Friday, September 23, 2005

A note on the "Thought of Foolishness"

I had said a few posts ago that just because something is foolish doesn't make it sin. It occured to me later, that someone might bring up Proverbs 24:9 which says that the thought of foolishness is sin.
First let me clarify what foolishness I am referring to, in regard to standards. When an IFB says some activity that his code of standards prohibits is foolish, such that a seemingly innocent activity may lead to worse things, this is an appeal to what he sees common sense versus stupidity.
In the book of Proverbs, wisdom and foolishness are compared and contrasted extensively. Wisdom in the book of Proverbs is equated with God's commands and so with the Scripture:

Pro 2:1-10 ESV My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, (2) making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; (3) yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, (4) if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, (5) then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. (6) For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; (7) he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, (8) guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. (9) Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; (10) for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;

...also see Pro 8. Foolishness in the book of Proverbs is equated with ignoring and rejecting this wisdom:

Pro 1:7 ESV The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

None of this is to say that the commandments of God don't lead to common sense actions. However, the central issue around which one is deemed wise, or a fool, in Proverbs is whether that man listens to and follows Godly instruction. The Proverbs fool is the willing sinner, the one who consciously disobeys God.
The thought of foolishness is the thought of going against God's commands, not the thought of being stupid. In any case, the difference between foolishness(stupidity) and sin should be obvious.
The above-mentioned appeal to common sense is debatable in any case and depends on the issue.

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