How Does God Speak?
The Nature of Revelation and Inspiration
How does God communicate with human beings? The Bible tells us that "Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son" (Hebrews 1:1, 2, NRSV). Jesus Christ was God's ultimate revelation to the human race. His person, His message, and His ministry demonstrated clearly and persuasively that Divinity wished to communicate with humanity.
Christ Himself informed His followers that the Holy Spirit would act as His representative in continuing to communicate the divine message through His messengers. Jesus said that the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, "will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you." "He will guide you into all the truth" (John 14:26; 16:13 NRSV).
God's communication system involves a combination of divine and human characteristics that makes the prophetic message unique. The relationship between the divine message (perfect, infallible, eternal) and the human messenger (imperfect, fallible, mortal) is not always perceived in proper perspective. Some, emphasizing the divine, are troubled by apparent discrepancies or by language that reveals the humanness of the messenger. Others, emphasizing the human, attempt to define what is inspired and what is not, thus minimizing the authority of God's message.
The two exhibits in "Ellen G. White's Understanding of How God Speaks" represent Ellen G. White's own understanding of the way God communicates through His prophets. These are followed in this section by an article on "The Dynamics of Inspiration."
The Reference Library offers additional information regarding such questions as, "What is meant by the terms inspiration and revelation?" "Do true prophets ever err?" "What are we to make of inspired writers borrowing the language of uninspired sources?" "What about unfulfilled predictions of genuine prophets?" See "Inspiration/Revelation: What It Is and How It Works."
Selected Issues Regarding Inspiration and the Life and Work of Ellen G. White