Todays readings… Genesis 46&47, Psalm 50, Romans 3&4
“CLAIMING TO BE WISE, THEY BECAME …”
Yesterday we started reading Paul’s letter to the Romans. It contains so much that is relevant to life today. Paul writes of how humans, “claiming to be wise, they became fools” [Ch.1 v.22]
He says, “what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them” [v.19] He says, “his invisible attributes …. have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” [v.20] In other words, although God himself cannot be seen by human eyes, the evidence of his existence should be plain to humans because of all the remarkable things which he has created.
Paul continues, “they became futile in their thinking and their foolish heart was darkened.” [v.21] The foolishness of those days, which still continues among some nations, is to believe God is represented in animals, such as Elephants, and to worship them.
But today, throughout what we call the Western world, so many who are “claiming to be wise” – believe there is no God of any kind, that everything that exists in some unknowable way – created itself! This was possible, they strangely reason, if we allow enough millions and billions of years, through an endless series of “accidents.”
Yet the more humans discover the wonders of the world in which they live, the more incredible they finds it to be, all the wonders of DNA being one of the recent examples. As a result, the more foolish their words in “claiming to be wise” appear to be! Marvellous designs – but no designer!!
The tragedy is that, having convinced themselves there is no God, the words of Paul which follow are even more true today than ever before. He wrote “and since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice … haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless … “ [v.28-31]
There is much more in this chapter including a condemnation of homosexuality; as things that humans do when they have no knowledge or belief in the one and only God. It is becoming clearer that there is no middle road, we either believe or we do not – and if we believe, we must not be half hearted about it.
When the Kingdom is established, may our king say to us as Pharaoh said to Joseph, “there is none so discerning and wise as you are.” [Gen. 41 v.39] But for the present we must heed Paul’s warning in Romans, “Never be wise in your own sight.” [12 v.16]