In Romans 1, the Apostle Paul reminds us that atheism survives only because unrighteous men and women deliberately suppress truth about God that they can easily see all around them.
God’s attributes are plainly on display wherever we look. Signs of His kindness, faithfulness, and love—as well as His righteousness and power—are everywhere.
“What may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19–20).
God’s Infinite Wisdom
One attribute of God stands out above all others in creation’s display: His wisdom.
Consider creation as a whole—from the measureless number of galaxies in the universe to the distinctive structure of a single atom; from the grandeur of a blue whale to the intricacies of countless microscopic creatures that live in a thimble of pond-water. One attribute of God stands out above all others in creation’s display: His wisdom.
Who but an all-wise God could possibly design such a complex universe on so grand a scale—so meticulously organized; with such delicate balance and interdependence between its myriad parts; and with so much variety and complexity even in its infinitesimal features?
Science has not begun to discover even the tiniest fraction of all that could conceivably be known about the universe. But every sentient creature who considers creation should be awestruck by one obvious reality: The careful arrangement of the universe reveals the Creator’s unfathomable wisdom.
Ponder that point some more, and you’ll realize that the wisdom of the Creator must be more vast than the universe itself—infinite wisdom. Indeed, that is precisely what Scripture teaches: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33).
Mankind’s Need for Wisdom
Study & Discussion Questions
- What does “the fear of the Lord” involve (Proverbs 9:10)?
- How is wisdom different from knowledge?
- What does 1 Corinthians 3:18–21 say about this world’s wisdom, in God’s estimation?
- Wisdom is personified in Proverbs 8. Read that chapter and list the outstanding characteristics of true wisdom.
- Name some beliefs and values that this world considers “wisdom” but Scripture refutes.
- Read Proverbs 1–2. What would you say are the key differences between the world’s view of wisdom and the way Scripture describes true wisdom?
- Can a person be truly wise without knowing Christ?
Human wisdom, by contrast, is notoriously frail and fallible. We are easily perplexed by the rudimentary difficulties of everyday life. We desperately need wisdom, and we often find it elusive.
Scripture reminds us that God is the source of all true wisdom. Moreover, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). In other words, our need for wisdom ought to motivate us to turn to God—and those who refuse to turn to God have no hope of ever being truly wise.
Scripture also emphatically teaches that authentic wisdom starts in the realm of spiritual things. Thus when Solomon wrote, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom” (Proverbs 4:7), he was urging us to seek God’s wisdom. The wisdom we need most cannot be acquired through science, philosophy, or the arts. True wisdom comes from God, by revelation. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5).
God’s Wisdom Is Best
God’s revealed wisdom is vastly superior to the so-called wisdom of this fallen world in several key ways.
First, the wisdom that is from above teaches things the fallen human mind could never discover through reason or experimentation alone—answers to some of the most important and most basic questions of all: How did we get here? Where do I go when I die? What is the meaning of life? What is the reason for my existence, and how can I do what I was made to do?
Second, God’s wisdom is sure and unchanging, in contrast to the theories and speculations of even the smartest scientists or philosophers.
Third, God’s wisdom is pure and perfect. Human reasoning is always tainted with sin and foolishness. Moral judgments that rely on human wisdom are downright dangerous.
Clearly, the human race in its fallen state is drawn to folly, not wisdom.
Wisdom Revealed in Christ
The wisdom we need most urgently from God is by no means hidden from us. God has revealed it in His Word, and distilled it for us in the gospel message. Wisdom starts with the only answer to our sin—forgiveness bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ.
That’s what the Apostle Paul was talking about in 1 Corinthians 2:7: “We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory.” When he speaks of “mystery” and “hidden wisdom,” he’s not describing something esoteric or perplexing. Much less is he suggesting that this wisdom is “hidden” in the sense that it is a secret given only to a select few.
But in biblical terminology, a mystery is something once kept hidden, now revealed to all. Before the cross, it was never completely clear how God would furnish a suitable sacrifice for the sins of those whom He forgave. But now the truth of redemption for sinners through the substitutionary sacrifice of His Son is plain for all to see.
That’s the heart and core of all the divine wisdom available to us. Those who receive it by faith are well on the road to becoming truly wise.