The point of today’s passage is at once complicated and extremely simple! It hinges on the idea that as humans, we are not capable of knowing or understanding God with the power of our intellect alone. This being true, the only real way to know God is to respond in faith, when he, himself, calls us to salvation. So what does that mean? It means we need to be thinking less with our intellect about the reality of God, and opening our hearts more to feel his presence in our lives. This is how to understand the relevance of the word faith. There is a difference between belief in scientific knowledge and belief in the presence of God in our hearts. The two things are not mutually exclusive – you don’t have to choose between God and Science, because they are not in the same league as each other. Faith in God is not a sign of poor intelligence (which is what many people are desperately trying to convince the world). God is so far beyond our intelligence as to make the wisdom of this world look foolish.
1 Corinthians 1:18-25 NLT
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.
We would all like to see a great and undeniable miracle from heaven through which we could be sure of God and prove him to others. And, I am sure we would all like a better, clearer, more plausible explanation of Jesus’s death, resurrection and ascension, which we could easily share with others. But, God has already given us many great miracles and yet we all fail to grasp their true importance when we try to get to grips with miracles on a purely intellectual level. My goal is, once again, to give it all to God in faith. I will stop trying to rely on my own intelligence or strength. I will hope that my own contribution to the tradition of our foolish preaching, that Paul speaks of in today’s passage, will be of use and helpful to those reading this who believe.
Ezra 1:1-2:70, 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5, Psalms 27:7-14, Proverbs 20:22-23