George MacDonald’s first fairy tale novel, At the Back of the North Wind, tells the story of a young English boy named Diamond who lives an almost cherubic life, mediating joy to all of those around him. The tale begins as one night he is awakened by the north wind blowing through a hole in the wall of his hayloft bedroom. The wind appears to him as a beautiful woman whom he respectfully addresses as North Wind. She instructs Diamond to follow her outside, but he hesitates, knowing that ordinarily the north wind is a cold and killing thing. As MacDonald describes the remainder of that first encounter between Diamond and North Wind, he illustrates not only a question of epistemology but also hints at a possible path of resolution. When Diamond is faced with the option of whether or not to trust North Wind’s instructions, he must decide: is she trying to help him or is she deceptively trying to harm him? Believing that North Wind is good, Diamond eventually follows her. Following the same lines as Diamond’s dilemma, the question for our consideration is, how can we have actual knowledge of something we don’t really understand? Ultimately, can we know anything about something that is beyond our perception?
Knowledge of the Ineffable
A common way of understanding of propositional knowledge is the model known as Justified True Belief. Under this model, knowledge only exists when a belief is both true and the believer is justified in holding that belief. There are many nuances of this model that have been presented, but the same basic framework is still commonly employed. These concepts of justification and truth, however, can become problematic when applied to the subject of God. Immanuel Kant is famous for objecting that, essentially, since God is entirely separate from humanity, he cannot be thought of as he truly is. As a result, such beliefs are unjustified and so knowledge of God is impossible. In Knowledge and True Belief, Alvin Plantinga rejects Kant’s skepticism as unnecessary and proceeds to make a case for the validity of Christian belief and knowledge, nuancing the Justified True Belief model along the way in order to account for some of the uniquenesses of Christian belief. Plantinga recognizes the presence of a sensus divinitatis within humans, a way by which they are naturally aware of God, and through this, Plantinga proposes that Christian belief has “warrant,” which functions for him as justification, leaving only the matter of truth in order to possess knowledge. This question regarding the assertion of truth in matters that are beyond perception, as well as a possible means of answering it, will occupy the remainder of this essay.
The subject of truth can present some problems when it comes to claims about divine things, particularly when it comes to the concept of the ineffability or indescribable greatness of God. In order to make truth claims, we must be able to articulate both the claim and also the defense of that claim, but as Rudolf Otto describes, holiness, or ineffability, is essentially something “we can feel without being able to give it clear conceptual expression.” If God is truly ineffable, then even though we have warrant for our beliefs, we are left unable to make truth claims about him and thus are still unable to achieve knowledge of him. Importantly, however, Otto clarifies that the holiness (ineffability) of God does not indicate a total lack of knowledge but rather a lack of total knowledge, and though this softens the blow, the core of the objection remains: if there are portions of God’s nature that are unknowable, then any truth claim about him could, at best, only be accidentally right and quite possibly be wrong. To illustrate this point, you might imagine standing beside a body of still water looking across to the shore on the other side. Without being able to see far enough to the right or left, you would be unable to know if you are looking across a river or a lake. You might assert that this water is either a lake or a river, but because of your limited view, you could only accidentally be correct in your guess since the truth of the matter is unavailable to you in your present condition.
The Christian might seem to be left in an especially difficult spot. He is faced with something infinitely more consequential than a river or lake. Making concrete claims about God risks blasphemy if the claims are false, and yet making no claims abandons the Christian faith altogether. Again, Otto importantly clarifies the situation at least in part by noting that some things may actually be concretely known about God through divine revelation. The Apostle Paul affirms the same when he writes: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.” Some knowledge that is naturally unknowable for humans has yet been made known to them by God, and what God has made known about himself is trustworthy and true. As a result, objections such as the one offered by Kant are overstated; some claims about God are possible. Beyond what is specifically revealed, however, a question remains: is there a predictable consistency between what is known about God via revelation and what is unknowable about him? Or is revelation simply a “dumbing down” of God’s nature so that it can be perceived and understood by humans? Ultimately, can we believe in a God who is, to some extent, unknowable? For this, we will return to George MacDonald to see if we can gain some helpful insight from his tale, At the Back of the North Wind.
