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DIVINE KNOWLEDGE

Divine knowledge is not the same as “human” knowledge, otherwise, we could not tell the difference. “Divine knowledge” is proper only to God. To claim to have it by oneself is a claim to be God, something not unknown to our kind. It does not follow, however, that human beings have no knowledge at all. Obviously, we do. Our intellectual task is to relate “human” knowledge to “divine knowledge.”

This is all fine, but how do we know anything about “divine knowledge”? The fact is that we do not know what it is unless God somehow informs us about it. Did He do this? That He did is what revelation is about.DIVINE KNOWLEDGE

Where does that leave us? How do we know what things are revealed to us? We cannot properly answer this question until we figure out what we can know by ourselves. In other words, our attention to “divine knowledge” depends on our “human” knowledge.

What am I implying here? Have we not figured out by reason many things that were once considered unknowable mysteries? We have indeed. Still, many fundamental issues remain baffling. So what’s wrong with being “baffled”?

Well, nothing, except that we are not content with our inability to figure everything out. The world is filled with myths and theories that purport to explain everything that we cannot figure out by ourselves. At first, this inability seems like a sign of chaos. On second thought, it signifies a genuine un-settlement in our souls. We know that we ought to know what ultimately it is all about.

Delicate:

The next step is delicate. Is there anything that at least claims to be “divine” and not merely “human” knowledge? Aristotle said that we should strive to know all that we can know about “divine” things. The difference between gods and men is that the gods are wise, but men are but lovers and seekers after godly wisdom. Aristotle also suggested that, if the gods knew what happiness was, it should be the first thing that they tell us

We wonder about such an observation. Is it possible that the gods did what Aristotle suggested? Well, yes, it is quite possible. How would we know if they did? Probably, we surmise, because their answers or instructions were addressed to our most perplexing lack of knowledge about what we are about in this world.DIVINE KNOWLEDGE

How do we formulate this issue? In Matthew (19:16), a young man asks: “What good must I do to be saved?” Does not everyone ask himself this question? Probably not in those exact terms. But even if we affirm that “My life has no ultimate meaning,” we are implicitly answering the question of the young man.

What does this “good,” this “being saved,” have to do with “divine knowledge”? If we do not know why we exist, it does not follow that no one knows. It may well be that our very “not knowing” is what opens us to accepting knowledge about ourselves. We realize that this knowledge about ourselves is properly “divine.” It is something we accept as true from outside of ourselves, not something we figure out ourselves. But it does explain.

 

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