Stages of Revelation

Cathal Barry explores the stages at which God reveals himself to humanity

God provides men with constant evidence of himself in created realities. And furthermore, wishing to open up the way to salvation, he manifested himself to our first parents from the very beginning. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it: ìHe invited them to intimate communion with himself and clothed them with resplendent grace and justice.î

The Catechism tracks the stages of Godís Revelation. It notes that after the unity of the human race was shattered by sin, ìGod at once sought to save humanity part by partî.

Divine economy

According to the Catechism, the covenant with Noah after the flood gives expression to the principle of the divine economy toward the nations. It says Scripture ìexpresses the heights of sanctity that can be reached by those who live according to the covenant of Noahî, waiting for Christ to ìgather into one the children of God who are scattered abroadî (John 11:52).

In order to gather together scattered humanity, God calls Abraham to be ìthe father of a multitude of nations,î the Catechism says.

Furthermore, it notes the people descended from Abraham would be the trustees of the promise made to the patriarchs, ìthe chosen people, called to prepare for that day when God would gather all his children into the unity of the Churchî. ìThey would be the root on to which the Gentiles would be grafted, once they came to believe,î the Catechism says.


ìThe patriarchs, prophets and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honoured as saints in all the Churchís liturgical traditions,î it adds.

After the patriarchs, the Church teaches that God formed Israel as his people by freeing them from slavery in Egypt. The Catechism states: ìHe established with them the covenant of Mount Sinai and, through Moses, gave them his law so that they would recognise him and serve him as the one living and true God, the provident Father and just judge, and so that they would look for the promised Saviour.î

Through the prophets, the Catechism notes ìGod forms his people in the hope of salvation, in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for all, to be written on their heartsî. The prophets ìproclaim a radical redemption of the People of God, purification from all their infidelities, a salvation which will include all the nations,î it says.