The Wisdom of God is Not Relative
We live in a society that believes that absolute truth does not exist. Truth is considered to be relative, and each person is encouraged to come to their own conclusions and hold a version of truth that is true for them.
What should be our perspective when it comes to the Bible?
These ideas are not new. We can see from the first letter to the Corinthians that different groups of people wanted their own version of truth. The Jews required a sign and the Greeks sought after wisdom (1 Cor 1:22). Each group wanted something slightly different to the other, and yet what both groups needed was the same, that is God’s salvation provided in His Son:
unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God1 Corinthians 1:24
This section of the letter to the Corinthians shows the conflict that exists between mankind’s wisdom and God’s wisdom; the chasm that lies between man’s words and God’s words.
And my speech and my preaching [was] not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.1 Corinthians 2:4, 5
It is clear therefore that the wisdom of God is the power of God, which is the word of God. This is what God offers to every generation. It does not change. It is not relative. It is not affected by our background, our culture, or the age in which we live. Had the “princes of the world” – the Jew and Gentile rulers of Christ’s day – known the wisdom of God, then they would not have crucified the Lord of glory! (1 Cor 2:8).
When we read these words, we are reading the Word of God. This is not Paul’s opinion on the matter. He was not an excellent orator. We are not seeing the benefit of his vast education being poured out on paper, nor are we getting a glimpse into the inner workings of his legal mind. The apostle Paul declared the testimony of God, “not with excellency of speech or of wisdom” (1 Cor 2:1) but “in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling” (1 Cor 2:3)
The apostle Paul was clear about the source of the words of his preaching:
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.1 Corinthians 2:12-13
Remember, Paul wrote his letters “according to the wisdom given unto him” ( 2 Pet 3:15) by God (1 Cor 12:8).
We learn from this that the Gospel message of salvation in Christ is the power and wisdom of God. This is the eternal truth that spans generations, cultures, and backgrounds. It is not relative. It does not adapt to fit the society in which we live. Instead, we have the choice of whether or not to believe it and to adapt our lives accordingly. God’s truth does not change, but we must.
The Bible is the Word of God
The Bible claims to be the word of God and therefore the only source of Truth.
Sometimes people say that because the Bible was written a long time ago, in ancient languages and to ancient peoples, it was therefore not written to us or for us.
How do we know that we can have confidence in the Bible, and that its message is still relevant for us?
We need to remind ourselves of three of the Bible’s claims about itself:
1. The Bible is of God
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.2 Tim 3:16, 17
All “scripture” (that which is scribed or written down) is inspired (God breathed). We can think of the different writers of scripture over time as being scribes who God selected to write down His word.
2. God’s word is truth and it is without error
There is a helpful sequence of three short passages in the gospel through John which helps to explain what we mean by this:
In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.John 1:1
Here, the word of God is equated with God. The Bible is an expression of God Himself.
Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?John 10:34-36
Although the broader context of this verse is significant in terms of how to interpret scripture, it does not change the clarity of the Lord Jesus’ statement: “the scripture cannot be broken”.
Jesus says to God in prayer “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.John 17:17
Jesus testified to the truth of God’s word. Despite what others might claim, words do convey truth! Elsewhere, Jesus states plainly that the words that he spoke and the gospel that he preached were not his own words but God’s (John 8:26, 14:10).
These themes of God’s word and truth are consistent with Old Testament scriptures such as Psalm 119:160:
Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.Psalm 119:160
“Truth” cannot be ambiguous. God’s truth is not relative. Put simply, God’s truth does not change because God does not change.
3. God’s word is timeless
The Bible is clear that it was written for all ages of mankind, so it is equally relevant for every generation that lives. The only question is whether we will choose to read it and take its claim of Truth seriously.
God has not left His word to chance.
The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”Psalm 12:6-7
Although it was written a long time ago and in ancient languages, it has survived against all the odds – but that is no accident. God has preserved His word on record, but for whose benefit?
The believers in Rome were told that “whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”Romans 15:4
If those things, written long before the ecclesia in Rome existed, were of benefit to them as well as the original audience, it stands to reason that God’s words will be of equal benefit to us too. In fact, the idea that the word of God was primarily written for the people who first heard it is categorically denied by the next passage:
Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.”1 Peter 1:10-12
God did choose His prophets to speak His word and He chose them to write it down for Him, but it was not all for their benefit; furthermore, the prophets did not even always fully understand what God had caused them to speak and write.
