MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA TREATISE I.16. THE SCIENCE OF GOD.
Crucifixion and Saints (detail)
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA
16. THE SCIENCE OF GOD.
I. Science or knowledge is one of the great attributes of intellectual beings. It is the assimilation of truth by the mind, and so is a most noble function. It supplies the materials for our action, it guides us as to the use of them, it causes an intense pleasure, and is transformed into great power. Naturally we have a great avidity for it. A power so noble must also exist in God, and in an infinite degree. His knowledge must be perfect. It is complete, embracing all things ; it is intuitive, not gained by study or process of argument ; it is not subject to obscurity or error ; it is never excessive, or a source of danger as with us. " The Lord is a God of all knowledge" (1 Kings ii. 3). The Psalmist asks, " He that planted the ear, shall He not hear? Or He that formed the eye, doth He not consider? " (Ps. xciii. 9). The order of the world, its preservation, its progress, testify to the supreme science possessed by God. He is also the author and fount of our knowledge. He is the truth which is manifested partially in this world, and which we gather up laboriously and appropriate to our purposes. God has placed it in our way and guided us to it, and intends it to be a means of leading us upward to Him. Deep knowledge commands our respect when found in a man : how much more admiration and worship do we not owe to God in regard to this perfection ! Rejoice also in the happiness that He derives from it.
II. Consider the extent and abundance of God s know ledge. First it embraces infinity as knowing the Divine Essence with all its perfections and all its internal activity ; it sees all God s possibilities of external activity in the way of angels, men, worlds, universes. Next, the know ledge of God embraces all things actually to be created, and all the actions of His goodness, justice and mercy towards them. This is classed as a different kind of know ledge, because it is the knowledge that creates those beings or produces that action. Further, God knows, as Our Lord shows in the Gospels, what would have happened under any difference of circumstances, and all the series of consequences following from all combinations of events, even to the end of the world. God knows our most secret thoughts even better than we ourselves, for He is not blinded by our self-deception. He holds, too, the awful secret of our destinies; and as all things are present at once to Him, He sees now some of us as rejoicing in heaven and some as blaspheming in hell. This last is the one thing not caused by God s knowledge. Your fate is in your own hands, and God knows how you will dispose it. All other things depend on God s previous knowledge of them as causing them. But if you be lost, God s knowledge depends on your action and is caused by it. Live always as being in the presence of God. Let all your acts be such that you will not be ashamed of God s knowing them.
III. Consider the advantageous consequences of God s knowledge. With regard to Himself, His knowledge of His Divine Nature constitutes His eternal happiness. With regard to us, God s knowledge is the cause of our existence and of all that we possess. He knew us and chose us before the foundation of the world (1 Peter i. 2), and His knowledge guided the operations of His power, His benevolence, His generosity towards us. How happy we are to be ruled by One so eminent in all knowledge, who uses it for our great est advantage. We are safe in His hands. He will never deal with us unwisely, will never forget us or neglect us, will never be mistaken, or fail to understand those circumstances which make every man s case a peculiar one. Never question the wisdom of God s knowledge. Be contented with all that proceeds from Him, for He knows what is best.
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA BY THE RIGHT REV. JAMES BELLORD, D.D.