Picking up where I left off last time, I want to hone on the point I’d really like to make. This is something I’ve been thinking about lately, and I think it is good to ponder for just about everyone.
You hold positions for every issue and ideal in life because of what you know. If you are like most people, experience is what guides you. If you are an exception from the crowd, it may be the teaching someone else has shared with you, and the teacher’s worldview is what dominates your decisions over your experience. If you go even a step further than that, you may be a “professional” of a subject, and your credentials and own experience examining a subject will be what guides you. This, and all the other conditions I’ve mentioned, are ultimately flawed, but common and usually effective ways to make your mind up on issues of life.
The weakness in these positions is they all lack total knowledge of all subjects. If you knew everything there was to know about a particular matter, you would likely draw a different position than what you currently hold to. Given all knowledge about anything, you would ‘see things in a different light,’ and make different choices and hold to different values. This is a problem of lacking knowledge. If you did not lack knowledge, you would assumably have a well-informed and authoritative position.
But this is assuming that your understanding—personal digestion of reality—does not disagree with the knowledge you gain. You can choose to ignore or differ from better judgement of the facts you are exposed to. People do this every day. A common demonstration is drunk driving. Statistical evidence, laws, and testimonies conclude that it is the wrong way to go. Still, people do it all the time—perhaps because they don’t care, or they enjoy braking the rules, or they feel freedom from behaving stupidly. Whatever the case may be, this is an objective fact: not everyone’s judgement and choices are good just because they know truth (fact—have knowledge).
But drunk driving is a simple matter compared to deeper issues of life. For instance, if everyone knew beyond a shadow of a doubt who God is and what he expects from man, would man’s lifestyle, choices, and thought-life greatly change? I would think so, but would it?
Ultimately, we know from the Bible that one day ‘every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.’ This is an undeniable fact. If every man will, will it be out of his own free will? Will it be because he will be informed (gain a substantial amount of undeniable facts) that will steer his understanding in the right direction? Will it be on the right terms?
One would think that this issue would be such an important one that everyone living would study to find out what the truth is on their own. Considering the risk factors of life after death, people do wonder, but they don’t really concern themselves with finding the answer. Is it because they lack knowledge? Or understanding?
Understanding is not something man can contrive of his own mustering. The Word of God repeatedly addresses understanding/wisdom as a gift from God; something He must grant to each individual man. This is not necessarily true about earthly wisdom, but might be. An example of worldly wisdom would be understanding business and trade and how to financially be successful in a money market such as we have today. The economic system we have today works effectively, but in and of itself, understanding how it works is a man centered creation and study. God does not necessarily dish out to men that sort of wisdom, but He obviously does at times.
The sort of understanding I’m referring to is the kind you get that is overarching wisdom that relates to the whole of life, man’s behavior, the nature of God and His ways. This sort of out-of-this-world wisdom is something man cannot develop solely from his own mental abilities. It is a development process that God defines as revelation. When He reveals—opens man’s eyes—and man knows truth, it is always because God has exposed man and given him the ability to understand the ramifications of that knowledge.