Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Romans 1:22 ASV

Ah yes, how wise man fancies himself; and, if one hesitates to believe it, let him look in the dictionary and behold that man is listed as “Homo sapiens,” which means “the wise one;” but such a designation in the book which he wrote himself is not altogether conclusive; and, whether he can bear to hear it or not, man would be just as appropriately named if called “Homo ignoramus”!

This is true because, apart from what God has revealed to him, he has no certain knowledge of who he is, whence he comes, whither he goes, or whether any cosmic worth of any kind whatever is to be found in him.

Without the knowledge of God, man is but “a disease of the agglutinated dust.”

On the other hand, endowed with the knowledge of God, man may recognize himself as a son of the Highest, an object of God’s love, a beneficiary of the blood of Christ, and an heir of everlasting glory.

Despite all this, man is forever preoccupied with delusions of grandeur.

Look at the letters he has written after his name: A.B., Ph.D., M.D., D.D., M.C, M.P., K.B.C., F.R.S.A., etc., and also at the titles in front of it: Honorable, Chairman, President, Manager, Director, etc.

Here is no intention of disparaging the marvelous attainments of human intellect; because, in those areas where man’s intellect was created to function, it must surely be hailed as the highest of all created things; but there is another sector, higher than man, and beyond him altogether; and it is within that higher theater of concern that man, apart from God, is a “fool.”

It is from that more exalted arena of truth, into which human intellect is incapable of intruding – it is from thence must come the answer of such a question as “What is correct human behavior?”

Those tempted to believe that human intellect might answer that one should read Jeremiah 1:23.

And there are many other questions that unaided intellect cannot solve, such as:

Who am I?

Whence came I?

What is my destiny?

What happens after death?

Why is there evil in the world?

How can my guilt be removed?

What must I do to be saved from the wrath of God?

Man might pretend that he is not concerned with the answers to such questions; but the smoking altars, bloody sacrifices, temple towers, and cathedral spires, along with religious observances of five thousand years, as well as the universal instincts of the entire race of mankind, emphatically declare that man is interested, that he does care, and that the kind of answer accepted becomes the principal motivation of every life on earth.

They became fools … this can be translated to “They were made fools,” thus again employing the passive voice.

It is not merely that they expose their real folly, but that folly itself is judicially inflicted by God as a punishment of the first step of declension from him.

The passive voice, in both this and the preceding verse, emphasizes an old truth that man is free only to choose his master.

When a soul turns away from God, there is afterwards no meaningful initiative left to the soul; the great option having been already exercised, the unbeliever is left free to choose only among secondaries, all of which are evil.

Demonstrations of this truth are continually visible in Christians who turn away from the gospel, only to become fanatical devotees of some ridiculous cult.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:7 RSV

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