MAN'S WISDOM VERSUS GOD'S WISDOM
Guy N. Woods
I Corinthiqns 1:21
I Corinthians 1:21 says, “For since in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe.” What an odd statement!. It speaks of two kinds of wisdom, the wisdom of God and the wisdom of the world. What is meant by the statement, “The world through its wisdom did not know God?” One of the great thinkers in ourMan's Wisdom Versus God's W isdom brotherhood was Guy N. Woods. He is now deceased, but I have an exposition that he made of this passage in The Gospel Adovcate, July 2, 1987, and I would like to present to you in its entirety. I present it to you for your enlightenment and enjoyment. Brother Guy N. Woods said:
“We are now well into the Atomic Age. Out of the unfathomed depths of that vast, invisible world of the incredibly tiny atom come energy and power the possibilities of which we are able but feebly to apprehend. From this inexhaustible storehouse comes light for our homes, energy for our factories and radiation for our diseased bodies. It may yet contribute its marvelous powers to every phase of human activity, enabling the race to attain to greater heights in all the realms of human endeavor, and bringing happiness and satisfaction to all.
We are disposed to boast of the progress we have made in recent years in the material world, and it must be admitted that it is phenomenal. In the field of transportation, man now travels at speeds formerly regarded as impossible; continents and oceans are spanned with unbelievable swiftness, and the earth is circled in a mere matter of hours. The Jet Age of greatly increased speed is here. In the realm of communications, man now throws his voice around the earth in seconds and communicates with his fellows from any point on the globe with great facility. Such wonderful progress has been made in the healing techniques, in medicine and surgery, the span of human existence has been lengthened measurably. Not only do we live longer, we live a much more abundant and satisfying life because of the contributions of chemistry to the world.
For all of this we are glad, and in it we take pardonable pride. We rejoice to live in this modern period of time and to be an observer of and a partaker in the good things that a gracious God has given to us. But despite man's vaunted accomplishments in the material world, his course has been downward rather than upward. In many instances his achievements simply have hastened his decline. If we are disposed to find satisfaction in the promise of many peacetime uses of the atom, we never can forget the horror that lies hidden in the bomb that burst over Hiroshima bringing sudden ruin and unparalleled
destruction to that once populous city. As world tensions mount and the nations race toward total preparedness, we are reminded evermore of the fact that this great nation is not immune to atomic attacks. There is the definite possibility that millions of people in our own cities may hear the sinister and sickening whine of rockets bearing atomic warheads and perish in the destruction that follows. It is noteworthy that man, with all of his accomplishments, never has been able to elevate himself by means or methods of his own devising. There is much reason to believe that God purposely allowed 4,000 years to pass following the fall of man before sending His Son into the world, in order that man might try and see the failure of all human philosophy in improving the race and so be made to recognize his utter dependence on God. The Bible says, “For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe.” What a sad commentary on the race! The world through its wisdom knew not God. Instead of finding God through its wisdom, the world has been encouraged to forget Him.
In the appalling picture that Paul paints of the heathen Gentile world of the first century, wear are privileged to see those who “refused to have God in their knowledge(Romans 1:28). It is not surprising that we also read, “God gave them up.” The wisdom of the world, as opposed to the will of God revealed in His Word, prompts men to forget God and so demonstrates its utter inability to raise man from the depths. That which worldly wisdom cannot do for us, it is “God's good pleasure” to do “through the foolishness of the preaching” and in this manner, “to save them that believe.”
The gospel of Christ, in its primitive purity, is the panacea for all of man's infirmities, the specific for all of his diseases. It alone points the way to salvation; only in it is, “the righteousness of God revealed.” It was from motives prompted by a recognition of this fact that Paul was so ambitious to preach the gospel in the imperial city. Said he:
“I am debtor both to Greeks and to Barbarians; both to the wise and to the foolish. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith; as it is written, But the righteous shall live by faith(Romans 1:14-17).
It will be observed that the apostle to the Gentiles described the gospel as, “the power of God unto salvation.” The word “power” here is translated from the Greek dunamis, from which is derived such English words as dynamic, dynamo and dynamite. The gospel is, therefore, God's
dynamite to save. It is not to be wondered at that before its onslaught Rome fell, heathenism virtually vanished, and millions bowed to the mandates of the crucified One. It bears an irresistible appeal to those who will allow it to enter their hearts and control their lives. And, though 10,000 millenniums intervene before the Lord returns, it will continue to be the sole instrumentality through which and by which men are turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. It is to be preached to every creature in all the world. Believed and obeyed, it brings salvation to the lost and happiness and hope to the redeemed. It assures us of eternal bliss.
To have vouchsafed to us the high honor of bearing its message to the world is the glory of our age. If it was good to be a humble instrument in the hands of Jehovah during the feeble and flickering light of the patriarchal age, and if it was more wonderful to serve as agents of the Most High during the period of Israel's glory in the Mosaic age, then it is surely the most signal blessing possible to be conferred on man to be used of God in the promulgation of the gospel by which men are released from their sins, redeemed and saved, and fitted to be heirs of eternal life.
Those who substitute temporal and current affairs for the gospel of Christ are guilty of the highest insubordination. To so do is to offer a stone while the people starve for bread. A motto that ever should be the motivating factor in every preacher's life is that to which Paul gave utterance in the long ago when he said, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified”(I Corinthians2:2).