Man’s wisdom says to get the best teachers the world has to offer, the most astute philosophers, the most highly acclaimed scientists, and learn from them. God says, simply, that they’re all a bunch of fools. God says a lot of things simply. Maybe that’s the reason we have such a hard time understanding Him.
Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 3:18-21 and elsewhere. Have a look, then let me know what you think of my commentary. Mind, it’s just my commentary and I’m nobody special. I believe this is what the Holy Spirit has given me. See if you agree.
The “wisdom” of this world (what the world sees as wisdom) is misinformed, uninformed, and ridiculous to God. He knows; we only suppose. God’s wisdom, of course, looks foolish to a world that thinks, like the stereotypical adolescent, that it knows better. When Galileo proposed that a heavy object would fall at the same speed as a light object, he was laughed to scorn. Never mind that he was right–no one believed him even when he demonstrated the truth of his hypothesis. Despite the fact that people called him a fool, Galileo was right.
The world will call us fools when we buy into God’s wisdom, but that will not make God any less right. Truth is not up for a vote. Truth, deep truth, foundational truth, is immutable. Today, many people see truth as a choice. We can choose our favorite variety, as if it were a doughnut. There are many varieties of doughnuts, but there is only one truth. Everything contradictory to truth, by definition, is “not truth”. That is, it is false, however cleverly it may be worded.
If we choose to follow God’s ways, we must give up any hope of being respected by those the world calls wise. In fact, when those the world would normally call wise decide to believe God, the world suddenly decides they are fools. Such has always been the case.
I wonder if part of the offense of the gospels is that they are so simple. How can truth be so straight-forward? Remember the story of Naaman and his leprosy? (If you need to refresh your memory, go to 2 Kings 5) He was offended that Elisha instructed him to wash seven times in the Jordan and he would be cleansed. He almost didn’t do it, but a servant persuaded him, saying, “If the prophet had told you to perform some great task, wouldn’t you do it? How much more, when he tells you, ‘wash and be clean’.” Naaman wanted something complicated, something at least flattering, but instead, he gets to take a bath in the muddy but nearby Jordan river.
God’s methods are very direct. He simply tells us what He wants us to know. There are no complicated logic puzzles to work out, no golden fleeces to seek or monsters to defeat. He simply says, “Wash and be clean.” He provided the means of our cleansing–the blood of his own Son, Jesus. There’s nothing left for us to do but come. Is that too simple, too easy? Maybe it is for the proud and “wise” of this world. It looks like foolishness to them.
Boasting in men is a worldly thing to do. The Corinthians were boasting, “Paul was my teacher”, “Apollos is my teacher”, etc. We all have the Holy Spirit as teacher, and God’s servants belong to all of us as we belong to each other. In fact, God has given us all things–ALL of them–and we are Christs, and Christ is God’s.