Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Paradoxical wisdom

Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. - 1 Corinthians 1:22-24

St. Paul begins this verse with generalizations about Jews and Greeks, nonetheless, they are accurate. How often did the Jews seek a sign while they were wandering in the desert during the Exodus? God provided the signs: the parting of the Red Sea, manna from heaven, quail, and a spring of water from a stone. Jesus laments that "this evil generation demands a sign." In a similar fashion, the Greeks wanted something logical. They wanted something that would rest on philosophical axioms as "proof" of its genuineness.

It is only human for us to want proof to back up the truth of a message whether it is in the miraculous or the philosophical. So what proof does the Church provide? Christ crucified! I can just hear the response of the Greeks and the Jews, "Huh?!" The cross is an impediment to the Jews because their Messiah is a political figure who will overcome the earth's political dynasties and rule the kingdom of Israel. It is foolishness to the Greeks because it is completely illogical for Christ to have as his mission crucifixion. The problem with proof comes when we use the evidence provided as a reason to not believe.

But to those who receive God's grace, Christ crucified becomes all the proof we need, for in this paradoxical fashion, God reveals his wisdom and strength through the depths of his love for us in the sacrifice of his Son.


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