POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan

Week 5 – Chapter 9 – God only Wise…

“Wisdom is the power to see, and the inclincation to choose, the best and hightest goal, together with the surest means to ataining it”
Quoted in JI Packer, Knowing God, Americanized Edition (Downers Grove: IL, Intervarsity Press, 1993) 90.
So begins, chapter 9, Packer’s discussion of the wisdom of God. God’s wisdom is infinite in its bounds, he knows the right thing to do, for the highest ends he has, and he has the sure means of attaining it. God’s wisdom, combined with his omnipotence means, ultimately, what he wants done is done. These two attributes combined together form a fearsome beauty in which I find great trust. Packer alludes that wisdom without power is pathetic, and cannot accomplish anything. On the other hand, power without wisdom, is a recipe for brutality and is quite frightening. God’s wisdom is known only in conjunction with the ends which he pursues. If we do not know what God desires, if we do not know the goal he has in his mind, if we do not know why he created, then his wisdom will be cloaked forever from our eyes. Many think that the comfort and happiness of people is the only end or goal for a loving God. With such ideas, many people are disappointed at even the slightest inconvenience and certainly at even the lightest brushstroke of pain. Packer makes a great statement in relation to this: “God’s wisdom is not, and never was, a pledge to keep a fallen world happy, or to make ungodliness comfortable. Not even to Christians has he promised a trouble free life; rather the reverse. He has other ends in view for life in this world than simply to make it easy for everyone”
Packer 91,92
Obviously this continues to raise the question – what is the end toward which God created the world (This, mind you, was the topic of a book published by Jonathan Edwards, and republished in its entirely in 1998 within John Piper’s God’s Passion for His Glory – Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards) The end of God? His end is his own renown and glory to be magnified and enjoyed…that people might see and savor him and respond in love, honor, praise, and in turn be satisfied and find joy in Him. God created the world not out of need, but out of a desire to show and display all that he is to creatures he created. Is God a show-off – appropriately so. As he shows himself – reveals himself to us – we find the greatest longings we have are fulfilled in him. Infinite Love, Infinite Beauty, the fountain of all Truth, the deepest relationship we are created for – creature and creator together. The remaining parts of the chapter deal with God’s teaching of various OT patriarchs (Abraham, Jacob, Joseph) and how God taught them to value what is valuable throughout their lives. Perhaps a great definition for human wisdom was given in Packer’s thoughts on Abraham. I will close with his words: “What Abraham needed most was to learn the practice of living in God’s presence, seeing all life in relation to him, and looking to him, and him alone, as Commander, Defender, and Rewarder.”
Packer 93.
Such is a proper end for our lives as well…