Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Pursuit of Knowledge

What time I've had for this blog lately has been largely spent in a mind-numbing morass of comments from a couple of folks that are hyper-skeptical of knowledge and of our ability to gain it (and one who, though professing Christ, seems also to pooh-pooh the authority and inspiration of His revelation to us). So, as an antidote, I reread a couple of classics.

The first is C.S. Lewis' Learning in War-Time, and specifically a portion where he is answering--for himself and his fellow-students--the question of what justifies their remaining in academia when most of their peers were fighting the Nazis. Here are a couple of relevant suggestions...
A man's upbringing, his talents, his circumstances, are usually a tolerable index of his vocation. If our parents have sent us to Oxford, if our country allows us to remain there, this is prima facie evidence that the life which we, at any rate, can best lead to the glory of God at present is the learned life... I mean the pursuit of knowledge and beauty, in a sense, for their own sake, but in a sense which does not exclude their being for God's sake. An appetite for these things exists in the human mind, and God makes no appetite in vain. We can therefore pursue knowledge as such, and beauty as such, in the sure confidence that by so doing we are either advancing to the vision of God ourselves or indirectly helping others to do so. Humility, no less than the appetite, encourages us to concentrate on the knowledge or the beauty, not too much concerning ourselves with their ultimate relevance to the vision of God.
The second passage to which I turned (for stability in these postmodern times) comes from Paul's epistle to the Ephesians (Eph. 1:15-23)...
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe , according to the working of His great might that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
The Bible presupposes that we--although finite creatures--have the ability to grow in our knowledge of our Creator (through reason and revelation), and also seems to see such growth in knowledge of Him as one of the most important things we are to do.

1 comment:

Nate B said...

Rick,
To say it in love, it does leave a kind of bitter taste in my mouth when I hear and read of others dealing with the critics too heavily.

I have been thinking that it may be best for us to say what we believe and leave it at that... for as soon as we begin defending ourselves too much(and our beliefs really fit into how we define ourselves), we quickly begin to get stuck in the "morass." Thank you for the time you have spent on all this... and for your thinking through it all... it is, after all, an apologetics site. I am just not quite sure about that first paragraph there.

Looking forward to seeing you soon.
Nate