Bavinck: The Names And Revelation Of God Are An Accommodation To Our Weakness

God’s revealed names do not reveal his being as such but his accommodation to human language. Scripture is accommodated language; it is anthropomorphic through and through. God himself is described in human terms via human faculties, body parts, emotions, sensations, and actions… We rightly use anthropomorphic language because God accommodated himself to creatures by revealing his name in and through creatures. We cannot see God himself; we can only see him in his works and name him in accordance with his self-revelation in his works… Of course, all our knowledge of God is ectypal or derived from Scripture. Only God’s self-knowledge is adequate, underived, or archetypal. Yet our finite, inadequate knowledge is still true, pure, and sufficient. Ectypal knowledge must not be seen as merely symbolic, a product of poetic imagination. God then becomes mere projection and religion mere subjective art. Christian theology teaches the opposite. We are God’s creation; he is not ours. While our knowledge of him is accommodated and limited, it is no less real, true, and trustworthy. As God reveals himself, so he truly is. His revealed attributes truly reveal his nature.

Herman Bavinck | Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 2: God and Creation, trans. John Vriend, ed. John Bolt (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 128–129.


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