Source of Knowledge (Audio)
Middle of the night thinking is sometimes suspect!
The brain is not alert, eyes are blurry from a long day of looking at words, and sleep keeps running away or smashing into your face trying to force you back to bed. But it is sometimes a middle of the night thought that hangs around with you for days as you decipher whether it is pertinent to your life, or not.
Yep. Happened a few days ago. 1:58 am. I had been tossing and turning, fighting a neck pain that the pillow could not do its job on, and feeling like it was hot even though we keep the thermostat at 64 all winter. Okay. 64 can be hot on a summer day in a cloudless sky, but with the outside temps in the 20’s plus, then 64 should feel cooler than it was.
My mind wandered down the paths of thoughts attempting to muddle the brain into a sleep state. And for some odd reason, I got stuck in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve thinking about what they knew with their first breath of life. Did they come with an encyclopedia of knowledge or a dictionary pre-loaded? Where did their language skills develop, and who created the foundation of the words, read or spoken? Or did they go through typical learning curves as the rest of us do? How deep was their foundation? Was it, like so many of us, simply a surface knowledge?
Think about Eden, and at its center: “…The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9) Read Genesis chapter 2 and think about it. Who named the rivers? Where did these words come from? How did Adam have the language to name all the cattle, birds and every beast in the field? (Genesis 2:20)
Some heady thinking happens in the middle of the night!
Then, on top of that thought, I wondered who gets decide that the “knowledge” we know is correct or encompasses all that we have the possibility of knowing in today’s learning cycle. If Adam and Eve started a learning curve similar to ours with their first breath, where did all their knowledge come from?
I understand that in all fields of study information is learned and results presented by experts, to experts. A peer review considers the new information in light of an older and established knowledge base. In some areas it may be easier to take a position regarding past knowledge and speculate about new knowledge, but how far back does established ancient knowledge get to say, “I’m the foundation of all you can know, and without me, you have no leg to stand on!”
Take Mathematics for a moment. What’s the first thing you probably learned? Well. Numbers. The foundation of any language means learning the alphabet, so to speak. These are the numbers from 0 to infinity in combination, but in reality, there are just 10 numbers… Count them. 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. 9. Then you start replicating these numbers into higher sequences so you can continue counting as high as you want. The same numbers, over and over, just in sequentially higher, or lower, order. Most of us do not need the larger numbers, we simply need to understand the components and formulas that make the alphabet useful. Like, 1+1=2. And when the simple alphabet requires deeper components of explanations, then other “letters” we know from a different science are used and we assign them meaning as we use them in equations. Like, E = mc^2.
Okay. This is a simple idea to explain the foundation of knowledge in the area of Math, but it affects everything we do every single day.
Just like English (language) has 26 letters in its alphabet, but the combination of these letters produce thousands of words with explanations that number into the millions, all the while explaining concepts and meanings what these letters and words represent. Again. We use this every day and it affects everything we do.
My spiritual foundation comes from a book that covers thousands of years of recorded history where God establishes his relationship to his creation. Though I’m focused on a specific translation of ancient languages I cannot speak, or words I hope and pray that someone deciphered into a meaningful understanding so I can comprehend the facts, this book gives me my foundation. And I work hard to understand the foundation so that I can build on it succinctly to apply it to modern life.
I cannot tell you how many times someone has said, “I’ve found the secret. Sign on the dotted line and you’ll become a millionaire!” or “Here’s the greatest secret of life!” or “Here. You’ve GOT to read this. It’s simply the best!” or “Here’s the best mystery in the Bible. You’ll never believe it!”
If I could simply avert my eyes, tune out the voice and determine to research without pressure, then, like you, I would probably find out exactly how far from right some of these voices are. However, searching for answers and doing nothing with the results are like the words of Jesus in one of his explanation and teaching sessions. Let me extract two verses…
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. (John 5:39-40 NKJV)
You look for answers, but you are not willing to go to the source once you think you find them. Through the ages, we have always seen the wisdom of searching for answers. Sometimes the wrong source steers us inappropriately, or it simply firms our foundation because we see the obvious errors of bad choices.
Reading fables and deciding a life’s course can be just as wrong as choosing to let a comic strip direct your paths. Behind these writings, there may be a source of good knowledge, but you have to weed out the wrong to get the nugget of truth.
Think about Solomon. He was a wise man but seemed to get off track and lose his way in the long run.
I applied my heart to know, To search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things, To know the wickedness of folly, Even of foolishness and madness. (Ecclesiastes 7:25 NKJV)
He searched for wisdom and reason, looking for the wickedness of folly, foolishness, and madness. What? He seemed to want to find the source of all that was wrong with the world, and as is too often the case, the knowledge overwhelmed him… His searching took him to excesses that were eventually his downfall.
But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites—from the nations of whom the LORD had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David. (1 Kings 11:1-6 NKJV)
I suspect the wisdom of the day is to understand that all knowledge sources are not equal.
Choosing where we get our information to make life choices is very important. Seeking knowledge from suspect sources will probably produce suspected results. Some things we are incapable of handling, other things will skew the results, and there will be a litany of things we just don’t need to know anything about!
With this thought…guard your heart against wrong sources… That will keep you within the boundaries of good knowledge!