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Monday, June 2, 2008

Pursuing Wisdom - What Is It?

As I pursue wisdom, the first question I have is, "what is wisdom?" The best place I see fit to start is at the beginning, when wisdom was created:

"The LORD possessed me [wisdom] at the beginning of His way...from everlasting I was established, from the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth...When He established the heavens, I was there...When He marked out the foundations of the earth; Then I was beside Him, as a master workman...." Proverbs 8:22-30

Wisdom was created and is personified. (As we'll see later, wisdom is specifically personified as a woman, and this is done as an allegory so that we can better understand the nature of wisdom.)
God established and used wisdom in creating the heavens and the earth. The way the world works employs wisdom. It makes up physical laws (gravity, energy, etc.), natural laws (seasons, weather) and morals (principles that govern human society). I think the definition that best sums up what wisdom is comes from the Five Aspects of Woman bible study by Barbara Mouser:

Wisdom is "the body of God’s creation principles by which God created the universe and with which He sustains it, giving it its order, beauty and structure."

What is the Nature of Wisdom?

Wisdom is black and white. There is no grace with wisdom; if you reject her, she will reject you, even spurn you and laugh at your calamity (Proverbs 1:26). If you accept her, she will bring you life, riches, and honor (Proverbs 13:14, 3:16). She is not partial, and she shows no favoritism. She is impersonal and justice oriented. However, She is also pure. If you embrace her, she is peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy, good fruits, unwavering, and without hypocrisy (James 3:17). This is wisdom from above.

It is important to note two things:

1. Earthly wisdom is actually foolishness in the eyes of God (1 Corinthians 3:19). The wisdom we are seeking is the wisdom from above.
2. The personification of wisdom should not be confused with Christ. Christ offers grace, wisdom does not.

Tomorrow we will look at the characteristics of the wise.

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