As I preach through 1 Corinthians I continue to be impressed by the radical difference between the ways that Scripture portrays a Christian and non-Christian worldview. Here are just a few examples:
“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.” (1:18)
“Has God not made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God to save those who believe.” (1:20b-21)
“And my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (2:4-5)
“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned…For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (2:14, 16)
Cornelius Van Til comments on the difference between Christian and non-Christian thinking:
“Reformed Christians should realize that the non-Christian may have, and often does have, a brilliant mind. It may act efficiently, like a sharp circular saw acts efficiently. We may greatly admire such a mind for what, in spite of its basic principle and because of the fact that God has released its powers in his restraining grace, it has done. For all that, it must not be forgotten that this mind is still, be its name Aristotle, a covenant breaker in Adam.
Aristotle knew how to use logic. [Yet] He came to the conclusion that God is not the Creator of man, knows nothing, is not a person. His conclusion was consistent with his premise. His logic was involved in his metaphysics as his metaphysics was involved in his logic.”
– The Defense of the Faith, p. 293.
No human being, regardless of their intelligence or ignorance, has access to “brute” facts. That is, no human being has access to uninterpreted facts. And our interpretation of all facts is based on our assumptions about God’s existence and involvement in the world. We all look at the world around us but we each see it from the vantage point of either faith or unbelief. Then we build our understanding up from that point. This is often not a conscious process, but it is a reality nonetheless. This bottom-line presupposition determines how we understand all other things.