17 April 2010

Dei verbum: God's Self-revelation

The key to reading and understanding the documents of Vatican Two is reading and understanding the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei verbum.

Christ is the Fullness of All Revelation:  In His goodness and wisdom God chose to reveal Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of His will by which through Christ, the Word made flesh, man might in the Holy Spirit have access to the Father and come to share in the divine nature. Through this revelation, therefore, the invisible God  out of the abundance of His love speaks to men as friends and lives among them, so that He may invite and take them into fellowship with Himself. This plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words having in inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them. By this revelation then, the deepest truth about God and the salvation of man shines out for our sake in Christ, who is both the mediator and the fullness of all revelation (DV 2).

Divine Revelation through Created Realities:  God, who through the Word creates all things and keeps them in existence, gives men an enduring witness to Himself in created realities. Planning to make known the way of heavenly salvation, He went further and from the start manifested Himself to our first parents. Then after their fall His promise of redemption aroused in them the hope of being saved and from that time on He ceaselessly kept the human race in His care, to give eternal life to those who perseveringly do good in search of salvation. Then, at the time He had appointed He called Abraham in order to make of him a great nation. Through the patriarchs, and after them through Moses and the prophets, He taught this people to acknowledge Himself the one living and true God, provident father and just judge, and to wait for the Savior promised by Him, and in this manner prepared the way for the Gospel down through the centuries (3). 

Revelation through the Inspired Word and the Word Made Flesh:  Then, after speaking in many and varied ways through the prophets, "now at last in these days God has spoken to us in His Son." For He sent His Son, the eternal Word, who enlightens all men, so that He might dwell among men and tell them of the innermost being of God. Jesus Christ, therefore, the Word made flesh, was sent as "a man to men." He "speaks the words of God," and completes the work of salvation which His Father gave Him to do. To see Jesus is to see His Father. For this reason Jesus perfected revelation by fulfilling it through his whole work of making Himself present and manifesting Himself: through His words and deeds, His signs and wonders, but especially through His death and glorious resurrection from the dead and final sending of the Spirit of truth. Moreover He confirmed with divine testimony what revelation proclaimed, that God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal (4).


God spoke the Word of Creation.

He sent the Word Made Flesh to redeem His Creation.
And we have the Word of Witness in scripture, an account of Christ's words and deeds.

At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit gave birth the Church, the living Body of Christ, thus making the Church the living, breathing, thinking, acting Word in the world--the Sacrament of God's Self-revelation for all to see and hear.

In Christ, we have the perfection of God's Self-revelation -----> the Church on pilgrimage in history
In created realities, we have the divine revealed in the natural -----> reason, science
In scripture, we have a record of our ancestors meeting God -----> words, deeds of the faithful

Why did God reveal Himself in these different ways?  

One reason:  to proclaim that "[He] is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal."


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