33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
Verses 33 to 36 give a climax to chapters 9 to 11. These chapters argued for the defense of God’s character (a theodicy). Having set forth God as just, righteous, and sovereign, Paul now exulted in the praise of His glory.
We find two exclamations in verse 33 beginning with the words “oh” and “how.” One exclamation was not enough to portray God’s purpose for creation, which is His own glory.
“Oh” is a term of strong emotional exclamation. Paul now allowed himself to contemplate the grandeur of God’s purpose resulting from chapters 9 to 11. He stood in awe of how God works and who He is.
the depth of the riches
“Depth” here expresses inexhaustible resources from God. Both God’s “wisdom” and “knowledge” have infinite resource.
both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
The riches of God’s wisdom and knowledge manifest His complete, comprehensive, and sovereign ultimate plan. Not only is He omniscient in that plan, but He executes it with wisdom. Whatever wisdom and knowledge man might have, it does not compare to the infinite extent of God’s. Our wisdom is only a passing glance of what God is about.
“Wisdom” is the correct use of knowledge; it has the ability to choose the best possible plan for creation. “Knowledge” is God’s awareness of all facts in the universe. Wisdom directs things to a correct goal, whereas knowledge knows about the goal; wisdom can put knowledge to the best possible use. God did this with salvation by grace (vv. 5-6).
God’s “knowledge” is perfect. Knowledge is God’s comprehensive and immediate awareness of all facts past, present, and future. He is omniscient. God has never learned anything because He has always known everything. Nothing escapes Him and nothing surprises Him. It is impossible for God to learn anything because He has always known everything. God does not know in degrees; He knows all things immediately, perfectly, and equally.
“Knowledge” in this context refers to the vast sweep of God’s purpose in creation. His “wisdom” shows how He applied His comprehensive knowledge to His acts within creation. God could not have perfect wisdom without omniscience. It is possible for a person to have a significant amount of knowledge and not have wisdom. Wisdom knows what to do with knowledge. Wisdom is God’s ability to establish a proper purpose and end for creation.
In addition, God devises perfect means from a flawless and proper perspective to form His end. He keeps everything in context in order to perfectly work out His purpose for creation. Knowledge, then, involves the entire sweep of creation, all its circumstances, all the reasons why God has done what He did.
God is knowable but not exhaustively.
God’s wisdom and knowledge are awe-inspiring. In God’s wisdom He has the ability to select the best means for attaining the highest goal. He does everything with the highest efficiency and consideration.
In His knowledge He makes this plan with full cognizance of every detail that could ever exist, both actual and probable. There was nothing in how people would choose or in the events and contingencies of creation that He did not consider in His purpose.
No unbeliever can grasp this kind of wisdom and knowledge without God revealing Himself:
1 Co 1: 20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.