Document Type : Research Paper
PhD Student, College of Farabi, University of Tehran, Qom, Iran
Associate Professor, College of Farabi, University of Tehran, Qom, Iran
There are three views to revelation in Christianity. According to propositional revelation, the salvation of humanity can be achieved only through the clear and enlightening words of the Bible. In the experimental revelation, the emphasis is on the divine unveiling and the personal relationship between God and human. The third approach introduces revelation as a historical incident. Christian thinkers have provided various opinions for or against these three approaches. One of these figures is Carl Rahner, a contemporary Christian theologian, who has offered concepts similar to these three approaches. In his conceptualization, he deems these three types of revelation as levels of salvations arranged vertically, moving from the experimental revelation/universal salvation of all humans through propositional revelation to the Christianity-specific salvation. From Rahner’s viewpoint, the transcendent revelation is the precondition for understanding the universe, which is accessible due to the infusion of grace and metaphysical existence. The universal categorical revelation can be achieved through God’s unveiling in history, while the specific categorical revelation can be attained through Jesus. All in all, from the viewpoint of Rahner, revelation entails all three experimental, historical, and propositional essences but at different levels. Rahner’s perception of revelation and salvation is to some extent close to those of thinkers such as Hans Küng, John Hick, Karl Barth, and Friedrich Schleiermacher, with different levels of adherence to the church teachings as the differentiating factor. Deriving from his perception of revelation, Rahner’s theory of “anonymous Christians” deems salvation possible for the non-Christians, and so allows for religious inclusivity. However, he believes that achieving absolute salvation is possible only through conscious adoption of Christianity.