There is no such thing as a scarcity of writings on the character of human knowledge.1
However what of divine knowledge, the knowledge that’s distinctive and particular to the triune lifetime of God?
This, in any case, is the supply of some other actuality we would name knowledge. Philosophical and psychological observations concerning human knowledge are at greatest strategies and tips to be affirmed or challenged by God’s self-revelation in Scripture.2 Christian theology doesn’t venture human values and virtues onto God; moderately, it attends to the enacted character of God within the historical past of his self-revelation, utilizing human language to witness to the character he reveals.
And based on Scripture, God is smart. God is the “solely clever God” (Rom 16:27), a God of “manifold knowledge” (Eph 3:10). His creation was a piece of his knowledge (Prov 8:23–31; Psa 104:24–26; Jer 10:12; Col 1:15–20). And this knowledge is highly effective and lively, for all through Scripture knowledge is paired with each energy and understanding (Job 12:13, Psa 33:10–11). God seeks to make his knowledge identified to the powers and principalities via its realization within the work of Christ (Eph 3:9–11), and we reward him for the depths of his knowledge, information, judgments, and methods (Rom 11:33). This knowledge confronts and triumphs over the false wisdoms of the world (1 Cor 1:20–24).
To place it most typically, that God is smart implies that God lives nicely—God lives masterfully. As Bruce Waltke places it, “‘Knowledge’ (ḥokmâ) means typically, ‘masterful understanding,’ ‘ability,’ ‘experience.’”3
Consistent with Waltke’s location of his definition of knowledge inside his definition of life itself,4 it follows that knowledge, understood most broadly, is a matter of getting “masterful understanding of life,” or being “masterfully expert at life.” And God, who’s the supply of all knowledge, who’s “knowledge’s sole possessor,”5 is the one who’s masterfully expert at life, and as such lives nicely.
Put extra totally, that God is smart implies that God lives nicely by bringing concerning the full vary of his functions by probably the most becoming means, taking full account of the entire array of circumstances and elements surrounding him.6 As Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God is the residing God, the one who in and of himself lives, strikes, responds, and acts—the one in whom is life (John 1:4): “To its very deepest depths God’s Godhead consists in the truth that it’s an occasion—not any occasion, not occasions on the whole, however the occasion of His motion.”7
Not like false gods, who’re lifeless, static, and immobile, ours is a residing God. His existence is that of occasion—a residing, lively, and highly effective occasion or historical past.8 And since God is smart, he lives nicely: for him to be the residing God and the clever God are one and the identical. All of the Proverbs, all of the clever sayings that information us to a life nicely lived, have their supply and origin in a residing God who in himself lives nicely, and created that he may share with others a life nicely lived (e.g., Prov 1:33; 2:6–8; 3:5–6).
For God to stay nicely can also be for him to reject likelihood or caprice. His will is “significant in itself,” since God “is aware of not solely what He wills, however why and wherefore He wills it,” which is to say that his keen is sure up with “plan and intention.”9
To say that God lives nicely is to say that he lives totally; he lives a fulfilled life through which the complete vary of his functions is met. It is a lifetime of full perfection, through which God is conserved in his personal finish, as a result of there isn’t a battle between finish, means, and achievement for God. They’re all rooted in, achieved by, and fulfilled in himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.10
God doesn’t want to hunt meals, shelter, or pension, as a result of he has all he wants inside himself—his motion springs forth out of the fullness of his excellent life; achievement is intrinsic to the divine act moderately than a striving towards it as a distant and maybe unachievable purpose.
However to talk of ends or functions is to talk of means—the strategies, instruments, or sources by which a function is delivered to completion. What means does God make use of in his knowledge, in his residing nicely? Absolutely nothing outdoors of himself, no individual, angel, or created actuality would do, since then God would depend on one thing aside from himself for his personal perfection, entailing an insupportable dependence of God upon his creation. But when God doesn’t depend on one thing aside from God, then on what does he rely? Absolutely it’s the divine life itself.11
God is his personal means to residing out his life within the fullness of his perfection.
God lives out the divine life by the use of the divine life. God will not be alone, not with out sources, not depending on others for his achievement.
As Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God is ready to be the means by which he’s who he’s. That is true within the everlasting begetting of the Son by the Father and the respiration forth of the Spirit, and in addition within the shared life through which Father, Son, and Holy Spirit relate to one another, enacting the divine character in eternity. God, in his knowledge, uniquely lives nicely by being the means via which he lives his divine life, conducting his divine functions.
However to perform a function, it’s important to make use of sure means inside a context, inside sure circumstances. What are these circumstances inside the lifetime of God? Once more, nothing however himself. 12
God’s lifetime of knowledge is the Father’s everlasting begetting of the Son and respiration forth of the Spirit; in it God lives his life nicely (the Father) by the use of himself (the Son) and in relation and unity with himself (the Spirit).
Whereas we set targets for ourselves that aren’t ourselves, with God it’s altogether totally different. God is God’s personal purpose, which he accomplishes in eternity by the use of himself. God lives out his life by the use of himself, earlier than and in relation to himself, as a result of he totally is aware of, understands, and rejoices in himself.
Because the triune God, he is ready to be himself by the use of himself and in relationship to or information of himself. Knowledge, as Barth places it, is “the internal reality and readability with which the divine life in its self-fulfillment and its works justifies and confirms itself”—however confirms itself to itself, in self-fulfillment.13
God’s knowledge is God residing his life on the premise of his self-knowledge, correctly ordering himself and his actions in order to repeatedly result in his functions by the use of himself so that there’s a continuous and limitless well-living on the a part of God in and for himself.
In abstract, God’s knowledge is God’s residing nicely. He lives nicely by bringing concerning the full vary of his functions by the simplest and becoming means, given an intensive understanding of the entire spectrum of related circumstances. This knowledge, although powerfully enacted within the work of Christ, is on the identical time—and as its foundation—a actuality inside the internal lifetime of God, an outline of the relation between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
As we describe God in his knowledge, we don’t attribute one thing to him that’s overseas to his internal life as God. Quite, in talking of the knowledge of God we’re delving into the very coronary heart of God, the interior relational dynamics of the Trinity through which God is who he’s by the use of himself, in information of or relation to himself. God, in himself, is smart, is the supply of all that we name knowledge.
This put up has been tailored from The Reconciling Knowledge of God: Reframing the Doctrine of the Atonement by Adam J. Johnson.
Adam J. Johnson (PhD, TEDS) is the creator of Atonement: A Information for the Perplexed and God’s Being in Reconciliation. He teaches theology and Western Classics within the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola College.