Thursday, August 24, 2006

We're All Clearing Jungle Here

To be human is to engage in a long, laborious process of discovery. I've just started my third year of seminary at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY, and I was struck by this simple truth today. It is the nature of humanity to have to struggle to learn. We don't download truths and concepts into our minds. We must effectively force them in there. Doubt me? Just ask a Hebrew student. You'll get the plain truth.

It didn't have to be this way. It's just the way it is. God made us, in a sense, dumb. Or to be more polite, it is as if he dropped us in the middle of a dense jungle and said, "Clear it." From that point on, the process of learning and acquiring knowledge is one arduous trek through the jungle. Today we clear a patch; tomorrow we'll clear more. The cycle goes on; the knowledge slowly builds; the hours quickly pass; and then our journey is over. So much work for so many days simply to clear a little spot. Here's eight hours for ten verses of Hebrew. Here's twenty hours to do required reading for a certain class. When it's all over, hopefully we retain at least a small portion--hopefully the jungle doesn't grow back too quickly. Through it all, we are strengthened, tested, and changed. It didn't have to be this way. But it is a fruitful process nonetheless.

All this said, it does strike me that we humans, even at the peak of our intelligence, are quite dumb. Yes, I know I've dropped my politeness, but that's the honest truth, I think. It takes so much effort to get so little idea into our brain. We labor and labor for the little we know. We are created with an entire world to find out and figure out, and our lives are one long quest to do so. The task is immense, and we are frail. This reality makes the nature of God quite awesome, if we just think about it. For God, there was no immense task. There was and is and will be pure knowledge, complete and entire for all eternity. That's an awesome reality. No jungle to clear for the Sovereign. How kind that in heaven, this jungle-clearing is done away with, and our knowledge will be perfect. Until that day, onward. We've all got some more land to clear, and a Kingdom to bring in.


Anonymous calabrese said...

Studying ancient languages teaches a certain humility. That is decidedly a good thing. For an additional lesson in humility, try prose composition. BC

7:19 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Hey Owen,

Thanks for your thoughts. I'm hoping to attend SBTS in January. Your 9 Marks article is very helpful! I definitely agree that we humans are dumb with the knowledge we are given. I was working on my "spiritual autobiography" today and was struck by how often I learned things the hard way, rather than through extensive reading! Thanks again, hopefully I'll have the chance to meet you sometime.

Ben Bartlett

10:27 PM  

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