February 12, 2009

Need to Know/Nice to Know

I was thinking about yesterday's post after I posted it, thinking a bit about what I had said. Then I saw this passage in the reading I am doing in The Institutes of The Christian Religion by John Calvin, and it made me think more, going off in a little different direction:

And what concern is it to us to know anything more about devils or to know it for another purpose? Some persons grumble that Scripture does not in numerous passages set forth systematically and clearly that fall of the devils, its cause, manner, time, and character. But because this has nothing to do with us, it was better not to say anything, or at least to touch upon it lightly, because it did not befit the Holy Spirit to feed our curiosity with empty histories to no effect. And we see that the Lord's purpose was to teach nothing in his sacred oracles except what we should learn to our edification.
Calvin Institutes 1.14.16

My thoughts went beyond can and cannot know to need to know and nice to know. Here Calvin is talking about the devil, and how much we know (what we need to know) and how much more that could be known (nice to know).

Scripture gives us what we need, but we always want more. I can think of many topics that have been debated over the centuries: old earth vs. new earth, the rapture (pre-tribulation or post tribulation), the Trinity, the divine vs. the human nature of Jesus just to name a couple. Topics we have wanted to know so much more than we have available to us, so we argue and speculate, split churches and start wars. We are a proud, stiff necked bunch.

I am confident that all I need to know has been laid out in Scripture, if it is not in there, if it is subject to varying interpretations of equal merit, then I probably do not need to know. To demand I know all is to show the hubris of thinking I should be on a par with the sovereign God of creation. Wrong.

I trust Him to tell me what I need, and will fight my pride not to focus on what it would be nice to know.

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