HOW MUCH DO WE REALLY KNOW? Jan 17, 2008 23:25:16 GMT -5
Post by tomdurst on Jan 17, 2008 23:25:16 GMT -5
HOW MUCH DO WE REALLY KNOW?
By Thomas E. Durst
By Thomas E. Durst
And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. 1 Corinthians 8:2 (New King James Version)
These words really say it all. When it comes to an understanding of such things as the essence of life, the nature of God, the immensity of the universe, human nature and behavior, relationships, the details of life after death, etc.... what we know of the full truth of the matter probably could be compared to the size of a grain of sand on a beach or a drop of water in the ocean.
With respect to our belief systems, we each should seek to understand and follow truth to the best of our understanding. However, our perception of truth is always incomplete and often distorted and if we are too dogmatic we will find ourselves often judging others and/or in conflict with them about beliefs. I think it is very helpful to have dialogue and to compare our beliefs so that we can understand one another better and relate to one another in a more helpful way but humility always produces better results than does arrogance. If we are overly zealous and defensive about our beliefs and feel that we should convince everyone else to accept them, perhaps we should take this as an opportunity to do some honest heart searching. We could take some time to examine our motives very carefully for having these feelings. Many times our egos and our beliefs are inextricably joined.
In Romans 14 Paul is dealing with some of the disputes that existed in the early Christian church between Jewish and Gentile believers concerning food laws and the keeping of sacred days. The bottom line for him to settle the arguments was simply, "Let each be fully convinced in his own mind" (Romans 14:6, NKJV). I think this advice is good for all of us to remember when we have different convictions among equally sincere people. Also in verse 17 of the same chapter Paul admonishes us that righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost are more important than matters of eating and drinking. Perhaps we could extend that thought a bit and say that righteousness, peace, and joy are more important than being so obsessive/compulsive about what we think we know when actually we know very little.
The more we think we know the less we actually do know and the more we search to find answers to life's biggest questions the more we realize how little we know and how much there is yet to learn. Learning, loving, and living all go together and the more we practice them with an attitude of humility the further ahead we all will be.
I seriously doubt that any of us will fall short of where we need to be in this life if we focus primarily on living in love and respect for others at all times and under all circumstances. I think it would be a very good thing for all of us to frequently review 1 Corinthians 13 in various translations and especially notice the conclusion of the whole matter in the last two verses of this beautiful chapter:
12 For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as a in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God].
13 And so faith, hope, love abide [faith--conviction and belief respecting man's relation to God and divine things; hope--joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love--true affection for God and man, growing out of God's love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love. (Amplified Bible)