How do I know I know stuff? How does anyone know anything? Where does knowledge come from anyway? Ironically, answer-ology evokes more questions than answers. Everything we know we learned from another human, book, or experience. You can’t fully trust any of these things for complete truth. What we think are good answers from other people are not always the right answers. They are sometimes educated opinions, which can be made to sound true regardless of how stupid they really are.
Knowing through other people is risky. Speakers often don’t make verbal endnotes, but you have to know they got their information somewhere. That source learned it from someone or something else, and that source from someone or something else, and so on, and so on. Somewhere down the line in whatever source someone was the first to experience the event or think of the idea. Can we really trust that? We don’t always know how accurate information is. Good writers can write things in such a way that anything can sound true. Adequate rationale or rhetoric can make anything make sense. Anything can be said to make anything sound stupid.
And knowing through your own conception or perception is riskier. One might conceivably know something for sure through experiential witness. But can we really? Is it always possible to trust our senses? The world of man is fallen. The eyes lie. The ears deceive. The sense of touch can mislead. One cannot fully trust any of the senses. And that’s not all. One cannot fully trust the mind or heart. What we read, hear, and see we often twist to agree with our own preconceived opinions. So basically, we cannot trust ourselves.
Is there no recourse, then? If we cannot fully trust anyone or anything else, if we cannot fully trust even ourselves, what is the hope of knowing anything at all? How can we trust the Bible, if we cannot trust our eyes?
It all goes back to the glory days in the Garden of Eden. Ironically, the event that opened the eyes of man also closed them. The first lust for knowledge deprived Adam, Eve, and all future mankind of ever being able to completely trust anyone or anything of this earth for full knowledge. (Read about this tragic scene in Genesis 3.) How can we believe in God if we cannot fully trust our own hearts and minds?
First, we must understand the imperfection of the present, worldly knowledge. Everything in this world is passing. There is not a thing in this world that will last. God, on the other hand, is complete perfection. When His perfection enters, the world’s imperfections will cease existing. That means the imperfection of our thinking will be no more. Right now we have a faulty picture of everything, but when that time comes we shall see everything clearly (John 13:8-12).
Second, we must understand the imperfection of worldly wisdom. Wisdom knows how to use knowledge. What the world thinks is wisdom is not really wisdom. It is selfishness masquerading as wisdom. True wisdom is from God and is characterized by selflessness, purity, peace, consideration, submissiveness, mercy, and good fruit (James 3:13-17).
Third, we must seek these things from God, the only source of perfect knowledge and understanding. Prayer is how we express our relationship with our heavenly Father. Like a devoted child, we must come to Him in love. He knows what we need and therefore knows we need His gift of knowledge. However, we must ask for it (Psalm 119:65).
Fourth, we must be very careful that what we think is godly knowledge is really godly knowledge. God delivers wisdom and knowledge through the Holy Spirit. The Bible warns there is a danger of being deceived by other people. First John 4:1-3 warns of many “false prophets” in the world who are the “spirit of the antichrist.” We can recognize the falsity of these people by whether or not they confess Jesus really appeared in the flesh. Believing and obeying Jesus who came in the flesh is the crux of the whole matter. Through obedience of Him we shall receive knowledge through the Holy Spirit. We shall know the truth and the truth will set us free (John 8:31-32).
I have abandoned myself. I feel through the Father’s heart. I think through the Father’s mind. I know what the creator of knowing has made known to me. That is what I can know. God’s revelation of His knowledge is how you can truly know.
The world of knowledge hangs on that knowledge. That is what keeps us from despair. That is how we can truly know.