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1. REVELATION THROUGH “THE WORD” (THE LOGOS).

This remarkable expression has had a history of its own, and would in itself have quite justified the publishers of the Religionsgeschichtliche Volksbücher in allowing the Fourth Gospel a separate treatment. In all religions, it has been found again and again that the deity, if men are to learn to know its will and to aim at following it, must reveal itself. This it does, according to the belief of different peoples, in very different ways. But when it does so, for example, by natural events, by serious misfortunes, men do not know at first what they on their part ought to do in order to remove its anger. Special means are needed to find this out. Wise men must explain the will of God, whether they read it in the stars or in the flight of birds or in the entrails of sacrificial animals, or in whatever it may be. The prospect of doing this is far more auspicious, if there are prophets with whom God—as they themselves are convinced—really speaks in their inner man, in such a way that they can directly reproduce God’s very words. It is not without reason, for example, that Muhammed in the Koran again and again emphasises the fact that he has proclaimed to his people “in clear Arabic” the will of God. But in the Old Testament, in which we have such abundant information about the prophets, there are “false” prophets besides the “true”; yet these quite certainly considered themselves to be the true, and the distinction between the two classes was of such real difficulty, that rules are given about it in the Bible itself which are quite impracticable and even contradictory (Deut. xviii. 20-22; xiii. 2-6). Clearly then the most helpful thing that could happen would be for a divine being, who could 142not make mistakes, to appear himself upon earth in order to speak immediately with men. Such a being would really deserve to be called the incarnate “word of God.”

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