by Travis Main
Isaac Newton is known as a great mind of science who has influenced the minds of men in many disciplines. What many do not realize is he was also a great influence in the realm of theology. Mr. Newton while not flawless in the religious realm has created some excellent commentary upon God’s truth from the Bible. Mr. Newton is well noted for his observation and recording of three laws of motion. It is the third of these from which application to this final article regarding fools will be drawn.
Newton’s Third Law of Motion: To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: or the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions.
Newton’s law has to do with the physical. However, it can be observed in regard to the fool, that his actions of disobedience, unbridled speech, anger, and knowledge without wisdom will result in opposite and equal consequences. Before expanding and explaining this statement, the Bible presents some passages regarding the consequences of fools that must be observed:
Psalms107:17 – Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.
Proverbs 10:8 – The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.
Proverbs 10:14 – Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.
Proverbs 1:32 – For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
Proverbs 13:20 – He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
Yes, the Bible establishes there will be affliction, falling, and destruction for the fool; however, these consequences are quite generic. What more specific consequences does the Bible mention in regard to a fool’s actions? Most individuals would not appreciate their obituary to read: “Joe Smith, a man whose life was characterized by punishment, regret, a lack of honor, stressed family, ego, distrust, folly, evil, and loss of life before its time.” However, these more specific consequence are found in Psalms 38:5, Proverbs, 14:8, 19:29, 26:1,3,5,6; and Ecclesiastes 5:1, 7:17. The Bible is full of examples of people engaging in actions which are foolish and the negative physical consequences which follow. These are only partial consequences though. Physical consequences do not fully equal the opposite force of foolishness. Nor are they always consistent. Not every foolish action is going to have physical consequences. There are spiritual considerations which must be taken into account to balance out the equation.
1 Corinthians 1:18 – For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
Proverbs 18:7 – A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.
Proverbs 3:35 – The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.
Psalms 5:5 – The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
These four verses identify the spiritual plight of the foolish. Because of their choices, fools neglect the wisdom which is eternal salvation, ensnaring themselves in a world of sin. The end result of such behavior is shameful absence from the presence of God for eternity. The spiritual consequences complete the application of the Newtonian equation. The spiritual and physical consequences in total equate to the sum of the fools actions. To have this equation be negative rather than positive would be a man’s greatest failing.
A great number of families worry over their children. They do not desire them to be known as fools. They do not want them to suffer the consequences which will result from foolish behavior. What are they to do? The Bible has a prescription:
Proverbs 22:15 – Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
Often youths are not consistently and properly corrected for their foolishness and they develop into foolish adults. There are some even with proper consequences who still refuse to accept the instruction and wisdom of the correction. They choose to rebel as children and as adults. They return to the same behaviors over and over. They do not heed the warnings given them.
Proverbs 17:10 – A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.
Proverbs 26:11 - As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
The issue is not a fault in the consequences; it is a fault in the choice of the individual. Fools choose to value that which has no value. They choose to accept corrupt knowledge instead of that which leads to wisdom. Consequently, when wise decisions need to be made, they fail. Meanwhile, the wise man puts at his disposal components which will lead to positive consequences. In terms of being pleasing to God, the wise man grounds himself in the path God directs by knowing and following God’s written word, the Bible. He prepares himself so he will be strong and have control over his actions by a foundation of truth (Ecclesiastes 10:2). A fool does not keep his heart sound in this fashion. He trusts in emotions, feelings, and opinions of man. These are subject to change and lend to instability and weakness. Sand has been chosen over Rock and equal opposing consequence will result whether negative or positive.
God has determined fools, based on their disobedience, speech, anger, and knowledge will be rewarded with consequences equal to their actions. Simultaneously, the spiritual application of Newton’s third law of motion can also be seen in the lives of those considered wise in the eyes of God. The value God puts on man’s reverence and obedience to Him (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) is equivalent to the positive consequence of eternal life in heaven with Him. The fool and the wise are both rewarded by God in direct value to the deeds they have done in life. The equations of a man’s life can be changed from negative to positive and from positive to negative. An individual can choose to be foolish or wise or back to fool again. Great are the consequences of all selected choices. Are choosing to be wise or a fool?
Proverbs 26:10 – The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.
Galatians 6:7 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Are You a Fool? Part 1: Fools and Their Disobedience
The Bible has much to say about fools and without hesitation it presents the foolish in a negative light. Why study fools? If the Bible frowns on the foolish, then it would behoove man to learn about fools so that they can avoid being one.
Are You a Fool?, Part 2: Fools and their Speech
A failure to share knowledge, dwelling on sinfulness, and uttering words which are personally detrimental, these are identifying attributes of fools. Again, they are opposite of what identifies a wise man. They are not qualities with which any person should be acquainted.
Are You a Fool? Part 3: Fools and their Anger
As with both disobedience and the speech of a fool, anger and the behaviors that go with it are a choice. It carries the same penalty as the other sins mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21 as the works of the flesh.
Are You a Fool? Part 4: Fools and Their Knowledge
The gathering of knowledge which sees an individual through his earthly life begins at birth and ends at death. There are some fools who have a vast amount of knowledge gathered in short or long lifetimes. The first concern regarding their knowledge is: Does the fool have the right knowledge?
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