A Word To The Wise
Take a moment and step back out of the dizzying pace of the world we are living in. Let your mind slowly peruse through the newsfeeds of negative headlines over the last few years. Remember the thoughts you had when you saw and heard the reports of violence and crime rates skyrocketing in our schools and cities. Remember the reports of scandals that tumbled out of the lofty towers of organized religious institutions, business empires, entertainment, and government offices. Remember the reports of greed, corruption, injustice, immorality, and the sheer insanity of what seems to be a world gone wild in every sector of human society. The moral, reasonable, and ethical compass of culture is spinning out of control, feverishly searching for its True North.
Common sense and any religious or prescriptive thought is now seen as an archaic method of controlling the masses of simpletons. It has been replaced with the mantra of, question everything, believe nothing, think anything, and by all means be whoever and whatever you want to be. On the surface that sounds so exciting, freeing, liberating, and empowering. At its core lies a devastating reactor that is leaking poisonous contra-life radiation slowly, but methodically, into the gene pool of humanity, altering the very DNA of what makes life work. How could humans, who think that we are so smart, believe that if liberated from the restraints of any form of conformity, that total and unrestricted autonomy is the elixir of life? If sometime in the future humanity dies out, the autopsy will report the cause of death as extreme foolishness. Are we fools?
To answer that question we need to understand what a fool is. The logical first place to look is the dictionary. Here are some of the meanings that you will find: a person who acts unwisely or imprudently; a silly person. A person devoted to a particular activity. A person who is duped. If we piece this together we could come up with a statement like this: A fool is a person who has been duped and deceived to believe that being dedicated to a way of life that rejects wisdom is the wisest way to live. How can this happen? To better understand what is at play here we need to look at the origin of the word fool.
Our word fool comes from a Latin word, “follis” which means “bellows or windbag,” which means by extension - an empty-headed person. We call a person a “windbag” if they are constantly spewing out words that have little value or are always braggadocios. A bellows is a device that is designed to blow out air every time it is pumped. Its main use is to make a fire hotter for forging something. So let’s try to put all of this together and come up with the anatomy of a fool…
In order for someone to become a fool, the contents of their mind - their thoughts and beliefs- must be brought into question by a seemingly smarter, wiser individual. The potential fool must be convinced to get rid of their present beliefs and purge their mind of all that stands in the way of becoming smarter and wiser. Once the mind of the fool-to-be has been emptied, the “wiser” windbag begins to bellow his belief system onto the now blank canvas of the fool-in-the making’s mind. The blowing and bellowing continues, causing the fire of foolishness to glow white-hot, forging in the mind of the now foolish person a belief system that is not founded in truth. Voilà! A fool is born!
We all know the physiological truth that, like-begets-like. So once a fool is born there will be offspring. As fools multiply and populate they will also begin to propagate their foolish way of thinking and living. They have learned their windbag bellowing craft from their progenitor, who they see as the all-wise king of folly. Folly is fun, and what could be more fun than to run nakedly unrestricted through life seeking one's own whims and wants. After all, isn’t life really all about having everything you desire? After all, isn’t life all about having your will, your way, when you want? After all, isn’t the highest form of selflessness investing your time teaching others to be selfish just like you so they too, can enjoy a life with no-holds barred. To a fool, it is morally and ethically wrong to let people live in the deception that moral and ethical absolutes are actually good, and necessary. Fools, unite, and liberate the world from restriction!
Wow, how did we ever get into this mess? Understanding a problem requires going back to the origin of the problem. In order to manufacture a fool, it takes one to grow one. Who was the original fool? The Bible gives a vivid description of the first recorded words of THE fool. Here is the passage:
[Isa 14:13-14 NASB] "But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. 'I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'”
How arrogant and prideful. How insolent and rebellious. How utterly stupid. How utterly foolish, that a created being would spew out words like this against its creator. Can a being created actually believe that it is greater and smarter than its creator? Apparently, if the created being is a fool it is the only course of action that makes sense. So, you have probably figured out that THE fool is none other than Satan.
Now, let’s be clear. Just because Satan is THE fool, it does not mean that he (just using a pronoun to personalize this being) is dumb. It is just the opposite. It is on account of his super and amazing intelligence that he is such a big fool. If you analyze the reason for his pompous bravado you will see that this being was created in such splendor that his attributes actually caused him to believe that he could exist without God, and in fact, could be a better God, than God! Satan became a billowing windbag of cosmic proportions and decided to huff and puff his way all the way to God’s throne. A true fool’s delusion of grandeur. Satan’s entire being was devoted to this quest. He was not only acting like a fool, he had totally and fully become a fool. And then, being totally consumed with this deception and delusion, Satan sets out on his own fool’s errand and heads right for the children of the King - humans.
