How did people know about God before the Bible?
Question: “How did people know about God before the Bible?”
Answer: Even though people did not have the Word of God, they were not without the ability to receive, understand and obey God before there was a Bible as we know it. In fact, there are many areas of the world today where Bibles are not available, yet people still can and do know about God. The issue is one of revelation—God’s revealing to man what He wants us to know and understand about Himself. While there has not always been a Bible, there have always been means for man to receive and understand God’s revelation. There are two categories of revelation, general and special.
General revelation deals with that revelation from God universally to all mankind. The external aspect of general revelation are those things which God must be the cause or source of. Because these things exist, God must also exist in order to have put them into existence. Romans 1:20 tells us “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” So all men and women everywhere can look at the creation and know that God exists. Psalm 19:1-4 further explains that the creation speaks clearly of God in a language that all understand. “There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard” (verse 3). The revelation from nature is clear. No one can excuse himself because of ignorance. There is no alibi for the atheist, and there is no excuse for the agnostic.
Another aspect of general revelation—that which God has revealed to everyone—is in the existence of our conscience. This is internal. “What may be known of God is manifest in them” (Romans 1:19). People today, because of what they have on the inside, are conscious that God exists. These two aspects of general revelation are clearly seen in the countless stories of missionaries coming upon native tribes who have never seen a Bible or heard of Jesus. Yet, when the plan of salvation is presented to them, they know that God exists because they see evidence of Him in nature, and they know they need a Savior because their consciences convict them of their sin and their need of Him…
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