revelation

Linked Glossary of Terms
(references to De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, unless indicated. See concordance for correlation with pages in the New Critique. The concordance is in pdf format.)

reveal

I, 19 (immediate), 29, 47, 58 (of law and subjectivity), 71 (fullness of meaning reveals itself in temporal coherence)

II, 404, 483, 490, 493-495

NC I, 33 (revealed supratemporal realm; the supratemporal central sphere of human existence and of divine revelation)

NC II, 470 (“reveal itself”)

“What is Man?” International Reformed Bulletin 3 (1960), 4-16: “In an indissoluble connection with this self-revelation as Creator, God has revealed man to himself. Man was created in the image of God. Just as God is the absolute Origin of all that exists outside of Himself, so He created man as a being, in whom the entire diversity of aspects and faculties of the temporal world is concentrated within the religious center of his existence, which we call our I, and which the Holy Scripture calls our heart…” Same quotation at Twilight, 189.

Proposition IV of “32 Propositions on Anthropology“: “The ground-motive of divine Word Revelation—the motive of creation, fall and redemption in Christ Jesus—radically excludes every polar dualism, whether in God’s self-revelation as the Origin of all things, or in the revelation of man to himself.”

Encyclopedia of Legal Science (1967 SRVU edition), 22: “En de zelfkennis van de mens is volstrekt afhankelijk van zijn godskennis. Het is de goddelijke woordopenbaring, die tegelijk met de zelf-openbaring van God aan de mens aan zichzelf ontdekt.”
[And man’s knowledge of himself is completley dependent on his knowledge of God. It is the divine Word-revelation, which which reveals man to himself at the same time as the self-revelation of God].

revelation I, 15 (divine), 31 (of Jesus Christ), 32-33, 59 (the God of revelation),
II, 493 (laws?), 494, 495 (unity and cosmic), 496 (Christ)NC I, v (divine revelation in Christ Jesus), 33 (faith is the eschatological aspect of time, and groups the eschaton, and that which happens beyond the limits of cosmic time; faith is by its nature related to divine revelation), 55 (Biblical revelation)NC II, 304, 305 (Divine Revelation finds expression in the whole of creation), 306-307 (universal character of Revelation from the outset), 561 (Divine revelation refracted thorugh the prism of time)

Second Response to Curators (Oct 12, 1937) 26, 27.

Encyclopedia of the Science of Law (2002), 32: “in the faith aspect of reality, time takes on a specific meaning of the revelation of the supratemporal, of what lies hidden beyond time.”

One of Dooyeweerd’s most remarkable statements is that our knowledge from revelation carries primarily a religious-enstatic character. Knowledge about God, in which our religious self-knowledge is enclosed, is thus primarily not given in scientific or theological ways (II, 494-95; NC II, 562).

Dooyeweerd uses the terms ‘revelation’ and ‘expression’ synonmously. God’s Word-revelation is central and speaks to our supratemporal heart. But this unity of God’s revelation becomes cosmic [temporal] when it isrefracted through cosmic time (WdW II, 493-495):

All human experience remains bound to a perspective horizon in which the transcendent light of eternity must force its way through time. In this horizon we become aware of the transcendent fulness of the meaning of this life only in the light of the Divine revelation refracted through the prism of time (NC II, 561).

The Divine Revelation, finding expression in the whole of creation, shows its meaning-coherence with history in its temporal aspect of faith. This appears from its progressive character (also as the special Revelation of salvation). This Revelation, also in a soteriological sense, has entered into history, and has its historical aspect (NC II, 305).

God revealed Himself at the creation of the cosmos in the religious root and the temporal meaning-coherence of the world. He created man after His own image. He gave expression to His Divine fullness of Being in the whole of His creation, as a totality of meaning. From the very beginning, however, this revelation of God in the nature of the cosmos was borne and explained by the Word-revelation. At the outset, also, after the fall into sin, this Revelation by no means had a private but rather a universal character. It was directed to the whole human race. (NC II, 307)

The natural revelation of God must not be attributed to a self-sufficient natural reason (NC II, 308).

