Bible Topics In The Christian Library
Chapter 2
The Meaning and Purpose of Wisdom

Solomon revealed the incurable vanity of the world. The New Testament writers explain why it is that way. Paul told the Roman Christians:

the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:20-23; RSV). This is a vain and trouble-filled world because the Lord is tolerating (for now) forces hostile to him. Paul reminded the Ephesian Christians that they, too, were once: following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. Among these we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of body and mind, and so we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind (Ephesians 2:2-4; RSV). This world is a divided cosmos at war with itself because there are two vast empires engaged in mortal combat: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. And there can be no neutral observers, for Jesus said: Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you (Matthew 5:10-12; KJV).

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24; KJV).

Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it (Matthew 10:34-39; RSV).

Now the Lord anticipated evil from the beginning. He foresaw the abuse of freedom, and from the beginning he planned how to overcome evil and restore peace and harmony, as we find in Paul's words: For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth… (Ephesians 1:9, 10; RSV).

…and to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things… (Ephesians 3:9; RSV).

Indeed, the Lord rules the world according to a great plan, but we mortals cannot know all His purposes. We cannot even understand our own minds; how can we possibly know his? Isaiah said: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher then the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8, 9; RSV). Paul also said: O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?" (Romans 11:33, 34; RSV). Solomon revealed the marvelous truth that before the world began, the Lord (in a manner of speaking) prepared blueprints for its construction, "blueprints" comprising a design plan that Solomon called wisdom. The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew (Proverbs 3:19, 20; KJV).

The Lord created me [wisdom) at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth (RSV). When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: when he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: when he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men (KJV) (Proverbs 8:22-31).

In sum: Wisdom is the name Solomon used for the Lord's master plans of the world.
Wisdom in Nature

The very first words of the Bible tell us:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters (Genesis 1:1, 2; KJV). Out of this dark mass of raw materials, the Lord brought order and light. Creative intelligence and ingenious design are very apparent throughout nature. Concerning this fact two of the world's greatest scientists did not doubt. In 1686 Isaac Newton, referring to the newly discovered solar system, said: This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being…We know him only by his most wise and excellent contrivances of things, and final causes; we admire him for his perfections; but we reverence and adore him on account of his dominion: for we adore him as his servants; and a God without dominion, providence, and final causes, is nothing else but Fate and Nature. Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and everywhere, could produce no variety of things. All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing. But, by way of allegory, God is said to see, to speak, to laugh, to love, to hate, to desire, to give, to receive, to rejoice, to be angry, to fight, to frame, to work, to build; for all our notions of God are taken from the ways of mankind by a certain similitude, which, though not perfect, has some likeness, however. And this much concerning God; to discourse of whom from the appearances of things, does certainly belong to natural philosophy [natural philosophy being what men of our day call science]. And in 1934 Albert Einstein spoke of his "rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection."

God, the Creator, is indeed a master designer. The universe never ceases to amaze scientists as they continually discover more about its astonishingly elaborate and complex orderly systems ranging from the tiniest atomic particles to the most gigantic celestial formations. Solomon said that wisdom can be seen in the order of nature because, like a master engineer, the Lord planned ahead before he began to build.

Consider the creation of biological life forms. All contain the Lord's design instructions within their bodies. These instructions, biologists tell us, involve a molecular code within the chromosomes of each cell. These are detailed "blueprints" directing the molecular assembly of the biological system called an organism. These instructions also contain provisions for defense against various diseases and repair of possible injury. Normal growth and healthy life demand careful adherence to these instructions. Deviations and violations caused by accident and/or disease result in various kinds of deformities and deficiencies. If the violations are severe enough, the animal cannot survive. Each of the many trillions of cells in a human body contains the equivalent of a vast library full of information, all necessary to construct our body. In multi-celled organisms the instructions direct not only the internal activity of each member cell, but also the cooperative functioning of all the cells together to produce the entire working system. Scientists have found that the amount of information needed to direct the inner workings of our bodies far exceeds human knowledge. One medical scientist (Lewis Thomas) wrote humbly:

If I were informed tomorrow that I was in direct communication with my liver, and could now take over, I would become deeply depressed. I'd sooner be told, forty thousand feet over Denver, that the 747 jet in which I had a coach seat was now mine to operate as I pleased; at least I would have the hope of bailing out, if I could find a parachute and discover quickly how to open a door. Nothing would save me and my liver, if I were in charge. For I am, to face the facts squarely, considerably less intelligent than my liver. The evolution myth is based upon the belief that non-intelligence can create intelligence. It will eventually go the way of the once popular scientific theory of spontaneous generation, which is also based upon the same false premise.

