...but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Thoughts for Today:The King James Version translates the first part of our passage today, "Became vain in their imaginations..." So what is it, vanity or futility? I would venture Paul meant both. Futility means it's a waste of time -- pointless; while vanity deals with the reason -- our own egotism, self importance, and arrogance.
The father of a friend of mine was a self-described agnostic. I once asked him what it meant exactly. He answered, "I haven't made up my mind about God -- I have no opinion." But that didn't stop him from engaging me in endless debates regarding the latest scientific discoveries which he considered further proof of his belief in evolution versus creation. You see he was a very open-minded individual on just about every subject except two -- the existence of the Lord God Almighty and the authority of the Bible.
I don't want to sound too harsh, but I have always felt our passage today described my friend's father perfectly, "his thinking became futile and his foolish heart was darkened." Or as the King James Version would say, "He became vain in his imagination." He worshipped science and intellect -- the imagination (KJV) or thinking (NIV) of man rather than the Creator. His self-professed wisdom became foolishness in God's sight. 1 Corinthians 3:18-19, "Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a 'fool' so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight."
Questions to Ponder:My friend's father died last year, so the debates we once enjoyed (yes, I found them stimulating and challenging) have ended. I guess he knows the truth now. Does my friend's father sound like anyone you know? Don't give up. I know it is hard and sometimes we are unsuccessful. However, we are fighting for lives. We would not be surprised to see a fireman enter a burning building to save a life -- why should we not be willing to engage in conversations with friends and loved ones which can have eternal consequences?