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Ten Concepts, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

67- Kinds of knowledge


There is a sensuous knowledge which comes to a person through senses. People know it by sight, touch, smell or

hearing. Another kind of knowledge comes through the mind by study or inference.

Some knowledge is a kind of divine manifestation or divine revelation:

God reveals to His holy people what He wants them to know. He does this through the Holy Spirit of which it is said in the Book of Isaiah the Prophet, "the Spirit of wisdom and understanding... the Spirit of knowledge" (Is.11:2).

This was the knowledge the Psalmist requested in his prayers : "Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths" (Ps. 25:4).         Image: Robert Reid, Knowledge (1896). Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C. صورة: لوحة المعرفة، الفنان روبرت ريد، 1896 - موجودة في مبنى توماس جيفيرسون، واشنطن العاصمة Image: Robert Reid, Knowledge (1896). Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: لوحة المعرفة، الفنان روبرت ريد، 1896 - موجودة في مبنى توماس جيفيرسون، واشنطن العاصمة

It is the best knowledge of which we say in the Liturgy of St. Gregory, 'You have given me the ability to know You'. Of this knowledge also the Lord Christ said in His soliloquy with the Father, "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God... " (John 17:3), and also, "O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You... " (John 17:25). In regards to granting His disciples divine knowledge, "And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:26).

It is then the knowledge which leads to God's love and to God's dwelling in us.

A scientist is fond of seeking knowledge that gives an idea, for example, about the moon and planets by manufacturing very expensive spaceships, his fondness to know God is much less. He becomes very happy when he brings some stones from the moon or even some photos, because these give some knowledge about nature which is God's creation without enjoying God Himself.

The same can be said about many of the discoveries of man.

There is knowledge that comes from other sources.

It may come through books, newspapers, films, or other varied mass media, as we have discussed this issue before here on in other sections. Knowledge may also come from friends or colleagues.

There is knowledge that comes through the devil.

The devil may cast such knowledge into the minds of people as he did with Eve. The devil may also give certain knowledge through a thought, a dream or through one of his supporters. The knowledge he gives may be false knowledge. It may also be true knowledge but the devil uses it for evil purposes.

A person may seek to obtain knowledge from the devil through magic, calling up the dead or the spirits or by any other means which the divine revelation prohibited, "There shall not be found among you... Who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord... " (Deut. 18:10,11).

King Saul was an example of those who fell into this sin when he sought knowledge from a woman who was a medium at En Dor (1 Sam. 28:7)

Other examples also are those who seek soothsayers, palmists or clairvoyants, or those who read coffee cup, call up spirits through hypnotism and the like; all of which are described by God as "abominations of nations" (Deut. 18:9,12).

How do you know that such knowledge you obtain is truth and will not be used to lead you astray?

Know then that any information given to you by the devil is not freely given, nor without a wicked purpose to harm you or to put you under his authority and leadership.

Another kind of knowledge is knowing yourself.

"Know yourself" is a wise saying by Socrates the Philosopher.

You can gain great benefits from knowing yourself. When you know that you are dust and ash, you will be humbled. When you are aware of your sins, you will be regretful, repentful and contrite. When you know your nature and the wars within you, you will be able to overcome them. And when you know your talents, you will use them to glorify God.

There is also the knowledge of God's Holy Scriptures and Commandments.

St. Paul the Apostle said to his disciple St. Timothy, "from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith... " (2 Tim. 3:15). This Scripture "is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16).

Through knowing this Scripture, you will know the

Lord's path and know how the saints walked it.

With such knowledge you will have wisdom and discernment.

You will know what is good for you and you will discern God's path from the devils deception and craftiness. And when you know this, "you will save both yourself and those who hear you" (1 Tim. 4:16).         Image: Hypnotic seance, 1887, Oil on canvas, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm - by Richard Bergh, 1858-1919 صورة: لوحة اجتماع تنويم إيحائي، 1887، زيت على قماش، رسم ريتشارد بيرج (1858-1919)، محفوظة في المتحف القومي، استوكهولم Image: Hypnotic seance, 1887, Oil on canvas, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm - by Richard Bergh, 1858-1919

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: لوحة اجتماع تنويم إيحائي، 1887، زيت على قماش، رسم ريتشارد بيرج (1858-1919)، محفوظة في المتحف القومي، استوكهولم

Through this knowledge you will be able to discern spirits as St. John the Apostle said, "Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1).

Know others in order to know how to deal with them.

This applies to friendship, whether it be at work, socially, or within the family. You ought to know and be aware of the differing personalities and characters so that you may best know how to deal with each person. You should be aware of how to deal with adults, as well as understanding the nature of children.

Also, it is important to be aware of the psychology of, say, the handicapped, the retarded, the orphaned, the barren, and so on, so that you may best deal with each one accordingly.

Know God, and know that He sees you wherever you go.

God knows your thoughts, your intentions, your desires and your sins. If you know this, you will be ashamed of every wicked thought or lustful desire. Put before you the words which God repeats in all His messages to the angels of the seven churches in Asia, "I know your works" (Rev. 2:2).

This knowledge is capable of bringing God's fear into your heart.

Be keen on knowing truth, and when you know it follow it.

How beautiful are the words of David the Prophet in the Psalm, "Open my eyes, that I may see.. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things" (Ps. 119:18,37).

Try also to know the needs of people so that you may be able to provide for them.

Try to know the way of salvation, to walk its path and lead others onto the path as well.

Be aware of knowledge which may be beyond your spiritual level.

About this Job the Prophet said, "I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know" (Job 42:3).

Many people search theological matters beyond their spiritual level, so they deviate. Others search matters relating to the world of spirits and their thoughts lead them astray. You ought then to be humble. Search only matters that lead you to your salvation.

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