I hope you will take a moment and read this Scripture before you read my story that follows.
Romans 1:18-23 (NLT) But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
Sometimes human arguments that deny the truth about God and the Bible are hilarious! They are veiled in sophisticated terms, but when exposed are completely ridiculous. Let me share an example of how this passage relates to ideas people make up about God.
When I first became a pastor, Kathy and I traveled to a seminary to check it out. Our guide who led us around campus that day was a doctoral student. At lunch he told us that it was the seminary’s responsibility to, as he said, “Tear down our faith and build it back again.” Now for me this was a warning flag. Where in all of the Bible does it ever suggest that my faith should be torn down? There are many passages that say my faith is to be built up, but never torn down. By saying this he was making the point that he believed the Bible was built on myths. I knew better because I had walked with my Lord “through the valley of the shadow of death.”
As I listened, he continued by asking, “For instance, what are you going to say when you find out that archeology has shown that the walls of Jericho were only 3 feet high?” Now I knew that this was a rhetorical question, but I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to expose his foolishness for what it was. I answered, “Well let me answer your question. You asked what I would say when someone tells me that the walls of Jericho were only three feet high. I have at least three answers: first of all I would say, ‘Yes, the walls of Jericho are 3 feet high now. That’s what the Bible story says—they fell down.’ Secondly, I would ask, ‘Why would the Lord have the Israelites circle the walls for seven days so that they would fall down when they were only 3 feet high in the first place?’ And the third thing I would ask is, ‘What kind of silly civilization would build walls that were only three feet high. I mean, who are they trying to keep out—rabbits?’ ”
As he sat there looking a little like a deer in the headlights I finished my thoughts with a verse from Romans 1 and I said, “No, I would suggest that anyone who claims that the walls of Jericho were only three feet high are like those Paul was describing in Romans 1:22… ‘Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools!” Of course he didn’t like my response and I would guess he used a different illustration the next time he took some prospective students on a tour of the campus, but his complete foolishness was amazingly ridiculous for someone who is trying to get his doctorate degree.
This is the way of so many human arguments against the truth of God. People will claim to be so smart and so wise, but in the process of denying God they only expose themselves as fools.
Here’s what the Bible says about human intellect and arguments,
“So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom…For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.” And again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless” (1 Corinthians 1:20-21; 3:19-20, NLT).
Here’s the issue: anytime your mind begins to believe the lie that God’s word is not dependable remember that human wisdom will not discover deep spiritual truth. It is revealed to those whose hearts are pure and humble seeking a loving relationship with God. In Jeremiah 29:13 the Lord says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13, NIV). And in Hebrews 11:6 we read, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (NIV).
The problem is that the people Paul is describing in Romans 1 don’t want to know God. They are happier with a god made in the image of their own ideas. Are you willing to worship God the way he revealed Himself through His word? Are you seeking Him today? Will you trust His truth?
Onward in faith,