Wisdom is a characteristic of the godly: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). We often lack wisdom and are commended in such circumstances to seek it (James 1:5). But what do we mean when we say that God is wisdom? We do not simply mean that He knows more than we do, and thus, like some long-in-the-tooth counselor, wizened by his years, He is able to give good advice from the storehouse of His many wrong turns and foolish mistakes.
We mean, rather, that all knowledge, all understanding of the essence and interrelation of all His creatures and all their actions, resides in Him. More than that, we mean that God is the wisdom He possesses. He is “the only wise God” (Rom. 16:27). Since God is, as the Westminster Confession of Faith puts it, “without body, parts, or passions” (3.1), we affirm that God is His attributes. In this sense, God doesn’t have wisdom.
Creatures gain wisdom by growing and learning, by interacting with the world in time and space. But that’s not the way God is wise. He does not need to acquire wisdom. The wisdom of God defines God’s self. He has exhaustive, comprehensive knowledge and understanding of all that is, but not by deduction or calculation. Since all things exist and act by His decree, since God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, since He fills the universe and is alike present at once to all creatures at all times, all things are equally plain and comprehended by Him. Thus, “no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13).
How should we respond to the wisdom of God? Romans 11:33–36 points the way:
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
What are we to do when we begin to appreciate the wonder of the wisdom that inheres in our God? We should bow in adoration and praise. Our greatest struggle in life is to remember that we are creatures. We always want to know, to understand, to get answers to “why?” Godliness learns that we do not always need to know why, but we do need to know the One who knows why. And, lest we fear that the wisdom of God, inscrutable as it is, cannot be trusted, we should look to Jesus Christ, “who became to us wisdom from God” (1\ Cor. 1:30). The wisdom of God is on display in Christ, and never more clearly than in His cross. There, the foolishness of God is shown to be wiser than men, and the weakness of God stronger than men. Look to the cross, see the wise God ordering all things for us and for our salvation, and learn anew to trust in Him.