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  • Writer's picturestephenstrent7

Wisdom


Castle of Acrocorinth, Corinth, Greece


Where Science Meets Religion by Trent Dee Stephens, PhD, for the Come Follow Me lesson August 21–27: 1 Corinthians 1–7


The book of 1 Corinthians contains many of my favorite scriptures. Paul taught important principals pertaining to the Plan of Salvation in that letter. He had lived and worked in Corinth for a year and a half (51-52 AD), with Aquila and Priscilla, who were tentmakers like he. Many of the Corinthians who heard Paul teach, believed him and were baptized.1 At that time, Corinth was a busy Roman trading city, located about fifty miles west of Athens, on a narrow strip of land between the Ionian and Aegean Seas.


According to the CyArk website, where, beginning in 2003, 3D tours have been made available at over 200 historic sites in more than 40 countries, “The Greek city of Corinth was founded in the Neolithic Period sometime between 5000-3000 BCE. It became a major city in the 8th century BCE and was known for its architectural and artistic innovations including the invention of black-figure pottery.” Corinth was sacked by the Romans in 146 BC. Taking their victory there as a starting point, the Romans soon controlled all of Greece. In 44 BC, Julius Caesar declared Corinth the capital of Roman Greece and ordered it rebuilt, along with its famous Fountain of Peirene. The Romans lavishly decorated the original Greek grotto around the fountain, "painting lively frescoes of aquatic life around the walls and adding an elaborate facade in the 3rd century AD."2


According to legend, the Fountain of Peirene was formed when the great winged horse Pegasus struck the ground with its hooves and cracked the earth open at that specific location. Pegasus might be legend, but the ground cracking open is not. According to Theodoros Tsapanos, “Greece is one of the most seismic active regions of the world,” and Corinth is hit by earthquakes every 25 to 100 years. The ancient city where Paul lived was completely destroyed by a magnitude 6.5 earthquake in 1858, and a new city was built some distance away. That city was destroyed in 1928.3


Apparently, at least some of the Corinthians did not believe in a literal resurrection, as Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 15:12, “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?” Richard Pratt has stated, “He did not indicate the source of this problem, and the issue in the church may have been very complex. Some may indeed have denied the resurrection of Christ...Both Greek and Jewish thought may have influenced the Corinthians to question resurrection. Most Greek religions of Paul’s day conceived of the afterlife as a spiritual, non-corporeal existence. Except for the Sadducees, the Jews by and large believed in the resurrection of the body.”4


Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

He then stated in 1 Corinthians 2:6-8, “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”


Then in 1 Corinthians 2:11-14, he said, “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”


My favorite of all scriptures is Proverbs 4:7, which states, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”


Jacob stated, as recorded in 2 Nephi 9:28-29, “O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.”


It turns out that the road runs both directions, and today there seems to be a growing gaggle of science deniers. Charles Darwin stated, “It has often and confidently been asserted that man’s origin can never be known: but ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”5

We are commanded in Doctrine and Covenants 88:77-80 “And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom. Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand; Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms—That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you.”


We are also admonished in Doctrine and Covenants 6:7, “Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.”


Trent Dee Stephens, PhD

trentdeestephens.com


References

1. Acts 18:2-3, 8, 11

2. cyark.org/projects/ancient-corinth/in-depth; retrieved 19 August 2023

3. Tsapanos, Theodoros M.; et al., Deterministic seismic hazard analysis for the city of Corinth, central Greece, Journal of the Balkan Geophysical Society, 14:1–14, 2011

4. Richard L. Pratt, thirdmill.org/files/english/html/nt/NT.h.Pratt.1Corinthians.15.1.58.html; retrieved 19 August 2023

5. Darwin, Charles, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, 1871

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