Sunday, March 27, 2011

Knowledge < Truth

Man, it's been forever since I've posted here! How appropriate given the topic I'm going to write about today... Knowledge vs. Truth!

It seems that in many churches today, we are following, if not worshipping, knowledge, as opposed to truth. What's the difference? Well, did Jesus ever say "I am the Way, the Knowledge, and the Life"? No, he said "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"! The difference between knowledge and truth is simple: Knowledge is something that is owned, that is personal, that is possessive. You can "have" or "own" knowledge, and you can choose to share it or not with others. On the other hand, truth is universal. You can't say that you "own" the truth; if you do you will basically be claiming to be God! Sure, you can patent some medicine or other, but you're not really "owning" the scientific truth behind it - you're just owning the means of producing the medicine - or if you're smart, the knowledge of how to make the medicine in the first place!

So, what's the problem with following knowledge instead of truth? The problem is simple, too! If you follow something that can be owned, such as knowledge, or money, or material possessions, what happens when someone else takes them away from you? Or what happens if you decide to give them away? You no longer have anything to follow! So you need to follow what is eternal, and that is truth, aka God.

And since truth is universal, and meant to be shared, why are you "hoarding" your mustard seeds of faith? They won't do any good unless you plant them! So get out there and share your faith!

Yet in the parable of the talents, the steward entrusted with one talent of silver was called a fool by the master because he took the silver and buried it in the ground. Why is that? Well, that's because that's not how you "plant" money - that's how you plant seeds! The analogy between seeds, money, and faith is imperfect, as are all analogies - I imagine Jesus must have been quite frustrated at the lack of human words to express what he was trying to say! Not that I claim to know what Jesus was "trying to say" any more than the average person, but surely some of us grasp certain aspects better than others, while grasping other aspects worse! Why not share the truth we have received, rather than hoard it away?

So, to get started, here are some truths I've come to grasp, but not fully...

Jesus said "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" - Yes, this is true - Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! But how can a person, even if that person is God, "be" those things? I don't quite understand....

Jesus also said that he is the gate, and the good shepherd - the shepherd analogy makes more sense, as shepherds are at least people! But again, how can a person be a gate? I always took it to mean that Jesus is the only person capable of "saving" people - but does that mean that only Christians can be saved? How late is "too late" in a person's life - can people be saved after they die? What about people who lived before Christ?

In the beginning, God said "Let there be light!" But I thought God is light! How can God create himself? Or is God a special kind of light? Or is calling God "light" just another analogy?

Oh, and here's one question that was bothering me earlier... Is Satan actually a real, personal being? Because if he's not, then what is God fighting against? "The darkness"? Surely God is more powerful than Gulstaff, Sorcerer of Light! (In case you're not familiar with that reference, he's the one from that D&D skit who cast "magic missile" at the darkness because he didn't know any other spells!) And if Satan is a real, personal being, then that means that either he was created by God (in which case, why/how did God create him if God knew that he would be the root of all evil?) or that he exists independently of God (in which case, doesn't that make him almost equal to God in standing?)

Or is darkness just more powerful than we give it credit for? Maybe Gulstaff knew not what forces he was playing with when he cast "magic missile" at the darkness! After all, darkness does have a way of obscuring truth, while light will penetrate the darkness and obliterate it, revealing the truth beneath! And there are lots of things that people (including myself, of course) have been hiding in the darkness... do we really want the light to come into our lives and reveal the truth beneath? At this point I'd say the answer for me is a tentative "yes" - yes, I do want the light, but first, can I please clean up my act? Maybe that's why I've been given so many second chances - I do want to clean up my act, but it's taking me many years to do so, and I'm not done yet! And neither is anyone else who is still alive, I suppose... let's just give each other the time we need!