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Introduction

The postmodern era in which we live poses unprecedented challenges to the foundations
upon which traditional faith is based. Those of us who received a conservative religious
education were nurtured on the certainties of Jewish tradition: The Almighty created the
world in six days, revealed the Torah to Israel at Sinai and will redeem His people, and
with them the entire cosmos, at the end of days. In the New Testament, this idea of God
revealing Himself is evident in His son Jesus Christ our Lord and savior. Until the end of
days, we are bound to follow Gods will as expressed through the commandments of the
Torah and the new covenant through Jesus Christ.1
The contour of the postmodern discourse is quite different. We reside in a world of
relative truth, subjective reality and personal narratives. Claims to any metaphysical
truths are greeted with skepticism at best and most often with scorn. Postmodernity is
rooted in the Platonic distinction between ideal forms and particular instances. Immanuel
Kant drew a similar distinction between reality in itself, the noumenon, and the mere
perceptions of reality, the phenomenon. We do not perceive the world as it is. Only an
image of reality becomes known to us through our subjective sense perceptions. Today
we are left wondering whether there is anything beyond our subjective sense perceptions
at all. All that is left to believe in the postmodern world is the things that are perceptible
to the senses.2

1 http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Judaism/Is-belief-in-revelation-possible-inthe-postmodern-age
2 Ibid.
1

Today we inhabit a world in which we are assaulted by mass media and connected by the
Internet. Belief systems are seen to be products of the particular civilization that spawned
them. It would be the cardinal sin of postmodernity to insist on the absolute superiority of
the belief system of one civilization over another. As a matter of fact, postmodernity is
hostile toward any totalizing system of belief or interpretive method.
In this paper, are tackled the questions; despite the development in the postmodern world,
Does postmodernism do away with revelation? Is revelation still necessary? Is there an
opposition between postmodernism and revelation?

CHAPTER I: MODERNITY AND POSTMODERNITY


1.1.

Understanding the Concepts

According to the encyclopedia of religion, modern is a correlative term; it implies what


is new as opposed to what is ancient, what is innovative as opposed to what is traditional
or handed down.3
Modernism and modernization represents, respectively, the cultural and social attitudes
or programs dedicated to support what is modern. Modernism entails a kind of explicit
and self conscious commitment to the modern in the intellectual and cultural sphere.
Modernism is often pictured as pursuing truth, absolutism, linear thinking,
rationalism, certainty, the cerebral as opposed to the affective. Postmodernism,
by contrast, recognizes how much of what we 'know' is shaped by the culture in
which we live, is controlled by emotions and aesthetics and heritage, and in fact
can only be intelligently held as part of a common tradition, without overbearing
claims to be true or right.4

First, given the postmodernist critique of language, some are claiming that an emphasis
on the bible as propositional revelation is problematic or even errant. They argue that our
view of scripture must be re-evaluated. Community should take precedence over
3 The Encyclopedia of Religion, ed. Mircea Eliade, Vol. 10 (New York:
Macmillan Publishing company, 1987), p.18.
4 Carson, D. A., Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church (Grand
Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), p. 27.
3

doctrinal propositions. Others claim that theology should be primarily narratival in nature
and not systematic or abstract. Telling a Christian story should replace stipulating
Christian doctrine. These contentions need a careful investigation if theology and so to
the truths of revelation are to rise to the challenge of postmodernism.

1.2.

Historical development

Modernity is a product of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment during the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries. With the rise of the Enlightenment, there came a new guardian
of truth to replace the church: science. No longer would human beings stand for the
irrational musings and archaic dogmatism of religion. Science, with reason as the
foundation, was the new god and all intellectual theories had to bow and pay homage in
order to be seriously considered. Science viewed Christians as being naively committed
to ancient myths, unable to see past their bias and to take an objective and neutral look at
the world. So, modernity proffers the idea that mankind, armed with rationalism and
science, is able to access absolute truth and make unlimited progress toward a better life
for itself. Therefore, at its core, modernity is a celebration of human autonomy. Charles
Darwin, in his 1859 The Origin of Species, exhibited clearly the effects of modernity
when he referred to the Christian view of creation as a curious illustration of the
blindness of preconceived opinion.5
According to the Pascendi Dominici Gregis of Pope Pius X,

