by Stephen Foster

The reception of officially formatted and sanctioned information is one thing; education is another.

What is considered the source or authority from which information is derived and measured is critical. This, I submit, is the difference between education and officially formatted information.

Either human beings invented God or God invented human beings. If human beings invented God, then human knowledge and human intelligence are the authorities and means by/with which information is derived, compared, assessed, and measured. If God invented human beings, then God—and revealed and/or documented information about God—are the appropriate authoritative means by/with which information is derived compared, assessed, and measured.

This line of reasoning is troublesome to agnostics and those who attempt to occupy some middle ground; or split the difference.

The middle ground—as to whether human knowledge is the authority or whether divine revelation is the authority—is that while God may exist, He hasn’t revealed much; and that which He has revealed is discoverable by scientific methodology, apart from inspiration.

The more firmly one believes this and the more committed one is to the idea that scientific discovery essentially interprets revelation (and/or, the more one opposes the concept that inspired revelation trumps scientific discovery), the more important the role of scientific discovery appears to become in shaping one’s worldview.

Perhaps we can all agree that the purpose of education and of scientific discovery is to gain an understanding of why things are as they are; and/or why some things are not as they appear to be. Understanding ourselves, our world, and our universe is the goal.

Information without understanding is not intelligence and knowledge without understanding is not wisdom. “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (and) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” (Proverbs 4: 7, Psalm 111: 10) These two verses of scripture point to a relationship between wisdom and understanding.

There are no less than nine other passages in the Bible—eight of them in what the Apostle Paul referred to as “scripture,” the other in his letter to the Colossians—that contain the concepts of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding; all of which have the same theme of the Holy Spirit teaching.

“The fear of the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”(Proverbs 2:6) “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” (Proverbs 9: 10) “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God…” (Colossians 1: 9, 10) These three—wisdom, knowledge, and understanding—are the Scriptural pillars of education. They are inseparably linked and only accessible via respectful acknowledgment and worship of God. These educational pillars are established by God for the expressed purpose of providing “knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” to those who recognize the need to seek and ask. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)

Without an acknowledgement that God is the authoritative Source of all wisdom, knowledge, and understanding education does not begin. Where education has not begun, it does not exist. The mere gathering or accumulation of officially formatted information—otherwise known as formal education—is overrated because it is an imposter. It masquerades as education; it is commonly referred to as education, but it is ultimately fraudulent.