THE WISDOM OF GOD
by Bob Wheeler
With the widespread acceptance of the Theory of Evolution it is commonly believed that we came into existence through a blind, impersonal natural process. And this, in turn, suggests that human existence is largely without meaning and purpose and calls into question the existence of moral norms and absolutes. The French Existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre said that “Everything is indeed permitted if God does not exist, and man is in consequence forlorn, for he cannot find anything to depend upon either within or without himself” (“Existentialism is a Humanism,” 1946).
But do we live in a random, purposeless universe? We certainly see chaos and disorder, but we also see elements of rational structure as well. The biblical answer is that God does, in fact, exist; that we live in a rationally ordered universe created by an intelligent Supreme Being, albeit a universe that has fallen into disorder since its creation.
“The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
By understanding He established the heavens;
By His knowledge the depths were broken up,
And clouds drop down the dew.”
(Prov. 3:19,20; NKJV).
Wisdom is the ability to produce a positive outcome from one’s efforts.
“Through wisdom a house is built,
And by understanding it is established;
By knowledge the rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches.”
And so it is that when we look at nature we can see evidence of God’s wisdom on every hand.
“He has mad the earth by His power,
He has established the world by His wisdom,
And has stretched out the heavens at His discretion.
When He utters His voice,
There is a multitude of waters in the heavens:
And He causes the vapors to ascend from the
ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain,
He brings the wind out of His treasuries.”
The plain fact of the matter is that if there was no rational order to the universe, if it did not function according to consistent patterns, to natural laws, there would be nothing for science to study. One cannot make rational sense out of pure chaos. And the more we learn of nature the more complex it appears. Everything from subatomic particles to the distant galaxies speaks of both order and complexity. But what is the source of that order? Order does not spontaneously arise out of chaos. There has to be an intelligent Creator behind it all.
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.”
But according to Scripture not only does God control the forces of nature, He controls the course of human events as well. Hannah could say:
“The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
He brings low and lifts up.
He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the beggar from the ash heap,
To set them among princes
And make them inherit the throne of glory.”
(I Sam. 2:7,8)
But when we look at all of the chaos and turmoil in today’s world, one might ask, where is the wisdom of God in that? This was the very question faced by Job in the Old Testament. Even though he was described as “a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8), a series of seemingly inexplicable disasters befell him. Job was led to question the wisdom and justice of God. But in the end God challenged Job, saying, “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? / He who rebukes God, let him answer it” (Job 40:2); and Job was finally led to respond, “I know that You can do everything, / And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You . . .Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, / Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (Job 42:2,3).
The fact of the matter is that what God created was originally good (Gen. 1:31). It became corrupted through man’s sin and rebellion. But amazingly God, in His wisdom, can even turn evil into good, and use it to accomplish His own higher purposes. Joseph’s brothers had done much harm to him; but in the end he could say to them, “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Gen. 50:20).
And so it is that God has a larger purpose in human sin and suffering, and that is the plan of redemption. In Romans chapters 9-11Paul asks the question of why it is that the Jews, God’s chosen people, were rejecting the gospel; and he answers by saying that it is all a part of God’s eternal plan, and that although they may reject Christ now they will, as a nation, respond to the gospel at some point in the future. “For God committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all” (Rom. 11:32). The 19th Century Scottish commentator John Brown of Edinburgh put it like this:
“And thus God, by successively allowing the depravity of
human nature to develop itself in the idolatries of the
Gentiles and the apostasy of the Jews, will make it evident,
when He brings both these component parts of mankind
into the enjoyment of saving blessings, that He acts
towards them on the principles of sovereign kindness.”
(comm. ad Rom. 11:29).
In salvation God is able to demonstrate both His justice and grace at the same time. Paul concludes his argument by exclaiming, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Rom. 11:33).
What all of this means in practical terms is that we should stand in wonder, awe and admiration of such a great God. “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (Rom. 11:36). Human wisdom, with all mankind’s science and technology, its business acumen and legal expertise, cannot compare with the infinite wisdom of God in creation and redemption. This should lead us to worship and adore such an awesome God.
But the fact of God’s wisdom should also lead us to trust in Him. His ways are always best, because He is wiser than we are.
“Trust in the Lord will all you heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all you ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
“Do not be wise in your own eyes:
Fear the Lord and depart form evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.”