Divine Revelation

Revelation or 'taking away the veil' indicates the disclosure, freely brought about by God's loving initiative, of what was previously unknown, the primary theme of the Second Vatican Council's Constitution on Divine

Revelation of 1965, Dei Verbum ('the Word of God'). This classic document understands such disclosure to be primarily God's self-revelation, which invites the personal response of faith, and to be secondarily the communication of truths about God and human beings that would otherwise remain unknown. Since the time of the Enlightenment, the truths of revelation had been frequently contrasted with those of reason, the latter understood as accessible to human intelligence without any special divine communication being strictly necessary. This distinction between truths of revelation and those of reason and the view of revelation as being primarily information or 'propositional' truths disclosed by God characterized, albeit not totally, the teaching of the First Vatican Council (1869—70) in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, DeiFilius ('the Son of God') (DH 3004—45; ND 113-40). The response of faith was accordingly presented as primarily an assent of the human intelligence to these supernatural truths, an assent (1) justified by the authority of God who reveals the truths, and (2) made possible by the help of the Holy Spirit. Such a propositional view of revelation takes second place in Dei Verbum, which recognizes revelation to be first the personal manifestation of the divine Mystery (upper case) and second the disclosure of divine mysteries (lower case) that were previously hidden from human knowledge and understanding. In revelation we primarily meet God and not divinely authorized truths. This understanding of God's self-manifestation entails presenting human faith as a matter of a total human response to the divine self-revelation. Far from being predominantly or even exclusively the mind accepting revealed truths, faith is the 'obedient' response of the whole person with the help of the Holy Spirit—head, heart, and actions—to the self-manifestation of God (Dei Verbum, 5).

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