Professing themselves to be wise - This is most strikingly true of all the ancient philosophers, whether Greeks or Romans, as their works, which remain, sufficiently testify. The word φασκοντες signifies not merely the professing but the assumption of the philosophic character. In this sense the word φασκειν is used by the best Greek writers. See Kypke. A dispassionate examination of the doctrine and lives of the most famed philosophers of antiquity, of every nation, will show that they were darkened in their mind and irregular in their conduct. It was from the Christian religion alone that true philosophy and genuine philosophers sprang.
Professing themselves to be wise - This was the common boast of the philosophers of antiquity. The very word by which they chose to be called, “philosophers,” means literally “lovers of wisdom.” That it was their boast that they were wise, is well known; compare Romans 1:14; 1 Corinthians 1:19, 1 Corinthians 1:20, 1 Corinthians 1:22; 1 Corinthians 3:19; 2 Corinthians 11:19.
They became fools - Compare Jeremiah 8:8-9. They became really foolish in their opinions and conduct. There is something particularly pungent and cutting in this remark, and as true as it is pungent. In what way they evinced their folly, Paul proceeds immediately to state. Sinners of all kinds are frequently spoken of as fools in the Scriptures. In the sense in which it is thus used, the word is applied to them as void of understanding or moral sense; as idolaters, and as wicked; Psalm 14:1; Proverbs 26:4; Proverbs 1:17, Proverbs 1:22; Proverbs 14:8-9. The senses in which this word here is applied to the pagan are,
(1)That their speculations and doctrines were senseless; and,
(2)That their conduct was corrupt.
The youth acknowledges no obligation to his father, and expresses no gratitude; yet he claims the privilege of a child in sharing his father's goods. The inheritance that would fall to him at his father's death he desires to receive now. He is bent on present enjoyment, and cares not for the future. COL 199.1
Having obtained his patrimony, he goes into “a far country,” away from his father's home. With money in plenty, and liberty to do as he likes, he flatters himself that the desire of his heart is reached. There is no one to say, Do not do this, for it will be an injury to yourself; or, Do this, because it is right. Evil companions help him to plunge ever deeper into sin, and he wastes his “substance with riotous living.” COL 199.2
The Bible tells of men who “professing themselves to be wise” “became fools” (Romans 1:22); and this is the history of the young man of the parable. The wealth which he has selfishly claimed from his father he squanders upon harlots. The treasure of his young manhood is wasted. The precious years of life, the strength of intellect, the bright visions of youth, the spiritual aspirations—all are consumed in the fires of lust. COL 199.3Read in context »
Satan was seeking to shut out from men a knowledge of God, to turn their attention from the temple of God, and to establish his own kingdom. His strife for supremacy had seemed to be almost wholly successful. It is true that in every generation God had His agencies. Even among the heathen there were men through whom Christ was working to uplift the people from their sin and degradation. But these men were despised and hated. Many of them suffered a violent death. The dark shadow that Satan had cast over the world grew deeper and deeper. DA 35.1
Through heathenism, Satan had for ages turned men away from God; but he won his great triumph in perverting the faith of Israel. By contemplating and worshiping their own conceptions, the heathen had lost a knowledge of God, and had become more and more corrupt. So it was with Israel. The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. Satan had implanted this principle. Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin. DA 35.2
The message of salvation is communicated to men through human agencies. But the Jews had sought to make a monopoly of the truth which is eternal life. They had hoarded the living manna, and it had turned to corruption. The religion which they tried to shut up to themselves became an offense. They robbed God of His glory, and defrauded the world by a counterfeit of the gospel. They had refused to surrender themselves to God for the salvation of the world, and they became agents of Satan for its destruction. DA 36.1Read in context »
The value of this treasure is above gold or silver. The riches of earth's mines cannot compare with it. COL 107.1
“The depth saith, It is not in me;
And the sea saith, It is not with me.
It can not be gotten for gold,
Neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
It can not be valued with the gold of Ophir,
With the precious onyx, or the sapphire.
The gold and the crystal can not equal it;
And the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold.
No mention shall be made of coral or of pearls,
For the price of wisdom is above rubies.” COL 107.2
Job 28:14-18. COL 107Read in context »
Through the Jewish nation it was God's purpose to impart rich blessings to all peoples. Through Israel the way was to be prepared for the diffusion of His light to the whole world. The nations of the world, through following corrupt practices, had lost the knowledge of God. Yet in His mercy God did not blot them out of existence. He purposed to give them opportunity for becoming acquainted with Him through His church. He designed that the principles revealed through His people should be the means of restoring the moral image of God in man. COL 286.1
It was for the accomplishment of this purpose that God called Abraham out from his idolatrous kindred and bade him dwell in the land of Canaan. “I will make of thee a great nation,” He said, “and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.” Genesis 12:2. COL 286.2
The descendants of Abraham, Jacob and his posterity, were brought down to Egypt that in the midst of that great and wicked nation they might reveal the principles of God's kingdom. The integrity of Joseph and his wonderful work in preserving the lives of the whole Egyptian people were a representation of the life of Christ. Moses and many others were witnesses for God. COL 286.3
In bringing forth Israel from Egypt, the Lord again manifested His power and His mercy. His wonderful works in their deliverance from bondage and His dealings with them in their travels through the wilderness were not for their benefit alone. These were to be as an object lesson to the surrounding nations. The Lord revealed Himself as a God above all human authority and greatness. The signs and wonders He wrought in behalf of His people showed His power over nature and over the greatest of those who worshiped nature. God went through the proud land of Egypt as He will go through the earth in the last days. With fire and tempest, earthquake and death, the great I AM redeemed His people. He took them out of the land of bondage. He led them through the “great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought.” Deuteronomy 8:15. He brought them forth water out of “the rock of flint,” and fed them with “the corn of heaven.” Psalm 78:24. “For,” said Moses, “the Lord's portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.” Deuteronomy 32:9-12. Thus He brought them unto Himself, that they might dwell as under the shadow of the Most High. COL 286.4Read in context »
The authors of these books, which have sown the seeds of doubt and infidelity broadcast over the world, have been under the training of the great enemy of God and man, the acknowledged head of principalities and powers, the ruler of the darkness of this world. The word that God has spoken concerning them is, “They ... became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools;” “because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful.” Romans 1:21, 22. They rejected divine truth in its simplicity and purity for the wisdom of this world. CT 424.1
Whenever books by these infidel authors are given the precedence, and the word of God is made secondary, there will be sent out of the schools a class of students no better fitted for the service of God than they were before they received their education. CT 424.2Read in context »