In Walton’s Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament, he writes, “With no revelation . . . there was no way to know what pleased and what angered . . . This is the plight of those who live in a world without revelation. In the end, for all of their conscientious ritual, they did not know what deity wanted” (p. 145). Please post a 400-word response to Walton’s statement. Discuss the importance of revelation to God and the biblical writers. Seek to answer questions like “Was it important for God to reveal himself to mankind? If so, in what ways has God revealed himself? How important was revelation to the prophets who often used the phrase ‘Thus says the Lord?’
When I look Walton’s quote, it is something that I entirely agree with. I also look at this from the standpoint of how it applies in the culture today in 21st Century America. Before tackling current affairs, It will be important to look at the past.
The first thing is that without having revelation from God, there could only be speculation on what God wanted, but there would be no conclusive evidence for them. We can look at our finite world and conclude some things about God. Romans 1:20 is proof that humanity knows about God (specifically His divine nature and His Eternal Power) solely based upon His creation and the world we live in. This makes it so that no culture ever can say there is no God. In earlier cultures, the people often lived as if there was no god, or else that the god could be manipulated by their actions through gods pleasure or displeasure of what they do. This is why in some ways it becomes humorous looking back on history. When there is no revelation, how do you know what pleases or displeases god? The only thing to do would be to base it on what brings you success, but that could be murder or theft or just planting a crop and working hard. But what happens when the same thing that brought favor previously produces unfavorable results a second time? This is where it becomes interesting to watch as societies developed attempting to give attributes to God and figure out the actions that please or displease the unknown god.
I want to bring this topic out from the past to present day society though because parallels can be found in the groups that attempt to remove God from their life now. Once again, society will face the same dilemmas. Without the morals that are revealed by a God who explicitly tells us how to behave, there is no reason for a person to behave in a manner except that which benefits their wants and desires. Ultimately, due to the fact that people do live in relation to one another, there must come a rational reason to choose between the interests of the group and the interests of an individual. There either tends to be an argument for the greatest good for the greatest number of people or the desire for each person to do whatever they want which ultimately results in anarchy inherent in everyone trying to please their self. Without revelation from God, a country and a world will tend toward one of these two situations which come back to Waltons idea that it is necessary for God to reveal himself so that humanity can know what to do instead of following the whims of individuals and the results of ones actions.