From these three claims that the Bible makes about itself, we conclude that the Bible truly is the word of God. It uniquely is true, and it alone is powerful for every generation. The word of God abides forever.
Disagreement with the Bible
What are we to do when the writings of mankind disagree with what the Bible says?
If we are to believe what the Bible says, then we must also humbly accept the Bible’s perspective about itself.
The Bible claims to be the word of God and is therefore the only source of Truth.
There are no other books that are its equal. There is no other field of study, nor a single academic paper on any subject, that is as accurate or as truthful as the Bible, simply because the Bible alone is the work of God, and all other writings are human in origin.
Where the writings of man agree with what the Bible says, then they have spoken the Truth.
Where there is disagreement or conflict with the word of God, then those human writings have either misunderstood the Truth, or they are not speaking the Truth. So for example, it should not concern us unduly if there is no archeological evidence of Israel in Egypt. The archaeologists may be looking in the wrong place, or their timelines may be wrong.
Conflict is especially prominent in the study of origins. As believers, we can sometimes question ourselves when we are presented with mountains of evidence that appear to contradict what the Bible says.
The Genesis record is one example of this kind of conflict:
- Some claim that the human race not descended from a literal Adam and Eve
- Others point out that humans can’t have lived as long as the Bible says they did before the flood
- Others offer reasons why there can never have been a worldwide flood
There are two possible solutions to such conflict:
- We reinterpret our understanding what the Bible says so that we can accept the scientific evidence that has been put before us. This will include us changing what the Bible says.
- Or we shift our perspective and choose to disregard the work of human writers, and instead accept what the Bible says, because it alone is the source of Truth (as it claims to be).
If we search the scriptures, we will find the Genesis record endorsed time and again by the word of God (see Appendix)
- 76 quotations in the New Testament from the first 11 chapters of Genesis
- 42 quotations in the New Testament from the first 3 chapters of Genesis
- 10 NT passages which endorse the whole of the creation record
- 17 NT passages which teach the creation of the first man Adam and the first woman Eve
- 6 NT passages which confirm the Genesis Flood record
It is clear from the scriptures that because Jesus and the apostles believed the Genesis record, then so must we.
|1||Mark 13:19||Gen.1v1-31urt||Ten passages which endorse the whole of the creation record in Genesis 1.||The creation which God created||Jesus endorses Gen.1 – creation of the world.|
|2||Rom.1:19–20||Gen.1v1-31||The invisible things of him from the creation of the world…the things which are made||The world (kosmos) created by God|
|3||Eph.3:9||Gen.1v1-31||Which from the beginning of the world (aion) …God created all things…||All things created by God|
|4||Col.1v16||Gen.1v1-31||For by him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth…||All things created by God|
|5||Acts 4v24||Gen.1v1-31||Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:||All things created by God|
|6||Acts 14:15||Gen.1v1-31||The living God which made heaven and earth and the sea, and all things that are therin||Paul confirms the creation record of Genesis 1 – “all things”.|
|7||Acts 17:24||Gen.1v1-31||God that made the world and all things therein||Paul confirms the creation record of Genesis 1 – “all things”.|
