I stand amazed at the unfathomable complexity of God’s wisdom and God’s knowledge (Rom 11:33 [Phillips])
…to those who are called… Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24)
God’s wisdom is awesome. Intricate and imaginative, resourceful and resolute.
And I am convinced that the genius of his wisdom lies not in that he knows in advance every detail about the future, existing (as is often assumed) completely outside the sequence-of-time within which we live.
What would be impressive about a god who merely watched the future unfold automatically, according to a pre-set program? We have industrial machines that do that every day!
Yes, God has his settled purposes. And yes, he foresees a great deal; and can plan for multiple possible scenarios. But his wisdom is revealed in that way that, with tenacious patience and relentless love, he pursues those purposes for mankind, and for this earth, within the constraints of time, creatively incorporating the free choices of humans and of angels.
Do we feel uncomfortable speaking of ‘constraints’ on God himself, as if that somehow makes him weak? Far from it. The biblical narrative reveals a sovereign God who elects not to impose. God chooses to constrain himself, in order to make space for true relationship with his creation. I suspect he made this choice long ago, when he first spoke creation (space-time) into existence. He limits himself so that we can partner with him. And if you doubt this, just pause to consider how he limited himself, in and as Jesus.
The deep wisdom of God utterly confounds the powers that oppose him. “None of the rulers of this age understood [God’s wisdom]; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Cor 2:7) Coercion, control and domination is all that they understand, and all that they strain to do.
But the wisdom expressed in self-giving love is stronger by far.
And this matters. Some days it seems like there is pain and brokenness all around me – situations that make me want to scream that ‘this is not the way God planned it, nor how God wants it to be’. And I believe my outrage is endorsed by the Spirit. Yet in those moments, with tearful hope, I learn to refuse the temptation to despair, and to offer my aching heart as prayer to the Father-of-all-wisdom. He comforts me with his love, but more than this;
He finds undreamed-of ways to bring beauty out of ashes. That is the heart of his wisdom.