The Bible tells us that God reveals Himself to humans in four primary ways. All that God has created in nature discloses who He is. Our consciences (the human mind and heart) bear witness to the existence of God. He reveals Himself to us through His Word and the person of Jesus Christ. The first two ways that God reveals Himself to us are general and limited. But the second two avenues of revelation are personal, full, and complete.
Creation Reveals God
Paul said in Romans 1:19–20 that, ever since the creation of the world, God has made the knowledge of Himself evident to all people: “They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (NLT).
Humans can take in the beauty and splendor all around and recognize that these created things testify to the existence of God, who is the all-powerful maker of the universe. According to Paul, God has provided sufficient insight into His eternal power and divine attributes through creation so that no one can be excused for missing His existence.
Psalm 19:1–4 declares, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world” (NLT).
Scripture also seems to indicate that the revelation of God in creation is only a tiny glimpse—a small whisper—of who He is and how He wants to be known by humans: “He binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not split open under them. He covers the face of the full moon and spreads over it his cloud. Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?” (Job 26:8–9,14, ESV).
Written on Our Hearts
The Bible says that God has revealed His existence to humans in their consciences by impressing His law on their hearts even before they hear the gospel message: “Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right” (Romans 2:14–15, NLT).
According to Ecclesiastes 3:11, within the heart of every person God has planted a longing to know Him: “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end” (NLT).
God’s purpose for placing this yearning in the human heart is so that we might have a living, personal relationship with Him. The apostle Paul spoke of this internal revelation to the pagan crowds of people in Athens: “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us” (Acts 17:27, NLT).
Through the Person of Jesus Christ
God has revealed Himself to us with the most clarity and detail in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the living, breathing, flesh-and-blood, human presentation of God: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Speaking of Jesus, John writes in his gospel: “No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us” (John 1:18, NLT). Paul told the Colossians, “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation” (Colossians 1:15, NLT). And Jesus said to Philip, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!” (John 14:9, NLT).
The signs and wonders Jesus performed revealed the glory and power of God. The way He lived, the miracles He performed, and His teachings and parables all demonstrated how much the Father cares for us. The way to know the Father and have a relationship with Him is to know the Son, who is the fullness of God’s revelation of Himself (Galatians 4:4–5; Hebrews 1:1–2).
Through the Word of God
One of the greatest ways we get to know the person of Jesus is through the Word of God. The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself and His purposes throughout history. Jesus Himself taught that the Scriptures reveal who He is (Luke 24:27, 44–45; John 5:39).
The Bible presents us with eyewitness testimony of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ: “For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. . . . We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:16–19).
From Genesis to Revelation, Scripture is God’s revelation of Himself for all to read and understand.
Many people can acknowledge the fact that there is a God. But God wants us to know Him intimately—to spend all eternity in close fellowship with Him.