Narcissism and The Progression of Fools – Introduction

.

We have until now focused this biblical study of what the secular world calls “narcissism” primarily on the term “scoffer”, as one of the labels applied to those with insolent pride – the Biblical analog to the secular term.

.

Proverbs 21:24

24 “Proud,” “Haughty,” “Scoffer,” are his names,
Who acts with insolent pride.

.

While not specifically called by the English term “fool”, the scoffer is part of a progression of foolishness described in Proverbs, starting with the “simple fool” (or “naive”), and moving all the way to the “committed fool”.  Each is a progressively greater degree of turning away from God’s wisdom, and walking an increasingly proud and self-seeking path which is independent from God.   Pride is a primary root to this self-seeking path independent from God, with increasing insolence up to the level of “insolent pride” (aka “scoffer”) and beyond.   Knowing this progression is helpful in identifying at least one of the ways in which someone can become a narcissist.

.

The progression is as follows:

.

(Types of Fool)     naive  ->  perverse ->  scoffing  ->   stubborn ->   committed

(Hebrew word)     pthiy  ->     ewil       ->     luts       ->      kecil      ->      nabal

.

To briefly describe how someone walks through this progression:

.

A naive [pthiy] person is one who is open to truth, but also open to error or sin, and has not yet chosen.  They love and take pride in their open-mindedness, are gullible and easily seduced, and do not think through what others are telling them – taking actions without thinking through the consequences.   They are at a fork in the road with respect to a moral choice – and can go one way or the other.  Their pride is in the fact that by not specifically choosing to submit to God’s moral standards, they are reserving for themselves the right to choose to do wrong.

The naive fool [pthiy] cannot stay neutral forever, and ultimately will choose to do right, or wrong – and choosing to do wrong (and not immediately repenting) puts them at risk of becoming an “ewil” or “perverse” fool, the next step in the progression.

.

Proverbs 14:18

18 The naive [pthiy] inherit foolishness [ewil] …..

.

The perverse [ewil] fool is the naive fool [pthiy] who in his openness to good or evil has made a moral choice or series of choices to do wrong in some dimension of his life, and has chosen to persist in that wrong choice (by not repenting).   As a general definition, perverseness is something that is contrary to some standard.  Rather than repenting of wrong choices (and the underlying heart attitude of rebellion towards God that led to those choices), a perverse [ewil] fool is taking the proud decision that he knows better, and is beginning to persist in his waywardness.  He does not want someone to tell him that he is wrong.  Having started down the wrong path through naivete, he is continuing on the path through rebellion, ignoring the consequences.  This is the natural, logical outcome of someone who has (in their pride) not directly chosen to follow God and His path.

.

Psalm 107:17—Some became fools [ewil] through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.

.

The scoffing fool [luts] or scoffer can result from a perverse [ewil] fool’s quest to persist in his waywardness while refusing to be told he is wrong.  This is, in effect, the cover up – living according to his desires but still trying to “make it look good” – the essence of hypocrisy.  This  [luts] is one who in his pride not only rejects God’s standard and refuses to be told he is wrong, but is beginning to set himself up as the standard of what’s right and wrong.   He is moving from simply shielding himself through not listening to the truth to actively fighting against anyone who would try to correct him.

.

The scoffing fool [luts] has not yet totally rejected truth, as he is still is trying to blindly seek wisdom.   However, in his insolence he wants “truth” on his terms – not wanting genuine truth from others, and looking for “truth” that accomodates his pride and evil desires – hence his blindness.  He still kind of wants to find the truth – but his sin / evil desires are interfering so he can’t.  This adds to his hypocrisy of kind of wanting to do the right thing, but not able to through unrepentant desires, which drive his actions.   He is on the road toward, but has not yet gone as far as the stubborn fool who has totally rejected the truth.

.

Proverbs 9:8

Do not reprove a scoffer [luts], or he will hate you,
Reprove a wise man and he will love you.

.

If the scoffing fool [lutshardens his heart and chooses to persist in his path instead of repenting, he will become a “kecil”, or the “stupid” “dullard” or “stubborn” fool.   Kecil literally means “fat” – implying someone who has a layer around his heart so that the truth cannot penetrate.  In his pride, he is beginning to protect his heart from being told that he is wrong and needs to turn back to God and His ways.  The stubborn fool [kecil] is actively and arrogantly rejecting knowledge of the truth, including the knowledge that comes from the “reproofs for discipline” and is persisting in the error of his ways.   His contentment with his enjoyment of pleasures and doing evil make it harder to repent.  He is beginning to hate knowledge – continuing to harden his heart – and becoming increasingly dull to the truth.