|8||Rev.14v7||Gen.1v1-31||Worship him that made heaven and earth and the sea & the fountains of waters||The gospel of the millennial age which will be preached to all nations begins with creation.|
|9||Heb.11:3||Gen.1v1-31||Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.||All which can be seen was made in accordance with God’s word.|
|10||Rev.10:6||Gen.1v1-31||Him that liveth for ever and ever who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein.||An angel swore that God created the heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them|
|11||2 Cor.4:6||Gen.1v3||1st Prophecy||God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness|
|12||1 Cor.15v38||Gen.1v11-12||Individual creation||To every seed his own body||Each plant species created unique|
|13||Mt.19:4||Gen.1v27||17 passages teaching the creation of the first man Adam & the first woman Eve “in the beginning”.||He which made them at the beginning made them male and female.||Jesus quotes & endorses Gen.1v1/27|
|14||Mk.10:6||Gen.1v27||But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.||Jesus quotes & endorses Gen.1v1/27|
|15||1 Cor.11:7||Gen.1v27||Man is the image of and glory of God.||Endorses man made in the image of God|
|16||Col.1v15||Gen.1v27||Who is the image of the invisible God|
|17||Jas.3v9||Gen.1v27||Made after the similitude of God||Man in the image of God|
|18||Mk.12:17||Gen.1v28||And to God the things which are God’s.||Man in the image of God|
|19||Mt.22:21||Gen.1v28||And unto God the things which are God’s.||Man in the image of God|
|20||Lk.20:25||Gen.1v28||And unto God the things which be God’s.||Man in the image of God|
|21||1 Tim.4:3–5||Gen.1v31||For every creature of God is good.||Endorsing the goodness of all things created.|
|22||1 Tim.2:13–14||Gen.2v7/22||For Adam was first formed, then Eve.||Adam, Eve|
|23||1 Cor.15:45||Gen.2v7||The first man Adam was made a living soul||Endorses Adam as the first man||Adam|
|24||1 Cor.15:47||Gen.2v7||The first man is of the earth.|
|25||Rev.2v7||Gen.2v9||The tree of life…in the midst of the paradise of God|
|26||1 Cor.11:9||Gen.2v18/22||The woman [created] for the man.|
|27||1 Cor.11:8||Gen.2v22||The woman is of the man|
|28||Mt.19:5||Gen.2v24||And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh.||Jesus quotes Gen.2v24|
|29||Mk.10:7-8||Gen.2v24||For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh.||Jesus quotes Gen.2v24|
|30||1 Cor.6:16||Gen.2v24||For two, saith he, shall be one flesh.|
|31||Eph.5:31||Gen.2v24||For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife; and they two shall be one flesh.|
|32||Heb.4:4||Gen.2v2||And God did rest the seventh day from all his works||The work of the 6 days Creation was a finished work|
|33||Mt.10v16||Gen.3v1||7 endorsements of the details of Genesis 3||Wise as serpents||Endorses the wisdom of the serpent|
|34||2 Cor.11:3||Gen.3v1||The serpent…his subtilty||Endorses the wisdom of the serpent||Serpent|
|35||Col.2v21||Gen.3v3||Touch not taste not||Eve’s response to the serpent|
|36||2 Cor.11:3||Gen.3v13||The serpent beguiled Eve||Confirms the Genesis account||Eve|
|37||Col.2v4||Gen.3v13||Lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.|
|38||1 Tim.2:14||Gen.3v13||The woman, being deceived.||Confirms the Genesis account|
|39||Rom.5:12–21||Gen.3v17-19||Death came upon all men because of Adam’s sin||Confirms the origin of death||Adam|
|40||1 Cor.15:21–22||Gen.3v17-19||For since by man came death…for as in Adam all die…||Confirms the origin of death||Adam|
|41||Rev.22v1-3||Gen.2 / 3||River, tree of life, the curse|
|42||Rev.22v14||Gen.2 / 3||Access to the tree of life|
