Attributes of God: Lesson 10: God is Wise

Description

God is wise (Job 9:4, 12:13, Dan 2:20, Rom 11:33, 16:27).[1] What exactly does this mean? In order to answer this question, we must first distinguish between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is the possession/accumulation of facts. Wisdom goes a step further. Wisdom is the proper use/application of facts. Knowledge describes mental/intellectual ability, wisdom moral/ethical ability. One can possess a lot of knowledge and yet be unwise. Likewise, one can have relatively little knowledge and yet be wise.[2] This does not imply, however, that knowledge is unimportant. We should make every effort to acquire as much knowledge as possible, for it is only by possessing knowledge that we can make proper use of it. God is both omniscient and wise. He perfectly knows all facts and how to perfectly use them (Rom 11:33). Being omnipotent, He has the ability to perfectly use them (see Job 9:4, 12:13, and Dan 2:20, where God’s wisdom is conjuncted with His power). “God applies His knowledge in such a way that the best means are employed to achieve the highest ends in order to glorify Him the most” (McCune, p. 102). Tozer (p. 60) defines God’s wisdom as “the ability to devise perfect ends and to achieve those ends by the most perfect means.”

God makes no mistakes. Everything He does is perfect. Nothing God does can be improved upon. Nothing can be added to or taken away from what God does in order to make it better (Ecc 3:14). Thus, AT EVERY MOMENT, IT IS THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS (McCune).


Display

God’s wisdom is displayed in creation. O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all (Ps 104:24; cf. Prov 3:19, Jer 10:12, 51:15).

God’s wisdom is displayed in salvation. So that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places (Eph 3:10). See also Romans 11:33, regarding which Grudem (p. 193) states: “At the end of eleven chapters of reflection on the wisdom of God’s plan of redemption, Paul bursts forth into spontaneous praise: ‘O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!’ (Rom. 11:33).”

Design

God’s glory. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him (Ecc 3:14, NIV). The primary reason why God does anything is to bring honor and glory to Himself. Being God, He has no other choice but to do so. He would be unjust were He not to give Himself the honor and glory which He so richly deserves.[3]

Our good. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). God does not do things to us, so much as He does things for us.

“All God’s acts are done in perfect wisdom, first for His own glory, and then for the highest good of the greatest number for the longest time” (Tozer, p. 60). A prime example of this two-fold design of God’s wisdom is seen in the raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11). Obviously, Lazarus’s resurrection was very beneficial to several individuals (especially to Lazarus). Notice, however, the ultimate reason for this great miracle, as declared by Christ prior to the fact: “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it” (John 11:4; cf. John 9:3).

Some Implications of God’s Wisdom

Because God is wise, we should glorify Him. To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen (Rom 16:27). See also Paul’s doxology in Romans 11:33-36.  

Because God is wise, we should never question what He does. Whenever we consider what God does, we must remember that we are looking at such from a very limited perspective. Being finite, we do not know all that God knows. Therefore, we should be careful not to question God’s character by accusing Him of being unwise in His dealings with us (the reason why God takes the sin of complaining so seriously–cf. 1 Cor 10:10). No matter how “bad” something might seem to us, it is in reality a good thing. Though we may not immediately (if ever) understand how, God is being glorified and man is being benefitted by it.

Because God is wise, we should trust Him. Just as a child must trust the wisdom of his parents to know and do what is best for him, so must we trust the wisdom of our Heavenly Father to know and do what is best for us. See Proverbs 3:5 and 1 Peter 4:19.

 

[1]God’s wisdom is sometimes referred to as His “omnisapience” (omni, all + sapience, wisdom).

[2]“The Bible’s assessment of a smart person without God is ‘fool’ (1 Cor 1:20), and the humblest, least literate, untutored, but pious person is, in God’s eyes, truly wise. How reversed we usually have it!” (Proverbs: A Commentary on an Ancient Book of Timeless Advice by Robert Alden, p. 22).

[3]“God must choose his own glory ahead of all else. As the only infinite being, this is what he must do. To put something else in the primary place would in effect be a case of idolatry” (Erickson, p. 288).

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