Giving Unto God & Caesar

Last week was the deadline for filing income taxes. Less than a week ago was the observation of Christ’s death and resurrection. We are expected to give unto Caesar, our human governments. By contrast, we are to surrender unto God, giving our all. Caesar is merely another man that is meant to provide a service to the citizenry. Whereas Christ is the foundation of our very lives. What happens when we allow the mortal Caesars to have control in the areas of the eternal Lord? Disappointment then tragedy comes.

People cause suffering, no more or less than the governing powers. For some reason many call these two, one in the same, to eventually fix the evils of the world. What is even more comical is now in our modern world we are surprised when Caesar is unable to prevent or immediately restore the aftermath of natural disasters. Why do we put so much hope in mortals simply because they have some kind of authority, either through position and/or wealth? If your hope to relieve the human condition lies in human beings, there was not much hope in the first place.

This is also tied into the evils rooted in the love of money. Politicians and rich men alike, what is the outward source of their meager power? Taxes and payments. Unless we give, they cannot act. They promise the goods/services of security and comfort. Sure, they are only human like the rest of us, though with all that money we give, only they can solve what ails us. In case you are wondering, yes, I mean halls of government and even business can share the power of Caesar, in times of peace or war.

But, though the patriarchal system is the earliest form of government, and all governments have been developed or modified from it, the right of government to govern cannot be deduced from the right of the father to govern his children, for the parental right itself is not ultimate or complete. . . . Property, ownership, dominion rests on creation. The maker has the right to the thing made. He, so far as he is sole creator, is sole proprietor, and may do what he will with it. God is sovereign lord and proprietor of the universe because He is its sole creator. He hath the absolute dominion, because He is absolute maker. . . . The despot is a man attempting to be God upon earth, and to exercise a usurped power. Despotism is based on, the parental right, and the parental right is assumed to be absolute.”

from: chapter 3 of The American Republic by Orestes Brownson (1865)

Those who truly hold governance are people who create, as does our Lord. Because what we make with our hands/minds is from what God has made us, we are granted responsibility over a power, not endowed with it. Thus we can set it on the rule of Christ, being creation and children of His heavenly Father, or we may out of foolish desire for ultimate self rule, stake this power in ourselves, in the personal and/or formal halls of Caesar. Indeed, those who play God fail to create good things for the generations, demanding they be given wealth and honor due to their social-economic status.

Just to be clear, this is a warning against the depravity of the love of money, as well as power, whether it be through socialism or capitalism. These two joined are an unholy alliance, though this is for a future post. No matter how a man puts it, Caesar will receive tribute for the services that can be rendered – order and enforcement in this life. By one’s own life, via a politician, or a businessman, the parental figure of a group of people, will become a cruel master when pursuing the status of the Creator in life. Indeed, render unto Caesar a portion of your creativity. But be warned, surrender unto God your very life itself, for He is the holy master of all Caesars, whom will answer to Him in the end.

“The right of the father over his child is an imperfect right, for he is the generator, not the creator of his child. Generation is in the order of second causes, and is simply the development or explication of the race. The early Roman law, founded on the confusion of generation with creation, gave the father absolute authority over the child—the right of life and death, as over his servants or slaves; but this was restricted under the Empire, and in all Christian nations the authority of the father is treated, like all power, as a trust. . . . How, from the right of the father to govern his own child, born from his loins, conclude his right to govern one not his child? Or how, from my right to govern my child, conclude the right of society to found the state, institute government, and exercise political authority over its members?”

from: chapter 3 of the American Republic

 

Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear to good conduct, but to evil. Do you wish to have no fear of authority? Then do what is good and you will receive approval from it, for it is a servant of God for your good. But if you do evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword without purpose; it is the servant of God to inflict wrath on the evildoer. Therefore, it is necessary to be subject not only because of the wrath but also because of conscience. This is why you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Pay to all their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, toll to whom toll is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.

Romans 13:1-7

Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.So do not be associated with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. 10 Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, 12 for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; 13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says:

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”

Ephesians 5:6-14

Can’t – No, We Won’t

When you agree to be a part of a certain establishment or receive a particular audience, one of the key conditions can be the prohibition of expressing the faith. In this case, signing on to have public/secular school students as guests means a curriculum and theme approved by a Godless state. This practice of keeping religious convictions private, as in out of the public sphere, is thus a choice of willing to do so.

