When we study the Scripture, we often find ourselves holding to certain truths that seem self-evident, but at the same time raise more questions that seem impossible to answer. The post-modern mind must understand that the Christian claim that humanity can know truth does not preclude the possibility of imperfect and incomplete knowledge. In seeking to understand the limits and power of Man’s knowledge, the figure below is of great value. Here we find two sets of contrasting values that together provide for us a grid inside of which we can better understand the knowledge we possess.

The boxes on the top row indicate the two kinds of knowledge which come from and lead to deception; Incomplete False Knowledge and Complete False Knowledge.  Let me illustrate each idea.  Let us assume that the dictionary represents all knowledge about the topic of language.  Given this premise, Incomplete False Knowledge, describes any kind of knowledge that is false and for which there are still many unknowns.  For example, a person who memorizes only one entry from the dictionary, but does not memorize it correctly. Complete False Knowledge, describes any kind of knowledge that is false and holds no degree of uncertainty.  For example, a person who memorizes the entire dictionary, but memorizing every definition incorrectly.

In contrast to the above, the boxes in the lower row indicate the two kinds of knowledge which come from Divine revelation: Incomplete True Knowledge and Complete True Knowledge. Again, let us assume for the sake of example that the dictionary represents the fullness of all knowledge about language. Incomplete True Knowledge, then, describes any kind of knowledge that is true but may also have certain areas of doubt. For example, a person who properly memorizes one entry from the dictionary, but not all entries. Complete True Knowledge describes any kind of knowledge that is true and holds no degree of uncertainty.  For example, a person who memorizes every entry in the dictionary without exception and without error.

A Kingdom worldview acknowledges that only the Creator-God has Complete and True Knowledge, but as we seek after him, we can in this life attain Incomplete True Knowledge. Only with this hope, can the individual find purpose and unity in the seeming chaos of existence.

Dr. Joe Miller (aka JR) is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. In addition, he is a church planter and coach for emerging leaders. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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