The central revelation of God awakens new life in us, and sets us to work:

Gods Woord is geest en kracht, die moet doorwerken in heel uw levens-en denkhouding. Gods Woordopenbaring zet u aan het werk. Zij wil beslag leggen op heel uw bestaan, zij wil nieuw leven in u wekken, waar de dood en de geestelijke gemakzucht heerschappij voerden. (Vernieuwing en Bezinning)

[God’s Word is spirit and power; these must work through your whole life and manner of thinking. God’s Word Revelation sets you to work. It wants to seize your whole existence, where death and the desire for comfort are now in command; it wants to wake you to new life.]

Dooyeweerd says that this takes an effort. We want God’s Word revelation to “fall in our lap.” But Christ Jesus says that we ourselves must bear fruit, whenever the seed of God’s Word is fallen in good earth.

Dooyeweerd also uses revelation [openbaring] to refer to the gradual disclosure of our temporal reality. For example, the deepening of aspects is revealed (II, 404). Revelation is itself the “expression” of God in the temporal cosmos. The Center is expressed in the periphery; the periphery refers or points to the Center (See NC I, 4 regarding ‘referring’ and ‘expressing’). Steen points out that Dooyeweerd’s very idea of Divine revelation is this relation of “expressing.”

Dooyeweerd uses the term ‘openbaren’ when referring to the fact that the supra-temporal expresses itself in the temporal. The fullness of meaning, the totality of meaning reveals itself in rich, temporal diversity. It manifests itself, expresses itself, but generally he uses the word ‘reveals.’ (Steen 55, ft. 20)

Steen thinks that this is a strange use of ‘revelation’ by Dooyeweerd. He says,

One would normally think of the counsel of God revealing itself in the creation and history of the world, but this is not what Dooyeweerd has in mind. It is the created fullness and totality which is revealed.

But I believe that it Dooyeweerd’s use of ‘reveal’ here is entirely consistent with his nondual view of the relation between God and humans, and with the world. It is true that this may conflict with dualistic ideas of God and revelation.

Dooyeweerd says that in self-reflection, the truth of the fullness of meaning in our inner concentration point is immediately revealed (I, 19). But Dooyeweerd does not have an individualistic view of revelation:

Scheler’s idea of God is only realizable by an individual revelation. This Idea remains a merely intentional, theoretical hypostasis for any one who has not received this individual, most personal revelation. From this hypostasis the possibility of a real experience of the macrocosm can never be understood. (NC II, 593).

Thus our self-reflection does not lead us to individualistic experience or revelation. The revelation is in the heart, which is supratemporal and supra-individuall.

Just as Dooyeweerd uses the word ‘revelation’ as synonomous with God’s expression of Himself, so he also refers to man’s own temporal expression of himself as ‘revelation.’ He uses the same Dutch word ‘openbaring’ for God’s revelation and for man’s revelation in time. He refers to our heart as “the root and centre of our temporal life-revelations” and he refers to “the temporal revelations of the heart in the distinguished life-spheres.“ (Second Response to Curators, 26). He mentions again “the whole Scriptural view of the heart as the religious root and centre of all temporal revelations of life.” (Curators, 27)

Baader says that revelation is the descent of a higher being into a lower region, a central being into its periphery. (Philosophische Schriften I, 153 fn.; Werke 10, 262). He makes a distinction between inner and outer revelation. Baader says that the one who denies God, although not God’s outer Revelation (Natural law, fate, destiny) experiences a lawlessness [Anomie, Gesetzlosigkeit], or an inner lack of all laws. Such a person therefore attempts to give his or her own law (Selbstgesetzgebung or autonomy) (Zeit, 31).

The theologian J.H. Gunning, Jr., who influenced Kuyper, particularly with respect to the idea of the supratemporal heart, also speaks of revelation in this way. His main work is entitled Blikken in de Openbaring (1866). The similarity to Baader is not surprising, since Gunning was consciously influenced by Baader, and indeed introduced Baader’s Christian theosophy to Dutch theology. See J.H. Gunning, Christian Theosophy and Reformational Philosophy, my review of the doctoral thesis of Lieuwe Mietus: Gunning en de theosofie: Een onderzoek naar de receptie van de christelijke theosofie in het werk van J.H. Gunning Jr. van 1863-1876, (Gorinchem: Narratio, 2006).

See also the distinction between Scripture and Word-revelation.

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