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January 9, 2011 Tags: Science & Worldviews

Today's entry was written by Mark Sprinkle. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of BioLogos. You can read more about what we believe here.

It is often said, “Knowledge equals Power.” But for all the explanatory power of science—including evolutionary biology—we make a mistake If we adopt an instrumental view of the world and see the primary goal of our explorations as better control over the world rather than deeper understanding. Not only do we miss the beauty and goodness of creation when we look at it as something to be manipulated, we are always tempted to overstate our case when we argue for a material end from which we are likely to benefit.

But if, on the other hand, we take “discovery” to mean learning to see the world aright, rather than just more accurately or efficiently, it will just as often lead us to mystery as it does to mastery, and to a sense of kinship rather than kingship. Indeed, “revelation” may be substituted for “discovery” in the sentence above, for both are gifts to be savored, not wielded. Both point to a Creator who is not useful or convenient, but who is.

This is what Job discovered when his companions ceased their speeches and explanations and he was confronted with the Lord, Himself. Job could do nothing but sit down, mouth shut, and be in the presence of his God. It seems, too, that poet Fleda Brown is suggesting something similar in the lines given below, extending some of the inexplicability of God to the works of His hand, to those other minds to whose ways we are not privy. Despite assertions to the contrary, there are things that remain beyond our scientific reach, and even our best educated guesses. Yet they remain accessible to our appreciation and wonder, and ought to lead us towards humble worship of the Creator.

Knowledge can equal power, but knowledge may also equal powerlessness. Job’s example foreshadowed and Christ’s path exemplified that the latter is the greater blessing.


by Fleda Brown

Who knows
if the goose goes
along its trajectory
for the reasons we suppose?
Such faith we have
in the genes,
so little thought for thought,
however wrought,
in creatures unlike us.
So little confidence in art
that teases apart
the sense we’ve made of things
and leaves us with nothing
smart to say,
and no way gracefully
to get away.

“Goose” originally published in The Georgia Review, LXIII, 3 (Fall 2009), 381.

Fleda Brown’s book Driving With Dvorak was released in March 2010 by the University of Nebraska Press. The author of five previous collections of poems, her most recent, Reunion (University of Wisconsin Press, 2007), added the Felix Pollak Prize to her already extensive list of accolades, including being a finalist for the National Poetry Series. With a Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas, she is professor emerita at the University of Delaware, where she taught for 27 years and directed the Poets in the Schools program and where she was the state’s poet laureate from 2001-2007. She now lives in Traverse City, Michigan, and is on the faculty of the Rainier Writing Workshop, a low-residency MFA program in Tacoma, Washington. More about her and her work may be found here.

Mark Sprinkle is an artist and cultural historian, and was formerly Senior Web Editor and Senior Fellow of Arts and Humanities for The BioLogos Foundation. A phi beta kappa graduate of Georgetown University, he received his M.A. and Ph.D. in American Studies from the College of William and Mary, where he studied how artworks embody complex relationships in different cultural contexts. Since 1996 he has been an independent artist and frame-maker, also regularly writing and speaking on the role of creative practices in cultural mediation and renewal, especially in the area of science and Christian faith. Mark and his wife Beth home-schooled their three boys, and are active in the local home-school community in Richmond, Virginia.

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Saskia - #46554

January 9th 2011

A beautiful post. Thanks for sharing the poem and call to seeking revelation and mystery.

Roger A. Sawtelle - #47058

January 12th 2011

Knowledge should not be confused with power to control or impose our will on nature or others.  Knowledge should lead to understanding as to how to control ourselves and to work with nature and others.

John 1:10 reads “He (Jesus-Logos) was in the world, and the world came into being through Him, yet the world did not know Him.”  The world cannot know Jesus or God if knowledge give us power over its object, however then believers cannot know God or Jesus on this basis either.

John:12 -13, “But to all who received Him, who believed in His Name, He gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of humanity, but of God.” 

We know Jesus by rejecting our personal egotistic wants and accepting Him on His own terms, as LORD of our lives, which establishes a relationship between God and humans through the Holy Spirit.  This knowledge of reality empowers humans to work with others to acheive the common good for all persons.

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