Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | July 8, 2006

Completely Wise

Today’s topic is comprised of the statement about God being completely Wise in Article 1 of the Belgic Confession.  We are going to treat this topic by reviewing two reasons we believe this statement is ascribed to our God.  First, God can be known as completely wise because He is omniscient (all knowing).  He knows everything, thus we can be assured that all wisdom is within His possession.  Second, we can also trust that God is completely wise because He is the embodiment of Wisdom itself.  

Before we get started we have been using Francis Turretin extensively in this overview.  Thus, it may be of interest to some to take a moment to review a short bio on this great theologian (Turretin-bio).  His contribution to Christ’s church and her understanding of the faith has been large (as I have been learning since I started reading him). 

When we consider God’s attribute of omniscience we find that He possesses exhaustive knowledge about all things (Psalm 147:5 ).  His knowledge penetrates into the human mind, knowing all of our thoughts (Amos 4:13; Psalm 139:1-18) and our wrongs (Psalm 69:5; Jeremiah 16:17).  His knowledge even includes our future decisions that have not even entered our minds yet (Proverbs 5:21).  The knowledge of our futures cannot, however be limited solely to His ability to see into the future.  He knows what our actions will be, because He has ordained them to take place.  Turretin discusses this concept in the following: 

For all things alike are subject to divine providence; nor does the liberty of human actions hinder them from falling under his knowledge and decree…3.12.16 

This attribute is intimately related to the attribute discussed in our last entry, God’s sovereignty.  As we will review in our next entry, God is perfectly just also which must be taken into account when considering His foreknowledge and sovereignty.  It is not inconsistent to hold an understanding of these attributes as described above and remain true to God’s justice.  Although, God knows and decrees all things He cannot be held responsible for sin.  There are numerous proofs in Scripture, which teach us this.  Here are a couple of them that Turretin references in defense of this concept:      

The infallible foreknowledge of God does not imply that God is the cause of sins because God foreknows sins as certainly about to be (for example, the selling of Joseph and the betrayal of Christ); not as if they were to be effected by him as sins, but to be permitted and yet regulated by him.  3.12.25 

We must be careful not to ascribe in any way sin to God.  He is perfect and without sin and just because He knows about or decrees sinful things to happen does not make Him the author of sin (Genesis 50:20). As Turretin indicates above, the betrayal of our Lord was probably the most sinful act performed by a human being.  However, it is through this act that God’s people have been redeemed. God’s knowledge of all things is complete, which contributes to the affirmation that He is completely wise. 

We can also affirm that God is completely wise in acknowledging that He is the embodiment of Wisdom itself.  Historically, this has been concluded by identifying Christ as Wisdom in Proverbs 8:22-30.  About this Turretin offers series of rhetorical questions defending this position in the following: 

Now that this is none other than the Son of God, Christ our Lord is collected not only from the name itself, Wisdom (by which he is often distinguished in the New Testament, Lk 7:35 ; 1 Cor 1:24; ), but also from the attributes ascribed to this Wisdom (which most aptly square with him and can belong to no other).  For who else can deserve the name of Wisdom and indeed of Wisdoms?  Who else calls men to him, teaches the true way of salvation, wishes the law and his precepts to obtain in the church, convicts sinners of foolishness, promises life to those who regard him and denounces final destruction upon the unbelieving?  Who else was with God before the world was and was perpetually with him while creating the world?  If Jehovah is said to have possessed Wisdom from the beginning, is not the “Word” said “to have been in the beginning” and “to have been with God” (Jn 1:1)?  If it is said to have been a delight to the Father, is not Christ “the beloved Son)” (huios agapetos, Mt 3:17)?  If ordained and anointed by the Father, was not Christ foreordained before the foundation of the world and anointed for the mediatorial office (1 Pet. 1:20)?  If Wisdom is said to have been brought forth before the hills, was not Christ before all things (Col 1:17)?  If by her kings reign, is not Christ the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19:16)?  If Wisdom teaches and cries out, calls and exhorts men to repentance in high and low places, both immediately by herself and immediately by her maidens, do we not read the same of Christ both immediately by himself preaching the gospel and mediately by his servants the apostles whom he sent through the whole world to call men to participation of his grace? 3.29.11

Since Christ is God and is the embodiment of Wisdom it is right to affirm that God is completely wise 

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