At the Back of the North Wind
George MacDonald had already written several short fairy tales for children by the time he published his first book-length story, At the Back of the North Wind. MacDonald doesn’t provide explicit intentions for the story, and it is enjoyable simply as a story, but, being a good fairy tale, it may also offer some valuable insights.  In particular, for matters that are on the fringes of our ability to understand in terms of propositions and syllogisms, stories can often provide paradigms for understanding, allowing us to organize our thoughts about these complex subjects. In this way, truths that often seem to be just out of the reach of our reasoning may be communicated powerfully through the mode of story.
The narrative of At the Back of the North Wind jumps between sequences of ordinary nineteenth century London, dreams, fairy tales, and mystical experiences of an indeterminate nature, but the story centers around the life of the young boy, Diamond. A coachman’s son, Diamond begins to have interactions with the embodied north wind, and in her care, Diamond travels at times around London and at others even out to the coast, observing her work and gaining several insights thereby. On one trip, he asks to be set down by North Wind so that he may help an orphaned pauper girl who is struggling to walk in the swirling gusts. Diamond befriends the girl, Nanny, and through several turns of the story, she comes to live with Diamond’s family. Though she scoffs at Diamond’s accounts of North Wind, assuming, instead, that he “must ha’ got out o’ one o’ them Hidget Asylms,” she is nevertheless influenced by Diamond’s kindness and is herself made better by North Wind’s activity. Throughout the tale, while almost no one in the story understands Diamond’s relationship with North Wind, all who encounter him are changed by his simple honesty and innocence. He leads a charmed life of sorts, trusting that goodness and kindness are always the right course, always trying to “destroy the misery” that surrounds others.
Drawing from various accounts in Diamond’s adventures, the following four sections of this essay will present a pattern for considering Christian knowledge of God, specifically examining the motif of goodness. First, what is good must always be good. The Christian God has been revealed as good, and if that is true, then he cannot be, at some other time or in some other way, not good. The unknowable things of God cannot be anything less than good. Next, there is no such thing as too-good-to-be-true. God’s goodness is not limited by some necessity, and so the Christian may confidently understand that God’s goodness continues to extend beyond what has been revealed into his ineffable nature. Thirdly, and based on the reasoning of the second point, if a good thing is actually not true, then the true thing must be better. If our human understanding of a good God is untrue by reason of our limited natural capacities, then the true God is, in reality, better than our conception. Finally, as an expression of his own goodness, God has ordered creation in such a way that his goodness triumphs both in the continual unfolding of his will and in the final end toward which all things are working.
Diamond’s Argument for the Goodness of North Wind
As discussed in the opening paragraph of this essay, very soon after first encountering North Wind, the young boy Diamond must confront the epistemic question of whether or not to trust the desires and actions of the apparition. Understanding the ordinary dangers of the north wind, Diamond’s skepticism concerning his comfort and safety in contact with the wind seems appropriate. The case, though, is not so open-and-shut. North Wind appears to Diamond as a beautiful, young, and motherly woman, and it is her beauty and kindliness that offers grounds for believing in her goodness. Diamond argues, “What’s beautiful can’t be bad,” and “I will go with you because you are beautiful and good, too.”  MacDonald places the millennia-old understanding of correspondence between beauty and goodness on the lips of the young boy, and, indeed, he affirms this relationship, and at the same time addresses a common objection to it through North Wind’s assertion that when wicked things are beautiful, it is because their beauty has not yet been dissolved by their wickedness.  Similarly, the beautiful North Wind will at times take on the appearance of ugliness as part of her work of making ugly and wicked things beautiful. Through all of her changes, even in spite of what is visible, contact with North Wind, whether the holding of a hand or cradling of an arm, is the clearest affirmation of her goodness. The mutual goodness of Diamond and North Wind allows him to trust her, and so, “With [her] grand face looking at him, he believed like a baby.”
