Can we categorically state what God will do before we have it and be confident it will only be such? A friend once said, “do you think someone will write 66 books about himself to you and not want you to know him?” That should suffice but for that in those books we have irreconcilable personality traits of God reported, which could further strengthen the unpredictability of God. One might account that the unpredictability of God is to his glory, at least, he is the all-wise, all-knowing, all-creating, almighty and infinite. This would hold if being predictable implies weakness. The scriptures however did not paint it as such. Another might say, “why be interested in God being predictable or not”. Why? We have to deal with him! And he wants us to know him, trust him.
There are assertions about the reliability of God. Num23: 19 “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” It says God is consistent. Psa18: 25-26 “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.” It says God can be froward, devious, depending on who he is dealing with! That man of integrity said “What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? Job 2:10b Assertions as this and many more have been used in heralding a bipolar God. Conversely, we see God demanding, requiring, instructing men to be reliable and straightforward, as a godly virtue. Hence, the valid unsettling at the thought of an inconsistent God. It is noteworthy that even Job had questions and wished he could ask God in person (Job23:3). Bless, God he came to our rescue. He came in person and all twists straightened out, all doubts dissolved. “God was manifest in the flesh” (1Tim3:16).
Since man fell into sin, he sank into death and darkness (Rom5:12-14, Eph2:1). All men were found in sin and darkened in understanding of God. The revelation of God to mankind had to be progressive, and relayed to men by other men (equally in spiritual death but) used of God. The limitations of the prophets coloured their ministry. Until God came in the flesh and set things straight, the understanding of God suffered clarity. Hence Jesus, and subsequently his apostles, made assertions to straighten how we receive the testimony of God from the scriptures of the prophets.
“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”(Jn1:18). He is categorically stating that no prophet before Christ has seen God, only Christ made him plain. He said this just after mentioning Moses’ name. Jesus corrected Moses a number of times (Matt5:38-39, 19:8). He corrected Elijah (Luke 9:54-56). He says, “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how say thou then, Shew us the Father?” The writer of Hebrews in comparing the ministry of the prophets and the diverse manners they spoke said Jesus is the clear-cut glaring exact character of God’s personality. (Heb. 1:1-3). He is not the “mercy-version” of God, it pleased the Father that in Christ should dwell the fullness of the Godhead bodily.(Col 1:19, 2:9, Jn16:15). In the pursuit of the knowledge of God, any testimony that is not found in consistency with Christ is to be dropped. It means it is not consistent with God. Moses gave a clause in his writings that when Christ comes, “him shall you hear” in whatsoever he will say (Deut. 18:15,18). On the mount, God said this is the person to listen to, in spite of the presence of the Law and the prophet (Moses and Elijah, Matt17:1-8)
In John16:12-15, Jesus authorised his apostles to deliver his testimony, the things of God he couldn’t say because of the state of men at that time (none was yet raised to eternal life). The apostles of Christ, being so empowered of the Spirit, taught of Christ and being men out of spiritual death, could accurately present the knowledge of God. Paul said they give the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus, adding elsewhere that this is done with grew plainness of speech (2Cor4:6;3:12). No shadows or diverse manners, as was with the prophets. No parables as when Christ could not expressly communicate to unrenewed men (Matt13:10-15). Christ is the screen in which we see God, none other. The prophets were to witness Christ, and that they did (Jn1:45,5:39). The scriptures, I.e, the writings, the documentation were inspired of God, not the content of what was written. Ignorance, the devil, evil men, rational men, prophets, God all spoke in the bible. God inspired it all to be written down. The records are true, but not everything is the truth of God. Hence skilfulness is expected of a student of God’s word to rightly divide the word of truth which will be the things consistent with the testimony of Christ as clearly stated in the epistles. Jesus in navigating the old testament scriptures stuck to the things concerning him!(Luke24:25-27).
So from the epistles, the words of Jesus recorded in the four gospels, the scriptures of the prophets, we can now investigate with consistency “Is God predictable?”
TO BE CONTINUED…
Written By Samuel Agboola
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