Centuries ago, the Apostle Paul wrote, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’ Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:18-20). Not much has changed in the two millennia since St. Paul. To most of the world, the idea of receiving forgiveness and eternal life through a crucified and risen Savior remains foolishness. Yet, now as then, it is God who has the last laugh. As soon as the world comes up with the latest answers to humanity’s biggest problems—the purpose of life, personal guilt, and the tragic reality of death—those answers turn out to be insufficient. In a word, foolish.
While philosophies come and go, the truthfulness of Scripture, which includes the historicity of Jesus Christ’s life and resurrection, continues to withstand all assaults. In his book Silly Putty, Mark Brunner takes aim at three of today’s major offerings of wisdom: The Big Bang, Physical Liberty, and God Must Be Fair. He calls them silly ideas.
In “Silly Idea #1: The Big Bang,” Brunner takes issue with the presumptions of much of modern scientific and philosophical thought. Rather than accepting the notions that the universe began without God and that life is self-generating, he points to the biblical teaching that God is the Creator. Moreover, as the author argues, this basic assertion of Scripture is not without backing in sound science and good philosophy.
“Silly Idea #2: Physical Liberty” challenges the widely held notion of human autonomy, that is, we need answer only to ourselves and to no one else, including God. Here he discusses issues such as the abortion holocaust that has ravaged American society. Sadly, when it comes to this crime against humanity, many Christians have been indifferent or even compliant. As stewards of God’s creation, we are to serve him and protect what he has given, including the gift of life itself.
The last section, “Silly Idea #3: God must be fair,” deals with the belief that God should be judged by human concepts of fairness. In other words, the Lord owes it to us to behave as we would want. The fact is that in his wisdom, God distributes various gifts as he—not we—sees fit. Yet in a couple of ways, there is equality among all: (1) Everyone has sinned and deserves God’s judgment. (2) Christ has died for all and offers full and free salvation to all who by his grace believe.
Written for Christians, Silly Putty helps to confirm believers in their faith. Brunner enlists numerous pertinent Bible passages to strengthen believers. More than that, he also emboldens us to answer the unbelieving world. After all, as he points out, against the silly notions of a lost and dying world, we have the very power and wisdom of almighty God.
Dr. Roland Cap Ehlke
Concordia University Wisconsin