In some organisms the genetic instructions also govern virtually all of their overt behavior as well. Consider the lowly ant. Admiring the complexity of their society, Thomas said: "They do everything but watch television." I would add they do not even have to go to school. They are born with their knowledge and their skills. It is genetically endowed by the Lord and marvelously effective, judged by the simple standards of survival and population size. Solomon, too, admired the genetic wisdom reflected in animal instinct, saying:

Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise, Without having any chief, officer or ruler, she prepares her food in summer, and gathers her sustenance in harvest (Proverbs 6:6-8; RSV). And Agur said: Four things on earth are small, but they are exceedingly wise: the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer; the badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the rocks; the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank; the lizard you can take in your hands, yet it is in king's palaces (Proverbs 30:24-28; RSV). It is a paradox that those organisms with the greatest intellectual potential are born less wise. And man with the greatest brain is born least endowed with knowledge and skill. Those animals most capable of learning, paradoxically, possess the least amount of genetic wisdom to govern their behavior. In fact, rodents employ more skill in building nests, for example, than do apes whose hands and brain give them greater potential.

Nevertheless, our lack of instinct is a benefit. Because, together with our superior intellect and language ability, it contributes to our creative potential. It makes us free to learn; which, in turn, enables us to live according to the demands of whatever age in the progress of civilization we find ourselves. Indeed, human progress would not be possible without this freedom from built-in knowledge. God created man in his image, and through man's creative use of wisdom the world is a dynamic system, ever developing in contrast to the biological wisdom that is fixed and static.

In sum: The awesome beauty and order that can be seen in nature are manifestations of the Lord's design wisdom in the world.

Wisdom in History

This is a great mystery, yet the evidence is strong: the Lord's "master blueprints" were originally formulated not only to guide the creation of our universe in space, but also in time; from its formless beginning to its fiery climax. Isaac Newton appears to have believed this for he wrote, "…[God] knows all things that are or can be done." Solomon said:

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after (Ecclesiastes 1:9-11; KJV).

I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has made it so, in order that men should fear before him (RSV). Whatever is has been before, and what is to be is now; because God makes search for the things which are past (BAS) (Ecclesiastes 3:14,

Whatsoever cometh into being, the name thereof was given long ago, and it is foreknown what man is; neither can he contend with him that is mightier than he (Ecclesiastes 6:10; JPS).

Other Scriptures also allude to this view of history. For example, David said: For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are thy works! Thou knowest me right well; my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them (Psalms 139:13-16; RSV). In the book of Isaiah we find these words: for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, "My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose…" (Isaiah 46:9, 10; RSV). Speaking to Jeremiah, the Lord said: Before I found you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were formed I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5; RSV). And Paul wrote: even as he chose us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him (Ephesians 1:4; RSV). In the book of Daniel we find another example. When an angel appeared to Daniel, he revealed to him things of the future which, he said, are written in "the book of truth." [I] came to make you understand what is to befall your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come…I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth, and now I will show you the truth. Behold, three more kings shall arise… (Daniel 10:14, 21; 11:2; RSV). Moreover, Jesus, quoting from "the Wisdom of God," foretold the fate of the Jews who rejected him, saying: Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, "I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute," that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation… (Luke 11:49, 50; RSV). It appears, then, that all the past and all the future are contained in those magnificent divine plans created before the world began; which the angel called "the book of truth", and Jesus called "the wisdom of God." And God ever, makes search for the things which are past (Ecclesiastes 3:15; BAS). Which means he seeks to manifest his design plans, to turn his ideas, his plans, his will into reality. We must conclude, therefore, that nothing is outside his providence. Indeed, the Bible emphasizes that the Lord is, always has been, and always will be the ultimate ruler of all things. Although amazing in our eyes, the Lord's control is absolute and fully comprehensive from the greatest to the smallest of things. For example, Solomon told of the Lord's control over the nations of the earth: Inspired decisions are on the lips of a king; his mouth does not sin in judgment (Proverbs 16:10; RSV).

The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will (Proverbs 21:1; RSV).

The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord (Proverbs 21:31; RSV).

