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Friday, January 29, 2016

What do we know?

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come.’... (Mark 4:26-34)

How much do we really know about anything? It does seem likely that we know less than we think we know, and if we think we've plumbed all the depths on the subject, it's probably because we have simply stopped short of going deeper or further. But who has the time, patience and capacity to go all the way down to the limits of one subject, or several, much less all possible subjects? I've a PhD and I haven't gone all the way down my topics, and certainly not all other topics of interest. If I lived to be a thousand, there'd still be too much for me to cover. I think this is the first step to being wise: I don't know as much as I think I know. In academic circles, we realize by experience that, the more we learn, the less we seem to know relative to everything there is to know. That "everything" doesn't even begin to cover God, and appreciating that is one aspect of "the fear of the Lord", I think. It was never about terror, of course, but about appreciation, grounded in reality.

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