MATERIAL OF THEOLOGY. I. SOURCES OF THEOLOGY. ?
God himself, in the last analysis, must be the only source of knowledge with regard to his own being and relations. Theology is therefore a summary and explanation of the content of God?s self-revelations. These are, first , the revelation of God in nature; secondly and supremely, the revelation of God in the Scriptures.
Ambrose: ?To whom shall I give greater credit concerning God than to God himself?? Von Baader: ?To knew God without God is impossible; there is no knowledge without him who is the prime source of knowledge.?
C. A. Briggs, Whither, 8 ? ?God reveals truth in several spheres: in universal nature, in the constitution of mankind, in the history of our race, in the Sacred Scriptures, but above all in the person of Jesus Christ our Lord.? F. H. Johnson, What is Reality? 399 ? ?The teacher intervenes when needed. Revelation helps reason and conscience, but is not a substitute for them. But Catholicism affirms this substitution for the church, and Protestantism for the Bible. The Bible, like nature, gives many free gifts, but more in the germ. Growing ethical ideals must interpret the Bible.? A. J. F. Behrends: ?The Bible is only a telescope, nor the eye which sees, nor the stars which the telescope brings to view. It is your business and mine to see the stars with our own eyes.? Schurmnan, Agnosticism, 175 ? ?The Bible is a glass through which to see the living God. but it is useless when you put your eyes out.?
We can know God only so far as he has revealed himself. The immanent God is known, but the transcendent God we do not know any more than we know the side of the moon that is turned away from us. A. H. Strong, Christ in Creation, 113 ? ?The word ?authority? is derived from auctor, augeo , ?to add.? Authority adds something to the truth communicated. The thing added is the personal element of witness. This is needed wherever there is ignorance, which cannot be removed by our own effort, or unwillingness, which results from our own sin. In religion I need to add to my own knowledge that which God imparts. Reason, conscience, church, Scripture, are all delegated and subordinate authorities; the only original and supreme authority is God himself, or Christ, who is only God
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