Monday, December 11, 2006

Musings on wisdom

What is knowledge? Understanding, that is a gift. Wisdom, an even greater one with understanding as its foundation. But knowledge - what is it that we should devote so much of our lives to pure knowledge? Unfocused, unchanneled, what is it? Simply knowing facts - no matter how many - does nothing for you. I could have all the knowledge of what makes a person tick the way they do, but I am no more than a heartless manipulator unless I can sympathize and empathize with them, and infinite knowledge is useless for true empathy and sympathy - unless it is coupled with love, with compassion, with mercy. Those offset the lack of experience, at least in this abstract conception. In reality, humans are essentially and fundamentally existential creatures. Our knowledge - and our wisdom - come from our experiences; our understanding is derived from watching and learning from both our own experiences and those of others. And certainly there is wisdom granted by the Holy Spirit.

But God is something else entirely. He is existentially wise; existentially understanding; existentially all-knowing. How could God sympathize with our weakness "before" He had borne it? How could He empathize with our limitedness "before" He had walked in it? Yet He is not bound by the limitations we are: He is wisdom; His perfect wisdom is not experiential in nature but essential. Likewise with knowledge, with understanding. The concepts find their roots in Him alone; without Him to give them meaning, what are they? Stochastic processes? Chemical blocks arranged in a particular way? The question is meaningless. As is every question, unless there is an answer that is true.

There is a brand of philosophy that postulates that questions are truer than their answers, that there is more to be understood of reality in the queries we humans direct at it than in any response we could hear. I must admit, the philosophy rings true: any answer we can posit is flawed and fails to measure up... but that is only because there is a Truth to measure up to. And Truth is worth finding, worth knowing, worth understanding... worth having as wisdom. Do we really understand what was meant by "I am the way, the truth, and the life"? I suspect we have only the foggiest of conceptions, at best. Truth is greater than we can understand, the way better than we can grasp, and life more abundant than our wildest dreams.

I want to know the Truth. Because that is wisdom.

- Chris

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