Original Research

The Kingdom of God and those who have not heard the contents of Scripture

M.A. Kruger
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 37, No 4 | a485 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v37i4.485 | © 2003 M.A. Kruger | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 August 2003 | Published: 02 August 2003

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M.A. Kruger, Researcher: School of Biblical Sciences, Potchefstroom University for CHE, South Africa

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Abstract

Article 2 of the Belgic Confession deals with the following issue: By what means does God make Himself known to us? The first part of Article 2 that echoes the teaching of Calvin via the Gallic Confession reads as follows: “We know Him [God] by two means: First by the creation, preservation and government of the universe, which is before our eyes as a most elegant book, wherein all creatures, great and small, are characters (read: letters – MAK) leading us to see clearly the invisible things of God, even his everlasting power and divinity, as the apostle Paul says (Rom. 1:20). All which things are sufficient to convince men and leave them without excuse.”

This article of 1561 agrees with Calvin’s Institutes of 1559 (1, V, 1) and the early Reformed Confessions before the Canons of Dordt (1618-1619).

It seems as though, after Calvin, a doctrine of insufficiency regarding this first means of revelation gradually developed. In the Westminster Confession of 1647 this means of understanding God’s revelation (i.e by receiving God’s communication through the creation, preservation and government of the universe) was explicitly interpreted as insufficient. Man’s inherent ability to know God by means of his own mental capacity, the so-called light of nature, that remained after the Fall, was also regarded as insufficient.

The issue of whether the interpretation of Article 2A had not been changed in the first century after Calvin should therefore be seriously considered by Reformed churches.

Furthermore, the church of today, situated in a world that experiences such phenomenal scientific and technological changes, should ask what relevance Article 2A of the the Belgic Confession has for the church and the world.

Keywords

Belgic Confession; Article 2A; Insufficiency Of Revelation; Natural Theology And Natural Religion; Post-Reformational Deviation; Two Means Of Revelation

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