Saturday 06 February 2010

Bible Book:
1 Kings

"God gave Solomon very great wisdom, discernment, and breadth of understanding as vast as the sand on the seashore ... He would speak of trees, from the cedar that is in the Lebanon to the hyssop that grows in the wall; he would speak of animals, and birds, and reptiles, and fish. And people came from all the nations to hear the wisdom of Solomon." (v.29, 33-34)

1 Kings 4:29-34 Saturday 6 February 2010


Throughout the Bible, Solomon's wisdom is written of in terms ofgreat understanding and judgement, as when he arbitrated betweentwo prostitutes who claimed to be mother of the same baby (1Kings 3:16-28). In contrast here, his wisdom is recorded asuniversally wide scientific knowledge. This passage follows onespeaking of Solomon's great material wealth, and precedes the storyof his building the great Temple at Jerusalem.

The passage gives an insight into the truly international scope ofscientific enquiry during the united kingdom of Solomon, in aroundthe tenth century before Christ. The courts of kings would havebeen places where knowledge of the natural world was collected anddiscussed by great scholar priests. The distinction between scienceand religious belief is relatively recent, and these two would nothave seemed at odds with one another in Solomon's court.

Describing Solomon's wisdom as a natural draw for people from allthe known world implied that there was a regular and livelyexchange of knowledge and scholars between nations. It also impliedthat 'wisdom' would always be its own advertisement, drawing noticeand devotion.

Perhaps the lesson from this passage is just this: the wisdom ofGod will be its own advertisement. In the end, it will not be theprogrammes of Church (or state), good though they may be inattracting people, but the evidence of love itself. People of allnations and times have always responded to the love of God workedout, and will continue to do so.

To Ponder

In what sense is science a 'universal language'today?

In your experience, how do science and religiousfaith relate to one another?

Is wisdom the same as knowledge?

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