Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bridges, 2008. Chapter 8, "The Wisdom of God"

Chapter 8, “The Wisdom of God” pp. 125-143

Bridges opens this chapter with an illustration of a minister’s declaration that in a mining disaster God made a mistake. When trouble comes into our lives we do sometimes wonder if maybe God made some sort of mistake. Rather, we need to remember that God in his wisdom knows exactly what he is doing. He never has to doubt or ask for advice. What is the big plan? On p. 126 Bridges asserts that the best possible outcome of God’s actions is that they “serve His glory.” He quotes John Piper’s sentiment that God’s plan is finally to glorify himself. If Bridges’ work on trusting God because of his sovereignty has held together so far, in my opinion, it falls apart here. The focus on sovereignty results in the self-centered god of Plato. As I commented in an earlier chapter, the Lutheran view of theology built on Christ’s incarnational love does bring comfort where a view built on sovereignty will not.

Bridges goes on to say that we can trust God because he can use bad things to bring forth good. Yet the world is full of bad things. He can use every one of them for good, i.e., to show his glory. He builds us in holiness, he makes us like Jesus, he changes our hearts, all using adversity. When we don’t understand why, we trust that God knows his purposes. We simply don’t know his reasons, which are beyond our understanding. We must learn and trust. God is wise.

Here Bridges has left us with an unsatisfactory answer. We are to trust God. Why? Because he is powerful, wise, and wants to show his glory. He will do it. We need to trust him. This is as far as Bridges goes at this point. We’ll have to pick him up in the next chapter and see how he does.

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