Worldly Wisdom and God’s Foolishness

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom. – 1 Corinthians 1:20, 25

“Where is the debater of this age?” Paul asks the church at Corinth. Well, maybe they were in scarce supply back then, but open your Facebook profile and you’ll find scores. The world is full of people who are deeply convinced of their own wisdom.

Time often reveals the foolishness of some of our choices. Consider your first marriage, your decision to get an MBA instead of going to art school (or the other way round), your haircut in 1984. But time has not yet revealed the fallacies inherent in some of our human wisdom.

Human wisdom says: “The answer to gun violence is to give the good guys more guns.” God’s wisdom says: “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.” Human wisdom says: “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” God’s wisdom says: “Blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Human wisdom says: “Corporations are people.” God’s wisdom says: “The members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.”

Human wisdom says: “The one who dies with the most toys, wins.” God’s wisdom says: “What do people gain from all their toil under the sun?”

Human wisdom says: “Go go go.” God’s wisdom says: “Sabbath!”

Perhaps we haven’t had enough time, with the insight and information it brings, to begin to trust God’s wisdom yet. But there’s still more time.


God of the Aeons, you have been around a loooong time. Let us not trust too much in the wisdom of the world and in our limited experience, but in you, even if what you say seems foolish to us yet.

About the Author
Molly Baskette is Senior Minister of the First Church of Berkeley, California, and the author of the best-selling Real Good Church and Standing Naked Before God.