The sermon this Sunday was on wisdom. In separating knowledge from wisdom by using biblical arguments it is easy to forget another component that our current social milieu uses to influence the equation, that of biased spin. For example, Condoleezza Rice was on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos along with Kerry foreign policy adviser Richard Holbrooke. There is a telling point in the transcipt of the discussion. (HT protein wisdom)
RICE: A policy-maker cannot afford to be wrong on the short side, underestimating the ability of a tyrant like Saddam Hussein, who had expertise, who had weapons of mass destruction and had used them in the past, and who kept a very strong intent to keep those programs in place
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, then, today
RICE: … you cant afford to underestimate that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Today, then, you know, the weapons inspectors have found no evidence of centrifuges. Do you now accept that these aluminum tubes were almost certainly for artillery rockets, not nuclear weapons?
RICE: George, the fact is that what you know today can affect what you do tomorrow, but not what you did yesterday. [emphasis added]
George is not getting what he wanted, but in one short statement Condoleezza blew apart the obfuscation and spin of the left about Bush lied and their other Monday morning quarterbacking distortions of reality. Note the not what you did yesterday point and realize how it debunks the inherent dishonesty of much of the criticism over Iraq and the decisions leading up to our current situation.
I bring this up to illustrate that there is a spiritual component to this type of thinking. Using human contexts and limitations as their starting point, those who shrink back from the absolute sovereignty of God argue that fundamental things such as redemption and the cross are Gods response to mans sin and fall, not His original plan. Since we do not know the end from the beginning, arguments like George Stephanopoulos with Condoleezza Rice, while illogical at their root, are an attempt to spin the argument to a desired end. In the same way, any attempt to argue that Gods actions in redemptive history are only the result of His Monday morning quarterbacking, using His omniscience to respond ahead of time to what will occur, belies and spins His other attributes of wisdom and omnipotence into irrelevance. God knows all possible courses and weighs all possible scenarios, not to respond to our actions, but to bring about His purpose and will from the onset.
It has been said that many people have a God that is too small and one important aspect of the Reformation was to restore to its proper place Gods preeminent position in creation and history. Augustine speaking against Pelagius and the followers of Calvin arguing against Jacob Arminius are in reality trying to avoid the Stephanopoulus trap of thinking Monday morning quarterbacking matters to the past instead of only to the future in human thinking. God does not have our limitations and instead choses and it is. That is why wisdom and discernment (gifts from God) are of the utmost importance in living out one’s Christian life. We want to avoid as much as possible leaving ourselves open to post-event analysis masquerading as pre-event wisdom and we need God’s help in doing so. So, let’s take James 1:5-8 to heart and ask God for the wisdom that we need to make the decisions that face us each day.
Grace and peace and Godly wisdom be your today and every day.
I would have thought that the analogy works in the opposite direction. What Rice says is true of us but not of God. Those who say that redemption is just a reaction are thinking humanly but not aware that if we were like God then Stephanopolous-style arguments would be legitimate.
Jeremy, I may have missed something, but I thought I said that isn’t true of God. I thought I said they were thinking humanly. Now I am confused because even rereading with your comment in mind I don’t get that out of it. Maybe I need more sleep.