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God’s Word for You

Proverbs 30:2-4 the skeptic and creation

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, April 6, 2021

2 “I am the stupidest of men; I do not have a man’s understanding.
3 I have not learned wisdom. I have no knowledge of the Holy One.

No matter what he says, no matter what his argument, the unbeliever labels himself as the stupidest of men because he does not recognize God. Here the skeptical unbeliever might be trying to speak with irony, but he isn’t wrong. He says that he has not learned wisdom; he was never schooled in it. A Methodist minister who comes to me with doctrinal questions constantly complains, “I never had any classes in theology or doctrine.” Doctrine, the very basics of theology, is what every catechism student learns. It needs to be part of our weekly preaching and teaching. It should be a part of every Christian’s regular reading as we pick up our catechisms and read a page every day (most copies of the catechism are brief enough that they can be read in one year by reading only one page per day, five or six days a week).

The simplest child, no matter how uneducated, has eternal wisdom when he has faith in God, that God exists, that God loves him, and that God forgives his sins. Wisdom is not about lofty things, but about trusting in God. This is the message throughout the book of Proverbs (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10, 24:14). The little ones believe in Jesus (Mark 9:42). Great ones can do no greater work than toil and strive for the same faith as a child, since no other labor is meaningful without faith (Ecclesiastes 2:22).

4 Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
  Who has gathered up the wind in his hands?
  Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak?
  Who has established all the ends of the earth?
  What is his name, and what is his son’s name?
  Tell me if you know!”

We could talk about how these questions are all asked in similar ways in other places. But that’s not the point. These questions are all very simple creation questions. They all fall under the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed. They don’t even begin to touch on the nature of salvation until we come to the fifth question: “What is his name, and what is his son’s name?” This leads us to the divinity of God the Son in the same way that Genesis 1:2 shows us the divinity of God the Holy Spirit. Old Testament people (believers and even skeptics) accepted God as two or three persons in the same single unified God. The Spirit of God is shown delivering God’s word (2 Chronicles 24:20). The Son of God is promised as the Savior from sin (Genesis 3:15). God is called Father, always a reminder that he has a Son (Psalm 89:26; Isaiah 9:6). The uninstructed unbeliever will never get past the most elementary questions about God, the creation questions. These are things covered in the first day of Sunday school: God made the world. But this leaves the far more profound and far-reaching questions: What about my sin? How can I be saved? No one who fails to understand the second creation (which is faith and forgiveness) can ever hope to understand the first creation. So the Sunday-school child has the advantage over every skeptic and unbeliever. The child knows his Savior, and so the child believes Moses’ account of creation. Therefore that child can also answer these questions with the grace and simplicity of the wisest theologian:

Who has ascended into heaven?
    Jesus, who ascended and will return again.
Who has gathered up the winds?
    Jesus, who commanded the wind.
Who has wrapped up the waters?
    Jesus, who walked on the water!
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
    Jesus, who broke free from the earth and rose from the dead.

After Jesus fed the five thousand, he walked out on the water to his disciples and calmed the wind and the water without speaking a word (Mark 6:51). The child understands Jesus’ power over creation because the child trusts Jesus with his eternal soul. Surely the one who can raise me from the dead and bring me, a redeemed sinner, to heaven, must have command over the grave, the dirt, the worms and germs and other things that cause decay and ruin. He is God over all. The unbeliever refuses to believe any of it, and so he will know true rot and ruin and pain in hell.

Where salvation is not preached and believed, creation cannot be preached and believed. Without the Second Article of the creed, the First Article is only a sermon of law, not gospel. But where the Second Article and Christ are believed, then the First Article and creation become sermons of gospel, joy, and the miraculous, gracious preserving acts of God for his beloved creation. When we discuss our faith with family and friends, it will always collapse in failure if we begin with creation. We must begin with the sinful status of man, where the true story of man begins, so that we may come to Christ, salvation, the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection of the body to eternal life. Where these things are believed and trusted, then the creation account of the Bible will truly matter and be embraced. Run to the cross and the empty tomb! Proclaim the name of God’s Son so that new-founded faith has something to grasp, and the rest will fall into place.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

 

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