It’s been around for awhile. You may have heard it and know the answer. But I hadn’t, and instead of mulling it over for a day or even ten minutes, I cheated and went to the answer page to get the solution… to:
What is greater than God, more evil than the devil? The poor have it. The rich need it, and if you eat it you will die?
Just in case you haven’t heard it, and want to give it a try, I’ll wait for one of you to break the spell of what stumped me– and hopefully at least one other person to keep me company. :-)
In any case it’s an excuse to think about something that intrigued the strongest and wisest people in the world (Judges 14:12-14) (Prov 1:6 NIV).
A riddle can be a game of wits played for a smile; a disturbing challenge to showcase ones own cleverness; or an educator’s device to provoke fresh thought. Many of the proverbs of Solomon have such a purpose (Prov 26:3-5). Then there was Jesus who spoke in parables which sounded like riddles to those who didn’t understand his heart.
So what is the value of a riddle? Sometimes, as in the case of the example I began with, it’s to help us see the obvious—that we’ve lost in the details and distractions of the moment.
In some ways, the cross on which Christ died might be the greatest riddle of all—which while achieving his mission of rescue—is also designed to help us think inside and outside of our own personal universes about what and who is far more important than what we are so inclined to live, die, and kill for.