A gracEmail subscriber in Texas writes, “One afternoon I heard a television talk-show host say, ‘I believe that intuition is the voice of God.’ My mother has reminded me though, ‘The devil speaks to you, too.’ What do the scriptures say about intuition?”
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The English word “intuition” comes from a Latin verb meaning “to look at” or “to contemplate,” and it names the faculty or gift of discerning truth directly without rational analysis and inference. The Bible does not use the word “intuition” although it does contain the idea. Like any avenue of knowledge, intuition itself is morally neutral, although it may be used for good or for ill. Scripture talks about both uses.
The original sin involved intuition put to negative use. The Genesis story says that when Eve looked at the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (the name involves a Hebrew idiom for moral intuition), she “saw that it was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that it was desirable to make one wise” (Gen. 3:6). Her insights, however true, led her directly counter to God’s express command not to eat or even to touch the fruit (Gen. 3:2-3).
Solomon also warns against a certain type of intution in saying twice, “There is a way which seems right, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14:12; 16:25). On any matter about which God has spoken in Scripture, we should test intuition in light of that revelation. Intuition without reverence for God and submission to his will is not only undependable, it is extremely hazardous.