Knowledge and Philosophy Could Never Lead to Joy Themselves

Over the years I’ve learned a lot about philosophy and theology. And, although there are others that know more than me (of course), I could tell you a few things, I’m sure.

I could tell you about Spinoza, Aristotle, Plato, Kant, Epicurus, Hobbes, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Marx, Descartes and a couple of other famous names.

I could tell you about existentialism, nihilism, mysticism, atheism, empiricism, rationalism, post-modernism, modernism, pre-modernism and more. I could tell you a bit of Eastern Philosophy and Indian Philosophy too, and so the list goes on.

I could tell you some things about theology too – eschatology, soteriology, ecclesiology, emergent theology (and the mix bag it is), methodism, anglicanism, roman catholicism, pentecostalism, fundamentalism, whatever you’d care to discuss.

And of course, there are those out there who could tell you far more if you wanted.

I’m no expert, but I know enough about all this stuff to know how darn interesting it all is and what a delight it is to know stuff and have high-convoluted ideas of how the Universe works and the mystery it all is. It’s a delight to be so darn knowledgeable isn’t it? To come up with some new bright idea. To know ideas. To be one-up on the rest.

Yet, it’s all worthless at the end of the day isn’t it? Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. (1 Cor 8: 1-2.) Even if I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and have a faith that can move mountains – but I have not love – I am nothing. (1 Cor 13:2.)

But even love can just become another philosophy to many. We’ve all heard the wishy-washy philosophies centred around ‘love’. The 60’s introduced some new definition of ‘love’ that had more to do with sex and lip-service than actual love, such as laying down your life for your friends.

I’ve heard lots of new agers talk about love too but it’s just a wonderful philosophy to many of them. I’ve seen Christians do the same. “You know Ryan, it’s all about love. It really is.” Take a sip of their tea. “Now, let me tell you about that girl (whoever), boy she really grates me…” (and the gossip continues).

God is love but love is not God. Philosophy and knowledge cannot save. It can’t bring life. It never seems to achieve the desire of our hearts to be in fellowship with the Creator. It delights the mind, yes, but it can never delight the heart. The joy of knowledge is fleeting, and so we need more. Study more. Read more. Look for the next big idea. This has been my experience and I know I’m not alone.

Knowledge may be there to help our hearts, because the heart is where it’s at. But we don’t treat it that way. We make it the point, when it isn’t the point.

But there is another joy… a lasting joy… one that sticks with you through good times and bad times. The joy that does speak to our hearts, as uncomfortable and difficult as this Joy is. For it is far easier to fill and mold the mind than let the heart be molded and filled by someone else. It’s far easier to study than to trust.

It is the Creator’s own joy. The only way to get life is to get it from the one who gives it – the Creator. God Himself. By trusting Him, completely. By giving Him our hearts.

1 thought on “Knowledge and Philosophy Could Never Lead to Joy Themselves”

  1. I agree with Ryan that having joy exceeds any knowledge. To have that joy is to be in a relationship with God. In the early church there was an emphasis on developing a heart toward God. This was the Hebraic way. The scriptures were not accessible like they are for us. So, the relationship with God was the key focus. God related to his people on a personal and intimate level. And obedience was the key to a healthy relationship with God. Decisions were not made based on reason and analysis, but by obedience. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10).

    Knowledge is good but only if the source is of God because loss of intimacy with God has been the fallout as a result of the influence of the Greek spirit. The primary focus has been teaching and discipleship instead of the development of a personal and intimate relationship with God. This has resulted in a form of religion, but one without power.

    In the early church, the rabbi was there primarily for quality control, not as the primary teacher and speaker. He did not even address the people from an elevated platform. The whole congregation was in a more circular format, each sharing what they believed God was saying. The focus was on the power of God working through each individual, not one individual (1 Cor. 14:26).

    I feel we could learn a lot from the early church, maybe we need to go back to the beginning, and enjoy the resources we have today as God is making old things new.

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