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1 Corinthians 1:18-25


The word of the cross is folly 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 the discernment of the discerning I will thwart."


Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.



What to Believe


2 September 2014

In Hilary of Poitier's book, On the Trinity, he described the unbelief of those who desire to make God susceptible to their own ruminations, by saying, "Unbelief is the result of incapacity engaged in argument." How often we desire to whittle God down to our puny level so that He can become an object of our ruminations. Such ruminations figure to place him under the control of the mind in which He is considered.  A God who can be so whittled down is not God at all, but merely the object of our human imaginations. This is the god who is summarily rejected by Richard Dawkins in his book, The God Delusion. The god he is deluded about is the god he rejects. He does not reject the God of Jesus Christ; a point made plain by the response to Dawkins entitled, The Dawkins Delusion, by Alister McGrath. There is a fair amount of delusion going on here. But that's no surprise.


Humans are the masters of unbelief. How does God reply to our unbelief? Does He overpower our puny minds with overwhelming shows of force, like we humans would? Not at all. Instead of taking the "nuclear option" like the fallen humans do, God puts away the big armaments and chooses to reply to unbelief with what is foolishness to humans. Although God is fully capable of simply destroying the world and everyone in it, He absolutely declines to do it; preferring instead to send His Son to be destroyed by the world and its inhabitants. Here is the height of foolishness to seek to persuade His enemies, God sends into their hands His only begotten Son.


We, who are always wagging our finger at God for permitting "bad things to happen," are the very ones who have taken His Son under our power and done bad things to Him. What suffering did our heavenly Father feel when we manhandled His Son, cast Him from the vineyard and did Him to death? What agony of soul did He experience when those who ought to have been grateful to Him for His merciful care turned on Him like a pack of ravening wolves to rip Him apart? They shredded His skin who chose to bear our skin, though He had no need of it.  In God's folly, the Son chose exactly this ignominious death at the hands of those who were so foolish as to try to measure God by the yardstick of their own minds. "God could never be weak. God could never be so foolish, as to place Himself under our control." So they thought that when they were able to kill Him, He, who came to die, could not be God. His infinite love simply outstripped the ability of the human mind to measure the foolishness of God's wisdom. God has saved us despite our delusion and in a way no mere human could ever have foreseen.


Hilary of Poitiers


"All unbelief is foolishness, for it takes such wisdom as its own finite perception can attain, and, measuring infinity by that petty scale, concludes that what it cannot understand must be impossible. Unbelief is the result of incapacity engaged in argument. Men are sure that an event never happened, because they have made up their minds that it could not happen."

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 3.24

Almighty and everlasting God, grant us by Your grace so to live in Your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, into whose death we have been baptized, that we may obtain the forgiveness of our sins; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.


For the family of Bud Obert, whom the Lord Jesus has taken from this vale of tears, that they would be enabled to confess the power of God over death


For the young people of Memorial Lutheran Church as they walk the way of the cross, that they might grow in faith in the divine folly


For the faculty and staff of Concordia Theological Seminary, as they prepare to begin another academic year, that Christ would be proclaimed as the only Savior of the world

Art: Crucifixes  Uppsala Cathedral (medieval)

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