1 Corinthians 1:25
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
What is this “human wisdom”? According to the Bible, it is what happens when people pursue knowledge without the proper goal. What is a proper goal for human knowledge? All knowledge… ALL knowledge must lead us to God who is the source of true knowledge and the source of the only knowledge that really matters. Scientists should look at the wonder of the world around us and see the marvelous order that God has created.
It is when this knowledge gets distorted that strange things begin to happen. People pursue ideas that are not moral. People pursue what they think will be an answer to their desires and needs, but in reality, it leads them into a darkness that can only best be defined as demonic. Secular people today in their thoughts can be identified as victims of these demonic drives. The list of these would be too long to make right now.
This human wisdom cannot attain the knowledge of God either because it demands external signs (as St. Paul complains about the Jews) or because it accepts only rational arguments (as St. Paul complains about the Greeks). Now, our faith is rational, but not according to the methods of “pure science”. Our faith sees miracles which are external signs. But these are too often dismissed by a secular mindset that thinks it “knows” all that there is to know. The truth is, they do not have a clue.
“Modern people” are more concerned about their own pursuits than they are pursuing genuine truth. That pursuit may be the use of power, pleasure, money, or any other desire that can be satisfied in the moment by the world. Notice I said satisfied in the moment! There really is no satisfaction that is possible on anything beyond a momentary pleasure when all you are pursuing are the things of this world.
Let me shift gears a little bit. The wisdom of God can be interpreted in two different ways:
1. Since the world could not attain knowledge of God by its own efforts, through philosophy or through the elaborate systems of thought the Greeks and the modern world seem so proud of, God decided to save believers through the preaching of the Cross, which to human eyes seems foolishness, a stumbling block.
2. Since the world, because of its distorted view of things, failed to attain knowledge of God, despite the way God manifested himself in creation and Holy Scripture, God decided to save us in a remarkably absurd way which better reflects divine wisdom—the preaching of the Cross.
Yes, I said absurd. The absurdity comes because of the method: God chose to the sign of the sacrifice of Jesus to gain, or give, us heaven.
I have a longer quote from Saint Bernard that I would like to conclude with today:
“All that Jesus Christ did for us has been… necessary and advantageous to our salvation;
His very weakness has been for us no less useful than his majesty. For, if by the power of his divinity he has released us from the captivity of sin, he has also, through the weakness of his flesh, destroyed death’s rights.
As [St. Paul] so beautifully said, ‘the weakness of God is stronger than men’.
Indeed, by this folly he has been pleased to save the world by combating the wisdom of the world and confounding the wise;
For, possessing the nature of God and being equal to God, he abased himself, taking the form of a servant;
Being rich, he became poor for love of us;
Being great, he became little;
Being exalted, humble;
He became weak, who was powerful;
He suffered hunger and thirst, he wore himself out on the roads and suffered of his own free will and not by necessity.
[This is still from St. Bernard, but what he says bears as strong an emphasis as I can make:]
This type of folly… : has it not meant for us a way of wisdom, a model of justice and an example of holiness, as {St. Paul} says: ‘The foolishness of God is wiser than men’?
So true is this:
that death has freed us from death,
life has freed us from error,
and grace from sin”.
My prayer today is really very simple: Lord, help us to be foolish with your foolishness; help us to be strong with your strength. Let us not be trapped by the false wisdom or the false strength of this world. Amen.