Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
Moral Excellence and Intelligence
June 3, 2009
Today, it is not uncommon to hear the words intelligent or intelligence being used across broadcast
media to describe people in power, especially those in political power.
Generally speaking, the word intelligence is used in a very positive and glowing way to the point that it
seems that what comes forth from one considered intelligent is sound and good, as if whatever an
intelligent person does or says must be right. But is it?
The word intelligence means “the ability to learn or understand from experience; ability to acquire and
retain knowledge; mental ability,” and “the ability to respond quickly and successfully to a new
situation; use of the faculty of reason in solving problems.”
Notice that intelligence does not differentiate between the kind of knowledge that is retained, which
means it could be good or evil. Further, although the word successfully is used in the definition, it does
not define what success should look like. The same argument of good and evil could be made for the
success achieved. If one uses intelligence for evil, then success to that person will be in the realm of evil.
What I am driving toward is this: Because of the fall of Adam in the garden, it could be argued that
intelligence can be in the realm of both good and evil, for man has partaken of the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil.
An intelligent person can retain evil knowledge just as easily as he can retain good knowledge. In fact,
an intelligent person could, and most likely does, retain a mixture of the two. The danger comes when
one reverses good and evil to call that which is good evil and evil good, and when one starts to see
himself as clever in his own eyes. It will lead to woe!
(20) Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and
light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (21) Woe to those
who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:20-21 NASB)
Consequently, I believe that judging one by intelligence alone is very dangerous. The same could be said
for eloquence. One can be intelligent, and eloquent in expressing that intelligence in a good or evil way,
or both. If this is true, which I believe it is, then we need to be very cautious in evaluating one’s actions.
Simply, action based on intelligence alone does not necessarily translate into something good.
I propose that intelligence that is of any merit must be joined with virtue or moral excellence,
something that is seldom mentioned by today’s media in describing those in political power, especially
those who are leaders in mystery Babylon. They might be smart and intelligent, but do they have virtue?
If you have not already read about the word smart , please see issue #03-0902, January 5, 2009,
Babylonian Leaders Are Smart .
Now, let us consider a word from Paul regarding what is important. Please note that these are issues of
character, that is, inward character, not outward appearance or style or even intellect.
[As to] the rest [or, Finally], brothers [and sisters] , as many things as are true, as many as
[are] worthy of respect [or, honorable] , as many as [are] righteous, as many [things] as are
pure, as many as [are] acceptable [or, lovely] , as many as [are] commendable, if [there is] any
virtue [or, moral excellence] , and if any [thing] deserving to be praised, be meditating on [or,
thinking about] these things. (Philippians 4:8 ALT)
Paul tells us to dwell upon or meditate on things that exemplify eight qualities; things that are true,
honorable, righteous, pure, acceptable, commendable, virtuous, and praiseworthy. Each of these
qualities is a subject unto itself, which I have taken up in article #8, April 2008, Supplying All
Diligence . Interestingly, the number 8 signifies new birth or life. If we want to know life, then we need
to seek after things with these qualities, and as we do, we will discover that they speak of our Lord
Jesus, who is Life. However, for this discussion, let us consider that which has virtue.
The word virtue is not a common word today, so it is not heard very often in describing people and
definitely not in describing politicians. Virtue means “general moral excellence; right action and
thinking; goodness of character,” or “a specific moral quality regarded as good or meritorious.”
The Greek word arete , from which virtue is translated, applies in a wide signification to any excellence.
However, in Scripture, virtue speaks of Christ as seen in the epistles of Peter, the only other places it is
used in the Greek text in addition to the above verses. As the Lord’s possession, we are to proclaim
the excellencies (virtues) of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous
light (1 Peter 2:9); and, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence (virtue),
and in moral excellence (virtue), knowledge (2 Peter 1:5). Why? Because He has called us by
His own glory and excellence (virtue) (2 Peter 1:3)!
Consequently, virtue or moral excellence speaks of the very character of Christ, and we are called to be
like our Lord in character. This is the meaning of Christ is formed in you (Galatians 4:19) or
becoming a mature man in Christ (Ephesians 4:13). It is not about manifesting all sorts of
supernatural power but about the power of a righteous life manifested as right action and thinking. This
is what God is after, and this is what New Jerusalem is all about. See the series on New Jerusalem.
What does right action mean? It means right standing before the Lord which is the meaning of
righteousness. In other words, moral excellence has to do with right standing before the Lord, that is,
thinking (dwelling upon, meditating on) and doing (acting upon) what is right in the eyes of the Lord.
The Lord our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6) demands that we be righteous in all our ways (1 John
3:7), which means that we are to exemplify moral excellence.
Now, I want to switch gears, so to speak, to challenge the notion that intelligence, especially among our
political leaders, is the most important, or even the only, criteria by which to discern their actions.
Since 1973, it is estimated that there have been over 49 million abortions performed in the US alone.
Today, at least 3,000 of the unborn are aborted each day, which is well over one million each year,
depending on the source. Of this number, it is reported that about 16,000 babies are aborted after the
20 th week of pregnancy. In fact, these late-term abortions are the height of barbarism as a baby’s brains
are sucked out of its skull. Can you imagine an intelligent person supporting such atrocity? Sadly, so-
called intelligent people do support such an atrocity, and even go out of their way to ensure that it is
available and, in some cases, even funded by American tax dollars.
Do we honestly believe that those who support, even defend, such a thing are doing what is right in the
sight of the Lord, who is Life? Is their intelligence joined with moral excellence?
To be fair in this discussion, we could add torture, redefining marriage, and financial deficits that belie
logic to the list, along with abortion. Intelligent people support and defend torture, push the bounds of
marriage beyond God’s joining together of a man and a woman, and spend astronomical sums of money
that we do not have in order to prime the system of usury, which is against God’s divine law. Where is
the moral excellence in such so-called intelligence? Where is God’s righteousness?
Dear brethren, the truly intelligent thing to do is to pursue and support moral excellence in our lives
and to evaluate our leaders in this light, for without it, intelligence has no right standing before the
Lord. Virtue will stand in the day of Christ.
The Upward Call: #03-09128
by: Stuart H. Pouliot