Diamond’s trust, however, is not entirely blind or unreflective. When North Wind tells Diamond of some work she must do, and of the hurt to some that will be caused by it, Diamond is confused by the seeming contradiction with the immeasurably kind way in which she has treated him. He questions how someone as good as North Wind could do things that hurt others. North Wind’s response is first that Diamond knows that she is good to him, and second, that Diamond thinks that she is cruel to others. Since there cannot, in North Wind’s words, be “two mes,” a good “me” and a cruel “me,” and since a single “me” cannot be variously good and wicked, then either North Wind is cruel and only appears to be good to Diamond, or she is good and appears to be cruel to others.  The first of these, that North Wind is cruel, is unthinkable to Diamond, for he has experienced her goodness. Thus, experience becomes his foundation for faith, and he allows the seeming cruelty of North Wind’s actions to be framed and interpreted by her goodness.
This interpretive paradigm is later reaffirmed through part of Diamond’s journey to the mythical back of the north wind. In a pleasant intrusion of physics, North Wind is unable to take Diamond to her back, as a north wind is no longer a north wind when it blows toward the north. Instead, North Wind offers to place Diamond on a ship that is traveling north and then blow so that the ship can make the journey. When Diamond objects, North Wind presents three cases. First, no wind could blow, in which case the ship would never get where it intends to go. Second, a south wind could blow, allowing the ship to travel to its destination, but requiring little work on the part of the captain, resulting in fatness and laziness. Or third, North Wind could blow, giving motive power to the ship while also requiring the captain to tack against her, enhancing not only his fitness but his skill. North Wind, then, is justified in her actions, cruel though they may at first seem, because they are not in actuality cruel; they are a product of her thoroughgoing goodness. Because she is good, she cannot be cruel. Likewise, a Christian believes that God is good, and if good, then God cannot be not-good. His ineffability cannot mask a secret cruelty.
¬ ( Too Good to Be True )
If MacDonald’s presentation of goodness is accepted, the question then arises as to how this goodness should be related to the truth. One might propose a beautiful goodness, but if untrue, if the truth is actually evil, then the beautiful good is ultimately a disappointing delusion. MacDonald addresses this question through a conversation between Diamond and Nanny, the urchin girl for whom Diamond cared and who was eventually brought to live with Diamond’s family. Near the end of a long stay in hospital, Nanny has a dream that she recounts to Diamond, and he responds by telling her of the plans for her to come live with them rather than return to her former life of wretchedness. To that, Nanny objects: “That’s too good to be true.” To her, the prospect of a home and a family is an outrageous good, and her fear is that it is ultimately illusory and, as such, unworthy of belief. Diamond’s reply begins with, “There are very few things good enough to be true,” and from there he makes a brief argument for the truth of goodness.
Examining the conversation between Nanny and Diamond a little further provides some helpful thoughts on understanding not only MacDonald’s presentation but also on a way of understanding truth and goodness in our world. First, the claim that something is too good to be true functions on an understanding of truth that places it somewhere along a continuum of “goodness.” Any point, then, of greater goodness than that of truth would be understood as “too good to be true.”
Figure 1. Nanny’s Truth
This is a common understanding of the world around us, built on the logic that the world contains both good and evil, and truth corresponds to at least one state of affairs in the world. As a result, the truth contains both good and evil, and a hypothetical state of affairs without evil would necessarily be too good to be true. In fact, a “perfect” or evil-less state of affairs may not be the only one that is too good to be true. Any state of affairs that involves less evil than the best “true” state would likewise be too good to be true. Based on her understanding of the existing state of affairs, Nanny objects that goodness such as Diamond proposes is impossible.
In response to Nanny’s objection, Diamond’s argument proceeds: “Isn’t true good? and isn’t good good? And how, then, can anything be too good to be true?”  Rhetorically, this has a certain impact, but examination reveals that Diamond is presenting a different concept of truth than Nanny assumes. First, Diamond argues that truth is good ( T ⇒ G ), an assertion that is axiomatic, not only for Diamond, but also for much philosophical discussion. Second, Diamond presents the tautology that good is good ( G ⇒ G ). More that simply rhetoric, this statement provides clarification for an import distinction: there is not a complete mutuality between goodness and truth, such that they are equal ( T ⇔ G ). While truth is good, good is not necessarily true. Instead, there is a possibility that an untrue good is still good ( ( G & ¬T ) ⇒ G). If Diamond’s first assertion is included, the result appears to be that a true good creates a special sort of good ( ( G & T ) ⇒ ( G & G ) ⇒ G ), and ultimately, that true good is better than false good ( G > G because ( G & G ) > ( G & ¬T ) ). Indeed, this conclusion corresponds to Diamond’s initial response regarding things being “good enough to be true.”
