|Knowing and Not Knowing|
|by T. M. Moore|
|July 26, 2012|
Many Christians today appear to be not very interested in learning.
Not knowing and not wishing to know are far different things. Not knowing, to be sure, springs from weakness; but contempt of knowledge springs from a wicked will.
- Hugh of St. Victor, Didascalicon
Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.
- Psalm 111:2
Among the members of certain camps, it is fashionable to pin the label of “ignorant” on members of the Christian community. This especially takes the form which insists that Christians are enemies of science, that we somehow believe that science is inherently evil, and that all science should probably be relegated to the dustbin of history.
Of course, nothing could be further from truth.
Or is it?
While historically Christians have often led the way in the various fields of knowledge, and even today many of the best thinkers in such fields as philosophy, history, poetry and literature, and, yes, science happily own up to their faith in Jesus Christ, still, the rank and file of the Body of Christ seem rather less enthusiastic about learning and knowing than we might expect.
Hugh’s burden was to outline a kind of course of knowing which, grounded in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, would help to ensure a rich and varied experience of life and a growing relationship with God. “Not knowing,” Hugh believed, could be excused and corrected. “Not wishing to know” was another problem altogether.
Sad to say many Christians today appear to be not very interested in learning. Oh they may attend a Bible study group or a Sunday school class, and might even peruse a few websites from time to time. But the serious work of getting to know God through all the windows of revelation He has provided is not something which exercises too many members of the Christian community.
We’re too busy, too distracted by other pursuits, or just too lazy to delight in the works of the Lord, whether in the creation or in the various cultural arenas where God’s people have expressed their faith in Him over the years. And while plenty of resources are available – books, courses, websites, newsletters, and so forth – we just can’t be bothered.
Hugh would have found such an attitude inexcusably wicked. How can we not want to pursue knowing God by every available avenue of learning? How can we know that God is revealing Himself to us, showing us great things and mysteries we’ve never seen before, and inviting us to participate in Him and His glory – how can we know this and still refuse to take up the necessary work of learning that can make such things realities for us?
We must be wicked, for only the wicked have no interest in knowing the Lord. But if we do know the Lord, and do indeed call ourselves Christians and followers of Jesus Christ, and if we refuse to admit that we are wicked at heart for our negligence of an active pursuit of further knowledge of God, then we must be willing to be corrected and taught, so that we may delight in the works of the Lord and get on with the business of studying them more carefully.
Which is it? Are we simply weak and unexercised in seeking the Lord? Or are we indifferent to this high and holy calling, and therefore wicked?
The various fields of learning – the arts and sciences to which Christians in the past and present have made such signal contributions – await our attention. More than that, God waits in all these fields and disciplines to make known to us that which He has thus far concealed from our sight. It is the glory of God to conceal Himself in created things; it is the glory of God’s kings and priests – His children – to seek out the Lord in all these areas, and to increase love for Him and glory to His name (Prov. 25:2).
There is much delight awaiting those who will do the hard work of learning God through the study of His works.