(School of Athens- If you get it you get it. Sorry if you don’t.)
“Knowledge is power.” This popular phrase is attributed to the famous British philosopher Francis Bacon. Other variations of his phrase are: “wisdom is power” and “knowledge is His power” (referring to God’s power). Any translation of FB’s Latin will lead you to his conclusion that God’s Word and God’s creation reveal His power. A study of history and science, paired with diligent study of scripture, could/would open our minds to the power of God in a way that we could never merely understand through daily observation.
Romans 1:20 states that “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” At a glance, this passage from the apostle Paul might seem to say that we don’t need to study to know God. God is obvious. This is truth. Yet, a deeper look only teaches us more about God’s eternal power.
I am continually surprised by the schism of scientists, historians, and the religious. As if our fields of study were exclusive and hindered by the other. Indeed, they are not. Learning more about the human body, animals, and nature has obviously changed our understanding of history. Any forensic show proves that point. Yet, people groups of various religious categories seem critical of the scientific method. The idea of having a testable hypothesis seems to threaten their faith. Because what is faith? “Faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see “(Hebrews 11:1). I think Galileo addressed this issue best when he said: “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” Faith is important, because we cannot know all things, but it does not excuse us from using the very faculties God has given us.
The other side of the coin is this: “science is not our only means for accessing truth.” This was recently stated by a lesser known, but highly respected, professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT. (Click HERE to read the rest of his article about science and the resurrection). Historical record is also an important means for truth. In today’s world, we don’t reject history. We just do our best to interpret history through our own worldview.
What does this have to do with power? Knowing God more completely, through every sense, reason, and intellect He has given us reveals His power. The human body, for example, is beautiful to the eye and easily observed as an amazing work of art. To look deeper and see how EVERY bit of our body works perfectly to maintain life puts me on my face before God, in absolute awe of His brilliant creation. Likewise, when I read my Bible, I feel enriched by truth. When I dig deeper and understand the cultural context, the real meaning of the original language, and fit each passage into the framework of the entire Bible and the history of the world, I’m in tears. I’m overwhelmed and I can’t get enough!
In today’s world of resources, we have no excuse for laziness. In 2 minutes, we could download an app that explains the anatomy of the human body. For $12.99, we could upload the Archaeological Study Bible to an e-reader. In 20 seconds, we could Google free resources for just about any field of study. It’s all right at our fingertips. The question is, are we using our resources to learn/access God’s power?
Just this morning, I was reading from the book of Esther and I decided to Google “Cyrus and the Diaspora,” on my phone. Instantly, I found myself entangled in an article posted on The MET website which made mention of the cuneiform tablets found amid the ruins of ancient Nippur. These same tablets were mentioned in the notes section of my Archaeological Bible, which I had open on my tablet. In my lap sat my leather bound Bible. Every resource I opened pointed back to the historical authenticity of a story of God’s sovereignty. My heart burst with excitement!
Day by day, I have to challenge myself to be a student of God’s Word, a student of life. Knowledge IS power. It’s God’s power. We could spend our entire lives gaining knowledge, but it’s meaningless without Him. Every field of study comes alive when we have a relationship with Him. He is the one who gives life and purpose. The more intimate our relationship with God, the more clearly we see his eternal power and divine nature. Being a student of life and a student of God’s Word only increases that intimacy. It’s not enough to be an observer.
Proverbs 1:7- “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”