What is apparent in Diamond’s comments to Nanny is that he is functioning with a different concept of truth than she is. Instead of being a point along the “goodness continuum,” truth represents a lower bound on that continuum. Any goodness above that boundary is true. This explains both Diamond’s assertion that “few things are good enough to be true,” as well as “Too good to be true . . . can’t be.”
Figure 2. Diamond’s truth
It turns out that this model reflects MacDonald’s understanding of evil as a deprivation rather than as an objective reality. An increase in goodness, or a decrease in evil, results in less deprivation, and thus greater correspondence to truth. It is nonsensical, then, to assert that there could be any goodness that exceeds truth. A Christian who hopes in an all-good God, though the extent of God’s nature is unknowable, is not holding to a pipe-dream but is instead approaching truth.
Just A Dream
Despite the establishment of North Wind’s goodness, Diamond continues to wrestle throughout MacDonald’s tale with the question of whether or not she is only a dream, a fancy of his imagination. For MacDonald, “Faith is the foundation, the root, the underlying substance of hope,” yet this faith is not to the exclusion of doubt. Rather, in North Wind, he allows the doubt to stand. Though Diamond greatly enjoys his interactions with North Wind, and there is little doubt that he profits immensely from them, it would be, at the very least, disappointing to find that she was, after all, not real. This possibility is never definitively answered in MacDonald’s story, but the responses that are provided are helpful. While the possibility exists that North Wind is a dream, it is first of all doubtful because of the love that is shared between North Wind and Diamond. Second, if North Wind is only a dream, then an assuredly better non-dream reality exists. Finally, from the mouth of the narrator of the story, something of a face is provided for this supra-dream reality: if there is a beautiful dream such as North Wind, then there must be one more lovely who sends the dream. What is worth noting in the way that these responses make use of the definition in the previous section, that if a good is not true then the truth is better, is that truth-in-kind is what is assured. If North Wind is a dream, the truth is not the opposite of North Wind but rather a better North Wind. Thus, the goodness continuum in the previous section might be understood as multiple “goodness vectors” toward true things. Goodness is not a generic property that gets applied, as if a child might be told, “No, I will not give you the ice-cream cone I promised you. Instead, I will give you ten dollars.” No doubt, the ten dollars would be objectively more valuable, a generic greater good, but the child would also likely be disappointed. Instead, the true good is in kind with the untrue: “No, I will not give you the ice-cream cone I promised you. Instead, I will give you two.” The ineffable is better in-kind from what our perception provides us, so we need not fear that the revelation of God is mere accommodation to our sensibilities without any true correspondence to God as he is. Instead, the revealed God is true, and the true God is even more so.
The Success of the Wicked Fairy
Arriving at the fourth element of MacDonald’s tale, that of the fundamental ordering of the world, there are hints throughout that there is an under-pinning principle of justice at work, but MacDonald doesn’t simply present a world of comeuppance. Instead, the good-making force in the world is active. This is evident in a vignette, a story told by Mr. Raymond to the children in hospital. With many similarities to the tale now known as Sleeping Beauty, Mr. Raymond entertains the children with a fairy tale of “Little Daylight,” a princess who has been cursed by an evil fairy to wake only at night and to wax and wane with the phasing of the moon. As in the Sleeping Beauty story, the good fairies had attempted to mitigate the curse of the wicked one, but they were less clever than she, and Little Daylight is doomed “until a prince comes who shall kiss her without knowing it.” The actual events of the tale, the way that the curse plays out and is eventually broken, are enjoyable but immaterial for this essay. MacDonald, however, makes it clear that the breaking of the curse is, in fact, inevitable. This is not surprising, after all, since fairy tales end “happily ever after.” What is helpful, though, is that MacDonald places this inevitability, both of the genre and of his own tale into words:
But I never knew of any interference on the part of a wicked fairy that did not turn out a good thing in the end. What a good thing, for instance, it was that the one princess should sleep for a hundred years! Was she not saved from all of the plague of young men who were not worthy of her? And did she not come awake exactly at the right moment when the right prince kissed her?
