that people may or may not develop and use, all of the other Spiritual graces are not all given to any one person, and not all people receive the same additional Spiritual grace, but are distributed so that people can be of service and charitable to one other, from the Catholic Catechism # 1937, “These differences belong to God's plan, who wills that each receive what he needs from others, and that those endowed with particular ‘talents’ share the benefits with those who need them. These differences encourage and often oblige persons to practice generosity, kindness, and sharing of goods; they foster the mutual enrichment of cultures …”.
In the following not all theology is in agreement. Christian theologies claim that God is unlimited in providence, which is a supernatural ability of God. One idea states that God is all-good; and, therefore God is incapable of evil. Another idea states that God is unlimited but chooses not to do evil, which can be an example that people can follow; and, God is not an automaton from the Divine attributes.
Another supernatural ability of God is that God is all-powerful or omnipotent. According to Roman Catholicism, a misconception about the omnipotence of God is that God can do anything that we can possibly imagine. If God can do anything then perhaps God can do the ridiculous. Instead, a different explanation is that all possibilities are available to God who chose not to perform specific actions, from Mathew 19:25-26 (New International Version), “… the disciples … asked, ‘Who then can be saved?’, Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'". For example, as an existential argument, if God chose to be all-good and not evil then because God exists in the eternal and ‘outside of’ time, and if God is eternal then the decisions of God are eternal and unchanging, and therefore God is unchanging, which supports the belief that God is perfectly good. However, if the behavior of people changes from good to evil or from evil to good, then the behavior of God toward the people or lack of behavior may change according to the eternal unchanging behavior of God. If the eternal has no passage of time as in this world (to help explain the mystery of the eternal some people compared the eternal to a perpetual present) then at no point in time did God chose to be non-evil; and therefore, from the perspective of time, God ‘was always’ all-good. Also, God cannot potentially do evil in the future if God eternally chose not to do evil; and, the idea that God chose not to do evil supports the idea that God’s all-good is a moral and not an immoral good. If God is morally all-good and the providence of God is unlimited then God is considered to be infinitely morally good. However, good is subjective to context, and does not implicitly determine only morality. For example, a thief may have for use a good lock pick, where in this context good is desirable effectiveness. A desired effectiveness of God desires that all people be saved and enter heaven. Another desired effectiveness of God is to permit evil that demonstrates for example the truth of the bad consequences of evil; and, as a result a willful responsibility may be necessary to avoid the bad consequences. If the necessity of responsibility against evil feels like a burden then what people may be experiencing is the burden of sin in themselves, from other creatures or possibly from the world. Therefore, hopefully, people will remain in the morality of the all-good, which further demonstrates that people can learn both from instruction as in the Ten Commandments and from experience that includes being a witness to experience.
God will use the less than perfect so that people who were offered and accepted the divine ability to ‘see’ can humbly recognize the work of God, from 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (New International Version), ”Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called [to a divine mission and salvation]. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before [God]”.
God’s revelations can be an answer to a personal prayer performed for self or others, or performed by a group of people for themselves or for other people. All options are available to God to make a revelation. A revelation in response to people who prayed can be in a way that they understand, at their level of understanding, at their level of faith, and at a time when each or every person understands. Revelations may be through the literal or objective, may be subjective, a realization, a feeling, an image or symbolic. Revelation may be immediately and directly from God, or indirectly interceded through other people, including the saints, the Virgin Mary and the angels, through spoken or written words that may be recorded and be a repeat of past revelations, through the animate such as video, or through inanimate objects. Prayer may not be answered if a prayer is performed through sin, for example, through the sin of selfishness, or because of the lack of moral understanding about what fair is; or, if prayer is a remonstration at God. A remonstration is to plead, reason or argue with someone in protest or objection, and which could lead to a rebellion against God. Requests from prayers outside the will of God may receive a response of no and hopefully with a reason, from Mathew 7:21-23 (New International Version), “Not everyone who says to me [Jesus], ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. … I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, … ’”. Prayer that demands, or prayer for power or control not given from God may be a sin; and, prayer may be ignored by God until the person is in a state to accept the way of God. However, incorrect prayer may be corrected by God in the same ways that God can answer a prayer.
I hope that every person, who is willing, receives an understanding of themselves through natural human truth and through God’s revelations, and knows and understands the purpose of divine revelation that can be for the purpose of continuing or advancing a divine mission, for a purpose that leads to growth and greater knowledge of or faith in God, to know that what was revealed was from God, or to maintain the way of salvation from God.