Monday, January 16, 2023

How Do We Know? (2 Peter 1)

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge" (2 Peter 1:5).

One of Solomon’s goals in the instruction of his children was to shape their thinking. Today we would call this developing a Christian worldview. A worldview is what a person believes about God, reality, knowledge, morality, and humanity. What we think about these things shapes and determines how we live and the decisions we make. A person who believes that God does not exist will deal with situations differently than a person who does. A person who believes we cannot know truth will make different decisions than a person who believes we can know truth. Because the development of a Christian worldview is essential, we will spend the next week examining key elements of a worldview.

Whenever you breach the subject of knowledge, you are entering the world of epistemology. Epistemology is the study of knowledge. “How do we know what we know?” is a question that has engaged the minds of the greatest philosophers throughout history. Many people do not consider this question very important, yet everyone practices one method of thinking or another. Christians cannot afford to ignore such an important question; nor can they afford not to think properly. It is important to have a right understanding of ultimate issues if you are to live in a right way. What we think and know has a direct bearing on how we behave.

We come to know what we know through seeing, hearing, and thinking. We do not just sense things, as the transcendentalists would have us believe. We do not simply know what we see, as empiricists claim. We must think about things rationally and take into account what we see and hear. Many people believe things that are irrational and contradictory. While faith is not dictated by reason, true faith is not irrational. Any time a person believes something that is inherently contradictory, that person’s faith is in vain. The Christian worldview is the only worldview that is logically consistent. All other worldviews fall under the weight of logical scrutiny. This has great significance in the search for truth. Anyone who is searching for truth in any other context other than that which is shaped by a Christian worldview will only find error—something that will have devastating repercussions in every day life.

Ask a couple of people today, coworkers or friends, how they know truth. Try to ask both a non-Christian and a Christian. Ask them whether truth is the same for everyone. Is it relative or absolute? Ask them how truth relates to God and to our behavior. Think about the different answers you get.