Moreland (2007) makes the case that Christian faith is ingrained in knowledge. He adds that knowledge is not the same thing as being certain about something and in fact there are very few things in life that are known for certain. Moreover, knowledge can exist without the actual awareness that the person knows it and knowledge can exist without knowing the source (Moreland, 2007). Two of the Biblical Principles Related to Education relates to this particular notion; first # 38, "People are motivated to understand cause and effort" (Cox n.d., p. 3). We all have certain inherent beliefs that we are unaware of their source. One of these inherent beliefs is that things in the universe did not occur randomly, even though at one time the secular idea of macroevolution was thought to be driven by random forces, but even this idea has changed (Gould, 2002). We all expect earthly things to have some cause whether we are a materialist or creationist. Mortal entities have a beginning and end; they have a cause-and-effect. We search for causes inherently. We inherently try to do the right thing as we see it, although sometimes what we see as "the right thing" is based on our subjective ideas. "He who sows wickedness reaps trouble, and the rod of his fury will be destroyed" (Proverbs 22:8, NIV).
In addition principle #31 tells us, "Each person is created with some type of inherent 'knowledge structure'" (Cox, n.d., p. 2). We attempt to build on our inherent knowledge by trying to understand the world. We know that things in the world have causes and we search for these causes. This is not something that we learn to do; we do it because we are inherently driven to do so. Education should build on this "need to know." "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people" (Hebrews 8:10, NIV).
Thus, there are different types of knowledge, and we should distinguish between what we know and with respect to a particular situation whether we have knowledge of that situation. Asking these questions allows one to recover knowledge. Consider principle # 10, "Each person has an inherent understanding of who God is" (Cox, n.d., p. 1). Thus, my faith in an all-powerful creator is ingrained in knowledge; however, despite what skeptical atheists (e.g., Shermer, 2006) think regarding knowledge as absolute I may experience periods of uncertainty about this knowledge. I find that in my spiritual journey and intellectual journey any knowledge I acquire is incomplete without faith and any faith that I have must be justified by knowledge. I may question both my faith and knowledge at times, but just because I do this it does not mean that they are not valid. Thus, faith and knowledge (or reason) are not mutually exclusive as many secular thinkers attempt to portray them (e.g., Shermer, 2006). In order to grow in faith my plan is to acquire knowledge; in order to acquire and build up knowledge I must have faith. "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (Romans 1:18 -- 20 NIV).
There are two other the principles that are applicable to this. First, #25, "People are motivated to interpret meaning" (Cox, n.d., p. 1). We are inherently motivated to know what things mean. "… to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do the stones mean?'" (Joshua 4:6, NIV). In the drive to find meaning we need to remember that meaning can be found in both knowledge and faith and the two are inseparable. We inherently attempt to explain the events around us -- the how, the why, what, etc.
Related to this notion is #3 "All that animates a person (e.g., thinking, emotions) is spiritual in nature" (Cox, n.d., p. 1). "…the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7, NIV). Consequently, our drive to find meaning, determine cause, learn, etc. is both a spiritual and intellectual pursuit; these are not mutually exclusive qualities of man but come from the wholeness of God himself.
Renovation of the Soul
Knowledge alone is not the answer and knowledge without faith does not exist. Moreland (2007) discusses the "empty self" which is a type of caricature of the real person who is passive, narcissistic, and infantile. Principle # 12 is fitting here, "Each person has a primary motivation to be his or her own God." The empty self is concerned only with itself and in its narcissistic drive to be God wants immediate gratification for its desires at the expense of or without regard for everything else. In a sense, this empty self is very reminiscent of Sigmund Freud's Id (Freud, 1961). Even the atheist Freud postulated that his concept of the Id if left unchecked would not promote a healthy life. "And the Lord God said, 'The man that has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also the tree of life and he and live forever'" (Genesis 3:22, NIV).
In order to renovate one's soul one must be disciplined and deny this empty self-control. Thus, as Christians we need to develop the knowledge of this particular aspect of all of us into develop the faith in this knowledge. Today's post modernistic tenet that all subjective viewpoints are valid is an example of how the empty self is popularized in contemporary thought. Principle # 32 adequately demonstrates this "A person's self-concept determines how he or she reacts to the world" (Cox, n.d., p. 2). When someone actually believes that all viewpoints are valid that person loses sight of important moral concepts. Certainly there is an objective morality. "… and last of all he appeared to me also as to one abnormally born. For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, in his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them -- yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me" (I Corinthians 15:8 -- 10, NIV). In today's post-modernistic viewpoint it is commonly believed that there are no absolutes; however, this type of thinking is hypocritical because the postmodern idea of "all subjective viewpoints are valid" is itself an absolute. Thus, the whole idea that we all make our own truths and all of these subjective truths are equally valid has little weight. We must then search for objective truth and objective truth can only come from a higher power or God. Perhaps it is an inherent quality that in our desire to be God we are actually inwardly searching for God. We can never be perfect and we look for the One that is perfect to motivate and guide us.
Principle #7 gives us some insight here, "Motivations operate from inside outward" (Cox, n.d., p. 1). "… but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed." (James 1:14, NIV). I understand that renovation of the soul incorporates discipline and self-denial when it comes to these desires/drives. The renovation of the soul requires one to merge within themselves subjective truth (what we want to be true) and objective truth (God's word). The old saying from the 1960s "if it feels good do it" exemplifies the empty self. When considering matters of the soul it is important to learn of when "to do it" and when "not to do it" with regard to our actions. In my quest for learning and knowledge is important first to learn myself, the motivations, their origins, and then learn the motivation of God and his plan for me. My love for God comes from within, my outward actions demonstrate how committed I am to this love and what I am willing to do in order to put it into practice. Often what we think and feel is best portrayed by what we do. Our intent, motivation, and true nature can be best accomplished by action.