.

Proverbs 1:32 – “For the waywardness of the naive [pthiy] will kill them, and the complacency of fools [kecil] will destroy them.

.

Proverbs 13:19—A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools [kecildetest turning from evil.

.

Proverbs 1:22—”How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools [kecil] hate knowledge?

.

The final type of fool is the committed fool. A committed fool has regressed to the point where they have become totally apostate and reprobate. The Hebrew word is nabal, which means stupid, wicked, and vile.   He is characterized as at once irreligious and churlish, denying God, insulting God, acting immorally and disgracefully, and senseless of religious and moral things.  He has no perception of ethical and religious claims and is disgraceful.  He can even teach about God, yet deny Him in his thinking.  He has become his own law – apostate, reprobate, and even to the point of rationalizing away God’s existence

.

Psalm 14:1 

14 The fool [nabal] has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds;
There is no one who does good.

.

Isaiah 32:6

For a fool [nabal] speaks nonsense,
And his heart inclines toward wickedness:
To practice ungodliness and to speak error against the Lord,
To keep the hungry person unsatisfied
And to withhold drink from the thirsty.

.

Isaiah 5:20

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!

.

At each step, the person has the opportunity to repent and go back to seeking God.  However, also at each step, if a person does not repent and chooses to continue in their stubborness and rebellion he will continue to harden his heart.   While God is patient, He also warns that He may not let this go on indefinitely.

.

Proverbs 29:1

29 A man who hardens his neck after much reproof
Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.

.

How do we know that this is a progression?   While it is logical that turning away from God is typically a progression in someone’s heart, it is more important for Scripture itself to tell us that it is a progression.  First, there is a general progression discussed in Romans 1:18-32.  Second, is the definition of the Hebrew words themselves (….  eviyl, luwts, kecyil, nabal).  And third is through putting together the elements of the sequence, pieces of which are found in various scriptures.  A summary of the word puzzle is

narcissism-and-the-progression-of-fools-1

.

What are the implications of all this?   The most important implication is that everyone, narcissists and non-narcissists alike, needs to be very careful to “keep a short account” with God, and not harden their heart….  If in your naivete, you have done wrong, ask God’s forgiveness (He will do it).  While repentance is always possible until God lowers the boom, a person will naturally (apart from God’s grace) become increasingly resistant to it.

.

What does this all mean for our study on Narcissism?    While the scoffer may be the epitome of a narcissist, this progression provides one possible explanation of how he got that way (there are other factors to be explored – at another time).  This progression also explains how some people may have some narcissistic traits while not being full-blown malignant narcissists.

.

This blog will continue to focus on scoffers, but will also weave in wisdom available through pre-scoffer foolish characteristics in order to flesh out the entire picture of what is happening.

.

In the next post on this subject, we will list and categorize virtually every verse on each type of fool – in order to draw a more complete picture of their nature, traits and the progression.

.

Here is the first step to repentance



.

SOURCES:

There are a couple of slightly different explanations of this progression:

The best explanation I have seen comes from Robert McLaughlin’s commentary on the Book of Ecclesiastes The Eight Experiments of Man: A Commentary on the Book of Ecclesiastes

Robert R. McLaughlin pp 298-301(order it for free here).  The extended quote is as follows:

Additional resources are:

The Book of Proverbs, by Bruce K. Waltke

https://www.truthortradition.com/pdf/scripture-breakdown-of-every-type-of-fool.pdf

https://wisdomknowledge.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/five-categories-of-fool/

http://iblp.org/questions/what-are-five-types-fools

http://hongmark.com/resource/misc/Fools.htm

http://www.communityfreechurch.org/sermons/proverbs-wisdom-for-all-of-life/simple-fool-scoffer

 

 

3 responses

  1. Pingback: Narcissism and The Progression of Fools – Continued « Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism

  2. Pingback: The Progression of Fools, p.s. – God Will Ultimately Lower The Boom « Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism

  3. Pingback: How Does Someone Become A Narcissist? Five Possible Ways « Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Be Loved, To Love

We Love Because He First Loved Us

Boundlessly Good

God's Motive For All That He Does