Pannenberg develops an understanding of revelation that takes the anthropological critique seriously. By determining to pursue his theology by locating its content solely on the self-revelation of God and not human reflection, Pannenberg seeks to answer the criticisms of modernity and not retreat into a pre-modern theological world. Since all truth is by definition located in God, its reception in any form is the reception of the truth of God. This reality makes the theologian a dialogue partner in the public discourse over truth within all academic fields, including the sciences. For Pannenberg, the non-objectifiability of God and truth applies to all human attempts, scientific or theological, and all hypotheses anticipate final attestation. In light of the transcendence of God theology, like all other hypotheses and truth claims, it remains tenuous and thus truth can be both presupposed and sought after simultaneously. The revelation of God is then a revelation of truth and should not be partitioned from any part of humanity’s search for truth. Yet Pannenberg recognizes that to understand the revelation of God, he must establish what God as a concept means, for the word God has a problematic nature in the world today. In order for theology to include the question of God within itself, God as a concept must be clarified. The sharp distinction Pannenberg draws in defining the function of the word God is that God should properly interpret our experience of finite reality as the infinite one and not vice versa so that our experience of the world serves as the interpreter of God. This distinction is developed in his dismissal of natural theology as an appropriate theological discipline and his development of natural knowledge as a non-anthropological alternative. Natural theology is the demonstration of the reality of God through the use of human reason and human experience. If knowledge of God could be established within these limits, the proofs of God’s existence would need to be universally convincing because all other parts of natural theology depend upon the establishment of God first and they are not. Natural knowledge, however, has God as its source and is distinguishable from the finite object that may serve as a medium. All revelation of God assumes some form of previous knowledge of God. If this previous knowledge is then traced back to the point where previous knowledge is no more, then there is a non-thematic awareness of God. This knowledge is not knowledge proper and does not have God as its object, but is the first cause of divine awareness that makes the reception of all future revelations of God possible and as such our non-thematic awareness is part of our original situation as created beings.
by Tripp Fuller