Not only is the breaking of the spell a surety, but the situation is all the better for the malevolent actions of wicked fairies. Later, MacDonald is more explicit: the advantage of lawlessness that the wicked enjoy “is all of no consequence, for what they do never succeeds; nay, in the end, it brings about the very thing that they are trying to prevent.” The world of fairy tales is fundamentally a world where good triumphs, and evil, though it is less pleasant, is no less a tool of enacting the good ends that must be.
The fundamentally good-attracted world of fairy tales would be nothing more than an interesting feature of make-believe if MacDonald had not also presented the world of Diamond, fictional to us but intended to correspond in many ways to the real world, as including a similar feature. In place of the curses of wicked fairies there are the actions of the drunkards, the proud, and the careless, and in many cases, it is North Wind, acting at the behest of an unexpressed director, who bring about the good ends.   In fact, one of the most poignant applications of this theme is chapter thirty-one. North Wind is absent from the text of much of the latter portions of MacDonald’s story, and she is entirely unmentioned in chapter thirty-one. In this chapter, Nanny, out of hospital, comes to live with Diamond’s family and is helping his mother care for their new baby. The absence of North Wind is unremarkable except that MacDonald titles the chapter, “The North Wind Doth Blow.” The removal of evil, allowing the good to show forth, is credited to the work of a latent North Wind.
If it is true that the world is radically good-oriented, that the machinations of wicked people will ultimately work for good, then the hopes that are produced through the good-in-kind understanding previously discussed and the incoherence of “too good to be true” have actual value. They are not hopes against hope but are hopes grounded in reality. The understanding that either North Wind exists, or the truth is better would only be a speculation or, worse, an ethereal wish, if the world were not actually ordered in such a way that good is the telos. In this, MacDonald reflects a truly Christian theme of the real world, that the creator God has acted to bring all things to himself, that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, that when evil is planned, God plans salvation.   Confidence in this ultimate direction, that good will ultimately flourish, justifies faith in the good God that is perceived.
With regard to the original issue that has been raised, as to what sort of knowledge of the ineffable may be valid, MacDonald has provided a helpful pattern. In the case of an inscrutable North Wind, Diamond trusts what he perceives, leading him to believe in her essential goodness, her good purposes, and the existence of the country at her back. While he realizes that there is not a final and conclusive argument that can demonstrate the existence and nature of either North Wind or the hyperborean country, he is yet willing to believe in them. This confidence is a result of his understanding that the world is founded on the ultimate success of the good; even if North Wind is not real, even if the land at her back is imaginary, the truth will be even better. He is not afraid to hope since he rejects the notion of “too good to be true,” and he is free, without threat of embarrassment, to believe in the beauty and goodness of North Wind.
The natural world may inform us about God’s existence, his greatness and power, and we have been given a text, breathed out by God in order to prepare us for good works, but we are also acutely aware of our own limitations, of our inability to fathom the depths of the mind of God or even his being.    The Apostle Paul speaks to this effect when he writes, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.” Acknowledging that the human capacity to understand the great mysteries of God is, at present, limited, he also understands that the “poor reflection” is not a false image but merely a limited and degraded one. This understanding of the degraded image is illustrated in the truth claims in MacDonald’s story. Just as Diamond is given reason to hope that he would not be disappointed if, indeed, North Wind were a dream, the Christian has confidence that the God who actually exists is the God that is known through nature and through Scripture. The Christian hope is not just that a divine being exists who is as good or better than the God presented in the Bible, that some other maximally good though entirely foreign being might exist. Instead, the God who exists is better-in-kind than the Christian God perceived in the Bible. In this way, knowledge of God as discovered in Scripture may rightly be called knowledge, even though it admits to incompleteness and, strictly speaking, deficiency.
The Christian faith is based on a revelation of God to humanity through prophets, Apostles, and through the Son, a revelation that is not a foggy sense of divinity in general, but is, instead, comprised of concrete claims about the nature, person, and actions of God. And still, there are aspects of God’s nature and activity which remain beyond the ability of humanity to grasp. This ineffability might seem to compromise the possibility of knowledge of him, and yet, because God is good, because there is none more good, and because he has made a world which he will eventually bring back to himself, the Christian may have confidence that he will not be embarrassed by the truth. He will not later find God to be anyone other than whom he has already revealed himself to be. God’s ineffability remains, but our belief is both justified and true. Just as Diamond trusted North Wind without knowing everything about her, we can rightly say that we know God, and so we can believe in him.
