“God reveals Himself in His works to be such as He is. From His revelation we learn to know Him. Hence there can be no rest for man until he rises above and beyond the creature to God Himself.
In the study of revelation our concern must be a concern to know God. Its purpose is not to teach us certain sounds and to speak certain words. Its primary purpose is to lead us through the creatures to the Creator and to cause us to rest in the Father’s heart.
The revelation which proceeds from God, and which has God as its content, also has God as its purpose. This revelation is of Him and through Him, and it is to Him also; He has made all things for Himself (Rom. 11:36 and Prov. 16:4).
Although the knowledge of God, which is shared in His revelation, is and remains essentially different from His own self-knowledge, it is nevertheless so rich, so broad, and so deep that it can never be wholly absorbed in the consciousness of any rational creature.
The angels far exceed man in point of understanding, and they do always look upon the face of the Father who is in heaven (Matt. 18:10), but they nevertheless desire to look into the things which are reported to us by them that have preached the Gospel (1 Peter 1:12).
And as people think more and more deeply into the revelation of God they are the more impelled to cry out with Paul: O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out (Rom. 11:33)!
Revelation, therefore, cannot have its final purpose in man; in part it passes him by and soars on beyond him.
It is true that man has an important place in revelation. It is directed to mankind in order that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him (Acts 17:27), and the Gospel must be preached to all creatures so that, believing, they might have eternal life (Mark 16:15–16 and John 3:16, 36).
But this cannot be the final and highest purpose of revelation. God cannot rest in man. Rather, it belongs to man to know and serve God, in order that he, together with and at the head of all creatures, should give God the honor due Him for all His works.
In His revelation, whether it passes through man or alongside of him, God is preparing Himself praise, glorifying His own name, and spreading out before His own eyes in the world of His creatures His excellences and perfections. Because revelation is of God and through God, it has its end and purpose also in His glorification.
This whole revelation, which is of God and through Him, has its mid-point and at the same time its high-point in the person of Christ.
It is not the sparkling firmament, nor mighty nature, nor any prince or genius of the earth, nor any philosopher or artist, but the Son of Man that is the highest revelation of God.
Christ is the Word become flesh, which in the beginning was with God and which was God, the Only-Begotten of the Father, the Image of God, the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person; who has seen Him has seen the Father (John 14:9).
In that faith the Christian stands. He has learned to know God in the person of Jesus Christ whom God has sent.
God Himself, who said that the light should shine out of the darkness, is the One who has shined in His heart in order to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6).
But from this high vantage point the Christian looks around him, forwards, backwards, and to all sides. And if, in doing so, in the light of the knowledge of God, which he owes to Christ, he lets his eyes linger on nature and on history, on heaven and on earth, then he discovers traces everywhere of that same God whom he has learned to know and to worship in Christ as his Father.
The Sun of righteousness opens up a wonderful vista to him which streches out to the ends of the earth. By its light he sees backwards into the night of past times, and by it he penetrates through to the future of all things.
Ahead of him and behind the horizon is clear, even though the sky is often obscured by clouds.
The Christian, who sees everything in the light of the Word of God, is anything but narrow in his view. He is generous in heart and mind. He looks over the whole earth and reckons it all his own, because he is Christ’s and Christ is God’s (1 Cor. 3:21–23).
He cannot let go his belief that the revelation of God in Christ, to which he owes his life and salvation, has a special character.
This belief does not exclude him from the world, but rather puts him in position to trace out the revelation of God in nature and history, and puts the means at his disposal by which he can recognize the true and the good and the beautiful and separate them from the false and sinful alloys of men.”
–Herman Bavinck, The Wonderful Works of God (trans. Henry Zylstra; Glenside, PA: Westminster Seminary Press, 1909/2019), 19-21.