If we are to know God at all, it is necessary that he reveal himself to us. Even when discussing the revelation of God that comes through nature, Paul says that what can be known about God is plain to people "because God has shown it to them" (Rom. 1:19). The natural creation reveals God because he chose to have himself revealed in this way.
With regard to the personal knowledge of God that comes in salvation, this idea is even more explicit. Jesus says, "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him" (Matt. 11:27). This kind of knowledge of God is not found through human effort or wisdom: "in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom" (1 Cor. 1:21; cf. 1 Cor. 2:14; 2 Cor. 4:3-4; John 1:18).
The necessity for God to reveal himself to us also is seen in the fact that sinful people misinterpret the revelation about God found in nature. Those who "by their wickedness suppress the truth" are those who "became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened...they exchanged the truth about God for a lie" (Rom. 1:18, 21, 25). Therefore, we need Scripture if we are to interpret natural revelation rightly. Hundreds of false religions in the world are evidence of the way sinful people, without guidance from Scripture, will always misunderstand and distort the revelation about God found in nature. But the Bible alone tells us how to understand the testimony about God from nature. Therefore we depend on God's active communication to us in Scripture for our true knowledge of God.
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