The fact of religion consists wholly in the religious experience of rational and average human beings. And this is the only sense in which religion can ever be regarded as scientific or even psychological. The proof that revelation is revelation is this same fact of human experience: the fact that revelation does synthesize the apparently divergent sciences of nature and the theology of religion into a consistent and logical universe philosophy, a co-ordinated and unbroken explanation of both science and religion, thus creating a harmony of mind and satisfaction of spirit which answers in human experience those questionings of the mortal mind which craves to know how the Infinite works out his will and plans in matter, with minds, and on spirit.
Reason is the method of science; faith is the method of religion; logic is the attempted technique of philosophy. Revelation compensates for the absence of the morontia viewpoint by providing a technique for achieving unity in the comprehension of the reality and relationships of matter and spirit by the mediation of mind. And true revelation never renders science unnatural, religion unreasonable, or philosophy illogical.
Reason, through the study of science, may lead back through nature to a First Cause, but it requires religious faith to transform the First Cause of science into a God of salvation; and revelation is further required for the validation of such a faith, such spiritual insight.
There are two basic reasons for believing in a God who fosters human survival:
1. Human experience, personal assurance, the somehow registered hope and trust initiated by the indwelling Thought Adjuster.
2. The revelation of truth, whether by direct personal ministry of the Spirit of Truth, by the world bestowal of divine Sons, or through the revelations of the written word.
Science ends its reason-search in the hypothesis of a First Cause. Religion does not stop in its flight of faith until it is sure of a God of salvation. The discriminating study of science logically suggests the reality and existence of an Absolute. Religion believes unreservedly in the existence and reality of a God who fosters personality survival. What metaphysics fails utterly in doing, and what even philosophy fails partially in doing, revelation does; that is, affirms that this First Cause of science and religion’s God of salvation are one and the same Deity.
Reason is the proof of science, faith the proof of religion, logic the proof of philosophy, but revelation is validated only by human experience. Science yields knowledge; religion yields happiness; philosophy yields unity; revelation confirms the experiential harmony of this triune approach to universal reality.
The contemplation of nature can only reveal a God of nature, a God of motion. Nature exhibits only matter, motion, and animation—life. Matter plus energy, under certain conditions, is manifested in living forms, but while natural life is thus relatively continuous as a phenomenon, it is wholly transient as to individualities. Nature does not afford ground for logical belief in human-personality survival. The religious man who finds God in nature has already and first found this same personal God in his own soul.
Faith reveals God in the soul. Revelation, the substitute for morontia insight on an evolutionary world, enables man to see the same God in nature that faith exhibits in his soul. Thus does revelation successfully bridge the gulf between the material and the spiritual, even between the creature and the Creator, between man and God.
The contemplation of nature does logically point in the direction of intelligent guidance, even living supervision, but it does not in any satisfactory manner reveal a personal God. On the other hand, nature discloses nothing which would preclude the universe from being looked upon as the handiwork of the God of religion. God cannot be found through nature alone, but man having otherwise found him, the study of nature becomes wholly consistent with a higher and more spiritual interpretation of the universe.
Revelation as an epochal phenomenon is periodic; as a personal human experience it is continuous. Divinity functions in mortal personality as the Adjuster gift of the Father, as the Spirit of Truth of the Son, and as the Holy Spirit of the Universe Spirit, while these three supermortal endowments are unified in human experiential evolution as the ministry of the Supreme.
True religion is an insight into reality, the faith-child of the moral consciousness, and not a mere intellectual assent to any body of dogmatic doctrines. True religion consists in the experience that “the Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” Religion consists not in theologic propositions but in spiritual insight and the sublimity of the soul’s trust.
Your deepest nature—the divine Adjuster—creates within you a hunger and thirst for righteousness, a certain craving for divine perfection. Religion is the faith act of the recognition of this inner urge to divine attainment; and thus is brought about that soul trust and assurance of which you become conscious as the way of salvation, the technique of the survival of personality and all those values which you have come to look upon as being true and good.
The realization of religion never has been, and never will be, dependent on great learning or clever logic. It is spiritual insight, and that is just the reason why some of the world’s greatest religious teachers, even the prophets, have sometimes possessed so little of the wisdom of the world. Religious faith is available alike to the learned and the unlearned.
Religion must ever be its own critic and judge; it can never be observed, much less understood, from the outside. Your only assurance of a personal God consists in your own insight as to your belief in, and experience with, things spiritual. To all of your fellows who have had a similar experience, no argument about the personality or reality of God is necessary, while to all other men who are not thus sure of God no possible argument could ever be truly convincing.
Psychology may indeed attempt to study the phenomena of religious reactions to the social environment, but never can it hope to penetrate to the real and inner motives and workings of religion. Only theology, the province of faith and the technique of revelation, can afford any sort of intelligent account of the nature and content of religious experience.