We all put great value and importance on learning, getting smarter and increasing our intelligence. We all have to learn how to accomplish something of value in order to earn a living or to become a useful member of society.
But what are the inner motives behind the knowledge we seek? What do we use our knowledge for? Obviously we acquire knowledge to better our position in life, but unfortunately, this sometimes involves outsmarting, fooling and even hurting others. In other words, “smartness” can lead to cunning, trickery and deceit—when the underlying motive consists of pure self-gain and personal profit.
The “serpent” in the Garden of Eden was considered the smartest, most subtle and craftiest creature of all. But this was obviously misdirected intelligence.
If intelligence were the key to happiness, God would not have needed to create religion and spiritual lessons. You see, there are not one but two functions of the human psyche that need to be instructed—the human heart (will) and the mind (intellect). If one perfects the intellect apart from the heart, conscience dies, innocence is lost, and bad things begin to happen.
That is why wisdom is much more than intelligence.
To arrive at wisdom, one must develop the proper heart as well as develop the thinking brain. Wisdom requires goodness while smartness doesn’t. All the world’s problems can be literally seen as the result of smartness acting counter to goodness. Without goodness, human intelligence is susceptible to insane types of behavior. (Most of us readily acknowledge that we live in a crazy world that defies logic!)
The prophecy of Genesis 3:15 that the Lord would “crush the head” of the serpent symbolizes God’s ultimate desire to destroy the human proclivity to use one’s intelligence improperly. If we follow the Ten Commandments (which includes the Golden Rule) we will be helping the Lord God to crush the smart-ass serpent talking inside our heads!