Faith Integration Modules / Learning Objects
Module 5: What does it mean to know?
Video Clip Introduction (Download RealPlayer)
What does it mean to know?
“In the beginning, God…..” Genesis 1:1
“The God who made the world and everything in it, ….gives all men life and breath and everything else. For in him, we live and move and have our being” Acts 17:24, 28.
“I am the way, the truth and the life.” John 14:6
“This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3 (NIV)
On the basis of these insights from the Bible, together with related assumptions about ‘what it is to be human’ in Module 1:
- humans, as created beings, derive meaning from a Creator-God as prime Source;
- knowing is the outcome of a relationship between God and humans;
- the Hebrew “yada” (to know) means 1. To know by observing and reflecting (thinking), and 2. To know by experiencing (Vine, 1985: 130);
- knowledge is experiential, and is acquired and developed in the context of interpersonal and communal relationships.
- in true knowledge and knowing, the separation between sacred and secular is artificial and inappropriate. As Gaebelein insists, “All truth is God’s truth’. Religious neutrality is a myth;
- while knowledge produces understandings that can be shared, recorded and communicated in a propositional form and belief statements as so-called factual knowledge, the separation of objective facts from subjective experience is a myth;
- the attempt to separate objective and subjective knowledge is an outcome of Graeco-Roman philosophy, modernity, rationalism and the promotion of scientific method.
It is important to recognize the extent to which we have been affected by secularization, and why many of the assumptions we hold about education, the learning process, and knowing are invalid, or limited, and limiting.
From the Christian perspective, true knowing is associated with practicing the presence of God, even in the apparently secular, and the most mundane things of life. of activities. The testimony of Brother Lawrence, the Carmelite monk, who practiced the presence of God through the washing of pots and pans and serving his brethren, is significant.
Elizabeth Barret Browning also recognizes this reality:
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes
The rest sit around and pick blackberries.
Aurora Leigh, Book III, line 820
In response to secularism and the loss of our sense of the transcendent, Harry Blamires’ concept of the reality and relevance of thinking Christianity is a way of perceiving what it means to know. According to Blamires, the marks of a Christian mind are:
- its supernatural orientation;
(The ‘big picture’ or Christian worldview)
- its awareness of evil;
(Its acknowledgement of our human predicament)
- its conception of truth;
(Truth originates in God and is understood in relationship with Him)
- its acceptance of authority;
(We are primarily accountable to God, not institutions and
authority of human devising)
- its concern for the person;
(Fallen humanity’s need for redemption and restoration to wholeness)
- its sacramental cast.
(E.g. in serving one another, we are serving God. Matt. 25:40)
· What connections can be made between knowing and faith?
Gaebelein, F. (1968) The Pattern of God's Truth, Chicago: Moody Press.
Blamires, H. (1978) The Christian Mind, Ann Arbor, Michigan: Servant Books.
Palmer, Parker J. (1993) To Know as We Are Known, A Spirituality of Education, HarperSanFrancisco.
Blomberg, D. (1996) ‘Knowing and Learning in Biblical Perspective’, Ch. 9 in I. Lambert & S. Mitchell (eds) Reclaiming the Future, Macquarie Centre, NSW: Centre for the Study of Australian Christianity.
Walsh, Brian J. (1997) ‘Education in Precarious Times: Postmodernity and a Christian World View’, in Ian Lambert & Suzanne Mitchell (eds) The Crumbling Walls of Certainty: Towards a Christian Critique of Postmodernity and Education, Macquarie Centre, Australia: Centre for the Study of Australian Christianity.
Greene, Albert, Jr. (1997) ‘What Is Distinctive about Christian Education?’, Ch.5 in I. Lambert and S. Mitchell, op. cit.
©2002 Don C. Roy, Ph.D. email@example.com
These materials are provided freely for non-profit educational use. "Freely you have received, freely give." Matthew 10:8.
Graphics ©Southern Asia-Pacific Division and may not be used without permission. Graphics used originally in the Rebirth Christ-Centered Values Education materials. Contact Stephen Guptill for information.
Sponsored by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and AVLN
Last updated April 23, 2006