Strange words from Paul

We live at an incredible time in history. The space shuttle is being retired. More than a hundred years have faded since humanity first flew. Even decades have dissipated since a man walked on the moon.

The chemical ordering of information in the cell has been decoded. Hand-held devices enable us to hear and see another person anywhere on earth. What was routinely denigrated as junk DNA from the 1980’s onward is now known to be some of the most sophisticated aspects of our DNA.

Yes, we live at an incredible time.

Such successes inspire confidence in our ability to reason and discover. And why not? During the days of the Tower of Babel, even God said that if humanity remained united, “nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them” (Genesis 11:6).

Accordingly, Paul’s words may surprise us:

“Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20).

How can Paul write this? Technology works!

If we continue to work through his letter we learn that this apostle is neither denying humanity’s ability to discover technology nor even our ability to perceive basic truths about God from nature, such as he argued for in Romans 1:19,20.

Rather, “for in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, …” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

Can we discover through reason alone that God’s love would pour forth on our behalf? Does human insight teach us we must rely upon Jesus Christ the Son of God who died for us upon a cross? What we can discover is far less than what we need.

“For in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased to save those who believe by the foolishness of preaching. … we preach about a crucified Messiah … (who) is the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom.” (1 Corinthians 1:21,23,24,25).

Self-sufficient pride in our own abilities will cause a person to dismiss God’s wisdom for us, Christ crucified. In God’s wisdom all of humanity from the greatest to the most common, equally stands before him humbled, dependent upon embracing the revealed proclamation — Christ died for you.

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Barry Newton

Married to his wonderful wife Sofia and a former missionary in Brazil, Barry enjoys trying to express old truths in fresh ways. They have two boys attending university.

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2 thoughts on “Strange words from Paul

  1. Barry Newton rightly concludes, it all comes down to the sacrifice of Christ on a cross in that small plot of ground on a low hill outside the walls of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. Whateve else man knows or does, that is the central act in “God’s Larger Plan for the Salvation of Mankind.” Don

  2. Although time may pass and certain characteristics of our environment may be different, fundamentally people and our needs do not change and so our only hope is in God’s wisdom of providing Christ crucified. Well said, Don. Thanks for the feedback.

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