When are we believers going to stop deceiving ourselves about this matter? To salve our own conscience, or perhaps it is a reflection of week spirituality, we declare with a mournful tone, “We cannot share Christ.” Oh no, my dear brethren. We know the conditions of our positions. We decided to do this. In my case, our Christian organization decides to do this. Yes, invite young minds to learn and be physically challenged with no reference to their Creator.

Now, the defense to this ‘strategy’, or whatever it may be called, is supposedly reliance on the Holy Spirit to speak to our visitors. By all means, the Spirit has surely done His work, though is this what God has called the faithful to do? A secondary defense is that this provides revenue to fund the facilitation of Christ-centered groups. Plus, it is an economic benefit to the community. I did not know the Body of Christ negotiated with the world to make His ministry happen. Besides, two consistent trends in feedback reinforce this is not a sound alternative to direct glory of the Lord, the King of kings.

First off, virtually all the spiritual testimonies that are propounded as proof are from groups that come to this place with the purpose of knowing God. Second, because we can be privately Christian but not publicly during secular programs, many if (I hope not) most, view our ministry as a part of the pluralistic social mold. So if anything, are we suggesting to students that faith in Christ is merely a preferred outlook rather than devotion to the Way, Truth, and Life?

“Impatient Christians today explain away the simple beliefs of the saints of other days and smile off their serious-minded approach to God and sacred things. They were victims of their own limited religious outlook, but great and sturdy souls withal who managed to achieve a satisfying spiritual experience and do a lot of good in the world in spite of their handicaps. So we’ll imitate their fruit without accepting their theology or inconveniencing ourselves too greatly by adopting their all-or-nothing attitude toward religion. So we say (or more likely think without saying), and every voice of wisdom, every datum of religious experience, every law of nature tells us how wrong we are.”

from: The Root of the Righteous by A.W. Tozer (1955)

There are those in this organization who were by all means called to be here for longer than others. With that said, we have to reflect honestly with our Lord. As far as His will goes, we can no longer in good conscience claim, “We can’t share Christ.” Instead, we must make prayerful decisions with the knowledge that each of us chose to be in a place where we will not. On top of this, we are being paid by institutions whom do not revere God, to fulfill their expectations on what constitutes education.

I will conclude speaking for myself, though I am convinced at least a few of my co-workers possess the same heart pang. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Thus, these youth are receiving an education without foundation, along with quite possibly a poor witness to what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Indeed, may the Holy Spirit work some good of this in spite of our failures as believers. Still, I can not tolerate having my tongue restrained in what is formally the Lord’s domain, considering the organization would have to enforce these policies. How satirical is that, children of God preventing other siblings from openly sharing about their heavenly Father to little children of the world. My time here draws to a close in due season. Where will I go next? I am not sure. Among my prayers are an open door to any place in any position, where the only person who can be guilty of my silence about the things of Christ our Lord is me. I am reluctant, blessed by place and peers. Nonetheless, not my will but His be done.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

John 15:1-8 (Jesus Christ)

Of Father and Mother

The two that become one flesh create another one, whom shares not just DNA from each parent but an immediate likeness as image bearers of God. This biological & spiritual creation of a person is beyond the wonder of the animal kingdom. It is something of the finest beauty, meant for universal good, founded on the immortal truth of Christ. Indeed, how the Lord set mankind to reproduce itself reflects an intimately loving destiny, a divine will for us to work for higher things, which included collective fellowship/worship of His glory in the earthly dominions bestowed.

The days as a toddler was uncertainty navigated through an inquisitive faith. My memories in Sunday school go back to the second year of life outside my mother’s womb. While she was at work for the postal service in the morning, my father was present until the late morning. As per usual, I wandered into their bedroom after waking up, remembering the digital clock displaying a time around 8:00 am. One day I had slept on my mother’s side of the bed, looking at the clock a few feet away on the nightstand, then inspecting my father to find him still sound asleep. Gazing out the window, the neighborhood was at peace. The sun was out with animals doing their early calls, the occasional resident or city employee going about their day. Directly in the sky the sun was partially hidden by bulbous clouds. Yes, we were not alone. I reached out my hand for the God of Creation. He was mindful of me, placing an already extended hand further, so a mere mortal could be touched by the Sustainer of all things.

