Infinite, Infallible, and Self-Contained
Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Westminster Confession of Faith
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counsellor?” (Romans 11:33–34)
When I trained for ministry (which, I am astonished to realise, was more than twenty years ago) there was one tutor who stood apart. The Revd Ernest Lucas, PhD, PhD was a colossus of knowledge. It seemed that he knew all. Talking with him put you in mind of an exchange between Bertie Wooster and his valet:
"Good Lord, Jeeves! Is there anything you don't know?"
"I couldn't say, sir.”
By the way, the two PhD’s I typed earlier were not a mistake. He held doctorates in both Bio-Chemistry and Theology (the book of Daniel). He could read Akkadian, the language of ancient Babylon. Oh, you get the idea. I’ll stop typing now in case he ever reads this!
Yet, for all this knowledge he was finite, fallible and dependant on the learning of others as the foundation for his own knowledge. As we all are. Sometimes we are all too aware of our shortcomings, and at other times we embarrass ourselves by thinking we know more than we do. Yet we know that humans cannot know everything.
The danger then comes when we project this all too human failing onto God. We unconsciously imagine him to be bound by culture, and time. As if an eternal God knows more than he did back then. As if the God who himself is the definition of truth, makes mistakes. As if our very salvation, and our hopes for eternal life are in the hands of a fallible God.
Whilst Jeeves couldn’t say if he knew everything, Jesus was more sure. “I am”, he said, “the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6). Thank goodness he is, and our faith has a sure foundation.