Proverbs famously says that fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. Old time fire and brimstone preachers said this meant we were to live in fear of the coming judgment. Others, pointing to the finished work of Christ said that we need not fear judgment and that this verse was simply saying that we needed to have an attitude of reverence towards God. Or it was fear like a child has of their parents. But the word used is fear, not reverence and using fear to control children is rapidly falling out of favor.
I have come to my own understanding of this verse. I think that fear of God comes from really knowing that God does not respect our limits. This is a God who created a world of predators and prey. This is a God who made a world with mosquitoes and earthquakes. Why would God create a world like this? A lot of people embrace some version of religion which denies that God did create a world like this. Continue reading