I recently picked up Herman Bavinck’s substantial work Reformed Dogmatics. It is highly acclaimed as a must-have in works on theology. A fellow blogger and friend added me to a group in which readings are assigned and discussions can begin about the readings. The chapter to be read this week is chapter 5, God’s Communicable Attributes. I am about 4 pages in, but it is excellent.
While I am not a Bavinck scholar, I do want to share blessings that I receive as I read it. What is the first Bavinck blessing?
He writes, “Unlike human knowledge, God’s is not based on observation; it is undivided, simple, unchangeable, eternal.” (179)
That statement is dense, philosophically and theologically. However, it is also dense practically. That is to say, it is a wide-ranging truth that involves our lives. This thought is not simply for ivory tower theologians, it is for the mom of four children. It is not for the erudite scholar, it is for the mechanic.
What is the blessing? God is. There is no aspect of time, past, present, or future that is outside of God’s present being. This has enormous implications and too many for us to unpack in a brief post. However, I want to focus on one thing. In this period of US history, the times are unparalleled (though some could argue it is not, I have not experienced such a monumental shift in culture and society like the last ten years have witnessed). While theologically most Christians will acknowledge that God knows this, Bavinck expands this to a level that is at our grasp (at least in a limited fashion, He is, after all, infinite). His knowledge, contrasted with the limited knowledge of humans, is not based on observation. It incomprehensible, and this is what its practicality lies. He knows all, He is presently in all tenses of time, without any hinderances. What a comfort that is to the believer! As we look to the future, uncertain of the present, and longing for the past, God’s knowledge is undivided, simply, unchangeable, and eternal.
You can purchase Reformed Dogmatics here.