ADVERTISING
 
Monday, June 17   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
30 years of internet...
Will digital natives and the "Gen Z" use new technologies with a better ethical/values reflection than the previous generation?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



David Bookless
 

Why we need the wisdom of Solomon

Studying nature cannot be left to scientists alone. What is required for wisdom is not only the detached rational enquiry of science but also the immersed, meditative contemplation of artists and poets.

SOLAS MAGAZINE AUTHOR Dave Bookless 09 NOVEMBER 2015 16:17 h GMT+1
flower, hq, nature, CC Macro image of a flower. / MAMJODH (Flickr, CC)

Today’s environmental problems are so complex they often seen intractable. To tackle them, we not only need politics and economics, science and technology. We also need great wisdom to move towards a more sustainable and just world. But where can we find it?



King Solomon was renowned for his wisdom. In response to God’s astonishing offer, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you,” he could have requested security, prosperity, health or happiness. Instead, he chose wisdom. As a result, “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore”.



Today, we tend to think of wisdom as primarily self-knowledge and understanding of human society. While Solomon could judge human dilemmas wisely (as in the famous example of the two women who both claimed a baby was theirs) the heart of his wisdom lay elsewhere.



Ellen Davis, professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School in the United States, writing about Proverbs, says “wisdom means holding two things together: discerning knowledge of the world plus obedience to God”. Christians are familiar with the second of these from the familiar biblical adage: “The fear [reverent awe] of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7Psalm 111:10), but what about “discerning knowledge” of the natural world?



According to 1 Kings 4:33-34, Solomon was a dedicated naturalist: “He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.” At the heart of the wisdom of Solomon was close, detailed observation of the flora and fauna of the ancient Near East. Just as Jesus instructed his followers to become botanists and ornithologists in order to live worry-free lives, so Solomon’s wisdom was rooted not in books or philosophical discussion but in deep immersion in God’s works.



Throughout Christian history there are examples of those who took Solomon’s path of natural wisdom. The Desert Fathers and the early Celtic saints combined meditating on God’s revelation in nature and scripture. Francis of Assisi embodied a Christocentric spirituality that recognised other creatures as fellow members of the community of creation. John Ray, Gilbert White and William Carey are among many others whose wisdom arose from a deep contemplation of the wonders of God’s world.



Today, we need to recover this kind of wisdom. Outdoor field studies should be a part of the educational curriculum for every young person. Studying ecology and wildlife to a professional level needs to be affirmed as a holy and important Christian calling. However, studying nature cannot be left to scientists alone. What is required for wisdom is not only the detached rational enquiry of science but also the immersed, meditative contemplation of artists and poets.



“It is regrettable that the church has in the last three centuries largely lost sight of the fact that ‘nature wisdom’ is indispensable to an accurate estimation of the proper human role in God’s creation,” says Professor Davis. “Perhaps the time has at last come for the revival of this branch of theology.” In an increasingly globalised, virtual and digital world, all who would seek wisdom need a close attention to their environment. Getting to know the local species and habitats should be part of worship and godly wisdom for every Christian.



We cannot understand God’s character and purposes without looking at what God has made. We cannot understand what it means to be human unless we know how ecosystems function and how we belong within them. Jesus humorously pointed out that wayside flowers were better dressed than even King Solomon.



We cannot find wisdom second-hand by reading books by wise people. We find wisdom by seeking God and by getting to know our place, within the places that God has placed us.



 



Dave Bookless is Advisor for Theology and Churches for A Rocha International.



This article was first published in Solas magazine. Solas is published quarterly in the U.K. Click here to learn more or subscribe.



 



LISTEN TO AN INTERVIEW WITH DAVE BOOKLESS: 


 


 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Why we need the wisdom of Solomon
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

 
Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Testimony: Wildfires near Athens Testimony: Wildfires near Athens

Nico Spies, a Christian worker in Athens, gives details about the wildfires in Greece.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Glimpses of the ELF 2019 conference Glimpses of the ELF 2019 conference

Evangelical leaders from across Europe meet in Wisla (Poland) to network for mission in a range of fields. The vision is to renew the biblical church and evangelise Europe.

 
AEA Plaza opens to serve African evangelicals AEA Plaza opens to serve African evangelicals

After many years of labour, the Association of Evangelicals in Africa officially opened its new centre in Nairobi, Kenya. “Africa, your time has come!”, said the World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General Efraim Tendero.

 
‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’ ‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’

Photos of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance’s annual gathering “Idea 2019”, in Murcia. Politicians and church leaders discussed about the role of minorities in society.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Mercy Ships volunteers perform 100,000th free surgical procedure Mercy Ships volunteers perform 100,000th free surgical procedure

The milestone represents an important point in the nonprofit’s 40-year legacy.

 
What are the most important truths that Christians should seek to convey in a secular context? What are the most important truths that Christians should seek to convey in a secular context?

Espen Ottosen talks about the truths Christians should share with people who have little knowledge and/or many prejudices about Christian belief.  

 
A 50-metre high monument will encourage Britons to pray A 50-metre high monument will encourage Britons to pray

Thousands of visitors will have the chance to discover “the God who is alive who listens and answers prayers”.

 
John Lennox on Acts John Lennox on Acts

Professor John Lennox  examines the three supernatural events in the first three chapters of Acts: Jesus' ascension, the Holy Spirit's descent at Pentecost, and the healing of a lame man by the Apostles.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.