The Story:Everything that exists, Solomon insists, has its unique nature and purpose before it comes to be. This is because God is the Author of all existence; He alone gives things meaning and purpose. Things are not, as Kantian rationalism insists, merely “things” without any meaning until men come along and impose on them whatever meaning suits their purpose. Everything that is exists to serve God’s purposes (Ps. 119.89-91); the wise man accepts that and seeks to receive all of life as a gift to be used for God’s glory. And men know this, too; they know what kind of creatures they are (cf. Eccl. 3.11; Rom. 1.18-20). They also know that, in this life, it is futile to try to argue or fight with someone stronger than they – a subtle warning that there’s always a “faster draw” waiting for his opportunity for a showdown with us. But, beyond even that, knowing that he is made in the image of God, what man can presume to stand against God’s purpose and will? Only the fool.
The Structure:Notice how Solomon seems to appeal to his son’s inherent knowledge about the world and its nature, and his own responsibility before God. Is it necessary to “prove” God to unbelievers? Evidential or rationalistic arguments for the existence of God may have some use; however, since, as Paul and Solomon insist, all men know God, should we not simply assume this to be true, and appeal to man’s inherent knowledge of God and of what God requires of him? Again, such an approach to answering the fool doesn’t guarantee he will be converted; salvation is of the Lord, not of men. Nevertheless, in order to give the “fool” the best opportunity at seeing the truth, we need to know how to strip away all his defenses and pluck at his eternal heartstrings, hoping that something we might say, or some particular aspect of God’s truth, will strike a resonant chord in his soul.
How would you describe your own efforts to engage lost people in conversations about spiritual things? Are you consistent? Do you “seek the lost” like Jesus did (Lk. 19.10; cf. Jn. 20.21)?
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T. M. Moore
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.