Demolish Every Pretension- 2 Corinthians 10:5 (Part Two)

We will recall that, in our previous post, we examined the ability of the weapons of the Spirit to demolish “arguments”, that all human “philosophies” are built upon “certainties”, things assumed to be true apart from being able to be empirically verified. We see here,also, that the weapons of the Spirit also have the ability to demolish “pretensions”, hypsoma in the Greek. The Greek hypsoma literally would be translated as “high body”, and the basic concept expressed by this term is of a tower. It is combined here with the Greek epairo, literally to “raise up”. If we combine these two terms, as the Scripture does here, we see the fundamental concept described here is of a tower which has been raised up. It is, therefore, very possible Paul has in mind the story of the Tower of Babel, which appears in the Bible in Genesis 11:1-9. We will take a brief look at this story, then show how it can be connected to what Paul says here in 2 Corinthians, and what light it sheds upon Paul’s basic idea here. The story begins immediately after the flood, and God has scattered people all over the earth, and the people have rebelled against this scattering and have come together in one place to establish a city, where all would have the same language and worldview In this city they would build a tower, referred to here as a monument to their own intellect and ingenuity. One of the things this pictures is the human tendency to worship its own intellect and ingenuity, to make human rationality an idol, an entity to worship rather than worshiping God. This also points out to us the notion held by those who hold to this ideology, that rationality is the fundamental way to achieve human flourishing, that humanity will be the best it can be only by worshiping human rationality rather than by worshiping God, by developing human rationality to the point where it eliminates the need for God. All this is done to “make a name for ourselves”, to demonstrate the assertion that humanity does not need God, not only in terms of determining what they will do, but also in terms of who or what will define them. They will determine for themselves who they are, rather than looking to God to tell them. So this tower, ultimately is a picture of the intrinsic human need to worship someone or something as “god”, and the basic human proclivity to substitute its own achievements and its own intellect for God. As we return then to 2Corinthians 10:5, we can now see that the tower raised up in that passage can be understood as a reference to the human tendency toward self-worship, of the human tendency to build monuments devoted to its own intellect and ingenuity. This tendency is also seen, then, as one of our enemies primary weapons against us, and that the Word of God is the means through which we may eliminate any effectiveness which this weapon may have. By keeping our focus upon the Word of God, we will know whom we should be worshipping, and build our “towers’ as monuments to Him rather than monuments to our selves, to our own intellect and ingenuity. In this way, the “sword of the Spirit”, can tear down the “towers” we have built to ourselves, and help us raise up towers to the only one who truly deserves them, to the one true God, and it is only in building our “towers” to God that humanity may truly flourish.

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