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“Give me an understanding heart that I can govern Your people well and know the difference between right and wrong.”  1 Kings 3:9

“The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you.”  John 14:25

“For the Lord gives wisdom, from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6

I have stated before and this post is not meant to in any way shape or form be anti-science, anti-academic, or anti-intellectual.  Science and medicine and those who are well versed in those topics and subjects have done great personal feats for me and I give thanks to God for them.  This post has more to do with our mindset as we pursue greater intellectual knowledge and how we think about the process of attaining it as well as how we feel about ourselves once we’ve attained it.

Prizing education and academic learning is nothing new and seemingly today the demand for it, those seeking to obtain it, the costs associated with attaining it and the thoughts about those who don’t have it are ever more in the forefront of our societal consciousness.  Academic institutions, especially those for profit and their marketing are a significant presence in all of our media today.  The having of a degree, several degrees, advanced degree or degrees is more frequently a requirement or at least preferred characteristic that many employers are seeking out for their organizations.

While none of those current societal trends are troubling or secular in themselves, I believe we have to be very careful about how we see ourselves both in the process of attaining “higher” education and once the degree or certification has been obtained.  For the way that it is too often portrayed is that the attaining of higher level of learning is a testament to our own talents, desires, “work ethic” or vision.  Also, once we’ve attained the higher degree, we are somehow more worthy, entitled to some greater reward for our efforts, should be sought out and listened to more.  In a word we are “better”; not only better than we were before attaining the degree but also “better” than those who don’t have our level of learning.  It is all too easy for our pride to swell through the process and attainment of higher education.

Let’s take a look at this for a moment starting with the process of attaining higher learning.  Isn’t the process a testament to my desire for self improvement an accolade to my diligence and self motivation, proof of my desire for self fulfillment? As I take my classes, isn’t this a compliment concerning my tenacity?  Aren’t the grades I receive, truly and solely, “my grades” worthy of acknowledgement and glorification?  Here are some self-reflection questions I might need to ask and answer to validate those opinions.  At what point during my development in the womb did I decide and take steps to insure that my brain would function in such a way to allow me the understanding and capacity to seek this higher learning? As an infant or a toddler, what plan did I conceive and implement that allowed me to have sufficient prerequisite learning to continue into an advance state? Let me review my complete plan of all the parents, educators, administrators, mentors and many others that I perfectly put in place that led to my successfully being able to further my education.

Upon completion of this increased education, I am entitled to some or much personal glory, perhaps depending on the level I’ve achieved.  I am deserving; deserving of higher pay, greater promotions, more plush offices.  I deserve to not only be sought out for my opinion, also listened to with less questioning and my opinion should always be given greater weight than those lessors who have not achieved the education that I have.

Yes these are the fruits of “my” singular labor.  Woe to those who are not willing to give me my dues.

Solomon, known biblically and in even general lexicon (i.e. many speak of “The wisdom of Solomon) as one of the wisest living persons knew about the need for wisdom/learning and his lack of it.  His Father David was one of the greatest kings of Israel and upon his death, wanted Solomon (as was God’s plan as well) to reign after him.  The challenge was that Solomon was very young.  He knew he didn’t have the knowledge to satisfactorily govern such a vast and powerful kingdom.  So when God asked Solomon what he wanted from God, Solomon could have asked for riches, a long life, many excellent wives and children; Solomon asked for a wise heart.  He asked for knowledge to lead God’s people well, knowing good from evil.  God was very pleased with Solomon’s request and granted it to him.

Jesus Christ had been extremely diligent in teaching His disciples.  Yet at the last supper, He knew that His disciples still lacked the critical understanding that they would need to carry Christ’s message into the world.  So Jesus promised to send a “Friend”, a “Helper”, the Holy Spirit who would provide all the necessary knowledge and insight needed to carry forth the Gospel of Christ.  Jesus went on to say the Holy Spirit was not just for the disciples but for all who would come to Christ and, through Him, seek the wisdom of the Father.  The world, otherwise could never receive the Holy Spirit because they would not believe that Christ asked for Him to be sent.

Thus it would seem that, while we may indeed know, understand and desire the attainment for a greater knowledge, a higher degree, the fulfillment of that desire is more of a gift of Grace from God, than it is solely a result of our own efforts. I do not contend that it does not take effort, yet that effort builds on God given talents.  Even to have the opportunity is a blessing from God. It may take some humility to come to that understanding but it will align us more accurately with He who provided us the talents in the first place and Whose plan our gaining in wisdom is fulfilling.

