Scripture is packed with gems if you are willing to take the time to dig them out. It’s chock full of amazing insights into the nature of our lives and reality. I came across a nugget the other morning with some high school seniors. We meet for “Bojangles and Bible Study” each week and are moving through Proverbs. (I figure every guy–high school age and in their 40s–needs more Proverbs!)
Question: Aside from God, what’s older than the universe?
Proverbs 3:19-20 says, “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.”
God used wisdom as the agent to create the world (See also Proverbs 8:22-31 & Genesis 1, where God creates through Words, which are wisdom that is spoken). Wisdom, understanding & knowledge predate the cosmos.
I often look around at the stars and sunsets, the fields and rivers (and remember the mountains and oceans) and think, “these are so real, so sure, so true, so present.” And, they can seem more real than the life of the mind, than the realm of concepts or thought.
But, Proverbs 3:19-20 say that God’s thoughts and ways for life are more real, or at least are earlier in the scope of reality. The world is real, but God’s ways of thinking are “realer”.
Wisdom is more trustworthy than 13.7billion light years of space and stars. God’s wisdom (and, when you think about it, all wisdom–in order to be wisdom–must cohere with how God thinks! Otherwise it’s foolishness) is the bedrock of reality.
I tell my sons all the time to think through the difference between what humans discover and what we invent. Did we discover or invent the laws of aerodynamics? How about jet engines – discovered or invented? One way you tell the difference is this: are they the same for everyone and in all places? The laws of aerodynamics are the same: thrust + lift always equals flight (if you have enough of both). We discover aerodynamics, but we invent jet engines: you can 20 different types of jets, not to mention propellors and rotors and all that stuff.
God’s wisdom is aerodynamics. Thermodynamics. Gravity. How about this: have we discovered or invented economic laws? Supply and demand always seems to be true; doesn’t seem to be a construct to me. Market principles seem to be a discovery in that they are not only true in one country or era, but have universal application. On the other hand, the stock market is an invention – you could do it 10 different ways (or not do it at all).
How about marriage? Is that invented or discovered? I don’t think there’s a doubt in Scripture that it’s discovered (or “revealed” to use the theological term). God implanted it as the normal, regular way to order families and society. We didn’t invent it; and thus we can’t change it without going against the implanted make-up of the world.
Our lives of wisdom… are we wise if we ignore gravity or aerodynamics? Not at all. Human wisdom means that we align ourselves with God’s wisdom. God’s revealed knowledge and understanding become our play-book for living. Run your own plays at your peril. Interesting.
Before nature, there’s thought. Before the cosmos there’s the mind of the Creator. Before the Wild there’s wisdom. The Lord by wisdom founded the earth. This makes me want to discover as much as I can about the way God created the world, and his character, purposes and ways. And, his calling to me now that he has sent Christ – the Word of God, the Wisdom of God – to rescue us from this fallen world, decomposing and become increasingly foolish the longer it refuses to acknowledge its Wise Creator!