He spoke of the Lord's control over each one of us: The plans of the heart belong to man; but the answer of the tongue is from Jehovah (Proverbs 16:1; ASV).

A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9; RSV).

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established (Proverbs 19:21; RSV).

A man's steps are ordered by the Lord; how then can man understand his way (Proverbs 20:24; RSV).

And more astonishing, Solomon said the Lord controls even those things we perceive as merely random and unpredictable: The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord (Proverbs 16:33; KJV). Solomon affirmed that his sovereignty is absolute; nothing is outside his realm of control. Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain (Psalms 127:1; RSV).

The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble (Proverbs 16:4; RSV).

There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord (Proverbs 21:30; KJV).

There are many other Bible references on this point. For example, the Lord told Moses the law-giver, See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no God beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand (Deuteronomy 32:39; RSV). David, the king, praised the Lord, saying, Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all (l Chronicles 29:11, 12; KJV). Amos, the prophet, admonished, Do two walk together unless they have made an appointment? Does a lion roar in the forest when he has no prey? Does a young lion cry out from his den, if he has taken nothing? Does a bird fall into a snare on the earth, when there is no trap for it? Does a snare spring up from the ground, when it has taken nothing? Is a trumpet blown in a city and the people are not afraid? Does evil befall a city unless the Lord has done it? (Amos 3:3-6; RSV). Jesus, our Lord, encouraged us, saying: Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered (Matthew 10:29, 30; RSV). And Paul, the apostle, also said: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28; KJV). In sum: The unfolding events of time are a manifestation of the Lord's providential wisdom throughout history.
Destiny and Freedom

Although the Lord retains complete control, certainly He does not cause everything that happens. This is clearly shown in the book of Job where we are told that Satan first needed permission from the Lord before he could oppress Job.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, "Whence have you come?" Satan answered the Lord, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it." And the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?" Then Satan answered the Lord, "Does Job fear God for nought? Hast thou not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? Thou has blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth thy hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse thee to thy face." And the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only upon himself do not put forth your hand." So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.

Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house; and there came a messenger to Job, and said, "The oxen were plowing and the asses feeding beside them; and the Sabeans fell upon them, and slew the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you." While he was yet speaking, there came another, and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you." While he was yet speaking, there came another, and said, "The Chaldeans formed three companies, and made a raid upon the camels and took them, and slew the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you." While he was yet speaking, there came another, and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house; and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness, and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you."

Then Job arose, and rent his robe, and shaved his head, and fell upon the ground, and worshiped. And he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong (Job 1:6-22; RSV).

The Bible teaches that the Lord is tolerating evil for a time for his own high and noble reasons. He has included in his master plan the potential for both good and evil, and he has given us the freedom to obey him or disobey him. There is no disparity between the truth of the Lord's absolute control and our freedom of will. The place of freedom of will can be understood by recognizing that freedom is never total. It is always limited within certain boundaries. While the Lord was formulating the exact details of His divine plans, provision for the expression of freedom could have been made by reserving certain options.

Although I am not a computer expert, what I have learned suggests that a computer may serve as a good example. Most computer programs have predetermined outcomes in the sense that, whatever can happen is programmed within the system. But not every possibility becomes a reality. There are such things as "if-then" commands. Hence the program is free to vary within specified limits; but no matter how it varies, the results are predetermined. Some 3,000 years ago, Moses told the descendants of Israel,

And if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments which I command you this day, [then] the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth…But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command you this day, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you… (Deuteronomy 28:1, 15; RSV; italics mine). And after Solomon consecrated the temple he built, the Lord appeared to him in the night and said, I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there for ever; my eyes and my heart will be there for all time. And as for you, if you walk before me, as David your father walked, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and my ordinances, then I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, "There shall not fail you a man to rule Israel." But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from the land which I have given you; and this house, which I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples (2 Chronicles 7:12-20; RSV; italics mine). The Lord does not cause all things to happen, but he has predetermined the outcome of every possibility. He has given us a degree of freedom, but the future holds no surprises for the Lord. Whatever we do, he knows the outcome because every detail is contained in the original universal design.

God has within his mind both the knowledge of good and evil. (See Genesis 3:22.) But being perfect he cannot sin. Although made in the image of God, we, on the other hand, must struggle with good and evil as between two competing forces within our minds. Our success or failure in overcoming the temptation to commit evil reveals to the Lord the quality of our spirit.

