Excerpt from Martin Luther on revelation number 2

Page 20

by which God makes us appear foolish and weak before men—and

this is our outer being. But the wisdom and power of God are the

life according to the gospel and the very rule of the Christian life,

by which he makes and reputes us wise and strong before himself—

and this according to our inner being. Thus there prevails here an

alternate relationship: the foolishness and weakness of God before

men are wisdom and power before God and, by contrast, the wisdom

and power of the world are weakness, even death, before

God, as will be explained below in ch. 6 of the letter before us.38

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness

and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in

injustice. (Rom. 1:18.)

The apostle turns chiefly upon those who in this world have

power and knowledge, because he knows that, when they are

humbled, also their subjects and the common people will readily

humble themselves. Moreover, in his opinion it was they who

most strongly opposed the gospel and the word and the life of the

cross and incited others to opposition against it. Therefore, he imputes

guilt and sin seemingly to these alone and proclaims the

wrath of God upon them.

For to no one the preaching of the cross appears so foolish as to

the philosophers and the men of power, because it goes contrary

to all they are and feel.

For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world,

are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made;

his eternal power also and divinity: so that they are inexcusable.

(Rom. 1:20.)

Some89 (and, unless I am mistaken, also the Master of the Sentences)

40 interpret as follows: “By the creature of the world/’ i.e.,

“the invisible things of God are seen.” But this rendering can

easily be refuted by reference to the Greek text which reads:

“Since the creation of the world” or, as it is put in Matt. 25:34:

“from the foundation of the world.”

So we must say: “From the creation of the world” (i.e., from the

beginning of the world, not merely from now on) it has always

been so, that the invisible nature of God was seen and perceived in

his works, as will become plain farther on.

The meaning therefore is this: Even if the wise of this world

should be unable to perceive that the world is created, they could



*° Peter Lombard, I Sent, d. 3. The Vulgate reads: “A creatura.”


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