Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

April 27, 2004

Knowledge as Foretaste

Every year Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, puts on something called A Festival of Faith and Writing. Books and Culture reports from the festival here. I especially wanted to draw your attention to the final paragraph.

On Saturday afternoon, I was talking with a friend who had come to the festival for the first time. It was good, he said, very good; and yet, he wondered, what finally was the point of it? What was the mission statement? I told him I thought the mission statement (if there has to be one: in heaven, you can be sure, there will be no mission statements) was contained in the name of the event: it's a feast of faith and writing. On these feast days we celebrate together, as if around a table (anticipating the great banquet that will mark the restoration of all things), and then we return, enriched, to our "ordinary" lives.

Yes, in Heaven there will be no mission statements. I like that. Just now, in this life, we see as in a darkened mirror, but in Heaven we will know better, and fuller, and more vividly, things we cannot yet even imagine. So much so that we won't need mission statements, or conferences, or even 40 Days of Purpose, in order to figure out what to do. We'll just know.

Of course we'll not possess all knowledge, mind you. We will not be infinite beings, with infinite minds. We'll not be little Gods. But in our finitude we will be, even as Paul prayed for the Colossians, filled with knowledge. Until then, I suppose we stumble our way toward paltry scraps of knowing. Truth now is a foretaste of the truth-feast that is yet to come for those who are in Christ. But we shouldn't spurn the gaining of knowledge simply because our knowing will always be imperfect. Knowledge as foretaste of Heaven--knowledge of the true, the good, knowledge of God and of Godliness--is a gift from God. He makes it available to us, His children, even despite our sinfulness. Is He not a truly generous Father?


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