I remember at about the age of seven my parents had me watch a video presenting the development of a baby within the womb. The down to earth narration, subtle music expressing mysterious wonder, and colored imagery showed me a process that set me reflecting the shear depth of human life. If anything, this permanently impacted my mind, acting as a cornerstone for my view of people. The chief cornerstone had already been established; I would not remove Him any time in the future, less I forfeit the inheritance of what it meant to be human, under the care of a fatherly and majestic God.

My history textbooks were not the best written. Each year they pretty much repeated the same sequence without diving deeper into any topic. Well, that is what the home encyclopedia set and public library were for. What the Abeka text did offer was a grand layout to understand the heritage of man – good, bad, and ugly. The peoples of the earth are made in the image of God. Our destiny revolves around the will of our Maker. Knowing our ancestors affirms what Scripture confirms about us in relation with God. Thus mankind is not just a part of a mere piece of time. We are involved in God’s eternal holiness, judgement, and redemption. Our parents’ legacies reach beyond death, much more than just figuratively speaking.

“O LORD, our Lord,  How a excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained. What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen – Even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord,  How excellent is Your name in all the earth!”

Psalm 8

It is no hidden reality that fathers and mothers can fail throughout the rearing of their children. I admit experiencing countless moments of exposure to spiritual attack, emotional neglect, and mental anguish from things said and done (or not). Yet according to our dear Lord, we as a family are corrupted by sin, in need of His restoration. Did not my parents and theirs have to suffer this pain of the human condition? Through it all, anything my parents or I killed, Christ resurrected. Such is through prayer and choosing forgiveness, advancing into His life out of the darkness that strives to bind us. If the family of image bearers is reconciled to stand united on the garden rather than divided on the grave, what a joyous harvest they will bring forth to their table, with excess for their neighbors and relatives. Woe to us who choose pride and pleasure, the streets filled with all forms of poverty.

These are the two things a parent ought give a child, even if it means forsaking so many advantages to them in the world. Firstly, introduction to the God whom made them through word and action – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Secondly, that they are aware of what they are – sinful mortal, divine creation, and human heritage. These things so the two greatest commandments can be fulfilled: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.” Thus they fear and honor the Risen Christ in the face of the evils from the world, dark spirits, and their own fallen desires. The Truth sets us free.

Ignorance – Worse than Chains

“Ignorance, my brethren, is a mist, low down into the very dark and impenetrable abyss in which, our fathers for many centuries have been plunged. The Christians, and enlightened of Europe, and some of Asia, seeing the ignorance and consequent degredation of our fathers, instead of trying to enlighten them, by teaching them that religion and light with which God has blessed them, they have plunged them into wretchedness ten thousand times more intolerable, . . . Ignorance, as it now exits among us, produces a state of things, Oh my Lord! too horrible to present to the world.”

from: Article 2 of Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World;David Walker (1796-1830)

From a man who witnessed slavery first hand, the worst harm was not the whip or forced labor. The brutal exploitation was the product of a people made vulnerable by a deep state of ignorance. Is the lack of knowledge dealing with technology/science? History/heritage? Business/wealth? Formal/vocational education? No, the root of ignorance, which precedes all that has been listed, is not knowing the will of God and our identity in Him. Thus, as Walker states, the African people were already in ignorance, though now it had been worsened by people who knew the truth but decided not to live in submission to Him.

 What peoples of the world would discover, absent chains and beatings, bondage could still be inflicted by others, no less the self, so long as the people existed in ignorance. In the lack of knowledge of God’s sovereignty, we are prone to also dominate one another. After all, African, European, Asian, and Native American partook in chattel (think cattle) slavery for centuries. It is easy to treat beings as objects when you refuse to acknowledge anything resembling the dignity of being created in the image of God. Indeed, a person has to live in if not deceitfully feign ignorance of this truth, that they may raise up the things previously mentioned in their image.

