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The Scope and Meaning of Beauty
The Artistry of Grace
The question now is NOT, What is beauty ? as often earlier. Now it is this: How broad is the disposition of beauty, and what does it mean ?
We are most familiar with the glorious graces of sunsets, the tender forgiveness of dawn, nascent almost as if new from the first, the spectacular ornament of much and the slender grace of more. Add the solemn majesty of soaring mountains, disdainful of low heights, aspiring to the clouds, and yet, for all that, somehow as in the clouded magnificences of the Rockies, merging into the skies with a friendliness bordering on marriage, and lifting now here, now there, an unsubdued but kindly seeming summit, above the clouds, only to disappear in the nobility of the vastness, quietly, with a solemnity that has a beauty of its own. Consider the slender graces of delicate waterfalls, as if wisdom were their fare, and beauty a kindly consideration, while they trill downhill, in phantom little leaps, and winding considerations, toward the rising and dispersing mists at the foot.
Nor is this to ignore the pulsing power of the dynamic giants which throw water as if it were a toy, and then crash to the rocky base, as at Niagara, with a resounding hush that seems unable quite to determine whether it is thunder or an aerial phenomenon of some kind, in comradeship with water, and knowingly contrived, to bear joint witness. The soaring sublimities and the slender tendernesses are to be found in many realms, whether in the little flowers below the oaks in their afforestation, where sun permits, or in the desert, where sun demands.
The skies unreel from their picturesque inventories, towering masses that suddenly develop into whirls and rills of vapour, moving, condensing, expanding, racing, slowing, peering, disappearing, building castles for the imagination and forms for the thought, penetrating and yet silent, modules here, giants there, arrays in other places, deranged, arranged, slipping into mackerel form or making hammer and anvil, in stratospheric iciness or in kindly warm-hearted cumulus, just waiting for a John Constable to paint them in his settled England in its rural quietness.
But now the waters ask for friendship from the light, to inspire Turner, and the rays entwine with it, glimmering, gleaming, here ephemeral in display, there comfortable in continuity, now dazzling with the abundance of light, now coming express in slender shafts, or beaming in abundance in broad blasts of light, as if in some atmospheric symphony, with the orchestra, the ships, the light, the water, the scope of the ocean, the onsets of land and the dim distances of ever receding abundance of form, up and up ... till it is lost in the heartland of space.
Or is it the rivers, which delight in their little rapids, playing and jesting, jousting and enjoying their thrilling journeys, as if there were nothing to do but dash about, until the quietness of meadows by their side, and of trees drinking abundantly within them, little creeks and broadenings, rapids again but this time merely with speed express, until lingering and swirling under bridges, loitering about curves with interesting shapes to investigate and arbours to moisten, wandering with rural quietness, turning this way and that to regard the settled landscape, they come to find it convenient to enter the sea, pouring their hearts out into the saltier waters, and blending the contribution of earth and clouds, salt and fresh, with elaborate artistry.
But space! it invites and repels. In its vastness who can find a home! In its extent, who can cry, Too little! Its form invites the intellectual's attention, his thoughts and his contributions; but it goes on in its own intricacy, so barren, so blessed with abundance of sparse but multitudinous form !
But what does it all mean ?
In the presentation above,
without actually saying so, we have sought to remind the reader of the feelings
and virtual personality, if one may borrow from the terminology of the day,
which is to be found in Nature. But some come to space and feel disembodied, for
even in the rocket vessels (why call them space ships continually
? give that some rest) which sail to the distant parts, there is
scant attention to gravity. Where is it all going ?
What does it mean ? Little steps of a man, vast step
for mankind ? But whither!
Mean ? As we have shown so often, the universe is the
product of a personal God (SMR, TMR,
A Spiritual Potpourri, Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming... and so on). Now it is time to reflect and see verified these things in the realm of beauty...*1A
It is not just that the
harmonies, the wonders, the intricacies, the exuberances, the post-functional
marvels which mean only to man or to those above his stature and status, and
challenge even man: it is not with this conception we are now concerned, except
to bring it to mind. It has adequately been discussed before, as shown in the
last chapter, and in the references given
The question is now rather this: Is beauty in some way subjective ? Is it meaningless in itself, so that it is ONLY IN THE EYE of the beholder! Is its variability a cipher or a mandate ?
