Human wisdom is insufficient for ever leading us to know God. I was reminded of that the other day when talking to an atheist who is very sure he’s a lot smarter than me. Perhaps he is, but no matter how smart people are, they will always believe what they want to believe and justify it with their chosen set of “facts.” And God has made it so you and I will never find Him this way.
Scoffers will incessantly ask for the evidence that’s as plain as the nose on their face, but they will never see it. They will even cut off that nose to spite their face because they don’t want to see it. They will only accept reasoning that comes from the echo of their own thoughts. All of this, in spite of the fact that it takes just as much faith for them to believe that there’s nothing more to this reality than the natural world, as it does for me to believe that the world we see is framed by a world we don’t see (Heb.11:3). Science certainly cannot address that question, either way. Yet the stubborn fact is, here we are now even talking about these things.
Why is this so?
Because what we believe or don’t believe is a heart issue, not a head issue. And knowing God is a very different kind of knowledge, unavailable to those with closed hearts.
Here’s what Paul says about our searching for God inside our own heads:
21 For in his wisdom, God designed that all the world’s wisdom would be insufficient to lead people to the discovery of himself. He took great delight in baffling the wisdom of the world by using the simplicity of preaching the story of the cross in order to save those who believe it. (1 Cor.1:21 TPT*)
Did you catch that? All of the world’s wisdom is insufficient to bring us to the knowledge of God. Not only that, He designed it that way. Why? One reason is that we have no natural mental grid for comprehending the reality that holds us together at this moment.
Human philosophy can help us logically deduce there must be a Source (Prime Mover, etc.) in order for us to exist. It keeps us from saying foolish things, like the cosmos can bring itself into existence, or even continue to exist without any non-contingent source of power. That would be like thinking plugging power strips together can give us power. Even if you plugged an infinite number of them together, you’ll have no power at all until you plug one of them into the wall outlet.
But philosophy or human reasoning cannot lead us to Christ, or into the life of God. In fact, it may actually hinder fully experiencing His life. And God made it so, according to what Paul is telling us.
Our intellectual pride actually turns us into fools.
The fool has said in his heart,
“There is no God.” (Prov.14:1a NKJV)
15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But he who heeds counsel is wise. (Prov.12:15 NKJV)
Pride is always a show-stopper. But here’s the ultimate hubris—thinking we even know the least possible thing about what ultimately holds it all together. It’s profoundly ironic that our intellectual arrogance makes us reject the most simple thing—the most empirical evidence of all—that we continue to exist.
This is why reasoning our way to God will always lead us to a dead-end. For we will not “see” beyond our possible knowing until we believe.
7 How then does a man gain the essence of wisdom?
We cross the threshold of true knowledge
when we live in obedient devotion to God.
Stubborn know-it-alls will never stop to do this,
for they scorn true wisdom and knowledge. (Prov.1:7 TPT)
And since we cannot see the simplest thing, we won’t comprehend the unsearchable wisdom of the Cross either.
23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. (1 Cor.1:23-25 NIV*)
The Cross proves what humankind does to pure other-centered, self-giving Love—we kill it and hide the body. The trouble is, this Body didn’t stay hidden! The crucifixion cuts to the very heart of the human condition. It exposes our entire history of fear-based blame-shifting, arrogant pride, and lust for power. It lays bear the sins of humanity for all to see what can no longer be unseen.
But the most significant thing about the Cross is something infinitely more wonderful than we could’ve possibly anticipated or even imagined! For it’s not just what Christ did for us, or even what He did as us on the Cross, but what He did to us on the Cross. When He died, we died, when He was buried, our old nature was buried, and when He rose from the dead He brought us with Him so that we can be where He is, seated in heavenly places with Him right now and forever, having full access to what He has by faith. That, my dear reader, is the good news that brings great joy! It’s the simple gospel that eludes those wise in their own minds, yet even a child can understand it. This was His doing and it’s glorious! Amen.