Thursday, March 21, 2013

Proverbs 8: Wisdom is Moral Intelligence

Prov 8:22-36 "The Lord  possessed me 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. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth, before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world. When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master workman,and I was daily his  delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man. And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise,and do not neglect it. Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find me injures himself;all who hate me love death." (ESV)

Most bible scholars are unanimous that the Wisdom mentioned in this chapter is parallel to the Word (logos) of John's Gospel: "In the beginning was the Word (logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men" (John 1:1-4). Wisdom, like the Word (Logos), is not a idea but a Person. John identifies that Person as Jesus Christ: "The Word (Logos) became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).

So, we conclude that Christ is the Wisdom of God. Furthermore, as we have studied thus far in Proverbs 1-7, this Wisdom is not just some kind of impersonal and amoral intelligence but personal and moral intelligence. God has created the Universe through Wisdom and therefore made it a moral Universe: "The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old(8:22, ESV). Since Wisdom is God's moral intelligence, the Universe created by Wisdom is a moral universe. Everything functions in this universe according the moral principle of God--from the ants to the antelopes, from plankton to plesiosaurus. They are governed by God's wisdom defined by love, righteousness and justice. Moral intelligence suggests moral design and purpose. If we observe the animal kingdom in particular, we are amazed by its diversity and simplicity - they need love (not random chance) to grow and survive.

So, Wisdom declares that whoever is willing to "listen to me... keep my ways" is blessed and that person who "finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord" (8:35, ESV). Such a person is blessed because he or she will be filled with moral intelligence -- the quality that marks us as divine.

Lord, thank You that You are Wisdom. To find You is to find Wisdom and the moral intelligence that flows out of knowing You. Amen.

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