It is true that beauty must first, for a man, be beheld by the spirit of man.
But it is not true that it is purely subjective, however subjectivistically it may be beheld by some.
What it may evoke in the eye of the beholder is not based on nothing, but on grounds.
However difficult these may seem at times, to some, to be in the formulation, they are far from inexpressible, and even if their expression, may, itself, participate in beauty, this merely extends it.
So with justice and goodness, and truth. These are nothing to balk at , as soon as you realise that God is, and that you are His creature, and this is why the QUESTION even arises, which is not too arduous to answer, once you have its source in sight.
Truth we have often discussed as in SMR Ch. 3 (Cf. Indexes for SMR and the Rest. ) It is in the end, the statements of God as criterion and the understanding of man as a derivative, vital and active, but granted perspective and able to be divinely inspired with wisdom and discretion, in the domain already propositionally imparted by God, and livingly inhabited, as sovereign in His own eternity. In much man is enabled to scale the heights of difficulty in gaining knowledge, but never so poorly as when foundering in perspective and confounded by rebellion against the revelation of the Maker.
Justice is simply the co-placement of things in truth, the righteous relationship of all to the facts, the mercies and the provisions of God; invisible without love; delusive when the victim of 'special' personal or national interests, but wholly available when the word and way of God being followed, reality is viewed in love, and implemented in peace.
But beauty ?
The Source, demonstrated as noted above, elsewhere, is now to be considered in verification mode, in His relation to the answer to these profound and yet in the end, simple questions. Like so much else, they are comparatively simple when you see the way, obscure when you do not. It is like being lost on highways: so ludicrous, if you have a good map, and so easy if you lack one. Accounts of the difficulty of locating oneself will obviously depend enormously on one's equipment, and the perspective it provides. This of course is far more intensively so when you are not even aware of the SORT of transport media available, be they roads or rivers or bush tracks, and momentarily see ... NONE of them.
Thus, to return to beauty, many find it baffling, and some would like to go so far as to make it so subjective a consideration as to limit it to taste, and make it a case of ... one's man meat, another's poison.
Yet it is not so. To be sure, the subject, the person to appreciate, is important in determining the response to the appearance of beauty. Someone who has found brothers lost at sea, may find the ocean's beauty hard to perceive, and one who has lost someone in a space vessel, may find space's awesome extent even a depersonalising bluntness, and only with great difficulty see it as an enticement to the consideration of majesty in the Maker of space. (On this: see Psalm 115:116, cf. The Kingdom of Heaven ... Ch. 1.)
Again, those disillusioned, and bitter, with hearts in reverse gear and life in arrears, may find any joyous scene of lambs and sea-gulls, coastal verges and cliff action, a mere rehearsal of loss, the presence of vital joy in smaller creatures, emphasising for him/her, only the loss. Thus the absence of what is more desired, may become heightened in a sad cast of thought, through the presence of what is here depicted before the eyes, enlivened and exuberant.
Yet this does not remove
the qualities actually before us, merely the response to them by the vehicle of
particular associations. For one's own part, let it be told that a beautiful
seeming lake, in an idyllic setting of quiet peace and order, surrounded with
oaks and marvels of botanical prodigies in such settled blends of harmony as to
take the breath away, is one then found to be full of arsenic: and the beauty
is gone in a moment.
PANGS, PAINS and WANDERING
Why ? It is because the response is not merely personal, but SPIRITUAL, that is, in the domain of which the personality is make a constituent, where the comprehension flies to the eyrie of values from God, reason in Him and love for Him. IF something otherwise beautiful IS dangerous, polluted, spoiled, then it brings to mind the spoliation of the delusively attractive: and that ? it is a thing as delightful as an anti-personnel bomb hidden in the jungle track.
What has happened ?
What then of the lake,
or the other apparently beautiful thing,
when it yields to closer examination ?
It is this. Its actual nature takes precedence over its appearance, since appearance can mask, and only when it reveals does it have any form of dominance! For one living in truth, in Christ, the living word of God (John 14:6), truth is total: in essence, it is never invaded. It is never bypassed. ( Consult SMR pp. 348ff., Licence for Liberty Ch. 4, News 111, 122, 153 on spirit, if you wish. We are here engaging in APPLYING, not inventing concepts of this kind, in the field of verification, not preliminary demonstration.)
