Impact of Divine Wisdom on the Educational Enterprise
Many Christian parents understand the importance of Divine Wisdom and acknowledge its potential to impact their children’s lives in a positive way. Consequently, leaders in Classical and University-Model® Christian schools and many home-school families as well are sincerely committed to training students in wisdom. For instance, the Circe Institute, which serves the Classical school community, states on its website that “The purpose of Classical Education is to cultivate wisdom and virtue.” A popular book in Classical Christian circles has been, Wisdom and Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning.
Biblical Wisdom is mysterious, multi-faceted and complex—“manifold” as Paul writes in Ephesians (3:10). Nevertheless, Christian school parents, students, teachers and leaders might pursue any of several broad avenues for study:
Wisdom is a She. Throughout the Wisdom literature Wisdom is personified as a woman. What should this personification mean to us? How is Wisdom like a woman? What is “feminine” about her? At the very least this is telling us to pursue her. But she is also pursuing us. She is calling out from the busy streets of the city. What does she want to tell us? Why the urgency? What happens when we capture and “embrace” her?
Wisdom is a Set of Virtues. Proverbs 8:12 and James 3:17 each list seven virtues associated with Wisdom. In Proverbs 8 they are: prudence, knowledge, discretion, counsel, sound judgment, understanding and power. In James 3:17, “the wisdom that comes down from heaven,” is “pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” It is a mark of spiritual acumen to discern the difference between the two lists!
Wisdom is a Divine Template. In Proverbs 8:27-30, Wisdom uses construction language to describe her activities. She says she assisted God in laying down forms, outlines, boundaries and foundations at creation. When she repeats five times that God brought her forth “before” (8:22-26) He created a single thing it is clear she represents the blueprint or template for anything we are to do or build—a company, a school community, a department, and even a life.
Wisdom is a Craftsman. Proverbs 8:30 and Psalm 104:24 show Wisdom in the role of the creative artist assisting God when He created the universe. Knowing that God made everything in Wisdom and then observing what and how He made it in Genesis 1 reveals more clues about Wisdom’s creative activity: she was involved in making the “forms” of the created world—land, sea and sky—but also the “filling” of those realms with uniquely created objects like animals, fish and birds. She is therefore both the Design and Substance of every created thing.
Wisdom is a Tree of Life. Eve ate from the forbidden tree because she saw it was “desirable for gaining wisdom” (Gen. 3:6) even though she was free to eat from the Tree of Life also. In Proverbs 3:18 we find that the tree of life is Wisdom, and in the Book of Revelation this tree, which will once again be freely available to all after Jesus returns, is now used for the “healing of the nations” (Rev. 22:2).
Wisdom is a Name for the Holy Spirit. In both the Old and New Testaments Wisdom goes by the same name. In Isaiah 11:2 we find the Spirit of the Lord is called the “Spirit of Wisdom” and in Ephesians 3:17 Paul asks for the “Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation.” What is the connection between the Spirit and Wisdom, the Spirit and the Tree of Life, the Spirit and creativity?
Wisdom is an attribute of each member of the Godhead. The Father’s expression of Wisdom consists of the forms of Creation and the Plan of Redemption through the form of the perfect Man—Jesus. Jesus, the “Power of God and the Wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24), expresses His Wisdom in the form of the perfect Government, the Kingdom of God. And the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation, is even now building the form of the perfect community, the Church, the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, who is, interestingly enough, also a…woman!