POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan

The Bifurcation of Knowledge - where all begins and ends

In the life of my children we are but beginning to lay a foundation in their education.  Thomas is 3 months old so we just talk to him a lot, using full sentences and not baby talk.  Kylene is 2 1/2 so we read to hear a lot, tell her stories which inflame the imagination and are working dialogically on basic questions about life and God.  Kayla is 5 we are working on language skills, basic math, good reasoning skills (logic) but most importantly theology.  More than anything I want Kayla to know where all knowledge and learning begin and end. 

It is a great shame today that education is unhinged from its fountain.  Truth taught about language and math without it bolted to the one reality in which all things hold together.  With my kids, I want a few things:

  • I want them to be humble in all their learning
  • I want them to love truth and the process of learning
  • I want them to understand that they have been given minds to honor and glorify Father, Son and Holy Spirit and serve humanity

So with Kayla we are using a phrase, derived from Biblical truth, to posture her in life for learning: The Bifurcation of Knowledge

Deuteronomy 29:29 - The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Knowing this passage of Scripture gives us great humility - I am finite, I do not know and cannot know all that God knows.  Yet it also gives great hope that knowledge is possible, it is attainable, skepticism is unwarranted and learning not a nihilistic spinning of the brain. Humility and awe for God and learning - this is the goal.

In teaching Kayla I give him the ridiculous big word bifurcation - which means divided in two.  That knowledge itself exists in two categories.  So I ask her a series of questions after quoting Deuteronomy:

  • Question: Kayla what is the bifurcation of knowledge?
  • Answer: There are secret things and there are revealed things!
  • Question: What can we know?
  • Answer: The revealed things! (Daddy's qualification - we know only a partial amount of the revealed things...but we can continue to learn)
  • Question: What does God know?
  • Answer: The secret AND the revealed things (Daddy's qualification - God knows all things exhaustively and completely)

Summary statement: All theology, indeed all knowledge begins with revelation. That a gracious and good God reveals knowledge to us - therefore, there is truth, therefore, we can know, therefore, learning is a glorious way to worship God. This takes us directly to the Christian doctrine of revelation. God IS and God reveals.  His revelation comes to us generally in nature, conscience, design in general, design in us (see J. Budzizewski's What We Can't Not Know: A Guide) and specially - in the person of Jesus Christ who is the fullest revelation of God and in the Bible, the very Word of God which teaches us about God and his decrees.  The Scriptures being the norming norm for our knowledge of God and the primary guide for philosophical conclusions and our scientific and inductive investigations. 

It is my prayer that my kids have knowledge and God very connected...but this is the very difficult task of education...and it takes time.  I need to make more time to dialog, learn, laugh and worship with my kids.  Pray for us Fathers - that we would teach our children.