5 Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species (New York: The Modern Library,
1859), 369.
4

Modernists contrive to make the transition from Agnosticism, which is a state of pure
nescience, to scientific and historic Atheism, which is a doctrine of positive denial; and
consequently, by what legitimate process of reasoning, they proceed from the fact of
ignorance as to whether God has in fact intervened in the history of the human race or
not, to explain this history, leaving God out altogether, as if He really had not
intervened.6
Postmodernity, in contrast to modernity, rejects any notion of objective truth and insists
that the only absolute in the universe is that there are no absolutes. Tolerance is the
supreme virtue and exclusivity the supreme vice. Truth is not grounded in reality or in
any sort of authoritative text, but is simply constructed by the mind of the individual.
Postmodernity can well be defined thus:
It is a style of thought which is suspicious of the classical notion of truth, reason,
identity and objectivity, of the idea of universal progress or emancipation, of single
frameworks, grand narratives or ultimate grounds of explanation. Against these
enlightenment norms, is seen the world as contingent, ungrounded, diverse, unstable,
indeterminate, a set of disunified cultures or interpretations which breed a degree of
scepticism about the objectivity of truth, history and norms, the givenness of norms and
coherence of identities.7

6 Pope Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis (08/09/1907), No.6.


7 T. Eagleton, The Illusions of Postmodernism (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), vii.
5

The transition from the period of modernism to postmodernism is marked by the


statement that, all truth is relative. 8 The results of this transition have been predicable.
The new conclusions emerging from within postmodernism have shocked many people.
And rather than embracing the new morality and the new social mores, these people have
become the new counterculture. Like Old Testament prophets, they are foretelling an
impending doom upon Western culture unless it turns back, repent from its dalliance with
postmodernism and once again affirms the existence of absolute truth.9
1.3.

Arguments on Revelation in Modernity and Postmodernity

1.3.1. The Rationalism and the Agnosticism of Modernists


Some of the most famous characters in this age include; Immanuel Kant, whose view of
the subject of revelation is most fully set forth in his religion within the limits of pure
reason. Here he maintains that everything sound in religion derives its values from the
three postulates of practical reason, that is, immorality, freedom and God. 10 For him,
revelation is, at most, a means of communicating the deliverances of practical reason in
popular symbolic fashion and with the sanction of external, social authority. The true
church is not the external one but the internal one- and it is confined to the rational union
of the morally upright wills. In effect, this implies the reduction of religion to morality. 11
8 Robert C. Greer, Mapping Postmodernism: A Survey of Christian Option
(Madison: InterVarsity Press, 2003), p. 14.
9 Robert C. Greer, Op.Cit., p.15.
10 Avery Dulles, S.J, revelation Theology (London: Burns and Oates, 1970), p.
58.
11 Ibid., p. 58.
6

Kant argued that human knowledge is necessarily restricted to the phenomenal order and
that the transcendent could not be known, even through revelation.12
Friedrich Schlleiermacher said that there was a tendency to stress faith rather than
revelation and to depict faith as a sentiment or practical decision having little or no
cognitive import.13

1.3.2. The Deconstruction of the Postmodern Times


Deconstruction is a literary method of reading which effectively turns texts against
themselves.14 Some of the key contributors to deconstruction are; Roland Barthes (19151980), Michel Foucault (1926-1984), and Jacques Derrida (1930). For Derrida, a text
has no point of reference outside itself. Fixed meanings are generated by a mobile army
of metaphors.15 Deconstructionism boldly argues that there is no escape from the
hermeneutical circle, none whatsoever. As for words, not only is their meaning
constrained by other words (structuralism), but words are viciously self-limiting. In the
12 Avery Dulles, S.J., Models of Revelation (New York: Doubleday and
Company, Inc., 1983), p. 21.
13 Ibid., p.21.
14 Glen Wards, Teaching Yourself Postmodernism (Chicago, IL: McGraw-Hill,
2003), p. 211.
15 Donald A Carson. The Gagging of God: Christianity confronts
pluralism( Michigan: Zondervan, 1996), p 73.
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strongest form of deconstruction, not only is all meaning bound up irretrievably with the
knower, rather than with the text, but words themselves never have a referent other than
other words, and even then with an emphasis on irony and ambiguity - and plain
meaning of the text subverts itself. Language cannot in the nature of the case refer to
objective reality.16 This leads to a difficulty to the knowledge of absolute truth.
In the postmodern times, evangelicalism and fundamentalism tend to show the dark side
of revelation. The problem experienced here is the understanding of the notion of the
absolute truth. Christian people always illustrate some disagreement: one Christian
believes, with the bible in the hand, claims to understand and embrace absolute truth, yet
has profound disagreements with other Christians similarly endowed with the bible. 17 The
plethora of Christian denominations, most of which exist due to doctrinal disagreements
with other denominations that generated separations somewhere in their respective
histories, gives ample evidence that the question is not much whether one possesses
absolute truth, but rather whose version of absolute truth one espouses.

