14 • Part I. The Creed: The Faith Professed
Revelation is the act by which God speaks to and forms a covenant
The covenant between God and humanity was first established
with Noah after the great Flood, when God in his mercy promised that
never again would there be a catastrophe that threatens the existence of
all of humanity. God entered into a covenant later with Abraham and
then with the people of Israel at the time of their exodus from slavery in
Egypt under the leadership of Moses. He affirmed that they will always
be his people.
This is the grand drama of the dialogue between God and his people
that takes place in the lived history of the people encompassed by his
love. It includes the people’s inspired interpretation of historical events
that reflects an ever greater understanding of God’s will and presence as
they advanced on their pilgrimage through the centuries.
It requires faith to respond to God’s revealing word and to perceive
the divine action in history. There are those who do not have faith or
who consciously reject living in faith. They cannot or will not perceive
God’s presence or action in the world and sometimes scoff at or ridicule
those who do. But for many people, God makes faith possible and with
the guidance of the Holy Spirit faith helps those people to grow in an
appreciation of how God has worked in history to love and save us.
God’s Revelation disturbed and changed the patriarchs, prophets,
Apostles, and others.When Moses encountered God in the burning bush,
Moses trembled and took off his shoes, for he stood on holy ground (cf.
Ex 3:1-6). Isaiah beheld the glory of God, and when the vision disap-
peared he saw himself in a brand-new light, “Woe is me, I am doomed!
For I am a man of unclean lips” (Is 6:5). Faced with the revelation of
divine power in Jesus, Peter begged, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a
sinful man” (Lk 5:8). Revelation calls for a response of faith and conver-
sion, not just in times past, but today as well.
Because the Christian covenant is definitive, there will be no new
public Revelation until the final glorious manifestation of Jesus Christ
at the end days (DV, no. 4). All that is needed for salvation has already
1 A covenant was originally a treaty in which an overlord and a vassal accepted certain
responsibilities toward each other. In the Old Testament, this idea of covenant became
the primary analogy for the relationship between God and his people.