Intelligence—A Poor Substitute For Wisdom


What is wisdom? I believe its definition has been broadened and cheapened over the years as society has devolved. If you do not set a correct premise and beginning for wisdom, then what grows from there is automatically faulty.

Job 28:28 And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’” –ESV

 Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! –ESV

 Proverbs 1:7 reiterates this principle as does Proverbs 9:10 and a few others in the same book. So this gives us a good idea what the very foundation of wisdom is.

Psalm 14:1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. –ESV   

 So approaching the issue of wisdom from opposite ends in scripture produces the same result. The fear of God is what wisdom is founded on, and the person who does not believe in God is a fool. Yet some of the most highly esteemed intellectuals of this age do not believe in God. Their intelligence has become a crutch for them and wisdom has escaped them.

The wisdom of this age is faulty, even as it was back when Paul wrote his epistles and spoke against the wisdom of his age in 1 Corinthians 2:6 and 19. Intelligence—as used by many—is a mere counterfeit of wisdom and is the tool of the hour to distract from real wisdom—and the Bible calls an extreme reliance on it folly.

Why does reliance on intelligence lead to folly? Well we produce it of our own flesh and not of the Spirit. You see many things work backward from our natural understanding. The Bible says when we are weak we are strong. This being the case, I believe natural strength is therefore a weakness in disguise. Intelligence is a natural strength. The more we hone it, the less likely we are to rely on God, as we have developed a system of our own that we manage to get by on in this corrupt world.

When we rely on intelligence, there may even be a semblance of success, as we create a premise of our choosing, and build our kingdom from there with our natural logic. But if the foundation is flawed, it is all worthless. Less than worthless. It is a hindrance to God’s kingdom. All it can possibly do is puff us up—or make us feel stupid depending on the case. Neither is useful.

This is coming from a person who in his natural self is an intellectual of sorts. Fortunately, it has only been in narrow fields. God has had an easy time putting me out of my element at opportune times and keeping me in reliance on Him.

This is where we all need to be willing to find ourselves. As humbling as it can be, God has a purpose in it. The purpose seems to be to inspire us to seek true wisdom—received Divinely by faith and not attained by our own effort and imagination.

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. –ESV

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