Some people believe that people are intrinsically good. If they were educated enough, sin and evil would not exist. People would make the right choices. This is an underlying theme in many of our systems in America today.
Can you spot it? Do you know what is wrong with this picture?
Let’s get the first part of the premise right. People are not good. Scripture teaches that we are fallen and have a sin nature. Man is intrinsically evil.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
What about education? What about wisdom?
Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Did man become sinless? No, of course not. They indeed sinned when they ate from it, and man has been sinning ever since. Thousands of years later, we have not resolved the smart enough to not sin issue.
What about Solomon? He was the wisest man who ever lived.
I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.
Solomon says all is vanity. Crooked cannot be made straight. He found no solution. That which is wanting cannot be numbered. There was so much lacking.
I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
He found that wisdom leads to more grief and knowledge to more sorrow. I read a lot of different perspectives in the commentaries about all that Solomon was trying to say. Bottom line is that the answers were not found in wisdom and knowledge. He found grief and sorrow.
The wisest man on earth could only find answers with God. Where are you seeking your answers today?
Today’s challenge is to ask yourself where you are seeking. Are you counting on wisdom and knowledge to right wrongs? Do you think it will bring you closer to God? Do you think it will bring others closer to God?
Consider the premise of sex education in most schools. If we give them enough education, they will make the right decisions, and there will be less or no teenage pregnancies. Look around. Do you think it’s working? No, it’s not. We should be sharing Jesus instead.
Here’s an extra challenge today. See if you can identify any other belief systems that spring from the false belief that man is good. In what ways – like sex education – is society trying to better man by increasing knowledge or wisdom as opposed to reliance on and obedience to God?