July 19, 2005

Carl F. H. Henry (1913–2003) on Divine Revelation

Divine revelation palpitates with human surprise. Like a fiery bolt of lightening that unexpectedly zooms toward us and scores a direct hit, like an earthquake that suddenly shakes and engulfs us, it somersaults our private thoughts to abrupt awareness of ultimate destiny. By the unannounced intrusion of its omnipotent actuality, divine revelation lifts the present into the eternal and unmasks our pretenses of human omnicompetence. As if an invisible Concorde had burst the sound barrier overhead, it drives us to ponder whether the Other World has finally pinned us to the ground for a life-and-death response. Confronting us with a sense of cosmic arrest, it makes us ask whether the end of our world is at hand and propels us unasked before the Judge and Lord of the universe. Like some piercing air-raid siren it sends us scurrying from life's preoccupations and warns us that no escape remains if we neglect the only sure sanctuary. Even once-for-all revelation that has occurred in another time and place fills us with awe and wonder through its ongoing significance and bears the character almost of fresh miracle.
Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation and Authority: Vol. II: God Who Speaks and Shows (Waco, TX: Word, 1976), 17; quoted in Carl Henry At His Best: A Lifetime of Quotable Thoughts (Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1989), 171.


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