Mom would fly into my bedroom, her voice filled with panic, and awaken me with announcements of over sleeping or the previous night’s wind storm having blown down a section of the backyard fence. Predictably, I’d wake up sharing her anxiety, only to see her burst into laughter and cry, “April Fool!” She got me every year!
When I reached college, my April Fool’s pranks often took on more elaborate structures. Over the years, I cultivated the skill, careful not to play jokes every year in order to keep people in an unsuspecting frame of mind. From telling a friend that U.C. Berkeley had accepted me into their graduate program in journalism to insinuating on Facebook that John and I couldn’t agree on whether or not to get a cat, I’ve periodically surpassed my mother in successfully pulling of April Fool’s jokes.
This morning, inspired by John MacArthur’s radio broadcast, I started thinking a bit more seriously about the relationship between deception and foolishness. Harmless jokes on the first day of April are one thing, but being foolish enough to ignore or reject God’s wisdom has tragic and eternal consequences.
As I thought about how easily worldly philosophies fool people (even professing Christians), my mind went to a few Scriptures that serve as reminders of why we need godly wisdom. To set the stage, I want to begin with Romans 1, zeroing in on Paul’s explanation of idolatry.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. ~~Romans 1:18-23 (ESV)
Our 21st Century idols my not resemble animals (at least not in most of Western culture), but we still idolize the philosophies that we create. Most notably, our society worships the twin gods of evolution and psychology (though material wealth and sex also claim a large number of devotees). Particularly with evolution and psychology, people get the thrilling sensation of feeling educated and erudite, able to understand many of mankind’s deepest mysteries.
Yet both evolution and psychology come from human reasoning, rejecting both the authority and the sufficiency of Scripture. Both philosophies depend on elaborate explanations and schemes, insisting that the Bible, if it is to be believed at all, requires the supplementation of human discoveries that only debuted in the 19th Century. Most people believe that this newly-acquired knowledge advances our wisdom to a higher level than merely believing God’s Word.
The Holy Spirit, speaking through the apostle Paul, clearly addressed such arrogance:
20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. ~~1 Corinthians 1:20-25 (ESV)
The simple Gospel leads us to all the wisdom we’ll ever really need because it leads us to Christ Himself. Man-made philosophies, no matter how profound they sound, eventually exalt our presumed cleverness. as if we had the potential to unearth the summation of all wisdom. But the Bible tells us exactly where to find the source of true wisdom.
2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. ~~Colossians 2:2-5 (ESV)
April Fool’s jokes are fun, but I praise the Lord that we don’t have to fall for the deceptions of human philosophies. Praise God that the Lord Jesus Christ possesses all the wisdom we’ll ever need.