Wednesday, September 24, 2008

the foolishness of God is wiser than man

Saint John Chrysostom (c.345-407), Bishop of Antioch then of Constantinople, Doctor of the Church 4th Homily on 1 Corinthians; PG 61, 34-36 (trans. Mary Hallies)

It was through unlearned men that the Cross brought conviction, and drew the world to itself. It spoke to men, not of chance things, but of God, and of piety in the truth, of the Gospel polity, of future judgment, and it made uncouth and illiterate men philosophers. This is how «the foolishness of God is wiser than man, and His weakness stronger,» (1Cor. 1,25).
How is it stronger? It is stronger in that it spread over the whole earth and seized all men by force, and whereas thousands and thousands did their utmost to stamp out the name of the Crucified One, just the contrary came to pass. For this name took root and was propagated all the more, whereas its enemies were destroyed and consumed, and living men fighting a dead One, gained not a stroke... For publicans and fishermen set up those very things by the goodness of God which philosophers, and orators, and despots, and the whole world vainly striving with all its might could not even devise... This was in Paul's mind when he said: «the weakness of God is stronger than all men put together.» How, otherwise, was it that twelve unlettered men attempted things of this importance?