The Foolishness of God’s Salvation – a sermon on 1 Corinthians 1:21 by Rev. Ralph Adams.
Perhaps you have heard of the ‘Mensa’ organization? Mensa is a club for those with very high IQ’s. One needs to have an IQ of 148 or more to be a member. ‘Mensa’ is the Latin word for ‘table, so the name implies that its very ‘brainy’ members sit around tables and carry on ‘intelligent’ conversations. Mensa’s members may indeed do such things. They may even appear on ‘Who Wants Be A Millionaire.’ Perhaps they may even walk away with the ‘million.’ They’re so smart… on a level, up here… but on another level, many of them don’t even know how to boil an egg.
Now, ‘intelligence’ does help you gain ‘knowledge’… i.e. factual information. And it’s OK to know heaps of information or knowledge. God gave us brains to use in the pursuit of knowledge and truth. He’s placed us in this world to discover the mysteries of His creation and to give Him the praise. So, gaining knowledge is the gaining of information. But having ‘knowledge’ is not the same as having ‘wisdom.’ A person can be very knowledgeable but still lack ‘wisdom.’
‘Wisdom’ is the art of applying knowledge and truth. And in this regard, Scripture invariably considers human wisdom to be seriously flawed. Humans may claim to be very wise, but their pursuit of secular ‘wisdom’ blinds them to a proper sense of reality in which God must be taken into account.
Human effort to discover truth is always biased away from acknowledging the existence of God. Therefore, human efforts to understand the truth are of necessity, a distortion of the truth.
Christ sent Paul into the human situation, to preach a gospel message ‘of the cross,’ which is fundamentally, at loggerheads with secular human wisdom. (vv.17-18) “For 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.” (v.18)
Consequently, you could say: “THE TRUTH IS, human wisdom doesn’t know what THE TRUTH IS.” And this is Paul’s point in the passage before us.