Cor 1:18-21 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God make foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God throught the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
1Cor 1:20 (AMP) Where is the wise man (the philosopher)? Where is the scribe (the scholar)? Where is the investigator (the logician, the debator) of this present time and age? Has not God shown up the nonsense and the folly of this world’s wisdom?
The wise man, the philosopher. The thinker. He observes human nature and draws conclusions about life, and from his own imaginings suggests what would bring about the perfect society from his own point of view. Psychology also falls under this heading. Psychology has found out much wisdom that the Bible proclaimed long ago – that a merry heart does a body good, that the beatitudes are also healthy guidelines for thinking and acting – but this acceptance never leads them to the God who said it first in His Word. The philosopher can lead a reasonably decent life and explain how people should live, but even so his own nature will get in the way of living what he says he believes; It has no power to truly change him or others. Nor will it lead to knowledge of God.
The scribe, or scholar, the expert in the law, the historian. The Jewish scribe was a lawyer, an expert in all points of law, the legal system of do’s and dont’s. He was also expert in the history of the Jews. Thousands of years ago God gave Israel a legal code, to which the scribes and other leaders added, but it never produced the intended results. Man still disobeyed. The Jews frequently and with great enthusiasm broke those laws, following their own nature. There is no power in a legal code to change man for the better.
Jesus said of the Jewish scholars, “You search and study the Scriptures thinking that in them you find life, and it is these same Scriptures that speak of Me. Yet you refuse to come to Me that you might have life.” But in spite of their great learning, they refused to believe because they did not like the message. They did not want to hear that they needed to repent of their sins to go to heaven; what they wanted is for their Messiah to come and destory the Romans whose rule they were under and bring them great financial riches and worldly authority. The message of the cross is a stumblingblock to the Jew.
As for the scholar as historian, it has been rightly said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Schools in the U.S.A. no londer teach, for example, the true history of the founding of our nation. Many of those who chose to come to America from Europe were fleeing religious persecution because the corrupt church controlled the state and was the de facto religion. Our constitution was founded on Biblical principles, and our founders, regarding the law separating church and state, were trying to insure that the government and religion did not join forces to control the religious beliefs and practices of the people.
And we see the fruit of this changing of history. Gang activity is rampant, and we must have cops patrolling our schools to ensure the safety of the children. Immorality is at an all time high, and is even permitted and defended in our churches. The children are taught that man is a mere animal and an accidental creation of the universe, so they act like animals and worse. And then we wonder why. I could go on, but we all know the way things are going on this earth.
The investigator, the logician. He is the scientist, looking for answers in nature and creation without putting God in the equation. The scientist tries to figure out how things work and how creation came about through scientific means, by investigating the natural system and drawing conclusions strictly from the observable facts. They then form theories, filling in the blank spots with their own imaginative interpretations.
Instead of observing the many kinds of animals and going to Scripture to see where they come from, they invent a family tree that shows how a single cell organism became a fish, a bird, an invertebrate, a reptile, and a mammal, through theoretical evolutionary means. But you know what? They have never found a single proven missing link between kinds of creature, no half-lizard-half-birds. They have never found a definitive link between apes and humans – most of those which are taught in our school textbooks have later been proven to be frauds, or were based on a single tooth with a little bit of jawbone that were later proven to be from a pig, not a pre-human.
It is interesting when you notice that the more the natural, logical method of thinking holds sway, the more violent, immoral, and depressed man becomes. The more society ignores Almighty God, the greater the evil in that society. We can have laws, we can have great thinkers and psychology, and science that understands how stars burn and eyes work, but when the God of the Bible is left out of the equation, it is worthless. Science can help man live longer and more comfortably, but it cannot help us live better, happier, more fulfilled lives. Psychology can help us feel better about sin, but can do very little to help us defeat it in our lives. We can, and do, create many laws to govern society, so many that no expert lawyer can even begin to know them all, yet that society continues to get worse and worse.
In the next lesson we will see the answer to man’s wisdom, which is God’s wisdom in Jesus Christ.