Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands.
-- Psalm 119:65-67
Born William Thomson, this renowned Scots-Irish physicist and engineer was the dominant figure in science during the second half of the 19th Century. He published more than 600 scientific papers and filed 70 patents. He was the president of the Royal Society from 1890 to 1895. And he introduced the world to the term thermodynamics.
Kelvin was obviously brilliant. But as it turned out, his knowledge was limited to the information available at the time. For example, he claimed that "heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." The Wright Brothers proved him wrong just eight years later. And in 1900 Kelvin declared, "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement." He also asserted that "X-rays are a hoax."
Just as Lord Kelvin derided the notion of airplanes and X-rays, many otherwise intelligent people regard Christ-followers as uninformed because they accept the Bible on simple faith. After all, they reason, knowledge is the answer to freedom and a better world. If everyone would think like them, peace and prosperity would prevail!
The problem with this viewpoint is that worldly knowledge is constantly changing and correcting itself. On the other hand, the wisdom and knowledge that God gives us through the Bible is rock-steady. But that hasn't stopped people over the centuries from trying to discredit Jesus and the Scriptures. There are even organizations, books and movies that are dedicated to the pursuit. (Remember The Da Vinci Code?) But their efforts ultimately fail. For example, Biblical truth struck again in 2004 when archaeologists discovered the Pool of Siloam, the site of one of Jesus' recorded miracles. Up until then cynics claimed that the pool was an imaginary place!
The lesson here is that for all its prowess, human knowledge is inherently untrustworthy and limited. God's Word by contrast is proven to be all-powerful, reliable and true. We can and should trust it. After all, the Bible is God's owner's manual for living a productive life and making a positive difference in our world. It's also the dependable road map for finding our eternal home through faith in God's own son, Jesus Christ. There are many good reasons why the Bible is called The Good Book.
Don't misunderstand: Education and human knowledge can be quite valuable. And learning new skills and earning college degrees are definite career-builders. But as Christ-followers, we must remember our source of real knowledge and the words of true life. We're to trust Him with a simple, child-like faith.
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me," invites our Teacher, "for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."