"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
In what ways does Paul draw the distinction between human wisdom and the wisdom of God? How does it relate to 1 Corinthians 1:18-25?
Since the first recordings of reflections by mankind, we can see evidence of our thoughts regarding our morality, character, and wisdom. From the ancient Egyptians, Native Americans, and even from the Israelites themselves these questions have dominated the thoughts of men. Unfortunately for man, we have often placed our lack of wisdom on full display. This is evident in 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 and throughout the theme of both Testaments of the Bible. Our humanly lack of wisdom is also very evident in our ability to follow the salvation plan of God through the law in the Old Covenant and also today as evident by the many lost souls that walk our planet today. Of course, we can all agree that man is the most intelligent, unique, special, and chosen creation of God. So why do we fail at making the most basic decisions? The answer is complicated, but my best guess is perspective. Everything about us is affected by perspective. How we think, feel, understand, process, learn, and even our personality development is shaped by perspective. I believe what God is pointing out through the Apostle Paul here in this section of 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 is that God is all-knowing (omniscient) and all-present (omnipresent).
Our text points out the human weakness of flesh by saying, “Whereas bodily experiences are only momentary and fleeting, the powers of memory and anticipation elongate mental experiences. Hence, physical pleasure may provide momentary enjoyment. But when the sensation ends, the mental pain that arises from the withdrawal of the pleasurable experience often surpasses the pleasure itself.” The author is pointing out man’s flaw of acting upon the senses, rather than relying upon the conviction of such a powerful God as our own. Even though many times after experience we know sub-consciously what the outcome will be (further pain), we pursue the desire of our flesh anyway. However, when we are born-again, we gain a new sense of conviction that warns us of our bad decisions or actions. This conviction and necessity for us to follow the will of God is foreign to the unbeliever. Paul points this out in verse 18 by saying, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Paul continues by pointing out the great and perfect wisdom of God. Man has continually made efforts to achieve this perfected wisdom and duplicate it; however the greatness of God can never be achieved by man as Paul points out in verse 20. Wisdom is based in making sound decisions according to the usage of this word and our decisions are direct reflection of our morals, values, and character. Because believers have a solid ground in Christ that we gain our morals and values from, we can stand firm in our character which is insured by the Holy Spirit.
While the work of great philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato can teach us a great deal, nothing can replace the wisdom and guidance of our all-powerful God. Many times, their wisdom and thoughts are based on the natural and not the supernatural. Our lecture points out the valuable contributions of both these men by saying, “Plato and Aristotle advanced one of the most enduring philosophical contributions to contemporary thought and discussions about the nature, process, and end of moral formation.” Our text gives us an example of this by pointing out the beliefs of Zeno the Semite and son of a Phoenician by saying, “He believed that reality is rational, for nature is governed by the laws of reason.” Even our lecture points out their reliance upon man made virtues by saying, “Both Plato and Aristotle advanced a virtue-based approach to moral formation; however, Aristotle, Plato's most celebrated student, regarded ‘the ethical virtues’ (e.g., justice, courage, temperance) as complex rational, emotional, and social skills.”
 Stanley J. Grenz, The Moral Quest: Foundations of Christian Ethics (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1997), 77, accessed August 15th, 2017, GCU database
 Grand Canyon University, “Character, Virtue, and the Ethical Formation of a Leader” (lecture 1, Ministerial Ethics, Grand Canyon University, 2016). https://lc.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/user/users.html
 Grenz, The Moral Quest: Foundations of Christian Ethics. 80
 Grand Canyon University, “Character, Virtue, and the Ethical Formation of a Leader”