If then the trap of beauty which attracts to doom is a spiritual concept, and man is spiritual, and God is pure and holy, loving and true, and yet challenging and promoting wisdom, as is the demonstrated Biblical case, then the RESPONSE to a spiritual criterion, such as beauty, is to be in spiritual terms. Those who do not KNOW these terms, or LIKE them, may view it differently, to be sure, and of course, since no man but Christ is perfect, even sincere Christians may here or there, see something with a blind spot, making a mere smudge, where someone else can see with a better grace and wisdom. To be sure, this is so; but it does not in the least remove, but rather reinforces the principle. These are variations DERIVABLE from the principle and illustrating it.
The space which can speak of the ILLIMITABLE MAJESTY AND POWER, the enduring freshness and unsearchable grandeur of God, as in Psalm 8, 145, Isaiah 41-45, 51, can thus speak of a mean, challenging and uncomfortable universe, filled with nameless perils, these things in some or other combination, or things of like kind. To whom is this so ? To those who fear (unconsciously) this very thing: someone MAJESTICALLY and infinitely above themselves. Again, it may do so when the realm of space is sought for dominance, although it is not appointed for man (Psalm 115:16 and see ref. as given above).
What is forbidden has indeed a minatory manner, not infrequently, and seems to threaten, because, quite simply it does. When the word of God is followed, nothing is to be compared to God, and two things follow at once. Nothing is in itself terrifying -fear God and none else (cf. Acts !); and what is prohibited is not tried out. That is the principle of the matter. This simply removes some of the erratic or freakish impressions which come from putting a derived equipment (your mind, spirit and body) in what is not intended for it.
You can meet this shrinking pathology where it does not properly belong as prudence, when what IS apportioned for man, is rejected! An applicable case is illustrated by what one heard recently from one of another race: that the reason for her not coming in repentance and faith to live for, in and from Christ, was a certain FEAR! WHAT in practical reality, would it be like! Hence a dangerous life continued, equipped with perils all too obvious!
Here the position is this. A lack of faith in the Creator, makes for a lack of repose in His creation, or, equally, of response to the various characteristics of the Creator, in His product. Man thus fails to respond to God, in the HIGHLY and indeed exquisitely personal and spiritual fashion which is His, one with which His children seek to become increasingly intimate, since they both love and reverence Him. What a Father is this!
Where this is so, and where faith in Him lives, then the vastness of space or other natural features, is realised to be His offspring; and its illimitable seeming aspect, becomes rather the expression of His unsearchable magnificence, expressed in the prodigy of the performance of populating space with such denizens and multiplied objects and kinds. This then is the attestation of a diversity and scope of imagination which the abundance and indeed superabundance of life likewise attests. Indeed, as Gould (cf. Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming ... Ch. 6) has pointed out, there is an enormous LOSS of structures and designs since earlier times. It was once FAR more diverse, excitingly, adventurously, stimulatingly teeming with architectural diversity and splendour.
That of course is the
nature of things as the Second Law of Thermodynamics specifies, and experience
constantly attests, where information decreases and does not increase, in the
absence of intelligence producing it; and God's works, for His part, in
creating the universe, are statedly finished (Genesis
1, Hebrews 11). This fact noted by Gould, merely attests the truth of these
statements. This is the way it goes - downwards; and this we find with our own
productions, if we do not intervene. Their form, format and holding materials,
paper or steel, do not improve with age. Rather they deteriorate. This has all
been pursued and exhibited in other Chapters (e.g. op.cit.
Chs. 4, and 5; and Stepping Out
for Christ Chs. 2,
7, 8, 9, 10, with That Magnificent Rock, Chs. 1 and 8 and SMR Chs.
1 - 2 ).
LET BEAUTY BE PONDERED AGAIN
LET THE WORD OF GOD SPEAK
But let us return to beauty per se.
Beauty then must be understood from its environs, its source, its purpose, and not just its media. When this is done, the palpable reality tends to become clear, though the sense of mystery is this, that it is a challenge to perceive it at times, while at others it is impossible to avoid it! If this is discarded, and the connotations of the Maker are ignored, plans and the perspective, then the map is lost. Ignorance and confusion, equipped equally with clash and clangour of the uttermost kind, come in. The blind guide so variously!