A state of social status is not the primary issue for an individual’s life. Ignorance of the truths pertaining to God’s will is the underlying evil for society/culture in the long-run. Walker and other black souls were born into or achieved freedman status due to the controversial argument in law that they were creations of the Creator. Generations later, succeeding the era after the national abolition of slavery, whites and blacks were almost equally targeted for cheap labor, both as free citizens. It was common for slaves not to be permitted to learn to read, even the Bible. Why? If the enslaved masses knew what Scripture said, they would make poor cattle. The same could be said for whites who recognized that this unholy institution was a blight on everything they held dear.

Those who were more mindful of the things of Christ treated their property more as human than beasts of burden. Because of this defiance of custom, which declared in some form slaves must be kept in spiritual ignorance, state governments, eventually national (Union & Confederacy), increased their stranglehold on these people. Most so Southerners, people intimately acquinted with the God given humanity of blacks, were systematically forced by law to be more ignorant or at least pretend when it came to the truth. Politics and economics were prioritized above His divine rule of law.

Walker was not shy of chastizing American government for its folly handling the image of God in public policy. Far as he was concerned, only sincerely devout Christ followers witheld the wrath that would befall the nation, the Lord letting the mountainous weight of ingorance crush Northern and Southern ideals.

“Now the avaricious Americans, think that the Lord Jesus Christ will let them off, because his words are no more than the words of a man! In fact, many of them are so avaricious and ignorant, that they do not believe in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Tyrants may think they are so skilled in State affairs is the reason that the government is preserved. But I tell you, that this country would have been given up long ago, was it not for the lovers of the Lord. They are indeed, the salt of the earth. Remove the people of God among the whites, from this land of blood, and it will stand until they cleverly get out of the way.”

from: Article 4 of Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World

Whether technically slave or free, ignorance can bind the soul making one into a simultaneous brute and tyrant. Regardless of status, to be lead by vice is to not be at liberty. How many people with much are envious? Wrathful? In despair? Possess a spirit of defeat? Imagine, the consequences of a generation ignorant perhaps even scorning the things of God. To care not for what they ought to do for their fellow man in obedience to Christ. To view others and also themselves as animals, each with their own authority of right. Will giving them knowledge of economy, technology, politics, and/or fine art cure us of this natural state of lashing out in pride and cruelty? Less we think too highly of ourselves, believing to be more moral and enlightened than our ancestors, such knowledge will only be tools for self-destruction in the long-term.

“This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of your mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleaness with greed.

But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

Ephesians 4:17-24

Experience of Creative Work

When it comes to labor, it is primarily valued as a means of economic gain. Sadly, the social and political possibilities are shadowed by the drive to material comfort. Lacking foundation based on higher spiritual things, the worker chooses a mental complacency. Instead of mimicking God in universal creativity, we can be resigned to passivity in someone else’s created world. Then the ironic mindset follows of feeling trapped with little to no sense of worth or freedom in our lives.

Experience is a key source of knowledge. Labor is one having the opportunity to create. Now, I can imagine people arguing that most workers do not have such opportunity, that only those with wealth have this liberty. Well, we have a choice. Exercise our God given abilities to create in spite of circumstance. Perhaps, we should just surrender to the preferences of others. To do the first requires the individual to form community, as they learn to be creative beyond their comfort zone. The second is to be personally or collectively content with whatever others make, though be disatisfied by the shared mediocrity.

An educated worker is a creative person with growing skills and social circles. Their knowledge surpasses the task at hand, connecting with others to create more for whatever common cause. This could be individual and/or group opportunity, whether it be acquiring resources and/or enriching the relations of a community. People tend to foregt that those of economic wealth possess their own social circles, far more often than not persist in developing their own creativity. I do not make this as a promotion for how to become materially rich. Modest or lavish, a person is divinely created to live in dignified freedom.