|43||Jude 11||Gen.4||7 passages confirming the Genesis account of Cain & Abel.||The way of Cain||The way of Cain||Cain|
|44||Mt.23:35||Gen.4v4||The blood of righteous Abel||Jesus confirms the existence of Abel & accounts him righteous.||Abel|
|45||Heb.11v4||Gen.4v4||By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain||The apostle confirms that Abel offered more than Cain.||Abel, Cain|
|46||1 Jn.3:11–12||Gen.4v8||Not as Cain who…slew his brother||Cain killed (Gr butchered) Abel||Cain|
|47||Lk.11:51||Gen.4v8||From the blood of Abel||Abel the first slain prophet||Abel|
|48||Heb.12:24||Gen.4v8||The blood of Abel||Endorsement of the murder of Abel||Abel|
|49||Lk.3v38||Gen.4v25||Seth the son of Adam||Adam, Seth|
|50||Mt.1v1||Gen.5v1||The book of the generations of||Adam|
|51||Acts 17:26||Gen.5 & 10||And hath made of one blood all nations of men||All nations descended from one man & made by God.|
|52||Lk.3v38||Gen.5v6||Enos the son of Seth||Jesus is a descendent of Adam||Seth, Enos|
|53||Jude 14||Gen.5v18f||Enoch the seventh from Adam||Enoch the seventh from Adam||Enoch, Adam|
|54||Heb.11:5||Gen.5v24||And was not found, because God had translated him||Translation of Enoch||Enoch|
|55||Lk.3v37||Gen.5v9||Cainan the son of Enos||Cainan, Enos|
|56||Lk.3v37||Gen.5v12||Mahaleel the son of Cainan||Mahaleel, Cainan|
|57||Lk.3v37||Gen.5v15||Jared the son of Mahaleel||Jared, Mahaleel|
|58||Lk.3v37||Gen.5v18||Enoch the son of Jared||Enoch, Jared|
|59||Lk.3v37||Gen.5v21||Methuselah the son of Enoch||Methuselah, Enoch|
|60||Lk.3v37-36||Gen.5v25||Lamech the son of Methuselah||Lamech, Methuselah|
|61||Lk.3v36||Gen.5v28-29||Noah the son of Lamech||Noah, Lamech|
|62||Lk.3v36||Gen.5v32||Shem the son of Noah||Shem, Noah|
|63||Heb.11:7||Gen.6||6 passages confirming the Genesis Flood record||Noah…prepared an ark||Noah building the ark||Noah|
|64||Mt.24:38||Gen.7v7||The day that Noe entered into the ark||Jesus confirms the existence of Noah & the fact of the ark.||Noah|
|65||Lk.17:26–27||Gen.6-7||The days of Noah||Noah|
|66||1 Pet.2v5||Gen.6-7||God saved Noah…bringing in a flood|
|67||1 Pet.3:20||Gen.7||Eight souls were saved by water||Confirms the detail in Genesis that 8 were saved in the ark|
|68||2 Pet.3:5–6||Gen.1 & 7||Earth formed out of and destroyed by water|
|69||Rev.18v5||Gen.11v4||Reached unto heaven|
|70||Lk.3v36||Gen.11v11||Arphaxad the son of Shem||Arphaxad, Shem|
|71||Lk.3v35||Gen.11v14||Eber the son of Salah||Eber, Salah|
|72||Lk.3v35||Gen.11v17||Peleg the son of Eber||Peleg, Eber|
|73||Lk.3v35||Gen.11v18||Reu the son of Peleg||Reu, Peleg|
|74||Lk.3v35||Gen.11v20||Serug the son of Reu||Serug, Reu|
|75||Lk.3v34||Gen.11v22||Nahor the son of Serug||Nahor, Serug|
|76||Lk.3v34||Gen.11v24||Terah the son of Nahor||Terah, Nahor|
|77||Lk.3v34||Gen.11v26||Abraham the son of Terah||Abraham, Terah|
|78||Acts 7v3||Gen.12v1||Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred…the land that I shall shew thee.|
|79||Gal.3:8||Gen.12v3||In thee shall all nations be blessed||Paul quotes Gen.12 as a written Scripture existing in the time of Abram.||Abram|
|80||Gal.3:16||Gen 12v7 13v15 22v17-18 24v7||Thy seed||Paul refers to the “seed” references in Genesis.|
|81||Heb.5:1–10||Gen.14v18-20||Order of Melchizedek||Priesthood of Melchizedek||Melchizedek|
|82||Heb.6:20–7:17||Gen.14v18-20||Order of Melchizedek||Priesthood of Melchizedek||Melchizedek|
|83||Rom.4v3||Gen.15v6||It was counted to him for righteousness||Abraham|
|84||Rom.4v22||Gen.15v6||It was imputed to him for righteousness||Abraham|
|85||Gal.3:6||Gen.15v6||It was accounted to him for righteousness||Abraham|
|86||Jas.2v23||Gen.15v6||It was imputed unto him for righteousness||Abraham|
|87||Rom.4v17||Gen.17v5||I have made thee a father of many nations.||Abraham|
