January 16, 2013
v. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture, and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole, (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the word in our hearts.
The point here that the Confession is concerned to make is that there are evidences and testimonies to Scripture's authority, and to God's existence. But the question remains oftentimes as to the presuppositions behind those evidences. Scripture's authority, therefore, is not established by man, nor is it given by man. Rather, it is intrinsic to its character because of its source. Scripture is essentially authoritative; that is its nature.
It is important here to consider that, given the authority of special revelation, we should expect that natural revelation would have the same qualities. Natural revelation is itself authoritative. Because it is God's 'speech' (Ps 19:1-2), it carries the same authority as His spoken word. As authoritative, whatever God says through creation itself needs no verification by man. This means that there is a self- authentication in natural revelation, just as there is in special revelation. Paul seems to indicate in Rom 1:18ff. that the very revealing of God in and through creation guarantees the knowledge of God. God's revelation gets through because it comes to creatures, from the Creator, with all the authority that such a thing entails. God's revelation in nature is just as authoritative as His revelation in His Word.