The Big Picture

Let’s cite a passage of Scripture, expound on it briefly, and offer an illustration of what it teaches.

The passage: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8,9)

The exposition: We are capable of reason because we are made in God’s image, but our knowledge and understanding is not infinite like God’s. Our thoughts are all creaturely – limited and derivative. Divine thoughts are original, and limited only by God’s own perfections; for example God cannot devise a wicked scheme as sinful men can do.

The illustration: Imagine a painting that is a nine hundred miles long and four hundred miles wide. The giant artist has told you it is a still life, depicting a bowl of apples set upon a rustic wooden table in a quaint country house complete with a rocking chair and a cat curled up by the fireplace. You are eager to behold the pleasing objet d’art, but since you don’t have a high flying aircraft, you cannot get to a vantage point from which you can see the whole.

You tell the giant painter that you would like to stand on the painting and walk around on it. By doing so you hope that you will somehow be able to gain an appreciation for the whole work. The master knows that allowing a little ant sized being like you this privilege will not damage his artwork, and gives you the green light.

You look down and the paint at your feet is pure white. As far as you can see in every direction, the dry paint is white. You begin to wonder, how can this be a painting of apples? Apples are not white. You walk for several minutes, and still see nothing but white. So you murmur about this to the artist, suggesting that his painting leaves something to be desired.

He could become indignant at your criticism, but he patiently explains that for the still life painting to accurately reflect reality, it had to show the sunlight reflected off the one spot on the one apple on which you happened to be standing. It is only that spot that is painted white. So you walk a couple more minutes and suddenly white gives way to red. Now you understand.

“O LORD, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man does not know, nor does a fool understand this. When the wicked spring up like grass, and when all the workers of iniquity flourish, it is that they may be destroyed forever. But You, LORD, are on high forevermore.” (Psalm 92:5-8)

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