George Scondras is an artist with many attempts and few successes, a plight that is analogous to the Christian journey. He looks forward to an eternity of joy in the luminous presence of his Creator. He lives in the hills of north Georgia with his wife and children. He is currently working on a PhD in Christianity and the Arts from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
George Scondras, “Good Enough to Believe In: George MacDonald and Knowledge of the Ineffable,” An Unexpected Journal: George MacDonald 3, no. 4. (Advent 2020), 147-174.
Direct Link: https://anunexpectedjournal.com/good-enough-to-believe-in-george-macdonald-and-knowledge-of-the-ineffable/
Jonathan Jenkins and Steup Ichikawa, Matthias, “The Analysis of Knowledge,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2018/entries/knowledge-analysis/.
This is part of the basis of Kant’s distinction between the noumenal and phenomenal worlds. For a brief summary of Kant’s argument, see Alvin Plantinga, Knowledge and Christian Belief (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015), 3.
Rudolf Otto, The Idea of the Holy, trans. John W. Harvey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1958), 30.
 1 Cor. 2:9-10, NIV
 Rev. 21:5.
He had already published some full-length novels, but North Wind would be his first fairy tale, the genre for which he is best known. Colin Manlove, “A Reading of At the Back of the North Wind,” North Wind: A Journal of George MacDonald Studies 27, 1 (2008), 51.
See J. R. R. Tolkien’s widely available essay, On Fairy Stories, for an extended treatment of the value of fairy tales. This essay is currently published in J. R. R. Tolkien, Tree and Leaf (London: Harper Collins, 2001).
MacIntyre suggests that it is through stories that we learn what our roles are in life. His well-known description is that “Man is . . . essentially a story-telling animal.” Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013), 250-251.
George MacDonald, At the Back of the North Wind (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001), 51.
This echoes, to some extent, Anselm’s ontological argument.
For a brief introduction to this subject, see Roger Scruton, Beauty: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 2-4.
MacDonald, North Wind, 18.
“Mes,” here, is MacDonald’s pluralization of the pronoun, “me.” Ibid., 69.
This is essentially an argument based on the law on non-contradiction.
This argument is presented through dialog between Diamond and North Wind. Ibid., 98.
See figure 1.
 MacDonald, North Wind, 274.
Allen Coates, “Explaining the Value of Truth,” American Philosophical Quarterly 46, no. 2 (April, 2009): 105-115. This article, while arguing that truth should not be considered a good-making property and noting that there is diversity in concepts of truth, affirms that truth and goodness are nevertheless not divergent. A case of (¬G & T) is excluded.
See Figure 2.
MacDonald, North Wind, 274.
Courtney Salvey, “Riddled with Evil: Fantasy as Theodicy in George MacDonald’s Phantastes and Lilith,” North Wind: A Journal of George MacDonald Studies 27, 1 (2008), 17.
From a sermon on Hebrews 11:1. George MacDonald, “Faith, the Proof of the Unseen,” http://www.george-macdonald.com/etexts/faith_proof_unseen.html (accessed 17 January, 2020).
Manlove, “Reading”, 55.
MacDonald, North Wind, 333.
The good will be rewarded, the wicked will be reformed. For more specifics, see North Wind’s treatment of the nurse who mistreats the young child. Ibid., 37-39.
The Colemans portray the proud and the careless, and, among others, Old Sal is the embodiment of drunkenness. Ibid., 47, 121.
South Wind is another such entity though only obliquely mentioned.
North Wind acts as directed, saying, for example: “I am doing my work,” or “I obeyed orders.” Ibid., 18, 94.
This removal of evil as a function of North Wind is even more clearly portrayed early on in MacDonald’s story through the activities of North Wind in “sweeping” the streets of London. Ibid., 43.
 Col. 1:20.
 Rom. 8:28.
 Gen. 50:20.
 Rom. 1:20.
 2 Tim. 3:16-17.
 Rom. 11:33-36.
 1 Tim. 6:16.
 1 Cor. 13:12.