Cry After Knowledge

In considering world religion, noting the vast variety of beliefs and observing the profound differences between them, we can be confident that either [1] there is no God, so it’s all made up, or [2] very few people have it right, knowing God as He ought to be known.

God says it’s the latter, that no one seeks Him out on their own initiative (Ro 3:11), which makes knowing God exceedingly precious (Je 9:24) and rare. (Ec 7:28)

Yet God assures us that those who seek Him diligently will find Him. (He 11:6) If we cry after knowledge, seeking it like treasure, we’ll understand what it means to fear Him, and come to know Him. (Pr 2:3-5)

In other words, knowing the God of the universe must be supremely important to us, the most important thing in our lives (Php 3:8), or we may miss Him entirely, living apart from Him, alienated from Him in our ignorance. (Ep 4:17-18) God isn’t one to be trifled with; this is an all-or-nothing space. If He isn’t everything to us, we don’t yet know Him.

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Your Hands

Jehovah made each of us uniquely in His image, a one-of-a-kind expression of His infinitude. He decreed our existence from eternity past (Ep 1:4), and designed every one of us with beautiful precision. (Ps 139:14)

And He didn’t do this from a distance, just by speaking and decreeing: He made each of us individually, personally, with His own hands(Ps 119:73)

Like an artist skillfully crafting a masterpiece, God engages His entire divine being as He focuses on each person, designing our body, mind, soul and spirit; we each bear a unique fingerprint pattern of God.

Thanking God for His workmanship in each human life is natural then (1Ti 2:1), asking Him to bless (Lk 6:28) and be merciful, and to fulfill the purpose for which He created each and every living soul. (Pr 16:4)

As we recognize the likeness of God in each other, it is also intuitively good to honor all (1Pe 2:17), valuing each person intrinsically, loving them even as ourselves. (Le 19:18)

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Denying His Name

Jehovah commends the church in Philadelphia for not denying His name. (Re 3:8) It’s the only reference to this concept I see in Scripture.

Snake River, Grand Tetons, Utah

God’s name, what we call Him, is Jehovah. Not denying this is good, but there’s evidently more to God’s name than an appellation.

Our name represents our character and symbolizes how we’re known; it’s a culmination of our choices, a symbol of our nature, the way we express who and what we are, individually and uniquely. (Pr 22:1) To deny one’s name is to call them a fraud, to denounce the framing of their character, to despise and resent them as a pretender, an impostor.

When we doubt God we deny His name, calling Him a liar (1Jn 5:10); He’s altogether true. (Jn 3:33) When we distrust God we deny His name; He’s perfectly faithful. When we’re disappointed in God we deny His name; He’s perfectly wise. When we resent God we deny His name; He’s resolutely just. When we’re bored with God we deny His name; He’s infinitely interesting and delightful, the perfection of beauty (Ps 50:2)majesty and excellence. When we’re covetous we deny His name, committing idolatry; He’s the ultimate fulfillment of our desire.

Believing on the name of God, the opposite of denying His name, is living as if Jehovah is who He claims to be; resting in the fact that He both has done and always will do according to His Word. How can we be content to live otherwise? Yet who can do this in their own strength?

Let’s be established with grace, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, to overcome the world through us. (Jn 16:33)

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To Know

What does it mean to know something? (1Jn 5:13) How do I know truth? (2Ti 3:7) I think I know a few things, but how complete is my understanding? (1Co 8:2) How do I grow in knowledge? (2Pe 1:5) How do I measure this? (2Co 11:6) Why is this important? (Pr 2:3-5)

The theory of knowledge is called Epistemology; it’s how we think about thinking, what we know about knowing, the study of study, what it means to have meaning.

Knowing some proposition p requires three things: [1] p must be true, [2] we must believe p, and [3] we must have justification for this belief. (1Pe 3:15) To have knowledge then is to have a conviction of the nature of reality based upon reason: our ability to correctly interpret data (facts, evidence) relating to p which we perceive through our senses.

Conviction is necessary in knowledge but insufficient; without good reason, we merely have an opinion; to claim knowledge in this case is merely arrogance, conceit (Pr 26:16) and presumption (Ps 19:13), even if we happen to be correct. All actual knowledge requires insight, that we correctly perceive connections and relationships between facts such that we understand reality.

This knowing can’t merely be chemical reactions in our brains or hormones making us feel certain ways: molecules can’t think, reason or understand. Real apprehension of the nature of reality is metaphysical, above and beyond Nature itself. (Php 3:12) It’s only possible because God enables us to do it (Mt 13:11), equipping the soul to enjoy Him within Nature; it’s part of being created in His image (Ge 1:27); knowing anything is part of knowing Him (2Ti 1:12) – it’s what we’re made for. (Php 3:8)

Since all knowledge reflects reality, rooted in the immutability (Mal 3:6) of JEHOVAH Himself (Ro 11:36), and since reality can’t be inconsistent with itself, all knowledge must be consistent with all other knowledge. Thus, by carefully leveraging the knowledge we already have, we can acquire more.

We can only acquire knowledge by collecting and correctly interpreting a reasonable amount of data relating to a given proposition, and finding no (zero) contradiction or inconsistency within this data. We rightly claim knowledge only under these conditions, and we ought to do so (if words are to have meaning), even though we’re finite, unable to collect all possible data relevant to any given proposition. (1Co 13:12) The key here being reasonable: deception ought to arise only as a consistently inaccurate, holistic depiction of reality is presented to our senses.

Repenting, admitting to being wrong, in error, of having an incorrect understanding of reality, is enabled and facilitated by acquiring additional facts which contradict or are inconsistent with our current perception of reality. This requires recognizing that we haven’t been as thorough as we ought in [1] acquiring a reasonable amount of data, and/or [2] correctly interpreting this evidence.

Incorporating new facts with what we already know, and developing a world view that squares with all evidence available to us, is how we grow in wisdom and understanding. The alternative, ignoring facts which contradict our view, or employing false reasoning as we interpret facts which inconvenience us, is dishonest (Ro 1:18); God condemns both as a love of darkness. (Jn 3:19)

We’re each responsible to both hate vain thinking (Ps 119:113) and also to have an accurate perception of reality (Ja 1:16), to love truth (2Th 2:10) and cry after knowledge so we can be more aligned with God. (Pr 1:28-29) This implies God has provided sufficient evidence for us to know Him (Ro 1:20), and also the ability to reason correctly as we interpret it. (Is 1:18)

Knowledge begins with the fear of God. (Pr 1:7) As we seek to know Him and about Him in humility and love, the Father Himself gives us knowledge and understanding (Pr 2:6) and Christ reveals truth to us. (Jn 18:37)

It’s a journey, for sure, the Way (Jn 14:6), a lifestyle …  one with purpose and destiny … the only one worth taking.

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