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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-K089-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 23, 2024, from

Article Summary

All major theistic religions have claimed that God has revealed himself in some way, both by showing something of himself in events and also by providing some true, important and otherwise unknowable propositions. Event-revelation may include both general revelation (God revealing himself in very general events, observable by all, such as the existence of the universe and its conformity to natural laws), and special revelation (God revealing himself in certain particular historical events). The events are a revelation in the sense that God has brought them about and they show something of his character. Thus Judaism teaches that God manifested his nature and his love for Israel when he brought his people out of Egypt and led them to the promised land through the agency of Moses. Christianity traditionally affirms that God has revealed himself in a much fuller sense in Jesus Christ – because Jesus did not merely show us something of the character of God but was God himself. God reveals propositions by some chosen prophet or society telling us truths orally or in writing which we would not have adequate grounds for believing unless they had been announced to us by persons who showed some mark of God-given authority. Thus Islam teaches that God inspired Muhammad to write the Qur’an in the seventh century ad, and that its success (its proclamation throughout a large part of the civilized world), content and style (deep thoughts expressed in a beautiful way, not to be expected of an uneducated person) show its divine origin.

Citing this article:
Swinburne, Richard. Revelation, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-K089-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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