Introduction: I’m currently reading the book Antifragile by Nassim
Taleb. Except in the area of physics, Taleb thinks that tinkerers,
rather than scientists, are responsible for most of our “scientific”
advances. A poster child for Taleb’s theory is Steve Jobs, a college
drop-out who helped to create Apple computers in his garage. When it
comes to the clash between science and the Bible, I’m not too sure it
is helpful to say to pagans, as Taleb would say, “You’re not too
smart and you lie about your accomplishments!” However, there is
substance to the claim that we are a lot less smart than we think –
especially when humans challenge God. Our lesson this week is about
the reasons for our limited knowledge, so let’s jump into our lesson
and learn more!

  1. Like God

    1. Read Genesis 1:26 and Genesis 3:4-5. Notice the “be like
      God” language. Do God and Satan have a mutual goal with
      regard to humans? (They both declared that humans should
      be like God.)

      1. We often say that Eve sinned because of pride and
        covetousness because she wanted to be “like God.”
        How can this be sin when God declared that He was
        making humans “in our likeness?”

      2. How do the goals of Satan and God differ? (God made
        humans like Him by making them rulers and giving them
        the power to create life. Satan made them “like God”
        by opening the knowledge of evil.)

    2. The title of our lesson is “Through a Glass Darkly.” Read
      1 Corinthians 13:9-12. The Greek which the KJV translates
      “through a glass darkly” the NIV translates “a poor
      reflection as in a mirror.” Why does God’s vision of us
      being “like God” include a limitation on our knowledge?

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 13:13. Does this statement have
      anything to do with the answer to the prior question?

  2. Low Vision

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-12. What is the nature of the
      problem? (Christians who identify with a person instead of
      identifying with Jesus.)

      1. Why would people have the tendency to identify with a
        person, rather than God?

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 1:17. I like smart preaching. What is
      Paul talking about here? (We don’t want to substitute the
      human for the divine.)

      1. Paul uses a very interesting phrase, “lest the cross
        of Christ be emptied of its power.” What is the power
        of the cross?

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-20. We are back on the topic of
      knowledge. When I consider Moses and Paul, I think of two
      very smart fellows. Why would God be against the wise and
      the intelligent?

      1. This quote comes from Isaiah 29. Let’s read Isaiah
        29:11-12. God gave a vision to Isaiah. Isaiah
        recorded it on a scroll. What do you think about the
        reaction of the people to the vision? (They raise
        technical issues. It is sealed. I cannot read.)

        1. What should they have said? (Let’s unseal it.
          Let’s find someone who can read. Or, Isaiah,
          tell us what it says.)

      2. Read Isaiah 29:13. What is the problem with the
        people? (They are not serious about having a
        relationship with God.)

    4. Let’s jump back to 1 Corinthians for just a bit. Read 1
      Corinthians 1:21. We need to tie up some loose ends here.
      In Genesis we learned that God withheld some knowledge
      from humans. This text tells us that this lack of
      knowledge is part of God’s plan (“the wisdom of God”) that
      human wisdom is limited.

      1. Why? Is God anti-intellectual?

      2. What kind of “wisdom” did the people in Isaiah 29
        display? (They were focusing on the details. The
        small issues. The human deficiencies.)

    5. Read Isaiah 29:14. What is God’s solution to this kind of
      small human thinking? (He will dazzle them with wonders!)

    6. Consider what we just read in 1 Corinthians 1 and Isaiah
      29. How does this warning apply to us today? Do we see
      this very thing now?

      1. Years ago a new car was being introduced at an auto
        show. As it sat on the turntable, I noticed scratches
        below the door sill. Something about the sill was not
        right, and it allowed the shoes of the driver to mar
        the surface. What do you think the sales staff
        thought about my comment? (The so-called
        intellectuals are pointing out the scientific view of
        the age of things, details that call into question
        the creation account. God is pointing out the majesty
        of everything!)

  3. The Low Vision Advantage

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 1:22-24. Wait a minute! Didn’t Jesus
      do many miracles? Aren’t Jesus’ statements wise? (Yes,
      Jesus performed miracles and shared wisdom. But, that was
      not the main point. The main point was that He died for

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 1:25. The “foolishness of God” refers
      back to the previous verses. God’s wisdom was sending His
      Son, Greek wisdom was logic, and Jewish wisdom was
      miraculous proof. How is God’s wisdom superior? (We don’t
      need to approach things from a complicated point of view.
      God died for us. We don’t need to be able to
      mathematically explain it. We don’t need to physically
      prove it.)

      1. Let’s run our thinking back to Eden and Eve’s choice
        in Genesis 3:3-5. What if Eve focused on everything
        that God had done for her, all the wonderful gifts He
        had given, as opposed to what God might have

      2. Apply this to the creation/evolution debate. What is
        the argument in favor of creation? (Everything we see
        – the extraordinary power and intelligence behind the
        operation of the heavens, the earth and our own

      3. What is the argument behind evolution? (Detailed
        theory based mostly on things we do not see.)

    3. Let’s revisit 1 Corinthians 1:17. How does creation inform
      how we should preach the gospel? (We should not make it
      complex. We should not encrust it with “human wisdom.”
      Rather, we should preach it as God’s gift to humans.)

    4. Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-28. Thanks, Paul! Not many of you
      are smart, not many have influence, not many are
      sophisticated, not many of you are strong. You are a bunch
      of weak-minded, weak muscled nobodies. Is this the natural
      result of preaching a anti-intellectual gospel? Is this
      the goal, to bring in the least of human society?

    5. Read 1 Corinthians 1:29. What is the reason for God’s
      anti-intellectual, anti-cultural, anti-power approach? (So
      that humans will not boast.)

      1. Why does God care whether we boast? (It turns the
        focus away from Him.)

    6. Read Isaiah 29:16. What unmasks our pretensions? Our

  4. Grand Unified Theory of Low-Vision

    1. Let’s contemplate some applications of what we have been
      discussing. What kind of thinking made Eve vulnerable to
      Satan? (Thinking that she needed to know more. Thinking
      that the focus should be on her knowledge, not God’s

    2. What kind of thinking made Jesus’s work with the Jewish
      establishment so difficult? (They were focused on
      themselves, what strategy they needed to follow to survive
      and thrive. See John 11:49-50.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 1:30-31. What would have saved Eve and
      the Jewish establishment? (Turning the focus away from
      themselves and towards God. If Eve had started boasting
      about what God had done, as opposed to focusing on what
      she might need, Satan would have been defeated.)

    4. As we saw, many of Paul’s converts were from the lower
      strata of society. Is that good? (Another benefit of the
      simple message that God gave up Himself for us, is that
      anyone can understand it.)

      1. Why would intellectuals, the rich and the powerful be
        less likely to accept the simple message of the
        gospel? (Because they are more likely to be focused
        on self. They are used to others being focused on
        them. They want a message that focuses on them, not a
        simple message that can be understood by anyone and
        has a God focus.)

    5. Friend, God’s message is that He has given us plenty of
      proof to believe He exists. He has shown us His love by
      dying to give us eternal life. Will you be willing to
      trust God and not insist that everything be explained to
      you? Will you accept that you are the clay and not the

  5. Next week: Jesus, Provider and Sustainer.