In our society, the idea of ‘revelation’ as means of knowing truth is laughed at in most circles. “Ever since the enlightenment, there has been a decided tendency to presuppose the supremacy of a rational-empiricism” as foundational, and we are told to work from there to obtain knowledge.
Let me define some terms. Empiricism is ‘sense perception’, how you and I come to real world encounters. Much of human awareness comes through sense perception. Rationalism is the obtaining of knowledge through rational, logical processes (Mathematics, Deductive Logic).
While rational thought is necessary to ‘think of experience’, rational thought grows out of experience and is a limited and finite expression. This thought process focuses on the finite particulars of this world, or ‘only the things we can know from experience’. Well, what about God? While, I think we can know that God exists by using the processes of rational-empiricism I do not think this goes far enough. I believe that God is a personal God. It seems that way since He has decided to make Himself known to all creation (Rom. 1:19-20). So if He does exist, how can one know Him personally?
As a Christian I believe that knowing God in a personal way is the only means to everlasting life. There is only one way to know God, Jesus put it like this in John 14;
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Therefore it stands that “if God is truly an ultimate, transcendent, supernatural Person, He could hardly be known personally or understood in any redemptive in-depth sense by mere finite empirical, rational, intuitive grounds alone”. This is why God chose to reveal himself to mankind, and revealed himself most fully in the life and work of Christ. This is the ‘personal revelation’ needed to know God most fully. Or should I put it this way, God’s revelation of himself is absolutely necessary to know Him in a personal way.
Think about it, if God were to reveal himself at all to persons, such as you and I, He could have hardly done it in any other fashion than as a person. So God does speak, and speaks to man cognitively in a personal way through revelation on a finite level.
Note: I am currently reading “The Word of the Cross“, by Lewis A. Drummond. Some of the quotes above are taken from this book.