It is in this case,
naturally, that man himself has neither meaning nor power to have a
coherent world-view of any kind, and is dismissed with insoluble antinomies
(cf. SMR Ch. 3, That Magnificent Rock,
Ch. 5, Predestination and Freewill, Barbs,
Arrows and Balms 6, and
7, Little Things Ch. 10, Spiritual
Refreshings for the Digital Millenium
Ch. 16, Repent or Perish Ch. 2,
Small wonder if his perceptions are lunges and misses, turmoil and profusion of confusion. When the car is off the road, fluttering on the broken verge, the tyres may well squeal.
Hence is its life, for life, this beauty. It is from the person who MADE it to the person also MADE, but made in the image, that is in the fellowship attainable mode, of the Creator. HOW that is attainable, is by the power of God who not only made the person in His own image, hence beauty prepared for the informed perception, but provided justice and truth as things appealing, inspiring, firing, unindemnifiable in any absence, undeterrable; and yet, often mangled, as Christ was on the Cross.
It was there that He appeared as the depiction of the nature of sin, and of the justice due to it, while at the same time, the receiver of the penalty due for it; while, no less, the remitter of this doom VIA His own penalty bearing for others. The Cross of Christ ? It is a picture, performance, and receiver synthesis; but it has no bearing, except as a depiction, for those who reject it. Thus, your sin is NEVER borne by Him if YOU INSIST on retaining it (John , Romans ); and to enter into the category*1of those for whom He has actually been effectually delivered up as BEARING sin, you have to have it deposited ON HIM.
This done, your eyes are opened, and while perfect sight is not always present, its parameters and perspective are shown to you in the Bible, and hence you can read of beauty in such illuminative passages as :
The botanical and the spiritual beauty are often blended, one showing the index to the other.
Other scriptures bearing on this include:
Again, it is to be found in:
This: "Your people shall be volunteers in the day of Your power:
In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning,
You have the dew of Your youth" (Psalm 110:3).
First note the fact that this is in the work of the day.
"The LORD said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.
The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of
Rule in the midst of Your enemies!"
This follows from the predictive Psalm 2 where the Lord, humbled to do the work man needed, in human format, is strenuously reviled, resisted, and all fastidious endeavour is made to remove Him, successively and permanently; but not successfully. For although it evidently takes life from the dead to do it (as in Psalms 16, 22 - see Joyful Jottings 25, with 21, 22, 23), this is but a beginning (Psalm 2). Thus the beauties of His strenuous round of duty, as shown in Psalm 110, also follow the account in Psalm 40 where His body is seen being prepared, from the standpoint of heaven for His service to come upon the earth; and we behold there His willing delight to come to become the sacrifice required for peace between God and man - for as many as would receive Him (John 1:12).
But consider this willing issue: HE is willing, indeed delighted to become the sacrifice and those who love and follow Him are willing, indeed delighted to do so. They act as "volunteers" in the day of His power, breaking death and sundering disease (cf. Matthew 11:4ff.). His, it is a kingdom of delight; but also of duty. He did all that was required, as Psalm 22 focusses; and so His servants, for all their imperfection, unyielding in faith, hearty in resolve, perform His work and His will likewise; and with what promises (II Peter 1, John 14:12) are they endued, as He looks ahead to the technological revolution enabling amazing things to be done by longer levers of the flesh, by the same God who uses all things to His glory!
Yet while this part of Psalm 110, that we have now seen, has beauty, the beauty of solemnity and heart, sincerity and that form of passion which builds, but does not break (Romans 5:1-5), like rubies and diamonds in the making, subjected to rigour in order to illustrate reality: the exquisite delight follows. It is those specific beauties of HOLINESS which are the Lord's (Psalm 110:3), and it is in these that He is to be worshipped; for He is living like a spiritual sun, and shines in colour evoking splendour on His people as they worship Him in truth and spirit.
Thus He comes "in the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning", Psalm 110:3.
The tenderness of dawn is here enlivened by the imagery of birth, so that the deft and delicate tendrils of light which anoint the waiting earth for the fresh day, become a figure for His arising, fresh, unsullied, the firstborn among men SINCE He is their Creator, and on coming, therefore taking the precedence (as in Colossians 1:15-16).
