Monday, 11 November 2013

Thoughts on God's wisdom (1)

The Shorter Catechism definition of God lists wisdom as one of the features of God which is infinite, eternal and unchangeable. Because it is infinite, his wisdom covers everything (includes the needs of angels, humans, and lower forms of creation); because it is eternal, his wisdom will never become dated (this includes the eternal state in the future as well as life now); because it is unchangeable, his wisdom can never be improved.

While the wisdom of God is linked to everything that God is and does, it is particularly connected to both his knowledge and his power. As far as his knowledge is concerned, God knows all possible things; as far as his power is concerned, God is capable of doing all possible things. But God does not exercise them apart from his wisdom. For example, in human terms, God could have had more than one way to accomplish an action; his wisdom is what caused the particular way to be chosen. Similarly, he could have utilised various aspects of his power to bring about the action; his wisdom is what decided how much power to exercise.

Wisdom is the facility to formulate ideal goals and to attain those ends by the best processes. Or as J. I. Packer puts it, ‘Wisdom is the power to see, and the inclination to choose, the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it.’

God’s wisdom is instantaneous. We are not to imagine God as sitting down and poring over a problem. He is never confused as to what to do with his knowledge nor is he ever baffled by a situation that he faces.

God’s wisdom is multi-faceted in that it is displayed in a wide variety of ways in every single situation. In every situation, he is working for his own glory, for the benefit of his own kingdom, for the downfall of opposition, for the good of his individual people, for the benefit of generations not yet born, and many more aspects.

When we think of God’s wisdom, our response should be similar to Paul in 1 Timothy 1:17: ‘Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen’ (1 Tim. 1:17), and to Jude in Jude 25: ‘To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.’

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