Knowledge and Wisdom

Knowledge and Wisdom

August 7, 2016

Pastor Robert Kornegay

This morning we will briefly explore these two critically important aspects of God’s nature commonly referred to as His omniscience. Our faith and hope in Christ is grounded in our understanding of God’s omniscient nature.

Please join me in reading aloud the Apostle Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian Christians:

“…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the knowledge of Him, and the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints….”

(Ephesians 1:17-18 NKJV)

1. Obviously the knowledge of God differs in some important points from human knowledge. God knows Creation as it exists in His own eternal idea prior to its existence as a finite reality in time and space; and that His knowledge is not, like ours, obtained from observation or by a process of reasoning.  It is a knowledge that is characterized by absolute perfection; it is also simultaneous and not successive, so that God sees things at once in their totality, and not piecemeal one after another. Picture in your mind an immensely high mountain in the middle of a vast, open plain. Now imagine yourself standing at the peak of the mountain, and as you enjoy the amazing view you notice train tracks at the base of the mountain stretching out to the horizons. You then see a long train below you passing by the mountain with the smoke from the engine disappearing in the distance one way and the caboose appearing in the distance from the other.

Now imagine you enter a dark cave at the base of the mountain with a narrow opening within a few feet of the train tracks. Imagine yourself looking out of the cave as the long train rushes by. From your vantage point now, you cannot see the beginning or the end of the train, only the blur of the passing cars.

So what’s the moral of our illustration? The knowledge of God is always complete, reflects reality, and is fully conscious, while human knowledge is always partial, frequently indistinct, and often fails to rise into the clear light of consciousness.

Additionally, the knowledge of God is not only perfect in its nature, but also in its inclusiveness. It is called omniscience, because it is all-comprehensive.  He knows all things as they actually come to pass – past, present, and future – and knows them in their real relations. He knows the hidden essence of things, to which the knowledge of man cannot penetrate. The omniscience of God is clearly taught in Scripture, that God sees not as mankind sees, who observe only the outward manifestations of life, but God penetrates to the depths of the human heart. Moreover, God knows what is possible as well as what is actual – all things that might occur under certain circumstances are present to His mind.

2. The wisdom of God may be regarded as a particular aspect of His knowledge.  It is evident that knowledge and wisdom are not the same, though they are closely related, and, in humans, they do not always accompany each other. You may have noticed that an uneducated man may be far superior to a scholar in wisdom. Human knowledge is acquired by study, but human wisdom results from an intuitive insight into things.  Both are imperfect in man, but in God they are characterized by absolute perfection. God’s wisdom points to the fact that He always strives for the best possible ends and chooses the best means for the realization of His purposes. Biblical scholar H. B. Smith defines the divine wisdom as “that attribute of God whereby He produces the best possible results with the best possible means.” It implies a final end to which all secondary ends are subordinate; and according to Scripture this final end is the glory of God. Scripture refers to the wisdom of God in many passages, and even represents it as personified in Proverbs 8.

       1Does not wisdom call,
And understanding lift up her voice?

2On top of the heights beside the way,
Where the paths meet, she takes her stand;

3Beside the gates, at the opening to the city,
At the entrance of the doors, she cries out:

4“To you, O men, I call,
And my voice is to the sons of men.

5“O naive ones, understand prudence;
And, O fools, understand wisdom.

6“Listen, for I will speak noble things;
And the opening of my lips will reveal right things.

7“For my mouth will utter truth;
And wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

8“All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness;
There is nothing crooked or perverted in them.

9“They are all straightforward to him who understands,
And right to those who find knowledge.

10“Take my instruction and not silver,
And knowledge rather than choicest gold.

11“For wisdom is better than jewels;
And all desirable things cannot compare with her.

12“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
And I find knowledge and discretion.

13“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverted mouth, I hate.

14“Counsel is mine and sound wisdom;
I am understanding, power is mine.

15“By me kings reign,
And rulers decree justice.

16“By me princes rule, and nobles,
All who judge rightly.

17“I love those who love me;
And those who diligently seek me will find me.

18“Riches and honor are with me,
Enduring wealth and righteousness.

19“My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold,
And my yield better than choicest silver.

20“I walk in the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice,

21To endow those who love me with wealth,
That I may fill their treasuries.

22“The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.

23“From everlasting I was established,
From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth.

24“When there were no depths I was brought forth,
When there were no springs abounding with water.

25“Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills I was brought forth;

26While He had not yet made the earth and the fields,
Nor the first dust of the world.

27“When He established the heavens, I was there,
When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep,

28When He made firm the skies above,
When the springs of the deep became fixed,

29When He set for the sea its boundary
So that the water would not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth;

30Then I was beside Him, as a master workman;
And I was daily His delight,
Rejoicing always before Him,

31Rejoicing in the world, His earth,
And having my delight in the sons of men.

32“Now therefore, O sons, listen to me,
For blessed are they who keep my ways.

33“Heed instruction and be wise,
And do not neglect it.

34“Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at my doorposts.

35“For he who finds me finds life
And obtains favor from the LORD.

36“But he who sins against me injures himself;
All those who hate me love death.”

In closing, when knowledge, wisdom, and omniscience are used in reference to the veracity or truth of God, this is to be understood in its most comprehensive sense:

.  He is the truth in a supernatural sense, that is, He is all that He as the Triune God should be.

. He is the truth in an ethical sense, and as such reveals Himself as He really is, so that His revelation is absolutely reliable.

. He is the truth in a logical sense, and knows things as they really are, and has so designed the mind of man that he can know not merely the appearance, but also the reality, of things.

Therefore, the truth of God is the foundation of all knowledge. Therefore, we may define the truth of God as that divine nature by which He fully confirms the idea of the Godhead, is perfectly reliable in His revelation, and sees things as they really are. It is because of this perfection that He is the source of all truth, not only in the sphere of morals and religion, but also in every field of scientific endeavor.

But there is one other aspect of God’s divine nature, and the one that is of the greatest importance. It is generally called His faithfulness, in which He is mindful to fulfill all the promises He has made to His people. This faithfulness of God is of the utmost practical significance to the people of God. It is the ground of our confidence, the foundation of our hope, and the cause of our rejoicing. God’s faithfulness saves us from the despair our own unfaithfulness might easily lead, gives us courage to carry on in spite of our failures, and fills our hearts with joyful anticipations, even when we are deeply conscious that we fall short of God’s perfect knowledge and wisdom.

Close with the Apostle Paul’s prayer. 

“…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the knowledge of Him, and the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints….”

(Ephesians 1:17-18 NKJV)