The Knowledge of God -2 Corinthians 10:5 (Part Three)

In our previous post, we examined the basic human tendency to worship the human intellect, to erect “towers” as monuments to human intellect and ingenuity. This is then contrasted here with the “knowledge of God”, with these towers presented as an alternative to this knowledge, and the issue at hand here for Paul is determining which of these will lead to human “flourishing”. The question Paul addresses here is whether the primary means to human flourishing is found by looking within (to one’s own intellect) or through looking outside oneself to God, and it is obvious which of these Paul sees here as paramount. It is referred to here as the “knowledge of God”, tes gnoseos tou theu in the Greek. Gnoseos here is the noun form of the verb ginosko, and we will take a closer look at this Greek term and its usage here in order to better understand what Paul is communicating here. Paul again here uses a Greek word, but has in mind a Hebrew conception of knowledge, particularly the knowledge of God. This type of knowledge is the knowledge of experience, knowledge which arises continually from a personal encounter. We grow to know God just as we grow to know any person, through personal encounter with them. So the question then arises as to how we “encounter” God? We do so through His Word, the Word of God through which He reveals Himself to us. This concept then dovetails with John’s conception of Jesus as “the Word” (logos in the Greek). It is through Jesus, who is both the person of the Word and the living Word, that a personal encounter with God is made possible. The knowledge of God to which Paul refers is only made possible through a continual encounter with Jesus, the living Word, through Scripture, the written word. The means to human flourishing ,then, is not through the exaltation and worship of the human intellect, but through the exaltation and worship of the knowledge of God. According to Paul here, human beings flourish only through growing in the knowledge of God, through a continual encounter with the living Word (Jesus) through the written Word (the Bible). It is an encounter with Jesus which makes the knowledge of God possible, and it is through a continual encounter with the person of Jesus that this knowledge will lead to the flourishing of the individual, and it is through the flourishing of each individual that humanity can truly flourish.

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