For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings (Proverbs 5:21; KJV).

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good (Proverbs 15:3; KJV).

Hell and destruction are before the Lord: how much more then the hearts of the children of men (Proverbs 15:11; KJV).

All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits (Proverbs 16:2; KJV).

The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the Lord trieth the hearts (Proverbs 17:3; KJV).

Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right. The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them (Proverbs 20:11, 12; KJV).

The spirit of man is the lamp of Jehovah, searching all his innermost parts (Proverbs 20:27; ASV).

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts (Proverbs 21:2; KJV).

I said to myself, "For the sake of men God is testing them and causes them to see that in themselves they are but animals" (Ecclesiastes 3:18; MLB).

The Lord tolerates evil for a time to test us so that later he can bless us in a special way. For example, Paul wrote about the evils he endured in his own life. Compared with other servants of Christ, Paul said he experienced, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I have received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea; on frequent journeys in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from false brethren; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure (2 Corinthians 11:23-27; RSV). Nevertheless, in the same letter Paul could also say, So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18; RSV). In sum: Our freedom to choose between the good and the evil allows the Lord to test the quality of our spirit. Yet whatever choices we make, he has predestined their consequences—he remains omniscient, and his promises are sure.

In the meantime, we have a duty to perform, and wisdom plays a vital role. The Bible says that, in various stages, the Lord used the original formless mass of matter to construct an orderly universe containing life. The last species made was man. Then we are told,

And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done (Genesis 2:2; RSV). The Lord finished His initial work then, but the universe was not finalized because when he created mankind we were commissioned to continue the process of creating growth and order. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth" (Genesis 1:27, 28; RSV). We are created in God's image to be assistant creators working under his supervision. Of course, we are not creative in the same way; we cannot create from nothing. We are apprentice creators; his children working to further what he designed and began. Paul wrote the Ephesian Christians, saying: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10; KJV). Here we are not truly free. When Paul wrote the Christians in Pome, he told them what it meant to be children of God, saying: [you] have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations…But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life (Romans 6:18, 19, 22; RSV). Perhaps, as Christians (being the body of Christ), when we see him face to face in his world, we will enter into true creativeness under his leadership, designing and planning with him new and greater things. But for now we are "slaves of God"; that is, if we submit ourselves to his leadership, when we conform to his will, when we obey the universal design, when we live by his wisdom. God’s wisdom, Solomon said, is our most important resource: Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her (Proverbs 4:7, 8; KJV). Solomon tells us that the universal design, or divine "blueprint" of the world is of such intricate and elegant beauty, and is of such order and detailed organization, and is a continuing dynamic force serving the Lord in his creative work, that wisdom is personified in the form of a wonderful woman—a Grand Lady who is eager to serve. Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: she crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? (KJV). Give heed to my reproof; behold, I will pour out my thoughts to you; I will make words known to you (RSV) (Proverbs 1:20-23).

Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart (Proverbs 8:1-5; KJV).

Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: she hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding (Proverbs 9:1-6; KJV).

Man’s duty is to work together with the Lord according to his divine plans to continue creating good in the world. We were created to be his sons and his daughters. We are called to be the princes and princesses of the universe, to rule with him over all things. This universe is a vast reservoir of matter and energy, most of which is still in a very primitive condition. Only by the Lord's wisdom can these resources be utilized constructively and creatively. With his wisdom, our collective potential is vast indeed. Not long after the beginning of creation the Lord said, this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing they propose to do will now be impossible for them (Genesis 11:6; RSV). Moreover, a comment made by Jesus (who was involved in the creation with God the Father at the beginning) suggests that civilization is yet in an embryonic state, for mankind is destined to spread throughout the entire universe before the end of the world. Jesus said: and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Matthew 24:31; RSV). Apparently, then, civilization is to ultimately spread "from one end of heaven to the other." Great things certainly can have very small beginnings. God commanded that mankind multiply and subdue the earth (this material realm). We must conclude, therefore, that progress is inevitable; but the rate of growth, and our rewards from it depend much upon the extent to which we choose to obey the Lord's design plans. Isaiah warned: "Woe to the rebellious children," says the Lord, "who carry out a plan, but not mine…" (Isaiah 30:1; RSV). In sum: Just as God has used his wisdom in the creation and maintenance of the universe, he desires for all men, in like manner, to accept and to use his wisdom in their lives.

Copyright 1997 by Walter L. Porter may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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