The Difference between General and Special Revelations
Revelation is the free act of God by which He graciously condescends to display and reveal His character, nature, and will to mankind. God has revealed Himself by what we categorize as general and special revelation. General revelation is broad in scope, available to mankind as a whole, but its composition is inherently non-redemptive. For instance, this is evidenced by creation in its various forms, which displays God’s glory but lacks the salvation message (Romans 1:20). Also, the human conscience is an indication of God’s general revelation and is an imperfect reflection of God’s law.
Is general revelation important? Yes. It is effective in communicating the existence of God and His moral law and will be the standard for personal judgment for those who do not have faith in Christ. Although general revelation is a sufficient basis for judgment, it in itself does not reveal the Gospel.
Special revelation is the appearance or manifestation of specific communication, especially involving God’s redemptive will. The most compelling example is the coming of Jesus Christ to Earth to reveal the Father and to provide our redemption. The authors of Scripture received special revelation in theophanies, dreams, angels, and, in some instances, by personally witnessing the recorded events. All those who wrote the Scripture did so under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit so that we might have available a precise, written revelation which we believe tells us all God wants us to know about Him and His purposes.