1.3.3. The Romanticism of Postmodernism


The Romantics elaborated the doctrines of the innocent, infinite and divine self.
According to Rorty, one of the Romantics, the modern self has been freed by the legacy
of the Romanticism to assume a thoroughly pragmatic, instrumental view if language.
Our present vantage point allows us to see that contemporary pragmatism has its origin in

16 Ibid., p.72.
17 Robert C. Greer, Mapping Postmodernism: A Survey of Christian Option
(Madison: InterVarsity Press, 2003), p.15.
8

the battle between science and literature that began with the Romantics. Rorty
acknowledges that the Romantic movement started as an effort to salvage the spiritual
legacy of Christian faith by planting the sources of that faith within the self. To make this
move, the Romantics relied upon the innocence of the self and the power of the
imagination.18 William Bulter Yeats, who spoke of himself as the last Romantic,
succinctly expressed this Romantic Faith;
All hatred driven hence,
The soul recovers radical innocence,
And learns as last that it is self-delighting,
Self-appeasing, self-affrighting,
And that its own sweet will is Heavens will.19

With this then one may conclude that the Romantics thesis is that the one thing needful
is to discover not which propositions are true but rather what vocabulary should we use.
With this thinking of the Romantics then there cannot be any divine revelation.

18 Timothy R. Phillips and Dennis L. Okholm, (Ed.), Apologetics in the


Postmodern World (Madison: InterVersity Press,1995), p.29.
19 Ibid., p. 29.
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CHAPTER II: REVELATION


2.1. Definition
In older authors revelation (in Latin, revelatio, and in Greek, apocalypsis) is usually
understood as an extraordinary psychic occurrence in which hidden things are suddenly
made known through mental phenomena search as visions and auditions.20
In the light of Vatican II: Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Liam
Walsh defines revelation as a gratuitous call to personal intimacy with the blessed

20 Avery Dulles, S.J., Models of Revelation (New York: Doubleday and


Company, Inc., 1983), p.19.
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Trinity. He describes revelation as an economy that is, a divine providence


directing men and their history towards salvation. 21

Among the scholars of the modernity and postmodernity, revelation had a different
meaning all together. Among the modernists includes J. G. Fichte and G. F. W. Hegel,
who held that revelation, rather than being a free, supernatural intervention of God, was a
necessary phase in the immanent progress of the human spirit toward the fully rational
truth of absolute philosophy.22 In opposition to this definition is the definition of the
orthodox theologians, both Protestants and Catholics. They defend the idea of revelation
as authentic knowledge gratuitously bestowed on the human race through divine
interventions, accredited by prophecy and miracle.23
For Karl Barth, revelation is an eschatological event in which the eternal is paradoxically
present in the historical, the infinite in the finite, the word of God in human words.24
In the years immediately preceding and following World War II, revelation theology was
enlivened by a flowering of biblical theology. Scripture scholars particularly stressed the
idea of revelation through the certain historical events whereby God addressed his

21Cf. Wilfrid Harrington, O.P., and Liam Walsh, O.P., Vatican II on Revelation
(Chicago: scepter books Dublin, 1967), p.31.
22 Avery Dulles, S.J., Models of Revelation, Op.cit., p.21.
23 Ibid., p.21.
24Cf. Avery Dulles, S.J., Models of Revelation, Op.cit., p.23.
11

people. All this contributed to the preparation for the very positive and forward- looking
statements of Vatican II, notably in its Constitution on Divine Revelation (1965).25
2.2. Revelation as the Experience of God

