The uniqueness and the scandal of the Christian religion rest in the mediation of revelation through historical events. The Hebrew-Christian faith stands apart from the religions of its environment because it is a historical faith whereas they were religions rooted in mythology or the cycle of nature. The God of Israel was the God of history, or the Geschichtsgott, as German theologians so vividly put it. The Hebrew-Christian faith did not grow out of lofty philosophical speculation or profound mystical experiences. It arose out of the historical experiences of Israel, old and new, in which God made himself known. This fact imparts to the Christian faith a specific content and objectivity which sets it apart from others.
At the same time, this very historical character of revelation raises an acute problem for many thinking men. Plato viewed the realm of time and space as one of flux and change. History by definition involves relativity, particularity, caprice, arbitrariness, whereas revelation must convey the universal, the absolute, the ultimate. History has been called “an abyss in which Christianity has been swallowed up quite against its will.”
Revelatory History. How can the Infinite be known in the finite, the Eternal in the temporal, the Absolute in the relativities of history? From a purely human perspective, this is impossible; but at precisely this point is found perhaps the greatest miracle in the biblical faith. God is the living God, and he, the eternal, the unchangeable, has communicated knowledge of himself through the ebb and flow of historical experience.
The problem is well nigh insoluble for the man who takes his world view from modern philosophies rather than from the Bible. Yet there can be no doubt about ...1
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