General knowledge is based on common experience and is available to everyone. No special training or vocabulary are necessary for general knowledge. It is also called ‘general revelation’ and ‘common knowledge’. This is the knowledge that realist philosophy builds on.
General sciences are the areas of general knowledge. In philosophy these are metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Since the existence of God and creation may be demonstrated from general knowledge, there is a general science of theology. General creation is general knowledge of creation.
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Special knowledge is based on uncommon experience that is available only to those who make a special study of them and learn their special vocabulary. The special sciences such as chemistry and physics are forms of special knowledge. They begin with general knowledge but then add special studies of particular aspects of general knowledge. This is the knowledge that anti-realist philosophy builds on.
Special revelation is another form of special knowledge; it requires knowledge of revelatory texts and faith in their message. Special creation is special revelation or knowledge about creation such as the special status of humanity.
Special knowledge in the light of special revelation is different from special revelation in the light of special knowledge. Here is a diagram of their relationship:
General knowledge/revelation ⇒ special knowledge1 ⇒ special revelation2 vs.
General revelation/knowledge ⇒ special revelation1 ⇒ special knowledge2
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Examples of general revelation in the Bible:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1
Examples of special revelation in the Bible:
Genesis 1:2 – 3:24; Romans 16:25; I Corinthians 14; II Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 3:3; Revelation 1:1