The Ancient of DaysDecember 3, 2015 at 11:25 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
Tags: attributes of God, Daniel 7, experience, old age, omniscience, Proverbs 16, Proverbs 20, senility, senior citizens, wisdom
There are two competing schools of thought about old age:
1. We need to give great deference to the elderly. Those that have lived long lives have acquired, through the mere passage of time if nothing else, great experience and therefore wisdom. They should be listened to, and even respected and revered.
2. Old people are doddering and confused. Biological studies show that the human brain starts to break down and malfunction with the onset of senior citizenry. Furthermore, they are old-fashioned and out of step with modern ways. Besides, time does not automatically equal wisdom, and younger people tend to be brighter, with newer fresher ideas. Old folks ought to be pitied and treated kindly and condescendingly, but not looked to as major sources of wisdom.
The truth is somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, but personally I tend to skew much more toward the former view than the latter. Also, the first school of thought is much closer to the Bible’s teachings concerning the elderly.
For example, King David’s treatment of Barzillai in II Samuel 19:331-19 is a positive example of respect shown toward the elderly, and the fifth Word of the Decalogue, by extension, commands us to honor those who make up the preceding generations of our families and nation.
The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head.
One idea we need to be exceedingly clear about, however, is the reference to God Himself as the “Ancient of Days.”
I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
There is a sense in which the triune God is the “oldest” Being in all of existence. This is obvious, because He is the Creator of everything else, and nothing could exist before or apart from His sustaining and eternal power. In the case of God, we can make a clean break concerning our ideas of old age as a benefit or a detriment, because although God (as the saying goes) “has been around forever,” He is not getting any “older” or “aged” in the way we think of those terms, nor is it in anywise possible that any of His faculties, including His omniscience and wisdom, could ever be dulled or diminished in the slightest. It is especially important to remember these facts when we see God depicted as a white-bearded old man in popular Christian and religious art. Do not be deceived. God is the source of all wisdom, and He has gained none of this wisdom through experience, nor through the passage of time. He is as brilliant, smart, wise, knowledgeable, intelligent, timeless, eternal, and perfect now as He ever has been and ever will be. As one of my friends once told me, “Just because they call Him the Ancient of Days, it doesn’t mean He’s old.”