UNDERSTANDING THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR WISE AND FOOLISH CHOICES

The First Mourning (Adam and Eve mourn the death of Abel); oil on canvas 1888 painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (from Abel – Wikipedia)

Yesterday was the 4th of July. Some celebrated what they think has made the United States great. Some did not. Some complained about real and imagined imperfections.

There are various perspectives on what has made the United States great. Some even say the United States has never been great. How can we determine the correct answer? We must study an accurate account of history. Why is this important? If we are wise, we proceed forward into the future based upon what we have learned from the past.

What makes someone foolish? Why would anyone want to do something foolish? They have not learned wisdom? Therefore, in ignorance their behavior demonstrates the opposite of wisdom?

What is wisdom? In our modern culture, we tend to secularize everything. That can be rather dumb. Consider how Dictionary by Merriam-Webster: America’s most-trusted online dictionary defines wisdom.

Definition of wisdom
1a: ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : INSIGHT
b: good sense : JUDGMENT
c: generally accepted belief
//challenges what has become accepted wisdom among many historians — Robert Darnton
d: accumulated philosophical or scientific learning : KNOWLEDGE
2: a wise attitude, belief, or course of action
3: the teachings of the ancient wise men

Wisdom | Definition of Wisdom by Merriam-Webster

Sounds okay. Right? But contemplate the true source of wisdom.

Wisdom is a capacity of the mind that allows us to understand life from God’s perspective. 

What is Wisdom in the Bible? | NIV Bible | Wisdom in Proverbs (thenivbible.com)

If we don’t have knowledge of God, how do we acquire wisdom from Him?

Where do we find knowledge of God? Christians point to the Bible. What does the Bible provide us? That is complicated. Because the Bible was written over a period of 1500 years, the Bible is actually a compilation of books, not just one book. Moreover, the Bible is a variety of different types of literature. Hence, the experts have a difficult time describing it. Consider.

Nevertheless, the predominate purpose of the Bible is to tell us the story of our redemption by our Savior, Jesus Christ. Therefore, the largest portion of the Bible is historical literature. However, reading a straightforword historical narrative can leave us puzzled. We ponder. What was God thinking when that happened?

A narrative tells us what happened, but it may not explain God’s thinking. So, how do we learn God’s perpective? Much of the Bible is also wisdom literature, and much of it is didactic. There are joyful songs and laments. There are prophecies. There is even the poetic record of a debate between a bereaved and suffering man and his somewhat sympathetic friends. That is, in order to understand what God considers wise, we need to read the entire Bible, and we need to think about what we have read.

What is the secular alternative? The Bible calls upon us to seek many counselors. Therefore, we should read secular histories and listen to what others have to say about history.

Nevertheless, we should remember that wisdom is of God, not man. Without God, how do we decide which man comes closest to being wise? Was it:

  • Socrates or Buddha.
  • Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin.
  • Karl Marx or Immanuel Kant.
  • Muhammad or Zoroaster.
  • And so forth.

We can study history intently, but history is not a philosophy. History does not define right or wrong, good or evil.

To the extent we have a complete and accurate secular record of history, we can guess from what happened in the past how our actions now might affect a future outcome, but without God we cannot determine the outcome we should seek or how we should seek that outcome. We can obtain some understanding from the historical record, but we cannot obtain wisdom. Why not? God defines what is sin. To sin is to disobey God.

So, why the picture of Adam and Eve mourning their son, Abel? Abel is the first of the heroes listed in Hebrews 11 NASB – The Triumphs of Faith – Now faith is – Bible Gateway. In Hebrews 11, the Bible holds up examples for us to follow and Abel is one of those examples.

Why is Hebrews 11 about faith? Look at how it ends.

Hebrews 11:39-40 Good News Translation

What a record all of these have won by their faith! Yet they did not receive what God had promised, because God had decided on an even better plan for us. His purpose was that only in company with us would they be made perfect.

Because we don’t receive most the rewards of Godly wisdom in this life — because we must wait for the next life — Godly wisdom requires faith.

Are you concerned about how you and your family and your friends will spend eternity? Then study the Bible.

Are you concerned about the welfare of our neighbors and our countrymen? Then, fight for school choice. Don’t let our government use its power to censor history and present only one approved version of history. Even if we all become Bible scholars, we need to know about the history of our country and the rest of the world. History has shown that if we give government or some other monopoly the power to censor the truth sinful men will abuse that power.

Additional References

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4 Responses to UNDERSTANDING THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR WISE AND FOOLISH CHOICES

  1. Tom,
    Great message.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

  2. boudicaus says:

    Reblogged this on boudica.us and commented:
    H/T Citizen Tom

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