Fear Of The Lord Is The Beginning of Wisdom
(Posted on October 22, 2014 by David McMillin)
[NOTE: While serving as mentor for an online version of “A Search For God” study group and working on the Wisdom lesson, a member of the group commented that when she read to ASFG book chapter for this lesson she was puzzled by the statement: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Then she had the thought that maybe this referred to the Lord’s fear for us and not that we should fear the Lord. Here is my reply. – David McMillin]
Thanks for getting us started with this lesson by sharing your very interesting interpretation of the ASFG text which is based on this scripture:
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)
As you noted, this can be a little puzzling, especially if we have a “concept of God” that emphasizes God as love. Your interpretation does resolve that dilemma by making a loving God fearful for the sake of humans rather than humans being fearful of a wrathful God that dispenses punishment for the breaking of laws – which is a typical Judeo-Christian interpretation of that scripture based on an Old Testament “concept of God” that we explored in a previous lesson (ASFG II, God's Manifestation):
Hence ye would study to show thyself approved unto thy concept of thy God. What IS thy God? Let each answer that within self. What IS thy God? Where is He, what is He? Then ye may find yourselves lacking in much. How personal is He? Not as Moses painted a God of wrath; not as David painted a God that would fight thine enemies; but as the Christ – the Father of love, of mercy, of justice. (262-100)
So you have raised a fascinating question that has been the source of much theological debate over the centuries. If you (or anyone in the group) would like to pursue this line of thinking further (i.e., can a loving God suffer for our benefit), you can check out the “God's Love” lesson (SFG 3) on my website:
On the other hand, here are a couple of Cayce quotes that may be relevant to this discussion from the standpoint of Wisdom as the loving application of Knowledge:
Thus has it oft been said, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom, then, is fear to misapply knowledge in thy dealings with thyself, thy fellow man. (281-28)
Then, as ye manifest before thy fellow man, as ye do unto the least of thy fellow man, ye do unto thy Lord, thy God. This is the fear of the Lord and the beginning of wisdom. Not that knowledge alone is the way. Though it may be power, such power may be used to self's undoing. (2441-4)
These excerpts support the concept of WISDOM AS THE LOVING APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE. Thus it is wise to be careful and cautious (or perhaps even fearful) when applying the power of knowledge so that it does not harm others.
We exist in a lawful universe that reflects the mind of God. Knowledge of God's laws includes an understanding that “like begets like.” In other words, we reap what we sow in our dealings with others, which may not be much fun if we abuse the power of Knowledge. Since we are all part of the same Whole, as we treat others, so we treat God and ourselves. Perhaps that's the beginning of Wisdom that we should be careful to observe in our application of Knowledge.
Thanks again for sharing your stimulating ideas on this lesson. Blessings, Dave