Thursday, July 14, 2005

The beginning of certain knowledge

One of the gifts that God has given us is our ability to grow and mature in knowledge. Yet, this gift has been given for one purpose: to drive us in humility back to the Giver and His Word. In fact, growing in knowledge will always result in humility because it will always reveal how much more there is to know. It is only those who are ignorant of reality that will puff up in what little knowledge they have. Here Grudem makes the point of how totally dependent we are on Scripture for any certain knowledge about anything in life.
In fact, in one sense it can be argued that the Bible is necessary for certain knowledge about anything. A philosopher might argue as follows: The fact that we do not know everything requires us to be uncertain about everything we do claim to know. This is because some fact unknown to us may yet to turn out to prove that what we thought to be true was actually false. For example, we think we know our date of birth, our name, our age, and so forth. But we must admit that it is possible that some day we could find that our parents had given us false information and our "certain" knowledge would then turn out to be incorrect. Regarding events that we personally have experienced, we all realize how it is possible for us to "remember" words or events incorrectly and find ourselves later corrected by more accurate information. We can usually be more certain about the events of our present experience, so long as it remains present (but even that, someone might argue, could be a dream, and we will only discover this fact when we wake up!). At any rate, it is difficult to answer the philosopher's question: If we do not know all the facts in the universe, past present, and future, how can we ever attain certainty that we have correct information about any one fact?

Ultimately, there are only two possible solutions to this problem: (1) We must learn all the facts of the universe in order to be sure that no subsequently discovered fact will prove our present ideas to be false; or (2) someone who does know all the facts of the universe, and who never lies, could tell us some true facts that we can then be sure will never be contradicted.

This second solution is in fact what we have when we have God's words in Scripture. God knows all facts that ever have been or ever will be. And this God who is omniscient (all-knowing) has absolutely certain knowledge: there can never be any fact that he does not already know; thus, there can never be any fact that would prove that something God thinks is actually false. Now it is from this infinite storehouse of certain knowledge that God, who never lies, has spoken to us in Scripture, in which he has told us many true things about himself, about ourselves, and about the universe that he has made.

Systematic Theology Wayne Grudem pg. 119-120
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge... Proverbs 1:7

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