Have you ever thought about how smart you really are? Likely you are much more intelligent than you think. But have you ever wondered if you were smart enough to solve all world problems? (That was meant as hyperbole). Or wise enough to bring all people together singing in three-part harmony? Knowledgeable enough?
Ah, knowledge. That’s something else again.
Knowledge alone is never enough for human life. That is itself one part of genuine Christian knowledge. A major awakening that happens for the Christian, as we grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ is when we recognize how little knowledge we truly possess.
And by itself, apart from some adequate moral teaching and discipline (based upon knowledge), it always “puffs one up”—as the apostle Paul in his substantial knowledge of knowledge pointed out (1 Cor. 8:1). Knowledge alone sets us up for a fall. It gives a sense of substance and fulfillment to the self and to society that is an illusion.
Under this illusion of substance and sufficiency, it forgets, as that wise man Paul also pointed out, that we only know “in part” (1 Cor. 8:1–3; 13:8–12) and that, as the poet Alexander Pope said, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”
Christians know that our knowledge is always little. We rarely even have any idea of how much it leaves out. (It is this knowledge of knowledge that, along with genuine love of neighbor, enables one to avoid intolerance.) Someone has said, “knowledge is going from an unconscious to conscious awareness of one’s ignorance.”
In applying what we know or think we know, the “law of unintended effects” surfaces. When we act with even the best of available knowledge, we really don’t know what the consequences will be.
Pardon me while I go back to sifting the depths of the word of God to glean more evidence of how little knowledge I really have accumulated over a lifetime – and forgotten.
All knowledge is revealed knowledge. Nothing came from the brilliance of one individual humanoid mind that wasn’t revealed of God, and had it’s origination imparted from Him, whether by DNA programming or direct intervention. It was then used to better the human condition, or twisted beyond recognition for selfish gain, sometimes both.
“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” 1 Co. 13:8
And here departs another paper airplane from my balcony carried by the four winds, destination unknown. A net of fiber optic light guiding it along a foreknown path. ~GW