2.2.1. The General Meaning of Experience


We can begin our exploration of the meaning of experience by excluding at the outset the
more obviously deficient uses of the word. 26 For some, experience is synonymous with
reference to a form of subjective emotionalism. Here experience is reduced to the level of
euphoric outbursts of transient emotions. Such phenomena may be the result of a passing
psychological mood or they may be induced by artificial external stimuli. In either case
we are dealing with a situation that is temporary, superficial and unrepresentative of the
normal human condition. To this extent such experiences cannot be regarded as reliable
channels of human understanding. Others restrict the word experience to the passive
reception of sense-data out there. Here experience is confined exclusively to a direct
contact with the empirically given world. This empiricist view of experience must also be
rejected because of the large areas of life that are automatically excluded. A third and not
untypical view of experience is one which says that language determines the character of
all human experience. Not only is language descriptive of human experience, but it is also
prescriptive of human experience. The language we use in life determines the kind of

25Cf. Ibid.
26 Cf. E. Smith, Experience and God (New York: Oxford University Press,
1968), p.3.
12

experiences we have of the world around us.27 This particular outlook, even though it
does contain some truth, must also be put aside at this stage because it ignores the
spontaneity of experience and the drive inherent in such experiences for new expression.
These restrictive accounts of experiences alert us to some of the more obvious pitfalls
that are around when trying to work out a critical theology of experience.28
What then are the basic ingredients of a human experience? Experience involves first and
foremost a human subject and reality. By a human subject we mean an individual self that
is capable of seeing, feeling, thinking and discerning. The element of feeling, as distinct
from emotion, is important in the life of the human subject. On the other hand the word
reality embraces the external world as composed of spirit and matter in which the
subject lives. Following on this there must be some form of conscious encounter between
the subject and reality if there is to be any genuine experience. The word encounter
suggests a degree of contact between the subject and the world. It implies that within
experience we find something already there; we come up against reality as given, and
therefore prior to us. We confront persons and events in the world and we do so in such a
way that we receive whatever it is that we encounter without being responsible for
producing what we receive. Encounter, however, is only the beginning of experience
since within encounter we do not move beyond the surface of reality. Reality has more to
it than surfaces; it also has depth and breadth.

27Cf. P. Winch, The Idea of Social Science (London: Routledge and Keegan
Paul, 1953), p. 15.
28 http://www.catholicireland.net/the-experience-of-god-an-invitation-to-dotheology/
13

Moving from encounter we must go on to posit a process of interaction between the


subject and reality. It is through this process of interaction that experience begins to
actualise itself as event in the life of the subject. The interaction is composed of a chain
of events. These include a response or reaction from the subject, as conscious subject,
toward reality. Following on this, reality is refracted or broken back upon the subject.
This in turn evokes a process of critical reflection in the subject.
Experience, therefore, is the outcome of the interaction that takes place between the
subject and reality. Experience should not be located as something simply within the
subject who looks at life but rather as the outcome resulting from critical interaction
between the subject and reality. This qualification excludes the reduction of experience to
what Heidegger once called the mere gawking at objects lying out there. Experience is
a more complex process; it is the critical assessment of reality by the subject through the
movements of response, refraction and critical reflection. Within experience there is
always a reciprocal flow between the subject and reality which creates a new relationship,
a new level of personal participation, a deepened form of awareness and understanding in
the life of the individual. Thus experience is never merely subjective or objective. Such is
a false antithesis. It is, instead, that which emerges out of a living relationship between
the subject and reality.29

29 http://www.catholicireland.net/the-experience-of-god-an-invitation-to-dotheology/
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2.2.2. Revelation and Experience


