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.

God Sees

"And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13) - Some might find this idea that God sees all a threatening one. But then, the realisation that regardless of this Christ still died to gain your forgiveness dawns. What Grace that is! However much you screw up your eyes, you are not out of the sight of God. That, though, should be a comfort!


When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. (Acts 2:1-2) - So it is that Pentecost burst onto the world, bringing together word and Spirit as Joel’s words pointed to what was happening. Bringing together Old and New Testaments that selfsame prophet’s prophecies were fulfilled. Bringing all peoples together as they shared in the joyous call of God. We may long for such days again, but don’t simply long. Allow that longing to turn you to prayer, prayer that God’s church might once more be revived.

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