May 6, 2001 / Volume 1, Issue 9
THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
Is it folly to be wise, or not? In Proverbs 4:7, Solomon is recorded as saying, "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." Solomon again, in Ecclesiastes 1:18 says, "For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:19, "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."
Is there a contradiction?
It is simply amazing how those who seek to prove contradictions in the Scriptures do not first note the context of the verses which they declare to be contradictory. If the questioner had read the context, it would be apparent that Solomon's words is Proverbs 4 deal with the acquisition of good and godly wisdom. In Ecclesiastes 1, again the context would point to the fact that Solomon sought the wisdom this world has to offer, and he concluded "...he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." Likewise, in 1 Corinthians 1, Paul speaks concerning the wisdom of this world. Notice in verse 20, the apostle writes, "Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?"
James clearly shows that there is both wisdom from above, and wisdom which is from this world. "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. THIS WISDOM DESCENDETH NOT FROM ABOVE, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. BUT THE WISDOM THAT IS FROM ABOVE is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." (James 3:13-17).
There is no contradiction.
This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible