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I was recently thinking about the encounter between God and Abraham right before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and had a stunning realization. It concerned God’s dialogue within Himself over this question: “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” (Gen. 18:17).

That we have a record of this question is an amazing thing. It was a completely internal deliberation within the mind of God. Abraham did not know at the time that it was even occurring; nor is there any indication that God told him about it later. This insight into the mind of God would not come until half a millennium later, when Moses was writing the book of Genesis under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit revealed to Moses this train of thought within the inscrutable mind of God, and Moses wrote it down for the generations to come. God opened His mind to us all.

That very revelation was also the very topic of God’s internal deliberation. He was wrangling within Himself about explaining what He was about to do to the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, burning them to ashes with fire and brimstone. Of course, to speak of God’s “wrangling within Himself” is an anthropomorphism, the use of human language to help us understand God. An omniscient God doesn’t ever wrangle within Himself. But God used this kind of “thought process” language to lower Himself to our level and make Himself understandable to us.

More amazing is the fact that God does not desire to hide anything from Abraham. Though God does not owe Abraham (or any other human being) any explanation whatsoever, God deeply desires to open His mind to His chosen people. This self-revelation is of the essence of our salvation. As Jesus Christ said, “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Abraham was called God’s friend (Isa. 41:8). Essential to friendship is self-disclosure. God wants to explain Himself to us, and I believe that heaven will be an eternal education of the people of God in the mind and purposes of God. How astonishing that will be. God has ruled over the rise and fall of every nation that has ever existed, as well as over the fall of a single sparrow to the ground. There will be limitless things to learn about the complex dimensions and details of the sovereign plan of God. And it will be His delight to teach us and our delight to learn and to marvel.

At present, most of God’s counsels are hidden from us. Jesus said, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12). Some of the most complex and painful of God’s judgments must be withheld until our glorified minds can handle those truths. But God’s plan will be further revealed, and it will be radiantly glorious.

Peter Preaches in Solomon’s Portico

Killing the Author of Life

Keep Reading Augustine of Hippo

From the February 2024 Issue
Feb 2024 Issue