|88||1 Pet.3:6||Gen.18v12||My lord being old also||Endorsement of Sarah’s attitude to Abraham||Sarah|
|89||Gal.4:22–31||Gen.16-21||Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, Isaac||Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, Isaac|
|90||Jn.7:22||Gen.17||Circumcision…is…of the fathers||Circumcision came from the patriarchs|
|91||Phil.3v5||Gen.17v12||Circumcision on the 8th day.|
|92||Mt.10v15||Gen.19||Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.||People of Sodom & Gomorrah will be judged|
|93||Mt.11:23–24||Gen.19||Sodom X2||Jesus endorses Gen.19 – destruction of Sodom.|
|94||Mk.6v11||Gen.19||Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.|
|95||Lk.17:28–29||Gen.19||But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstonefrom heaven and destroyed them all.||Jesus confirms the fiery destruction of Sodom||Lot|
|96||Lk.17:32||Gen.19v26||Remember Lot’s wife||Jesus confirms the warning of Lot’s wife.||Lot’s wife|
|97||Lk.10:12||Gen.19||Sodom||More tolerable for Sodom in the judgment|
|98||2 Pet.2:6–8||Gen.19||Sodom and Gomorrah punished and Lot saved||Sodom and Gomorrah punished and Lot saved|
|99||Jude 7||Gen.19||Sodom and Gomorrah…fire||Sodom & Gomorrah destroyed by fire|
|101||Mt.1v2||Gen.21v2||Abraham begat Isaac||Abraham, Isaac|
|102||Lk.3v34||Gen.21v2||Isaac the son of Abraham||Isaac, Abraham|
|103||Gal.4v30||Gen.21v10||Cast out this bondwoman and her son||Hagar, Ishmael|
|104||Heb.11:17–22||Gen.22||Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac and the seed||Endorsement of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac||Abraham, Isaac|
|105||Jas.2:21–23||Gen.22||Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac||Endorsement of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac + Q of Gen.15v6||Abraham, Isaac|
|106||Heb.6:14||Gen.22v17||Blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.||Endorses God’s blessing of Abraham|
|107||Acts 7:2–14||Gen.12-50||History of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph||Abraham, Isaac, Jacob & Joseph|
|108||Lk.1v73||Gen.22v16||God’s oath to Abraham|
|109||Mt.1v2||Gen.25v26||Isaac begat Jacob||Isaac & Jacob|
|110||Lk.3v34||Gen.25v26||Jacob the son of Isaac||Jacob, Isaac|
|111||Heb.12:16||Gen.25v33||Who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright||Endorsement of the character of Esau||Esau|
|112||Heb.12:16–17||Gen.27v34–38||When he would have inherited the blessing he was rejected.||Esau|
|113||Jn.1:51||Gen.28||The angels of God ascending and desending.||Jesus alludes to Jacob’s vision|
|114||Mt.1v2||Gen.29-30||Jacob begat Judas and his brethren||Jacob, Judah & his brothers|
|115||Lk.3v33-34||Gen.29v35||Judah the son of Jacob||Judah, Jacob|
|116||Acts 7v8||Gen.29-30||And Jacob begat the twelve partriarchs||Jacob’s 12 sons|
|117||Lk.1v35||Gen.30v23||Elisabeth quotes the words of Rachel.|
|118||Acts 7v9||Gen.37v26-28||And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt.||History of Joseph||Joseph|
|119||Mt.1v3||Gen.38v27-30||Judas begat Pharez & Zarah of Tamar||Pharez, Zarah, Tamar|
|120||Lk.3v33||Gen.38v27-30||Pharez the son of Judah||Pharez, Judah|
|121||Acts 7v10||Gen.41v41||Pharaoh king of Egypt…made him governor over Egypt.|
|122||Acts 7v11||Gen.41v54||Now there came a dearth over all the land of Egypt and Chanaan|
|123||Acts 7v12||Gen.42v1-2||But when Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first.|
|124||Acts 7v13||Gen.45v3||And at the second time Joseph was made known unto his brethren.|
|125||Acts 7v13||Gen.47v1-10||And Joseph’s kindred was made known unto Pharaoh|
|126||Rev.5:5||Gen.49v9||Lion of Judah||Judah|
|127||Rev.7v14||Gen.49v11||And have washed their robes…in blood|