Book learning is of no inferior value, unless it does not coincide with labor, manual/mental, which is putting creativity into practice. Following the emancipation of Negro slaves in the United States, even as second-class citizens, black folk had unprecedented chance to actively cultivate their present. Many individuals took their labor skills outside their localities, relocating to acquire knowledge in communities that would receive them. Others managed or had to stay put, combining resources to improve their homes. Yes, the handicap of slavery smothers souls from existing outside of subsistence. On the other side in freedom, it must be of a people’s culture to labor for basic needs, along with creative endeavors. Risk and responsibility are no light weights to bear. In fact, a free educated worker grows to carry more, especially in good company.

In chapter 10 of Booker T. Washington’s “Up from Slavery,” the majority of the fledgling Tuskegee Institute’s students were of the impoverished plantations. Trained in innovative domestic, agricultural, and industrial skill, “the students themselves would be taught to see not only utility in labour, but beauty and dignity . . . how to lift labour up from mere drudgery and toil, and would learn to love work for its own sake.” Trial and failure ensued. Suriving the risks taken for building the institution’s infrastructure, including a brick kiln, the locale as well as many parts of the South likewise grew from the creative excellence across studies/industries rendered by the student body. Social/cultural relations between white and black became more cordial, due to the multiplying intertwining interests.

In chapter three’s conclusion of “The Souls of Black Folk” by W.E.B. Dubois, Washington was criticized for seemingly discouraging academically capable blacks from wanting to pursue the position of political office, considering civil injustice being a violent reality for Negro citizens. The educational methods of Tuskegee were rooted in Washington’s realism. Formal political power could be taken from any man; it would not be a crippling blow to an experienced knowledgable people. How many souls possess a university education only to be pathetically ignorant, becoming dependents and perhaps lower tyrants in their social-political circles?

“Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labour and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial, . . . Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.” [He proceeds follows with a direct push for white Southerners to cast in their lot with the formerly enslaved population, whom have been demonstrably loyal and productive].

from: The Atlanta Exposition Address – Booker T. Washington (1895)

Black denizens in the United States were as a whole believers of some form of Christianity. While they had earthly masters, there was a supreme Master. God had also made them for educated labor. The majority, even unsure of how or where, desired creative community life not restricted to menial regimentation. Skilled workers were no less anxious to set their trades beyond personal wage, for freedom would be more realized when efforts were joined with others to create in the world something distinct from what their masters/employers owned. A non-believer, Dubois still had this to say at the turn of the century:

“In the Black World, the Preacher and Teacher embodies once the ideals of this people, – the strife for another and juster world, the vague dream of righteousness, the mystery of knowing; but to-day the danger is that these ideals, with their simple beauty and weird inspiration, will suddenly sink to a question of cash and a lust for gold. . . . What if the Negro people be wooed from a strife for righteousness, from a love of knowing, to regard dollars as the be-all and end-all of life?”

from: chapter 5 of The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

The concern “Mammonism” would take precedence over spiritual values is indeed something to address. Washington, unlike Dubois, did prize the faith. In chapter 8 of his book, he makes it clear, “The school is strictly undenominational, but it is thoroughly Christian, and the spiritual training of the students is not neglected.” I lean towards vocational education as a preferable means for the majority over higher education. Meanwhile, I am made vigilant by Dubois’ warning. Indeed, it is of a contrasting perspective, though it is still one to be mindful. If we labor for man or Mammon, are we not menial slaves if not pretend masters seeking dominance? Not all men can be supreme. Mammon makes food out of men. Freedom and dignity can become perilously precarious things in mortal hands.

“Man, as we have seen, lives by communion with God through the Divine creative act, and is perfected or completed only through the Incarnation, in Christ, the Word made flesh. True, he communes with God through his kind, and through external nature, society in which he is born and reared, and property for through which he derives sustenance for his body; but these are only media of his communion with God, the source of life – not either the beginning or the end of his communion.”

from: chapter 15 of The American Republic – Orestes Brownson (1865)

“The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the Garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it. The Lord God gave man this order: “You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die.” The Lord God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” . . . The Lord God then built up into a woman the rib he had taken from the man. When he had brought her to the man, the man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.””

Genesis 2:15-18, 22-23

What is knowledge?

