In 1 Corinthians 2, the apostle Paul, dealing with the troubled church at Corinth, wrote that he had come to them, not with fancy speech nor with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in the power of the Spirit “so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor. 2:5).
Look out your window. Look at the trees, the grass, the flowers, the birds, the sky, the stars. None of these came about by human wisdom, but only by the power of God. Human wisdom can’t understand fully what these things are, much less create them. Human wisdom cannot create a blade of grass, not even a cell of a blade of grass, nor even a cell wall of a cell of a blade of grass. A cell wall of a single cell of a blade of grass presents mysteries that all the accumulated human wisdom through the ages cannot touch; mysteries so deep that human wisdom can’t even formulate the right questions to ask about them. Yet the power of God has created untold billions of them right out of the dirt.
We can barely grasp the creation, how much less the Creator?
We sit here for a spasm of time on a speck of cosmic dust, itself suffused with things that we barely understand, and much of what we do understand is surely wrong. Perched in our little corner of the creation, like mice in a hole, we peer into the infinite cosmos and make bold declarations about where it came from and how it arose that are no closer to the truth than was the Babylonian myth in which Marduk, battling Tiamat, split her body, half to make the heavens and half the earth. To study reality from within that same reality is like characters in a book making pronouncements about the book itself. Whether creating idols of stone and worshipping them or arguing that our universe arose out of nothing by pure chance alone, human wisdom doesn’t always necessarily progress as much as it morphs, exchanging one form of foolishness for another.
In contrast, there’s the power of God. Where does it begin? Where does it end? We can barely grasp the creation—how much less the Creator? God not only created all that exists, but sustains it all as well. “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Heb. 1:3; see also Job 38:33-37; Col. 1:7; 1 Cor. 8:6). No human idea touches it; inspired ideas alone approach it, and then only in questions: “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?” (Isa 40:12).
Human wisdom in contrast to the power of God? Humanity, in its wisdom, crucified God, who, despite His power, let them.
Clifford Goldstein is editor of the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide. His book Baptizing the Devil: Evolution and the Seduction of Christianity is available from Pacific Press.