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August 02, 2005

Ch.VIII. Q.53. Divine Wisdom

THE Wisdom of God is His absolute infallibility of judgment, by virtue of which He provides perfectly for all things and cannot err in any question of action, whether that action springs from Himself or the creature, and whether it is past, present, or future.1

2. The wisdom of God combines His omnipotence and omniscience. It is His teleological knowledge, whereby He designs all things, and overrules the course of events to the furtherance of His own ends. This action is called the PROVIDENCE of God.2

3. The providence of God is distinguished as general and particular, the former having to do with the teleological government of the universe as a whole, the latter with provisions for its minutest details—e.g., the exigencies arising from the free actions of men. This distinction is relative, and from the finite point of view. There is but one Divine providence in all things, strictly speaking. Yet the distinction is useful and relatively true.3

4. The relations between Divine sovereignty and creaturely freedom, as has been said,4 are inscrutable; but we know that God and man cooperate in every human action, whether good or evil, in such wise that the integrity of each is preserved and the holiness of God uncontaminated. God supplies the power in evil conduct, but is not so much its Author as its overruling Cause.5

5. The prayers of men are real moral forces, fore-seen and for-seen by God from the beginning, and used as His instruments in accomplishing His designs. If the contents of a prayer are inconsistent with His will, it is none the less a genuine moral force, but will be overruled to subserve Divine ends.6

6. The wisdom of God is displayed, not only in His ordinary providence, but, pre-eminently, in the Redemption of men from sin, and in the judgment of those who neglect His grace—a judgment at once just and merciful, satisfying and final.

1 Schouppe, Elementa, Tr. V., §§167-170; Martensen, Dogmatics, § 50; Wilhelm and Scannell, Manual Vol. I., pp. 225-227; Weidner, Theologia, p. 37. Cf. Psa. civ. 24; Prov. viii. 11-31; I. Cor. i. 18-30; Ephes. iii. 10; Jas. i. 5.

2 St. Thos., Summa, I. xxii.; Schouppe, §§ 195-201; Strong, Syst. Theol., pp. 207-220; Forbes, Creed, pp. 61-63; Hooker, Eccles. Polity, I. iii. 4; Pearson, De Deo, XXII., pp. 232-242; Petavius, De Dogmatibus, T. I., lib. viii., oh. 1-5; Wilhelm and Scannell, pp. 372-375; Clarke, Outline of Theol., pp. 147-153. Cf. Gen. xx. 6; 1. 20; Exod. xii. 36; II. Sam. xvi. 10; xxiv. 1; Job xxx.-xxxvii.; Psa. xxxiii. 12-22; civ.; cxxxv. 5-7; Prov. xvi. 1; xix. 21; Jerem. x. 23; Matt. vi. 25-32; x. 30; Rom. xi. 32-36; Ephes. ii. 10; Philip, ii. 13.

3 Liddon, Some Elements, pp. 192-194.

4 Cf. Q. Ii. 5.

5 Strong, pp. 209, 210, 219, 220.

6 Strong, pp. 215-218; Liddon, pp. 184-190; Ward, W. G., Ward and the Cath. Revival, pp. 285-295; Gore, in Oxford House Papers, 2nd Series, 6th Paper. Cf. Psa. x. 17; Ixv. 2; xcix. 6; Isa. Iviii. 9; John xi. 42; xv. 7; Jas. iv. 3; v. 16.

Posted by Debra Bullock at August 2, 2005 11:52 PM

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