Chapter 10 begins with a very brief treatment of God’s attributes separating them into the classic categories of communicable (attributes which Man shares with God in being created in his image) and non-communicable (that which apply only to God)
Wisdom, as a shared attribute of God and Man, is treated in this chapter…what does it mean for man to receive Wisdom from God? Packer says clearly that it is not a God’s eye view of all things, all acts of providence so that we see clearly all pieces of every puzzle. Believers asking for this, and expecting this will indeed be disappointed (even depressed – see page 103)
To describe what wisdom is, Packer employs a great analogy of driving a car. As we learn to drive, we then begin to get to the point, to see and do the right thing at the right situations. Such is the way we garner divine wisdom for life – we learn to do the right things at the right times. Not only this but we learn to SEE the world in its proper light – Packer calls this a proper realism (Packer 103, 104) – seeing the world for what it is. Living in unrealism (as Packer puts it) is cured by wisdom not simply orthodox doctrine. Wisdom is expressed greatly in the Biblical text of Ecclesiastes…
What remains in the chapter is a short but excellent introduction to Ecclesiastes, what do we see in life if we take of the unrealistic “rose colored glasses”:
- Life’s background is the seemingly meaningless cycles of nature
- Death visits all – whether wise or foolish, man or animal, good or evil – all die
- Evil is afoot on many corners of our world
- One sees all this and despairs, even contemplates if all of life is a mere vanity.
Indeed, one is very frustrated trying to see every purpose under heaven to which we have not been given full knowledge. What then of wisdom? What is wise for the finite human being to do?
- Fear God, Keep his commandments
- To Do Good
- To enjoy the Present
- Realize certain pleasures are good gifts from God
- Seek his grace to labor hard at whatever we do
- Enjoy your work
- Enjoy God in the process
Such is the wisdom of God that he gives to us – a wisdom that has us to cling to him, love him, seek knowledge in faith or as the medievals taught us – to have a faith that seeks understanding…St. Anselm was right in saying – in our pursuits of knowledge of understanding a certain posture must be assumed:
God created man in his image, that he might be mindful of him, think of him, and love him. The believer does not seek to understand, that he may believe, but he believes that he may understand: for unless he believed he would not understand.
St Anselm – The Proslogion – Chapter 1