For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.' Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Do you realize that in referring to the foolishness of God Paul spoke of the good news of Christ?
The foolishness of God, eh? Now, in case you miss the impact of this let me offer you a few other choice words: ridiculous, ludicrous, nonsensical, preposterous, unreasonable ... absurd. I'll bet that doesn't sit quite right with many who call themselves Christians. Maybe we've been too busy trying to make sense of this absurdity - to ourselves as well as to others - that we mostly gloss over this magnificent description of the good news of Christ. Or do we not realize that the good news will always come across as absurd to the very logic we keep trying to pacify?
Pacifying the absurdity? Yeah, sounds pretty deep, doesn't it? But I wonder if you realize that I'm only using words to describe what it is that often runs through those little heads of ours. Do you suppose it's what I'm writing that's deep? No, no! For as much as you might think your present confusion in following me is found because of MY attempt to sound deep, the truth is that I'm only exposing that deeper-than-deep network of logic that we have built up under the premise of Christianity. What premise? The one that keeps us thinking that we can eventually get it all figured out well enough so that all our questions are answered.
Hey, I understand the desire to make the message of Christ make sense to myself and to those around me - I understand it all too well. For I was college-trained in the fine art of making the gospel clear and understandable. "Make it Clear" was my college motto. I was taught to believe that if I could only make the gospel clear enough it would cause those I witnessed to to believe it. It was a belief that slowly wore me down. For while many of my colleagues found a measure of success in the venture I was only hit with continued failure. But I thank God for that failure!
Do you know what makes the word of the cross preposterous? Because its logic is found outside the very structure of everything we have come to understand in this world. No, the word of the cross is not found in the brutality of the death Jesus suffered, nor in the feelings that might arise within us from considering the torture he endured, for the answer is much simpler. In fact, it's simplicity is absolutely ludicrous because it removes all hope! The judgment of Jesus was the judgment of all mankind! Don't you see ... the door to heaven was not opened by his death, but was totally shut down by it. The only message understood by those who are perishing is that God damned his own son ... and in doing so God damned the whole creation.
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through [literally] the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:21
And if that's not ridiculous enough for you, consider that God takes immense pleasure in saving those who believe by hearing a message that can in no way whatsoever make sense! In other words, the preaching of the good news is not about trying to make it make sense, but is simply putting forth that which is in itself impossible to be understood by the one hearing it. It is, after all, why Paul described he and those with him as fools for Christ. Faith, in view of such absurdly impossible odds, sounds miraculous, don't you think?