Also, having attained some greater learning/education, we need to understand that it is not about being served as a reward for that attainment but finding a way to serve with the gained knowledge.  We need to remember what Christ stated that to one who has much given, much is required.

So, if we are so led, let us go and learn.  Let us strive and achieve.  Always being mindful of as well as thankful for, the blessing and gift that there is in the opportunity for and acquiring of, greater knowledge.  Let us give glory to the Name of Him where all glory, honor and knowledge resides, living a life of loving, sharing and serving to our Heavenly Father.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we affirm and declare that all knowledge and wisdom resides in You.  We are so very thankful that in Your Mercy, You have seen fit to share some of Your knowledge and wisdom with us.  We pray, as Solomon did, that You would guide us to use that wisdom and knowledge in Your service as a blessing to this world.  We also ask Your forgiveness when we see the achievement and wisdom in a prideful way, seeking our own glory.  Guide us we pray and allow us to use the wisdom You so freely provide in a way that will be praise to Your most Holy Name.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

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Hypocrites!  You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you can not discern this time?  Luke 12:56

The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork, Day unto day utters speech and night unto night reveals knowledge”  Psalm 19:1-2

Is science evil?  Are scientists Satan’s ambassadors?  As we peer into the tiniest spaces of matter or out to the farthest and most gigantic regions of space, what conclusions to we draw?  As our medical understanding grows to the extent that we can map the building blocks of an individual and grow new organs from scratch; how does that make us feel?

Jesus used an illustration of people’s understanding of weather.  The term meteorology goes back to 350 BC.  Yet there is evidence that trying to discern patterns in heat and cold, rain and drought go back much further.  Why?  Because the harnessing of that information was so important to survival.  The proper time to plant crops or move flocks, what changes caused large herd animals, required for food, to move to and fro, when would the rains and the floods that went with them, happen; these are all questions that could and did impact the rise and fall of civilizations.  On the one hand Jesus gave them some credit.  He acknowledged that they had a degree of accuracy when it came to reading natural conditions and predicting outcomes.  On the other hand, He asked them what good was having that limited knowledge in the eternal scheme of things?  For that knowledge did not drive them to an awe inspiring acknowledgement of He who is in control of all things.  They did not use those same observational skills to search through the scriptures to find the conditions that predicted the coming and nature of the Messiah.  And whether or not they got the weather correct was inconsequential compared to missing the fact that the promised Messiah was in their midst.

Both my parents left this earthly existence due to cancer from which they never recovered.  My wife is a cancer survivor.  I am very grateful for the advances in medicine.  Those advancements have human names attached to their discoveries.  However, I believe that the source and the blessings come from Our Heavenly Father.  As in the way that the disciples were humans used to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and Salvation, Our Heavenly Father as seen fit to use human beings to carry out His Will and His Plan.  I pray a prayer of thanksgiving for those doctors, scientists and others who, having been used by God (whether they understand or acknowledge God’s hand) in the progress in treating cancer.

Science, by its very nature evil?  No.  The same way that wood carving is not evil by its nature.  But carve a block of wood into an image, cover it in gold and bow down and worship it, then you have a hideous evil.  As in all things, money, alcohol, physical relations, any human endeavor, what is the intent is what matters.  Because we have a greater understanding of our physical bodies and greater abilities to impact its health, does that mean that we feel that we are increasing toward a time of equality with Him that created it?  When we are able to see the great vistas of space and see great insights into our past in that place that we call, the heavens and don’t discover a unmistakable abode of God; do we then conclude He doesn’t exist?  Or as we are allowed to see and grasp some understanding of the amazing complexity of the creation we are and all around us, does that understanding compel us to realize the Power, Intelligence, Perfection, of He who created it and bring us to our knees in humble thanksgiving and worship?  

Jesus Christ is clear, if we know all of the terrestrial, but remain ignorant of the eternal, we are doomed.  Let it be that what knowledge we glean about our world, leads us to the awe and worship of He who created all and shares that creation out of Love.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we praise You for the knowledge that You have seen fit for us to have.  May it be that we use that knowledge in Your service and to further Your Plan and Your Will.  Keep us from the temptation of believing that an increase in knowledge should lead in a decrease in faith in You.  That in our knowledge, our actions and our love, they are all used in Your Worship and in Praise of Your Most Holy Name.  Amen.

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