by Rev. Roderick MacEachen


Revelation is the truth which God has made known to man in a supernatural manner.  Left to himself, man could never go beyond the narrow limits of his own reason.  God made man for a destiny higher and greater than any the world of nature could give.  With this in view, God came down into man's little world, as it were, and told him many of the great truths that belong to the supernatural world beyond.  He extended man's horizon of knowledge.  He opened up to him the secrets of divinity.  He made known His will to him.

God revealed to man many truths that are beyond his natural comprehension.  These are called mysteries.  He revealed other truths to man that are, in themselves, within the sphere of human reason. 

There are those who deny the possibility of Revelation.  Those who deny the existence of a personal God also hold, as a consequence, that Revelation is impossible.  Some maintain that it would be unreasonable to reveal to man truths that he cannot comprehend.  Others say that it is contrary to Divine wisdom to teach that God should make known truths to man in a miraculous manner after He had created him without a knowledge of them.

According to their theory human nature was fitted by creation for the working out of its own end.  Hence, it could have no need of Revelation.  Indeed, God endowed human nature with all the knowledge necessary for its own natural ends.  Yet He has raised it to a higher order than its own.  He has bestowed upon it knowledge that is above its own natural sphere.  This He does by Revelation.

God is a personal God, possessing infinite power of intellect and will.  Hence, He can communicate His truth to His ration creatures by any means He may choose.  Nor is it unreasonable to reveal mysteries to man.  Man's intellect has indeed been darkened by original sin.  Yet it is still capable of receiving immutable truths from God.  Though man may not fully comprehend it, the Divine message can be delivered to him.

There is also a natural revelation.  It is the knowledge we have of God through the works of creation.

Divine Revelation is the world of God to man.  Surely God cannot be denied the privilege of speaking to His rational creatures.  He can tell us whatever He chooses about the supernatural.  It is but natural that He should tell us of the destiny that awaits us in Eternity.  He may, indeed, withhold His mysteries from us, but He is also free to make them known to us.

Revelation does not mean that God speaks to each individual man. He has spoken through the Patriarchs and Prophets and through Christ and the Apostles.  Through them the human race learns the truth of divine Revelation.

Revelation is a gift of God to man.  Without the teachings of Revelation the world would be steeped in moral degradation and despair.  The great learning of pagan philosophers could not heal the moral evils of their times.  The spread of Christian teachings changed the whole aspect of human society.  A return to pagan life, such as we sometimes see about us, revives the sad conditions of those ages in which Divine Revelation was unknown.

Divine Revelation is taught by the Church.  It is contained in Tradition and in the Scriptures.  By Tradition is meant the teachings of the early Fathers and the definitions of the Church.  By Scripture is meant all those sacred writings which the Church has declared to be the inspired Word of God.  The Holy Ghost abides with the Church to preserve it from error.  God guards His truth in His Church until the end of time.  "The Spirit of Truth," says Christ to His disciples . . .  "He shall abide with you and be in you."

The Bible is the book which contains the written account of Divine Revelation. It is composed of the Old Testament and the New Testament.  The Old Testament embodies the Revelation that was given to man from the time of Adam to the coming of Christ.  The New Testament comprises the teachings of Christ and the Apostles.

The Bible has ever been held sacred in the Church.  It contains the inspired word of God.  The Church, by her divine authority, decides what writings are inspired.  The writings authorized by the Church are called the canonical writings of Sacred Scripture. In the beginning many other epistles and gospels were written.  These latter writings were not inspired.  Therefore they were not embodied in the bible.

It was not enough for God reveal His truths to man.  If left to the whims of men, Divine Revelation would soon have become corrupted.  God, therefore, gave divine authority to His Church to preserve intact His Sacred Truth until the end of time.

Had God merely left His Revelation written in a book, it could not have come down through the curse of ages in all its purity.  Men would interpret it falsely.  The book might be poorly translated.  The language in which it was originally written might be forgotten.  Thus, we could never know with certainty the teachings of Divine Revelation.  But God, in His divine wisdom, gave us the Church as a living Teacher to bear the teachings of Divine Revelation to all men.