Monday, May 08, 2006

Empirical Knowledge, Revelation Knowledge

I want to talk about something that is really important to me. I could write volumes on this, but this being a blog, I'll spare you and try to make this contentious subject as short and plain as I can.

I have been a Christian since I was about eleven years old. I have been an electical engineer for about nine years. I went back to college at age thirty and have worked in Florida as an engineer since I graduated from Louisiana Tech in August of 1996.

I love things scientific. I love things spiritual.

How do I reconcile the two things in my life? People have asked me how someone trained in scientific disciplines can also believe in God? Specifically Christianity and it's necessary belief in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. And the Bible? How can a man of reason believe that gobbledy-gook?

Because I choose to believe.

I make a decent living helping to design, prototype, and test electronic communications equipment. Mostly satellite communications stuff. I design digital electronics. Some things I have worked on were things that had no precedent; things that were the first of their types ever to be successfully built, tested, and proved workable and reliable, anywhere in the world. I am pround of that. And every bit of that is based on scientific knowledge. That's all I can say about my job. That's why I don't talk about it on my blog. I can't. I have to leave it at that and let you figure out why.

There is, in my life at least, both empirical knowledge AND revelation knowledge. Empirical knowledge is gained and 'provable' using the five senses. Taste, smell, touch, see, hear. The whole basis of all our scientific knowledge is that it has to be provable based on empirical input. But there is also revelation knowledge. This is knowledge gained through the human spirit. The Bible is revelation knowledge, given to men from God's Spirit. Revelation knowledge is generally NOT 'provable' empirically.

Therein lies the rub, as they say. We have become such an empirically driven world that people are more and more denying the spiritual side of life because they cannot measure it or sense it with the five human senses.

I can design for you a voltage divider to allow you to have a certain voltage at the input of your device, and it can be designed with incredible accuracy if you have the money for the choicest, tight tolerance components. All of it based on sound scientific principles, tested so often as to be taken for granted.

Yet if I speak of spiritual matters, people's minds start to close up. I have left the realm of the five human senses, and more and more in these days, that is not acceptable. Yet even the most hardened atheistic scientist will be quick to declare his love for his wife, even though it could never, ever, ever be proven empirically. A person can hate someone for whatever reason as well, and that is considered normal (if distasteful) even though hatred too, cannot be proven to exist through empirical methods.

As for me, I embrace both the spiritual AND the empirical. The empirical is fun. It's interesting. It's useful and necessary for my work and bringing home a paycheck. Revelation knowledge, or things spiritual, is even more necessary in my own life. I know that millions don't believe in God and want me to prove there is a God. But they want me to prove it empirically. They want to have God proved to them in such a way so that they can measure Him. Taste, see, smell, feel, or hear Him with their five human senses.

This, I cannot do for them.

So I live my life like everyone else in the world, just doin' the best that I can. But I think that I have something that those who only believe in what they can 'prove' with the five senses don't have. I think the spiritual dimension of my life is what gives me purpose for living, gives me reason to do my best in all that I do.

Revelation knowledge, as revealed in the Bible is the blueprint for my life. Am I perfect? Of course not. I am not one tiny bit better than the worst human on earth, though I conduct my life in such a way as to be more valuable to society. I dread only one future day, where I will be held accountable before God over everything I've done while in this human body, good or bad.

The Bible says that we are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body. Our spirit is that which has the potential to know and interact with God. I have chosen to accept Jesus' sacrifice of Himself and His resurrection, and God in turn makes alive that spirit that I was born with, born disconnected as it were, from Him, and He has made me alive in spirit.

I'm a person that loves and revels in the accomplishments of mankind through the scientific method. But I also believe in God and His revelation knowledge and in spiritual things. I just waller (wallow, for the non-southern) in God's love.

Why? Same reason someone is an atheist. I chose to believe. They chose to NOT believe. I have chosen to have God make alive my once dead spirit. I wish I could prove it to you so that you could empirically see, but I can't.

The choice is yours.

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. II Peter 1:16

1 comment:

Sharon Lynne said...

Very thoughtful post. I think a lot about why I believe. I often delve into apologetics "proofs" because I want to know more. I am always wrestling. But I've chosen to believe.