31 May, 2018

Psalm 139:14, 17-18—“… fearfully and wonderfully made …”

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee (Ps. 139:13-18).

“David says in this Psalm that he is ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ But surely this applies to every human being? The reprobate is knitted together in his mother’s womb in the same way that David describes he was. In that sense every human being is a wonderful work. It is appropriate to look at every human being with a sense of wonder and admiration at what they are (not necessarily at what they do, but what they are [minus the fallen stuff].) This holds for God too, who, on account of His perfection, never fails to appreciate the beautiful and the wonderful. But appreciation is a weak form of love. Therefore, God loves every human being in this sense.”


Prof. David J. Engelsma

With regard to the Psalm 139 passage, note, first, that David speaks of himself, who is a child of God, not of all men universally.  I appeal to the passage, in fact, in support of infant salvation of the children of godly parents.  God’s eye was on David already in his mother’s womb (v. 15).
Second, it is strange that some should appeal to the text in support of a love of God for all humans, when verses 19ff. of the Psalm teach God’s hatred of the wicked and determination to destroy them.  Indeed, the believer hates the wicked (v. 21).  Of all psalms to avoid when arguing a love of God for all, Psalm 139 is outstanding.
But, third, granting that verse 14 applies to the natural formation of all humans, the text merely teaches that the human is a marvelous creation of God, physically and naturally.  One can even admire the mind of an Einstein, the musical ability of a Mozart, and the sporting ability of a major league baseball player, attributing the abilities to the Creator, without supposing that this creature, with outstanding human abilities, is the object of the love of the Creator.  The issue is the spiritual life and nature of the human.  Apart from Christ and the Spirit of Christ he uses all his abilities, in themselves marvelous, to oppose God (v. 20).  He is an enemy of God and as such an object of the wrath of God.  Sin plunged a good creation under the wrath of God.  The devil’s capable mind and extraordinary talents, bestowed originally by the Creator, do not make him object of the love of God.  God is not impressed by all this ability that is opposed to Him and His church. (31/05/2018)



More to come! (DV)


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