The Foolishness of The Information Age

Young children and their parents within the church are in great need of wise counsel and sound words. Internet information stored in our heads, without being tested or interpreted , is not reliable knowledge. Information only becomes knowledge when it is properly interpreted. The Internet will not do that. Knowledge becomes wisdom when it is tested and practiced, and the Holy Spirit connects the dots that hold knowledge together to constitute the disciple’s worldview. Wisdom in Christ is revealed spiritual knowledge filling  head and heart lived out over time by discerning disciples. Only these wise experienced guides can interpret the information and point the next generations to the wisdom Christ gives.

For example information tells us there are many errors in the Bible. That is true. This uninterpreted information alone suggests the Bible is an utterly unreliable spiritual guide. That is not true. A word of explanation: manuscript errors exist because we do not have the original manuscripts of any of the sixty six books in the Bible. However, we have hundreds of manuscripts of both Old And New Testaments. These manuscripts, in many languages, often differ slightly from other manuscripts rendering of the same passages. So what does the information mean? Can the Bible be relied upon to tell us the story it purports to tell?” These questions help us move from detached and partial information to knowledge of the Bible’s reliability or unreliability. (See Neil Lightfoot’s, How We Got The Bible)

The answer is that the Bible is the best attested and therefore most reliable ancient book in the world. That is its text is supported not only by hundreds of manuscripts but many of these manuscripts can be dated within twenty five to two hundred years of the original autographs. There is no student of ancient texts, including the biblical texts, who thinks the Bible’s “errors” change the meaning of the witness of the Bible to the purposes of God for the world which culminated in Jesus, Israel’s Messiah and Lord of the world. This conclusion means we have done some interpretation of the information to arrive at greater knowledge of the character and reliability of scripture.

Wisdom takes this knowledge and redirects her faith in the person of Jesus the Lord to whom the Bible witnesses. The God inspired Bible is a reliable witness to Jesus the Lord and the life to which he calls us, but it is not the object of our worship. Whereas Islam believes the Koran in Arabic to be the only perfect revelation of God on the planet Christians believe that Jesus, God in the flesh, is the only perfect revelation of God on the planet.

Wisdom knows that the fear, the awe, of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Knowledge of God through the Spirit and scripture as an inspired reliable witness to Jesus leads us to build our lives on the person and words of Jesus the Lord. Everything else Jesus said is a sandy disaster. (Matthew 7:24-27 ) “We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. But to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” 1 Corinthians 1:23-25

The crucified Christ is the wisdom of God. Yet he is also our righteousness, sanctification and redemption. There is no such thing as wisdom apart from a covenant relationship with God (righteousness) that leads to holy living (sanctification) made possible by God’s act of delivering us from slavery (redemption) through the cross. We are called in the age of information technology to seek the wisdom of Christ and him crucified. We are promised that if we seek we will find. We are also called to live the wisdom of Christ every day in a culture that has no use for wisdom.

Those of us who fear one God will begin to value prayer over noise, holiness over happiness, faithfulness over success, time with people over more money, healing speech over twittering hatefulness, and giving back over saving more. We will get out of step with the anxious sprinters all around us who pass us by on the road and then call for emergency relief a few turns down the road. Tortoise disciples move at the Lord’s pace who said something like “Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” Brownout and burnout disappear.

We then share this “foolishness” of God that is wiser than men with a generation buried inside the foolishness of uninterpreted internet information. Otherwise, T.S. Eliot’s prophetic insights into the information, knowledge, wisdom debacle of 1935 will continue describing our 2017 chaos.

“All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,

All our knowledge brings us nearer to death,

But nearness to death no nearer to God.

Where is the life we have lost in the living?

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”

“Choruses from “The Rock” (1935)