The Source of Knowledge

District Fellowship News

March, April 2012

In a time when it seems information is so available, isn’t it odd that so many of the decisions that we make are founded on tenuous and incomplete facts. We hear or read descriptions of products that claim they are the best, the most nutritious, the healthiest, the safest. We compare cars , appliances, clothing, food, belief systems, doctrines, worldviews to make decisions on which ones we should use or believe in. We fight over statistics, fact sheets, statements of belief until we realize that in most cases we have to say “this is as close to the truth as I can get.” People claim they have the truth, know the truth, have found the truth, but it ends up being a best guess, an estimate, a percentage, the best they could do with what they had. Unfortunately, most people could never admit that. Their arguments are always couched in such a way that any claim they make is “truth”.  

As the centuries have gone by, humanity has grown in its understanding of how things work, the mechanics of creation. In the past few centuries, we have been able to codify much of that study and observation into science.  And especially through the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, we have looked at science as a place where we can go to learn about the underlying laws and forces of the universe. As science began to describe the phenomena we could see, hear, touch, feel, and smell, we all had something to fall back on when we were looking for truth about observable events, and natural interactions. At first, in the western world, this was all inside the context of a created world made by a loving God. Science described and defined the world, but it had limitations inside the sum total of all knowledge, it could define a portion of truth, but it was not the only descriptor of truth.

But what if we want to get rid of God? We decide we don’t want a Creator, or a Lawgiver. God couldn’t be the source of all knowledge so we would have to find something else that would define all knowledge not just a small portion of it. Over time there were those who thought that science would be that source. If you really wanted the truth, you should rely on what science says. As this idea grew science began to expand into many areas that really do not fit the scientific parameters for truth. Science depends on measurement and reproducibility to prove or disprove its hypotheses. But in many things we define as science this is impossible. Many historical events cannot be reproduced or measured. The humanities cannot be measured in the same way that I measure temperature or rainfall. Economic forecasts are more prophetic then factual. So we begin to make statements about things that we declare as facts but must be taken on faith. Our “science” becomes religious.

Dr. Ian Hutchinson in his book ‘Monopolizing Knowledge’, talks about the interaction of science and faith. Science and faith are not at odds with one another, but
scientism, the belief that all viable knowledge is science, is at war with faith as well as other sources of knowledge. Scientism would say that anything that is not scientific is not rational or true knowledge. Instead of science contributing to our understanding of the truth that is God given, science becomes all the truth there is. Unfortunately, scientism has infiltrated our society, been taught in our schools, and even affected our religious beliefs. Measuring creation is one thing, but trying to define a Creator by his creation is quite another. Science does not have all the knowledge in this world, nor will it ever be able to be the source of all truth.

Humanity does not create truth, it only discovers it. Knowledge is the sum of what we know but not the sum of all there is. So we must realize that no matter what century we lived in, whether we were educated or not, whether it was dark times or enlightened times, all the knowledge that mankind had accumulated still only touched the surface of the truth that existed in creation. That is why with all the information you now have at your fingertips, you still must rely on the One who is the Truth as you make the choices that impact your life. In the book of Colossians, Paul says that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Jesus (Col. 2:3). He is the source. When you look for truth, don’t throw away the one source that contains it all. Trust that there is more to this creation than just scientific, historical,
or philosophical knowledge. Rely on the “source”.