Karl Rahner puts it very clear that, in all that I have written, is but to say this one simple
thing to my readers whether they know it or not, whether they reflect on it or not,
human beings are always and everywhere, in all times and places, oriented and directed
to that ineffable mystery we call God. 30 New experiences of God, shaped by already held
beliefs, in turn will correct ones previous interpretation of those beliefs and thereby
enrich future possible experiences.31
What is distinctive about Rahners theology of experience is his claim that everybody
experiences God, even though they may deny this or may not be consciously aware of it,
or may choose to interpret it non-theologically. Examples of the experience of God
include experiences of freedom and responsibility, the acceptance of death, the exercise
of duty without reward, and the expression of selfless love.32 Rahner seeks to rescue the
experience of God from being something peculiar to saints, the preserve of mystics, or
the privilege of the few: instead, he claims that every experience of God takes place in
the ordinary everyday experiences of life that everybody undergoes.33 Edward
Schillebeeckx asserts that the world of human experience is the only access to the saving
30 Cf. Ermot A. Lane, Stepping Stones to other Religions: A Christian
Theology of Inter-religious Dialogue (New York: Orbis Books, Maryknoll, 2011),
p. 135.
31 O. Rush, Sensus Fidei: Faith Making Sense of Revelation, Theological
Studies, June 2001, p.236.
32 Cf. Ermot A. Lane, Op.cit., p. 135.
33 Cf. Ibid.
15

reality of revelation and faith How could we listen to a revelation from God, how could
it be a revelation to man if it falls outside our experience?34
The experience of God is something that can never be adequately expressed in language;
there is always more to human experience than we are able to articulate. And yet we are
compelled all the time to name, articulate, objectify, conceptualise and thematise this
unobjective, unauthentic and transcendental experience.35
2.3. Revelation within the Scriptures
In the Old Testament, the historical experience of Exodus sealed by the covenant on
Mount Sinai, and issuing in the recognition of Yahweh as Creator, marks a vivid example
of God revealing Himself to his people Israel. In their acceptance, the Israelites reply all
with one voice, Everything the LORD has said, we will do. Then Moses brought back
to the LORD the response of the people. The LORD said to him, I am coming to you in
a dense cloud, so that when the people hear me speaking with you, they may also have
faith in you also. (Exodus 19: 8-9).
In the New Testament, the historical experience of Jesus as Mediator, Saviour of the
world and the incarnation of the Word of God made flesh, marks Gods revelation event
to the Christians.
For Rahner, a Christian theologian, the Christ- event appears as that unique,
unsurpassable, unrepeatable and irreversible moment within the history of the
34 Cf. E. Schillebeeckx, Faith Functioning in Human Self-Understanding, in
the Word in History (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1966), p.45.
35 Cf. Ermot A. Lane, Op.cit., p. 135.
16

transcendental experience of God and categorical revelation. The person of Christ is the
absolute break-through of Gods gracious self-communication to humanity and
humanitys free response to Gods invitation. This divine-human and human-divine
thresholds have been crossed in Jesus. Rahners theology of Grace and revelation reaches
fulfilment and finality in Jesus, the crucified and the risen one.36

36 Cf. Ibid., p.136.


17

CHAPTER III: ARE MODERNIY AND POSTMODERNITY OPPOSED TO


REVELATION?
Given the rationalism and the agnosticism of the modern age, and also the postmodernist
critique of language, some are claiming that an emphasis on the Bible as proportional
revelation is problematic or even errant. They argue that our view of scripture must be reevaluated. Community should take precedence over the doctrinal propositions. Theology
should primarily be seen as narrative in nature and not systematic or abstract. Telling the
Christian story should replace stipulating Christian doctrine. These contentions need a
careful investigation if theology is to rise to the challenge of postmodernism.
3.1. Understanding the Scriptural Revelation in a Postmodern World
Revelation in the bible is essentially a mental conception: Gods disclosure is rational and
intelligible communication. Issuing from the mind and the will of God, revelation is
addressed to the mind and will of human beings. As such it involves primarily the activity
of the consciousness that entails the thoughts and bares on the beliefs and actions of the
recipient.37
Some who impugn a high view of propositional revelation as reflecting an outmoded
modernist approach to theology, have confused the effects of Gods revelation with its
nature when they claim that revelation comes through the community of faith and the
experience of Christians. Gods revelation creates a community, whether the community
of ancient Israel, the early church, or the manifestations of the body of Christ around the

