Real wisdom goes farther than text books.
A lot of guys are smarter than I am. I confirmed that fact again over the course of a year, when I completed a survey of the world’s most important philosophers. Did I mention it was bathroom reading? Is that too much info?
Okay, maybe the bathroom is not the best place to figure out Plato’s Republic. But I discerned that most of these guys were trying to make sense of self and the world, of existence, and reality. At first, the reading was congenial enough, but before long, I started to feel that philosophers were creating questions where there were none, or, at least didn’t need to be any. It seemed like a lot of navel gazing, something a little manual labor, and lower middle class living could have fixed. Maybe if Marx had been part of the oppressed masses he wrote about, he might have arrived at something better than, well, Marxism.
By the time I got to Hume, Rousseau, and Hegel, I started detecting some attitudes that have developed into the self-contradictory postmodern ideals of today. You know, the ones that deny reality of any kind—biological, functional, and now even mathematical. And later, I arrived at the nineteenth and twentieth century writings of Nietzsche and Sartre, that have been weaponized for genocide. Anyway, that ‘s what we have done with wisdom, or at least “the wisdom of the world” as Paul would have put it (1 Cor. 1:20).
Solomon took wisdom to another level, and did a lot of things you can read about in the early chapters of Ecclesiastes, but they all seemed to be a quest for what could satisfy him, and why everything seemed to be a waste. For sure, these are more utilitarian questions, and probably sit better with folks who work sixty-hour workweeks.
But Jesus used wisdom for a different reason than everyone else.
Revelation 5:12 says,
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
Heaven sings the accolades of the one Person who deserves to be called wise, because His wisdom involves not only “know,” but “know-how.” Nor did His know-how stall with the Solomonic accomplishments of building municipal gardens, and constructing facilities.
In fact, Christ Himself is the very wisdom of God—God’s know-how in creating the universe (Prov. 8:22-31, John 1:3, Col. 1:15-17). Whatever you do, don’t let the wisdom of Darwin talk you out of rightfully ascribing greater, luminous wisdom to Christ.
Even so, we all realize this created order has become threadbare, abused as it has been under our sin. And so Christ “became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).
Christ knows how to redeem whatever has broken. He solves our problem with righteousness, straightens out our holiness deficit, and will eventually bring us into glory. He knows how to move you from square A to Z. If that weren’t enough, He will bring this ruined earth and its damaged biomass back to God (Rom. 8:20-22). That takes serious know-how.
None of the philosophical survey material I read mentioned any of this.
That’s okay, though. I’ve only allotted bathroom time for human wisdom, anyway.
Meanwhile, I’ll keep living for, teaching, and enjoying the kind that saves me, and you.