September 2, 2014

Unraveling The Folded God

A specific system of knowledge that only gives intellectual assent to God is satanic. Knowledge for knowledge’s sake. This is most often how it is usually stated or more commonly understood. In a word, it usually solicits pride and a lot of it. It is often knowledge that is sought to become self-sufficient without need for others or even God. Ignorance or lack of knowledge shows a finitude or limitation in the person. To attempt to acquire too much in the form of cerebral accumulation or book collecting is to exhibit deep-seated insecurity about one’s baseline of knowledge. To alienate God from the pursuit of knowledge and preclude Him from a person’s knowledge base is to purposely limit one’s overall knowledge anyway. Therefore, theological knowledge without a relationship with God is pure deviltry and it is Satan behind you prodding you on through the morass of your own ego.

In today’s scientific utopia (sarcasm intended), we have become precariously close to wisdom annihilation. Instead of prayer and going to God (wisdom) we most often seek out a technical or scientific, empirically based answer for problem that presents itself in our lives even as Christian. Wisdom without fear of God isn’t even wisdom. It is disassociated information devoid of its true purpose (Romans 1:21). Herein lies the problem with knowledge or data for the sake of having world-based knowledge or data. It just becomes an issue of acquisition. Knowledge just accumulates as if it is something to be constantly acquired or horded. Any data or information about God without Godly wisdom causes many men to become demonized, not deified. Theological data without "Theos/God" in our lives make us defiled Christians not dedicated Christians. We just get the "-ology" or study of/science and not God/Theos Himself. This is not only sad....its spiritually deadly.

Enter Christian theology and theology in general, whether it be evangelical, liberal or both. Over-systematized or contrived religious knowledge compendiums become just that…they are compendiums or lists devoid of purpose without God in the picture. We have centuries and libraries worth of collected data, corpus's and collected works of dead men. In these books and tomes we can learn all the answers to even the thorniest theological questions and problems--yet not one will solve those problems in and of themselves. It requires the one reading them or memorizing them to make them part of themselves and making the knowledge practical. This comes directly through a personal relationship in conjunction with knowledge. In this way it becomes Godly wisdom. Knowledge through relationships.

The more we believe we understand God without first having a relationship with him ...the more we lose the reverence we should have for Him. We become singularly devoid of awe for God. He just boils down to a set of data, charts, characteristics and classifications in Systematic Theology and Christian Self-Help books. Many have had knowledge (general revelation) but it is not salvation knowledge (special revelation). It may often be the truth but it is often lacking in tact or discernment that comes with sensitivity to other’s feelings and understandings that are also in Christ.

You might have tidy talking points and neatly outlined sermons, but you will be dead in the water spiritually. When we try to perfectly understand and order our knowledge of the divine we totally loose the paradoxical, mysterious and incommunicable nature of the Triune Godhead. We lose the awe that is Jesus Christ who is fully divine and fully human. We loose the wonder that is the Gospel.

I myself went too far down this path to gaining understanding and knowledge of God and I recognized this fact around 2011-2012. For most, the drive for satanic theological “knowledge” is akin to Pharisaic self-righteousness. I ended up very knowledgeable while simultaneously totally dead inside. In the end I have found the pursuit of true knowledge and relationship with God is not even remotely linear. It comes in steps but sometimes they are one step forward, two steps back, one to the side and then I fall down for a while. In this way God slowly and abstractly reveals His mysteries to me. In this way I slowly approach Christ-likeness and consistency in my walk. It starts with submission of my intellect to God in prayer and meditation in Scripture. It is compliance to something greater than myself…even my knowledge base becomes wholly dependent on Christ.

Having a degree in theology is great, but it should never get in the way of a proper relationship with God, your family or the brethren in the Church. If it does, it isn’t the right knowledge and it isn’t going to do you much good if it isn’t.

The Apostle Paul was abundantly clear:

1 Corinthians 8:1 ~ “Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.”

In Paul’s conversation to Corinth about sacrificed foods he clears this issue up. As in the issue of the meat, Paul understands that mere knowledge that there is nothing wrong with the meat inflates one to a level of false security and indifference. The same would apply to a person that has what they believe is a complete or comprehensive knowledge of God as compared to other human beings. It would puff one up. What they fail to realize is that knowledge of God is infinite and where they might specialize in specific aspects of God, others might specialize in other understandings. There is no room for pride when it comes to the Body of the Church or understanding of God.

Realizing this Paul goes right for the underlying issue. A failure to love (or specifically a relationship). He brings love directly into the conversation. Agape love as noted in this verse takes one beyond himself to aid another; it builds up in the correct way. It does not puff up like knowledge or words without wisdom.

Paul then ratchets up this premise even higher in the next two verses.

1 Corinthians 8:2-3 ~ “Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God

It is here that Paul dissuades readers/hearers of exactly what I am discussing in this post. Paul adherently frowns against dependence on simply knowing things. That is because we are finite beings and can only see so many aspects of a given situation. To assume we are competent in our knowledge is to assume too much. Only God is omniscient. There is always more that a person can learn on a subject, even a self-described expert. Conversely, God knows all.

Therefore what is important is not that we have knowledge or know things per se but rather that God knows us. That is because it is God that is in control. In love, knowledge is tempered with things like compassion and empathy. To say that a person loves God is to say that they know God because we love due to the fact that He first loved us. Because we know God we have all the right kind of knowledge that we will ever need. So while other knowledge might be helpful, it is not necessary for salvation.

The bottom-line? Knowledge devoid or absent the wisdom of God is pure human arrogance. No matter how nicely it is dressed up or delivered, it is arrogance. Love on the other hand edifies and lifts people up. Knowledge puffs up a balloon that can easily be burst but love builds up on a rock-solid foundation. Therefore knowledge without love (a or relationship), knowledge of God or the Scriptures alone does not lead to a correct relationship with God or others. Without love knowledge is incomplete. A person needs both. 

It is therefore ironic that knowledge and love perfectly combined are found in God, in Jesus Christ. John 1:8 tells us that, "No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” The knowledge of Jesus Christ and the Gospel is the unique mark of the Christian. The Apostle John specifically writes that Jesus has made God the Father known or gave exact knowledge of God. The word here for "made known" is ἐξηγήσατο /exegesato. This word is the origin of the English word exegete which means to "lead out" or "unfold". Jesus has literally exegeted, unfolded or interpreted the Father for us by what He taught and the way He lived His life. Jesus has explained and made us knowledgeable of God by unfolding and revealing Him (like a gift). In this way Jesus has given us detailed knowledge about God. The Bible also says that God is love and that the fear of God (therefore the knowledge of Him) is the beginning of wisdom.

This means that the love and knowledge of the will of God comes through the knowledge of Jesus Christ and the Gospel. If we disconnect our knowledge from this anchor…we are cut adrift theologically. We might as well just be unfolding the notes to a sermon from the Devil...because that is exactly what will be. A Gospel-less demonic message that can lead us straight to Hell. Just because you know about God doesn’t mean you know God. It just means you know a god. I’m beginning to believe that it isn’t just rich people that will have great difficulty getting into the Kingdom. It will be difficult for “smart” people too (Matthew 18:3).

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