As part of my college course this year, I’m studying the Doctrine of God. It’s been great so far, I’ve really enjoyed it. I was doing some reading for the assessment today – Thomas Watson’s “Body of Divinity” was on the list. This is a collection of sermons he preached on the Westminster Assembly’s Catechism, and it is available for free online. I found it very helpful for me personally – it made me realise once again how much Christians lose if they ignore the rich history of Christian literature there is out there.
Given most of what I’ve written about here hasn’t been that cheerful recently, I think it’s high time for me to take a back seat and put something encouraging up, so I will hand over to Watson. This is him talking about what it means for God to be infinite (I’ve highlighted a few bits to hopefully make it a bit easier to read, as it is a bit wordy. He was a puritan, after all):
If God be infinite by his omnipresence, then see the greatness and immenseness of the divine majesty! What a great God do we serve! 1 Chron 29:91. ‘Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the glory, and the majesty, and thou art exalted as head above all.’ Well may the Scripture display the greatness of his glory, who is infinite in all places. He transcends our weak conceptions; how can our finite understanding comprehend him who is infinite? He is infinitely above all our praises. Neh 9:9. ‘Blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.’ Oh what a poor nothing is man, when we think of God’s infiniteness! As the stars disappear at the rising of the sun, oh, how does a man shrink into nothing when infinite majesty shines forth in its glory! Isa 40:15. ‘The nations are as a drop of the bucket, or the small dust of the balance!’ On what a little of that drop are we! The heathens thought they had sufficiently praised Jupiter when they called him great Jupiter. Of what immense majesty is God, who fills all places at once! Psa 150:0.
If God be infinite, filling heaven and earth, see what a full portion the saints have; they have him for their portion who is infinite. His fulness is an infinite fulness; and he is infinitely sweet, as well as infinitely full. If a conduit be filled with wine, there is a sweet fulness, but still it is finite; but God is a sweet fulness, and it is infinite. He is infinitely full of beauty and of love. His riches are called unsearchable, because they are infinite. Eph 3:3. Stretch your thoughts as much as you can, there is that in God which exceeds; it is an infinite fulness. He is said to do abundantly for us, above all that we can ask. Eph 3:30. What can an ambitious spirit ask? He can ask crowns and kingdoms, millions of worlds; but God can give more than we can ask, nay, or think, because he is infinite. We can think, what if all the dust were turned to silver, if every flower were a ruby, every sand in the sea a diamond; yet God can give more than we can think, because he is infinite. Oh how rich are they who have the infinite God for their portion! Well might David say, ‘The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places, and I have a goodly heritage.’ Psa 16:6, 6. We may go with the bee from flower to flower, but we shall never have full satisfaction till we come to the infinite God. Jacob said: ‘I have enough;’ in the Hebrew, ‘I have all,’ because he had the infinite God for his portion. Gen 33:31. God being an infinite fulness, there is no fear of want for any of the heirs of heaven; though there be millions of saints and angels, which have a share in God’s riches, yet he has enough for them all, because he is infinite. Though a thousand men behold the sun, there is light enough for them all: put never so many buckets into the sea, there is water enough to fill them. Though an innumerable company of saints and angels are to be filled out of God’s fulness, yet God, being infinite, has enough to satisfy them. God has land enough to give to all his heirs. There can be no want in that which is infinite.
Doesn’t that warm your heart as you read it? It does mine. God is infinite – he is infinitely above our praise, and in him there can be no lack.
I do encourage you to read the rest of the book – I am planning to when I’ve finished my current reading. He seems to be a wonderful theologian with a real pastoral heart – a rare gift.
One thought on “Thomas Watson and God’s Infinity3 min read”
That was sweet.
I first realized what a heritage Christians have in the old worshipers when, after a few years of singing modern Praise & Worship, we started singing the hymns of Luther, Wesley, & others, again. About the same time, my mom gave me a Matthew Henry’s.
Just a few years ago, I began looking at Calvin’s comments on scriptures just to see. (I was raised Arminian) I was surprised at how gracious his writing seemed, time after time.
I was brought to consider the infinite nature of God when trying to figure out how to talk to atheists. When trying to wrap my mind around the concept of One who existed before stardust, air, photons, and quantum particles (when “nothing” was, really, nothing at all), I feel pressure on the top of my head as if the correct response to such a God is to bow it.
We serve the God who, someday, is going to roll up heaven and earth as worn out garment: roll it up, put it away, and provide Himself with a new heaven and a new earth.
Let us look forward to it.