37 Carl F.H. Henry, God, Revelation, and Authority, III (Waco, TX: Word
Publishers, 1976), p.248.
18

world today. Revelation also produces relationships between believers and relationships
between believers and unbelievers. Revelation, when it is truly understood, likewise
induces certain emotions such as reverence for God, joy over salvation, sorrow over sin,
outrage over evil, and hope for the future restoration of the universe. But these
communities, relationships, and emotions ought to be rooted in Gods objective
revelation; they do not constitute or comprise that revelation itself.
When postmodernists seek to disparage meta-narratives, deconstruct truth into language
games, and render spirituality as a mixture of subjectivity compelling elements,
evangelicals must bring objective truth back to the table as the centerpiece of concern.
3.2. Karl Jaspers Christianity without Revelation
Karl Jaspers in his Philosophical Faith and Revelation, rejects the idea of revelation, by
which he understands a direct manifestation of God by word, command, action, or event
at a definite place and time. 38 He believes that there can be a Christian, who though his
faith is based on the bible, does not accept revelation in the normal sense of the word.
This Christian accepts biblical symbols, including prophecy, apostleship, and inspiration,
as ciphers to be tested by their capacity to light up human existence and point to the
inaccessible depths of transcendence.39 For Jaspers then, God is not a personal being but a
mere cipher for transcendence. He goes on even to say that there can never be any special

38 Cf. Avery Dulles, S.J., Models of Revelation, Op.cit., p. 10.


39 Ibid., p. 10.
19

presence of God in the church or the sacraments, views which he characterizes as


magical.40
If these views of Karl Jaspers were something to go up for, then we can say Jaspers as a
modernist existentialist, shows modernity as completely against revelation.
Such positions on Christian revelation are in error and miss the mark because they offend
against the fundamental understanding of transcendence.
Although the THAT of transcendence may be unquestionably experienced, its
WHAT remains hidden. There isnt anything at all that can be said about it, and
every attempt to realize it, to make it bodily and concretely present, falsifies
transcendence or extinguishes it. Transcendence remains and is only in the
disappearing of the object; it is without specification and knowability, without
form or figure.41

3.3. The Primacy of Revelation in Modernity and Postmodernity


The thinkers of the postmodern times bring in a pursuit of the subjective within all human
knowledge and in the writings of some authors, a radical pursuit of the temporalized
individual. These writers do not allow the existential, finite, temporal individual to be
swallowed up by some essential, objectifiable understanding of the human, much less by
some sort of grand scheme of universal being.

40 Ibid., p.11.
41 Heinrich Fries, Fundamental Theology, trans. Robert J. Daly, S.J. (Michigan:
The Catholic University of America Press, 1996), p. 259.
20

In all these discussions, the I of the human person who experiences a revealing God is
placed at the fringes of discussion.42 All the human person needs to understand is that
Gods revelation is inherently, intrinsically, and incorrigibly cognitive: its content fuels
our existential transformation as we submit to and internalize these truths , graciously
made known to us by the Spirit of Truth (John16: 13). Carl Henry, one of the defenders of
revelation in the postmodern times highlights that,
Revelation is actual only as God gives himself to our knowing. All a priori
conceptions, all conjectural postulations, all subjective expectations are
answerable to the subject to what is given through divine self- revelation. The
objective given reality which theology must begin is God manifesting himself in
his word.43

Revelation is Gods activity to make himself known in ways that bear on every dimension
of the human being, the mind, the emotion, and the will.
In the mind of a postmodern man, he employs logical fallacies without knowing it and the
stock of facts from which he argues is sometimes limited in ways that hinder reaching
sound conclusions. The greatest defect in human reasoning is seen in its vain attempts to
become autonomous of God and divine revelation. This is the fault of human hubris, not
of reason itself. Paul indicts such people: Although they claimed to be wise, they
became fools (Romans 1:22).

42 Cf. Kenan B. Osborne, Christian Sacraments in a Postmodern World: A


Theology for the Third Millennium (New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1999), p. 154155.
43 Carl F.H. Henry, God, Revelation, and Authority, III. Op. cit., p.275.
21

We can now deduce that the error of modernism was the construction of a false totality
based on autonomous reasoning and humanistic utopianism that excluded divine
revelation. The new error of postmodernism is the abandonment of metanarrative, the
embracing of relativism, and the endorsement of cultural constructivism. If Christians
cannot appeal to universal standards of rationality and morality in their apologetic and
their theological articulations, the postmodernist criticism of metanarratives ends up
eroding the very Christianity we seek to present to the postmodern world. The very
concept of divine revelation presupposes that those that receive that revelation do have
some access to objective reality. God has made himself known in creation, Christ and the
Scriptures. The postmodern mind applied in this sense of thinking proves with no doubt
that postmodernism is not opposed to revelation.