Yet He comes to fill the skies at the sunset of this His day on earth, with a blood red, and the darkness which followed the crucifixion (Matthew 27:45) is the divine comment on the load He bore, that of sin, which sullies, darkens and makes dismal, and indeed grisly this glorious orb, which bore so much, offered more, and was so misused as man slew man and fouled the creation, inviting both curse and judgment, now all borne for those who receive Him, by Christ (cf. Biblical Blessings Ch. 7).
Indeed, Psalm 110 has more for us. In this free kingdom of spontaneous, spiritual love and grace, there is this addition, to His coming from the womb of the morning: "You have the dew of Your youth... He shall drink of the brook by the wayside. Therefore shall He lift up the head" - vv. 3, 7. Not merely is there this dawning of purity in peace (cf. Luke 2:14 - "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill towards men"), but His youth, the flush of the growth towards manhood in the incarnate Christ, its very dew will continue, as His unblemished life brings glory to His Father and wonder to mankind. He continues at last His task into judgment, for however wonderful the picnic, you must clear the lawns of the mess. Unpleasant without doubt, and a burdensome duty; but it must be done.
Here then is the beauty of a clean heart, a godliness express and definitive, with its quietness of duty and serviceability in the wonder of virtue undimmed, wisdom unplumbed and beauty unsoiled. No force makes faith, and in the freedom of faith is the delight of love which abounding, is the sheen on the shining surfaces of His kingdom ware.
But now let us return to the creation.
In natural terms, Psalm 104, but also Ezekiel 31:4-9 provide the botanical peace and splendour, and although the latter is of that which is exposed as something to be doomed, the word of God speaking through the prophet: yet while it lasted, this beauty has a poignancy of possibility which is not lost, though the end is fearful loss to the nation concerned, in this particular prophecy. The case is so with many a young life, thrown perilously from the path of wisdom, perspective and true perception, on its way to discoveries making space look handsome by comparison! The customary conduits of sin are far more perilous than ever space could be. That threatens the body; these create the clammy confusion of distorted minds, disabled spirits, diseased thoughts.
Song of Solomon 8:6 brings out another feature. Here there is a holy insistence in love
which, once in view and in vogue - as between the royal pair depicted, symbolic of Christ
and His Church or Christ and the redeemed person or group - is never lost. Thus you see this faithfulness of
God in its fair beauty, something put in direct form both in Ephesians 3:18ff., and Romans 8:31ff., and even more directly in Romans -39. The beauty, spiritually, of
dependability and reliability, OUT OF LOVE, which is divine, is here given its
exposure, together with the same sense of the LIMITLESS, which space expresses
in geometrical form and material displacement. It is an
intimation; speech is the expression of the grandeur of the One who made
it all; and it has many messages, having its own modes and intimations besides.
ANCIENT WORDS: MODERN DEEDS
In Genesis you find the divine restraint after the flood, in the undertaking to continue seasons. It is these seasons which, despite all that has been done to and in the environment, keeps the gracious means for physical life working, with magnificent consistency, until near the end of the Age.
It is then that there appear disruptions in the scene and scenario for the earth, little known since the flood in their amplitude and succession. These are of a spiritually meaningful, and physically disastrous character, as if those who wilfully rejected the indefeasible knowledge of God (as in Romans 1:17ff.) could now find what it was like when the system they despised in their philosophies, a created one, with sheer magnificence of innumerable provisions, comes to behave with just a little resemblance in just judgment, to the one they so idly blasphemed, as to have live in their pagan minds. The restraints are lifted in degrees, so that man might personally inspect in the laboratory of experience, the diminution of grace, and a partial disassemblage of the structure.
As the book of Revelation exposes, there are to be successively augmenting losses of order, without some of the maintenance work in which the Almighty fosters life's continuation at all (cf. Hebrews 1:1-3), as the story is brought towards its finale. SEASONS ? Yes, these are to last! But the embattled planet will shudder. Beauty will wilt in large measure, in its physical formats!
The structure has had a divine licence which is fast, until in the heavier inflictions to awake those sedated with sin, it is loosened
. Then the temporary derangements are in fact to become quite systematic, even predictable in revealed measure as in Revelation's announcement. Indeed, in some degree, they will become like an alarm clock, after one is due to awake! However, as Revelation advises us, many are they whose slumber is endemic! They cannot rouse. The alarm sounds; but they sleep on.