Defined

Oxford Dictionary – “facts, information, and skill acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject

It is key to notice that what is acquired is not simply repeated or memorized. Neither is quantity taken into account. The effort cultivates a capacity to apply mentally and/or physically. Thereby knowledge will affect the individual, no less the world around them. After all, a person only practices what they understand. In the long run, is one’s understanding rooted in what is evil or holy?

History

Historia in the Greek means “inquiry, knowledge acquired by investigation” according to The Handbook of Historical Linguistics. Investigation of the past ensues through material that is an artifact, document, or commentary (layman or academic) of the period in question. The knowledge gained quite depends on the perspectives taken.

Historical understanding should be more judged by the present virtue in spite of its errors. A rigorous human view of the past can be so shrouded in self will it manifests malicious behavior, an unrestrained arbiter of fact and fiction. In contrast, a mere legend based on scant knowledge can inspire a pursuit for truth, goodness, and beauty in those whom share in it. If anything, history bears strong witness that the amount of knowledge itself is not an accurate indicator of one’s heart.

Surely, there is criticism about this seemingly naïve validation of stories as equal to high profile historical study. The latter can be unequivocally superior in facts, information, and demonstration of skill. The former can be far more morally influential. How many academic works of history are sadly out of touch with heartstrings, unable to stir even curiosity? A timeless tale may be a stepping stone if not bridge in a lifelong journey to understand things seen as well as unseen.

Science

The word itself means “knowledge”. Yes, of the natural world. Like history, one delves into things unwitnessed, not directly accessible to the five senses. The term became common in the late nineteenth century. Prior, ‘natural philosophy’ was the prevalent idea. There was a recognition that one needed to act on presuppositions in order to begin a consistent method. Aristotle, popular ancient Greek philosopher, had this to say in part one of book one for his work – “Physics” –

“Now what is to us plain and obvious at first is rather confused masses, the elements and principles of which become known to us later by analysis. Thus we must advance from generalities to particulars; for it is a whole that is best known to sense-perception, and a generality is a kind of whole . . . Similarly a child begins by calling all men ‘father’ and all women ‘mother’ but later on distinguishes each of them.”

Because what we know (or think we know) about the natural world may not be as accurate as we might believe, it is important to tolerate a degree of error. If one explores the efforts of any notable scientist/inventor, you will discover an extreme ratio of failure over success in experiments. A minority yet significant percentage of discoveries have been unintended. French chemist of the nineteenth century, Louise Pasteur, had this to say, “In the fields of observation, chance favors only the prepared minds”. It is not how much you know but how and an underlying why, which orders your perception. 

Materialism/naturalism is a prevalent mindset among modern scientists. Still, the scientific world at large wonders about things our five senses cannot comprehend. This fascination with the unseen is recognized across generations to be sought after, to be understood. What reenergizes an arguable reverence for the universal why is when those of the white lab coat understand there level of knowledge is still not even scratching the surface of reality. 

Leading physicist/string theorist Brian Greene states within the first page of his book “The Elegant Universe” that the top theories of physics – Einstein’s Relativity & quantum mechanics – “are mutually incompatible.” Both are recognized as insufficient for the increasingly mysterious nature of the cosmos. For the last century, an awkward hybrid of the two has been utilized for any gains in knowledge. What is to be a persistent matter of reflection is how our understanding of scientific knowledge impacts humankind, then the rest of Creation, a topic to be later explored.

Conclusion

Knowledge is an organized understanding of the acquired facts, information, and skills – consequential action will follow. It relies on learning material and immaterial substance. Book learning or labor are sources from human activity. With plenty of precedent, knowledge that turns out to be lacking in facts can still possess the quality to influence greater acquisition, which includes virtue. Is the pursuit of knowledge done with virtuous means for like ends? Does this pursuit and practice mar people, the image of God? Is it in effect deemed holy, separated from Creation as a supreme judge for what is good or evil?

“Feelings, purpose, values, make up our consciousness as much as sense impressions. We follow up the sense impressions and find that they lead into an external world discussed by science; we follow up the other elements of our being and find that they lead – not into a world of space and time, but surely somewhere.”

From chapter 15 of The Nature of the Physical World by Sir Arthur Eddington

“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love. If these are yours and increase in abundance, they will keep you from being idle or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

2 Peter 1:5-8