Intelligence: 2. The ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience. (from The Sage VII – English Dictionary)
“My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:1-5).
Intelligence is sometimes used as a synonym for wisdom. We might say, “That was an intelligent thing he did,” indicating information was gathered and used to produce a desirable outcome. On the other hand, intelligence can be a word denoting a person’s ability to amass facts or seeming facts. For example, there are some who are brilliant in retaining information and organizing it but consistently arrive at biased conclusions. Why? The information is skewed by such problems as pride, malice, envy, or presumption. We can see this very thing in religion, politics, social networking, neighborhood gossip, and science. Sometimes, perpetrators of bias are viewed as intelligent because their conclusions match the expectations of the blind.
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
Spiritual blindness is different from eyes that are not functioning properly or are ruined. Spiritual blindness has to do with allowing our lives to be the final authority on what is accepted and true. It is blindness because we are not the authority. When we make ourselves the authority, we can only reflect upon our projections of reality. So, we surround ourselves with a type of knowledge limited to ourselves. This excludes knowing what is beyond us because we cannot admit contradictions to the biases of our fleshly mind. Being impressed with ourselves is a little like being in a room of mirrors, wowed at the seeming infinite, while after all being in a small room.
“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23).
The above teaching of Jesus compared human eyes with spiritual eyes, the ability to weigh one thing against another. This is where our perception originates. There is warning in this lesson – we can determine a thing to be true when it isn’t. This light that is darkness, this seeming truth, concerns grave issues. He said, “how great is that darkness.” This tells of a deception accepted as a fundamental reality. Many people recognize things vital to our existence: God, families, and nations. Yet, our determination of what to do with such recognition is ruined if we make ourselves arbiters of knowledge rather than looking to God. Inquisitions have been perpetrated to suppress others from determining the will of God for themselves. The accused have been burned in the name of the Lord. In favor of the state, Communists have oppressed people seeking God. This is ignorance. It is a problem of flesh rather than spirit, the carnal mind trying to determine and act upon vain concepts of what is real. So, the importance of self suppresses the greater value of kindness. No wonder suicide bombers cry out to their notion of God in the act of blowing people to bits. What a dark, dark light!
“They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me” (John 16:2-3).
The early church suffered at the hands of the Jews who rejected Jesus. However, it was not too long before that changed. Instead of Jews, it became those under the banner of the cross who did the persecuting. It is a great temptation for us as Christians to make people after our own image. It is like every other stripe of humanity, culture, and nation: “Make them mind! Make them be like me!” Christians, we dare not suppress the good news of salvation in favor of what we think the world should be. That would be the work of antichrist. We don’t want to become antichrist, for that is the ultimate ignorance.
Intelligence – what is it? We do not possess it by a great degree of mental acumen. It is found by listening to God. He is the intelligent one. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).