A view on (Christian) "revelation"

Christians call knowledge about God “revelation”. This should not immediately bring into play judgments on the rationality or irrationality of such knowledge. When we speak of revelation we are not at all talking about unjustifiable, incontestable, information we claim to have received from above that cannot be rationally challenged.

To say knowledge is “revealed” marks it as being about God, in contrast to so much of our knowledge that makes no attempt to tell us about God… We call knowledge about God “revelation” not because of the rationality or irrationality of of such knowledge, but because of what that knowledge is about. It is certainly true that our knowledge of God may challenge certain accounts of what counts as rational, but that does not mean that revelation is thereby irrational. (66)

In this way we can say quite comfortably that,
Revelation is properly a description of that knowledge that bears the stamp of God and God’s saving intentions, but that stamp is not thereby necessarily discerned in a mysterious manner, though knowledge of revelation may well be knowledge of a mystery. (66)
Revelation is the name we give knowledge that pertains to God. This knowledge we call revelation, because it is “about God”, is “revealed” in the story (or better a library of stories) of the Scriptures. What is “revealed” (about God) has to do with his (and his people’s) morality and identity and intentions etc. which are known, via the narrative, through acts of self-disclosure and propositional claims, “none of which can be isolated by themselves, but are intelligible only as they form a coherent narrative” (66). All of this of course, as stated above, may challenge our understanding of rationality or lead us into mystery but we have no less been revealed knowledge about God vis-à-vis the story.
Christians claim we learn most clearly who God is in the life and death of Jesus Christ. By learning to “imitate” Jesus we in fact become part of God’s very life and therein find our true home. We become holy by becoming citizens in God’s kingdom, thereby manifesting the unrelenting love of God’s nature.
If we have a “foundation” it is the story of Christ [which Christians affirm as the utmost revelation of knowledge of God and his character, identity, intentions etc.]…
Such a foundation is not extra-rational; indeed, it is a claim about reality – namely that our existence is God-given and -formed. Such a claim is properly interpreted, as are all claims, within a community that seeks to understand the world. At least the beginning of wisdom in human communities is the recognition that our lives are narrative dependent… That we Christians witness to a man’s life, a man called Jesus, who is the heartbeat of our life and the meaning and form of our existence becomes intelligible (and therefore rational) in light of such narrative dependency. (67-68)
[All quotes from The Peaceable Kingdom by Stanley Hauerwas]

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