It is more than a train which is to be missed then! (Cf. Matthew 25:1-10).
Thus it was, and so it continues. So was the divine word, and so it is in its formulations, formulae and provisions. So does the world continue on its course, with all the current, the contemporary troubles precisely as predicted, as the way comes into the straight, where the final run is made by man, that short step, not to the moon, but to darkness of which it is a type all too barren (cf. Answers to Questions Ch.5 and SMR Ch. 8).
So does beauty beam, insistent but not raucous. Hidden and sometimes spectacular, it is inciting man to look to its Maker. Intriguing in detail, illustrious and noble in scope, vast in enterprise, enormous in fields, meaningless without spirit, unfocussed without God, intense in His artist's presence, misinterpreted by many, abused by more: it is a major feature of the style of the writer of the Bible, His book. This, with its many calamities, is yet far more sober and consistent, delightful and abundant in beauty than one could well conceive, for an earth in so disastrous a spirit who is, in vast measure, the god of this world (John 14:21, I John 5:19); or well imagine for a planet with such selfish sentiments, be they self-interest, national interest, private interest or other, which can render these populating it like scorpions in king's palaces.
Beauty refreshes like ocean winds, skimming over land to hit the crest on which one's house is built; and its hygienic salinity seems to purify the very air one breathes. It is the testimony to the beauty of divine holiness, that majesty and charity, graciousness and kindness, intensity and wonder; and appears in our earth as that harmony of design with insights and artistry, which reflects now this, now that, aspect of the original, now in this form or format, now synthetic with many elements, now specialised in some one, atmospheric, derivative of perspective, effect of wisdom: provided not least to teach directly or indirectly, by its presence or defilement, lessons and spiritual perceptions of the glory of God, His finesse and His blessings, His wonder and His delight.
At every facet, in every feature, in every research, moral and personal noetic, physical and in all the fields of life: there is always an answer, consistently found in one place. it is insistent, it is open, it is clear. We have found it here; as we always find it, where it IS to be found. It is found in God, and declared in His word, the Bible, there written with propositional fidelity, unique and divinely founded.
The word of God provides the key, the perspective, the propositional depiction, and in this, of all writing, and this alone, man may find, and there can be and is found, the fullest harmony, consistency and coherence, convergence and intensity of light. The more you follow it, the more there is to see; and the more you see, the more wonderful it is, for it is not a garden ex-gardener, but a garden understood only when the prince of life comes out to explain it. His grandeur is apparent from His garden, this earth in its universe; but His will, His meaning and His purpose is His own. It is found in His word : where else! As to that, it sings, it speaks, it inculcates, it warns, it entices, it prohibits, it frees, it expands sensibility, it reduces confusion to rubble, and induces sweetness to profit, kindness to consummation, and provides basis for life. It is His and He interprets it the more as you seek Him the more, and rewards being imbued with it, as light invited by stained glass windows, which glow in its presence, their meaning discovered most readily.
Without that, you founder; with it you are founded (Matthew -27, -14). But in faith, you have to come (John , -40, Isaiah 55:6, 53:6,10-11): to Him!
You have to KNOW Him (John 17:3), but He has most openly presented and you could almost say, paraded His propositions, His word for all to see with a splendour of generosity which like the dawning of the morning, intensifies with time and is beautiful from the commencement.
"I have not spoken in secret,
In a dark place of the earth;
I did not say to the seed of Jacob,
'Seek Me in vain' : I, the LORD, speak righteousness,
I declare things that are right" - says the word of God, Isaiah 54:19.
Again, I Cor. 1:18-25, we see the whole matter in review; and as it is claimed, so it is found, in verifications innumerable, positive with the Biblical perspective and pronouncements, negative without it, at the level of wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Without God we would not be; without His knowledge man is not complete, but limp in sordid lassitudes, etiolated dimness, alien from the life of God:
"18 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.
19 For it is written:
'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,'
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.'
20 "Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age?
Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 "For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God,
it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached
to save those who believe.
22 "For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;
23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block
and to the Greeks foolishness,
24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 "For you see your calling, brethren,
that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
27 "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise,
and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
30 "But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—
31 that, as it is written, 'He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.' "
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (
: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982. Nashville, Tennessee