Saturday, August 05, 2006

6. The Biblical Doctrine of Election is Unsearchable

Election is a holy mystery and it is presented in Scripture for our humble adoration rather than for dispute. We often want to know answers to questions that we are not called to search out. We want reasons behind God's sovereign choice that Scripture does not give. Hugh Binning says that “the reason of God's proceedings is inscrutable to us, unless we could understand God as well as he understands himself. The rays of his infinite wisdom are too bright and dazzling for our weak and shallow capacities.” There are limits of enquiry: we cannot and must not go beyond what has been revealed. Scripture tells us all that we need to know. Calvin warns against prying into that “sublime eternal wisdom which it is his pleasure that we should not apprehend but adore, that therein also his perfections may appear. Hugh Binning counsels: "we must open our eyes upon so much light as God reveals of these secrets, knowing that the light of the word is a saving, refreshing light, not confounding, as is his inaccessible light of secret glory... This is the best bond of sobriety and humble wisdom, to learn what he teacheth us; but when he makes an end of teaching, to desire no more learning. It is humility to seek no more, and it is true wisdom to be content with no less."

At the end of Romans 11 the apostle Paul speaks of the eternal counsels as an unsearchable treasury, wondering at their infinite depth. They are infinitely merciful, infinitely just and infinitely free and sovereign. 'O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!'