This familiar scene is depicted in the 3rd chapter of Genesis. It is interesting to note that the Hebrew language calls Satan by another name when he enters the conversation with Eve. We are told that he was the craftiest of all of God’s created beings, and he was called by the name, Nachash, which has its roots in the concept of hissing or blowing air. How else would a windbag communicate? If you dissect the conversation you will see the entire strategic plan of Satan laid bare for any discerning eye to see. Satan may be cunning, but creative originality is definitely NOT his strong point. This is the same strategy that Satan uses every time he seeks to recruit another follower:
Appear in a form that is unassuming and non threatening
Engage in casual conversation (Satan and Eve were probably admiring the tree)
Ask some probing questions to poke around for an opening (“Has God said?”)
Use half-truths to elicit a reaction
Use the vulnerability of the reaction to blow winds of doubt into the currently held beliefs
Share his own opinion and interpretation of what the truth really is
Lay out some options for alternative beliefs and lifestyles
Entice and tempt the victim to act out on these new beliefs
Reinforce this new-found freedom with grand promises of future glory
Send his new fool-followers out into the world to make disciples of all nations
There may be a few nuances in these steps and the order may be shifted around a bit, but this is probably what the Apostle Paul meant when he said that we are not unaware of Satan’s schemes (2 Cor. 2:11).
Once Eve and Adam were duped, the seeds of foolishness entered into the DNA of humanity. Although it may have been a recessive gene, it would only need a little coaxing to become the dominant gene, thus reproducing fools that would multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. If Satan is the king of fools, his kingdom must be founded on folly. So how, exactly, would Satan trigger his genetic mutation into action in the human heart? The opening paragraphs of Paul’s letter to the Romans is the observation tower to see this plan in action.
[Rom 1:18 NLT] But God shows his wrath from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
Paul is teaching us about the nature of evil. In essence, evil is twisted truth - this is really what the word wickedness means. The only way for truth to stay twisted is to suppress the real truth. The implication is that Satan knows the truth and must find ways to hold it back, hide it, mask it, ridicule it, marginalize it, vilify it, criminalize it, minimize it, or any number of other ways to eradicate it. He must have an army of highly intelligent, highly motivated, highly talented, highly admired, and respected people that he can prop up for all humans to see as the quintessential exemplary humans. He must, in a sense, create idols for the masses to worship. After all, we do become like what we worship!
It is no wonder that the efforts of this foolish takeover plot has focused so intently on education, arts, entertainment, media, and government. Education can capture and rewire the head, arts and entertainment can capture the admiration and worship of the heart, the media (communication) can reinforce the narrative and capture the conversations, and the government can enact truth-suppressing laws and capture the resources needed to propagate and promote this foolish agenda.
If you continue reading the remaining verses of this chapter, the stark reality of what is happening and what is at stake are laid bare. Paul states that God has done everything possible to display the truth about the universe and our creation. He has made it so obvious that any casual observer could see the handiwork of a Creator. However, this foolish plot is so enticing that it duped humanity to exchange the truth for a lie and decided to worship the creation rather than the creator. In doing so, they have opened a Pandora’s Box of side effects that are systematically destroying humanity. Tragically, the nature of foolishness is that it will not, and even cannot, see the error of its ways until it is too late.
Paul states that the results of all of this can be summed up in this statement: Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools (Rom. 1:22). There you have it. Debunk God, remove God, replace God. Become God. This is the fool’s plot line recorded in scripture from Genesis 3 right on into Revelation. There is a powerful antidote for foolishness that we must look at. But before we go there, we need to take a moment to look back at Paul’s statement from Romans 1:18 - God is storing up wrath for those who suppress the truth. Why is this foolishness such a big deal to God?
We need to look at what is happening from God’s vantage point, not as an unattached creator that just produces amazing creations to be admired, but as a Father, Who has brought children into this world that He is passionate about loving and is wildly jealous for and protective over (there are many scriptures that portray God like this).
We need to see Adam and Eve as God’s children who were abducted by Satan and pulled into child slavery and lied to and abused in horrible ways. We need to see Satan’s plan of destroying humanity as God’s babies being ripped out of the womb, as truth is aborted by such cunning, controlling, and seductive lies that capture the hearts and minds of the children of God (all of His children - the saved and not yet saved). We need to see Satan’s plan as a child trafficking ring that is so diabolically bent on the abduction of innocence, and offering these young ones to the voracious teeth of the gods of this world. This is not a war of religious or philosophical ideologies from God’s standpoint. The suppression of truth and the plan of folly is nothing short of genocide in God’s eyes.
As a Father, He will not, and cannot sit idly by and watch the murder of His Family. His seeming slowness to act is not indifference, but it is a manifestation of HIs supremely amazing long suffering compassion that longs for ALL to repent and come running back to His arms of forgiveness. Nevertheless, at some point, the cup of wrath- the rightful and just retribution of Father & Creator God will spill over. And woe to the ones who are still shaking their fists at God when that day comes!
If you want to know more about the antidote to Satan’s foolish folly, tune in next time...
by Pastor Jim Anan