Chris’ most recent work is below, with his artist’s statement below the picture.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10, “But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him”–these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.”
Often times verse 9 gets quoted as referring to the eternal state….however, I’m not sure why people do that. The context of Paul’s citation has no immediate bearing on the new heavens and earth etc. Instead, he’s quoting Isaiah 64:4 here (the text immediately following the passage I used for yesterday’s picture).
In Isaiah 64:4, that which “no eye has seen” etc. is not some future blessing for God’s people, rather Isaiah is talking about the absolute uniqueness of YHWH as attested by His acts of redemption on behalf of His people. This original context of the citation fits much more naturally into Paul’s line of argument in 1 Cor.1-2. In this section, Paul has been saying that the preaching of Christ crucified is a message that reveals God to and saves the souls of those who receive it as wisdom and power (1 Cor.1:21,23-24), while it confirms in condemnation those who reject it as folly (1 Cor.1:22).
This–Christ crucified as the saving revelation of the God who cannot be known by worldly wisdom–this is the “secret and hidden wisdom of God” imparted by Paul’s proclamation of the word of the cross (1 Cor.2:7), a wisdom that “God decreed before the ages for our glory. The spiritual understanding to perceiving the saving revelation of God in the crucified Christ is that which God “has prepared for those who love Him,” and this is why Paul supports his argument by citing a passage from Isaiah talking about YHWH’s utter uniqueness as revealed in His works of redemption.
In Isaiah’s day as in Paul’s (and ours) YHWH is made known as the only true God through His works of redemption. This is definitively true of the cross of Christ….a work of redemption so opposed to the fallen bent of humanity’s perceptions that the revelation of God imparted therein cannot be received apart from the merciful foreordination of God and present working of His Spirit.
So, verse 9 is talking about the never-before imagined glories of who God reveals Himself to be through the preaching of the crucified Christ. This–He Himself perfectly communicated in the love of the Son–is what God has prepared for those who love Him. And so, in that sense verse 9 can be seen as anticipation of eternity since ALL the joys of the eternal state can be summarized in that one statement: to know God in Christ.
With this in mind, the “these things” in verse 10 is God made savingly known through the wisdom of Christ crucified. This, then, is what the Spirit of God must reveal to us….If this is true, then the awesome thing to see is that Paul says the Spirit can do this–can reveal God to us in the Son–“For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” In other words, these “depths of God” are what the Spirit illumined eyes of faith perceive when they look to the crucifixion of the Son who will rise again. The unplumbable depths of God’s infinite heart–truly the beauty into which we will be pressing further up and further in for eternity–this is opened to us on Calvary…..May we, then, by the Spirit, in submission to the word, and in community with other believers, grow in knowing this all glorious Triune God who blessedly surpasses all of our knowledge, imagination, and hopes.