Extended Writings


The wisdom of God has to be properly discerned between God’s wisdom and man’s wisdom. If a person was a perfect life yet he did not have the wisdom of God, he is considered worthless. The Wisdom of God is considered the strong meat of the word whom only the perfect could partake of. The “word of wisdom” and the “word of knowledge” gifts are correctly defined in this article.

According to the foregoing, then, the one kind of wisdom is human, and the other divine. Now the “human” wisdom is that which is termed by us the wisdom of the “world,” which is “foolishness with God;” whereas the “divine” – being different from the “human,” because it is “divine” – comes, through the grace of God who bestows it, to those who have evinced their capacity for receiving it, and especially to those who, from knowing the difference between either kind of wisdom, say, in their prayers to God, “Even if one among the sons of men be perfect, while the wisdom is wanting that comes from Thee, he shall be accounted as nothing.” (cf. Wisdom of Solomon 9:6.) We maintain, indeed, that “human” wisdom is an exercise for the soul, but that “divine” wisdom is the “end,” being also termed the “strong” meat of the soul by him who has said that “strong meat belongeth to them that are perfect, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb_5:14) This opinion, moreover, is truly an ancient one, its antiquity not being referred back, as Celsus thinks, merely to Heraclitus and Plato. For before these individuals lived, the prophets distinguished between the two kinds of wisdom. It is sufficient for the present to quote from the words of David what he says regarding the man who is wise, according to divine wisdom, that “he will not see corruption when he beholds wise men dying.” (Psalm 49:9, 10, LXX) Divine wisdom, accordingly, being different from faith, is the “first” of the so-called “charismata” of God; and the “second” after it – in the estimation of those who know how to distinguish such things accurately – is what is called “knowledge;” and the “third” – seeing that even the more simple class of men who adhere to the service of God, so far as they can, must be saved – is faith. And therefore Paul says: “To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit.” And therefore it is no ordinary individuals whom you will find to have participated in the “divine” wisdom, but the more excellent and distinguished among those who have given in their adherence to Christianity; for it is not “to the most ignorant, or servile, or most uninstructed of mankind,” that one would discourse upon the topics relating to the divine wisdom.

~Origen- Against Celsus Book VI Vol. 4

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