22

Conclusion
Gods revelation comes through historical events, (supernatural or otherwise), personal
experiences (Exodus 3; Isaiah 6), the witness of creation (psalm 19; Roman 1-2). Divine
revelation was given to people in various communities, but the source of the revelation
was not the community, but God working through communities to make the objective
truth known. Hence, Gods revelation is rational communication conveyed in intelligible
and meaningful words.
The error of the modernists is that of the exultation of human reason over revealed truths.
This renders divine revelation useless since the truths of revelation are not provable by
reason but rather through faith in propositional truths. The arguments of the modernists
proves to be insufficient because the human mind is limited and as such it is prone to
error. The question remains, from where does man acquire the absolute truth? To
answer this question, man has to transcend the limits of the insufficient reason and open
up to the transcendent truth given to us through divine revelation.
The relativity of the postmodernists is all in opposition to the Christian revelation. But
this need not act as a dead end of Christian revelation in our times. In the first place, it is
23

paradoxical how the postmodern man desires to experience spirituality, which can as well
be equated as the desire to experience God. Thus from the onset, postmodernism is in no
way a categorical rejection Christian revelation, but at the same time there is no any
categorical acceptance of the same Christian revelation by the postmodernist.
The postmodernists view of the one truth as truths further undermines the essence of the
Christian faith. To view truth as the product of contextual, linguistic, or community
construction is to eliminate the God of the Bible who states that He is the truth. If in any
way or by any means Man constructs truth, then it follows that God is a creation of that
construct. It is on this point that Postmodernism stands or falls. In fact, it is on this point
that Christianity stands or falls. If truth is not as the Bible presents it to be, then there can
be no biblical Christianity. While Christians must engage Postmodernism and live within
its cultural context, it must not and cannot accept its view of truth. The Church must
maintain a strong and unashamed commitment to the Biblical view of truth.
If the church does not remain vigilant in the postmodern age, there would be some
dangers against its mission. The first is the danger of assimilation, in which the church
tends to become like world around it. To avoid this danger, the message of revelation
should be delivered using a biblical methodology.
Another danger would be that of the church isolating itself from the world. We are called
upon not to abandon but rather to reach out to the world, to make sure the message of
revelation reaches out to every creature.
If Christian theology is to hold its ground and advance in confronting the challenges of
postmodernism, it must clearly and powerfully affirm propositional truth of God-inspired
24

Scripture and its know-ability. It must recognize and heed the demands and privileges of
Gods great cosmic story of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation. Nothing less
will meet the need of the postmodern hour.

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Pope Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis (08 september 1907) AAS:40 (1907) 593-650.
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Carson, D. A. Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church. Grand Rapids:
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Carson, Donald A. The Gagging of God: Christianity confronts pluralism. Michigan:
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Dulles, Avery S.J. Models of Revelation. New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1983.
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Dulles, Avery S.J. Revelation Theology. London: Burns and Oates, 1970.
Eagleton, T. The Illusions of Postmodernism. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.
Fries, Heinrich. Fundamental Theology, trans. Robert J. Daly, S.J. Michigan: The
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Henry, Carl F.H.. God, Revelation, and Authority, III. Waco, TX: Word Publishers, 1976.
Lane, Ermot A. Stepping Stones to other Religions: A Christian Theology of Interreligious Dialogue. New York: Orbis Books, Maryknoll, 2011.
Osborne, Kenan B. Christian Sacraments in a Postmodern World: A Theology for the
Third Millennium. New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1999.
Phillips, Timothy R. and Dennis L. Okholm, (Ed.), Apologetics in the Postmodern World.
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Schillebeeckx, E. Faith Functioning in Human Self-Understanding, in the Word in
History. New York: Sheed and Ward, 1966.

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Smith, E. Experience and God. New York: Oxford University Press, 1968.
Wards, Glen. Teaching Yourself Postmodernism. Chicago, IL: McGraw-Hill, 2003.
Winch, P. The Idea of Social Science. London: Routledge and Keegan Paul, 1953.

Internet Sources
http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Judaism/Is-belief-in-revelation-possible-in-thepostmodern-age
http://www.catholicireland.net/the-experience-of-god-an-invitation-to-dotheology/

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