What does it mean to have knowledge of God—is it similar to knowledge in the sciences, etc.? Is there a dichotomy between faith in God and knowledge of God? How does our knowledge of God connect with our spiritual lives being a matter of the heart? We’ll answer these questions and more with our guest, Dr. Tim Pickavance, author of Knowledge for the Love of God, and interim Dean of Talbot.

Episode Transcript

>> What does it mean to have knowledge of God? Is that similar to same kind of knowledge we have in the sciences or things like that? Is there a dichotomy between faith in God and knowledge of God? How does our knowledge of God connect with our spiritual lives, fundamentally being a matter of the heart. To answer these questions and more, with our guest today, Dr. Tim Pickavance, author of a terrific new book called "Knowledge for the Love of God". I'm your host, Scott Rae.

>> And I'm your co-host, Sean McDowell.

>> And this is Think Biblically, a podcast of Tablet School of Theology here at Biola University. Tim, thanks for being with us. Delighted to, your book is terrific and wanna get right into the background to it. And what caused you to write this. You say that the stuff that's the substance of this came out of more of a personal crisis that you had when you were a doctoral student at the University of Texas.

>> Yeah, that's right. So first of all, thanks for inviting me on. It's a pleasure to be here. I do start the book, it's a story that organizes around the spring and summer of 2006. And that was a pivotal period of my life. And there are kind of two things really to talk about. One is what was happening and the other is what was happening in a deeper sense. So what was happening, just in the factual history of the thing is that in the middle of your doctoral program at the University of Texas, anyway, you have to submit this thing called a prospectus, which is basically a part of your dissertation plus an outline of your dissertation, the thing that you're gonna be working on for a number of years. And you usually build up to this for about a year. And in January of the year that it was due, at the beginning of April, one of my main supervisors told me, basically, you gotta start over. And that created a lot of anxiety and tension and that was adding on to a kind of anxiety that had been building for me for a long time just to do with what I was doing in life, where my career was headed, whether I was gonna be successful, all of the sorts of things that often people experience around that time in your mid twenties. And of course the deeper stuff that was going on had to do with that, it was prompted by that, but it wasn't really about that fundamentally. And I'm sure it was born of all sorts of things to do with my prior history and so on. But at root, I think what was going on for me was a spiritual thing, which had to do with the kind of listlessness in my relationship to Jesus, a felt lack of direction of where I was going, why I was doing this philosophy thing, those kinds of things. And so I've experienced the same problem in the students that I have here at Biola. And I've come to believe that deep down this spiritual crisis is not just about knowledge, but it's at least partly about knowledge. And that a solution to these kinds of experiences are gonna involve not just dealing with the sort of feelings and emotions and all of that sort of stuff that goes on inside of us, but also an understanding of what's happening inside of our minds and the way that that relates to our devotion to Jesus. So that's where the book came from, and it's written really for the students that I have here at Biola and also my own children. I mean, they were the people who I really had in mind when I was writing this.

>> I teach an under undergrad class here at Biola, still do one high school class. And I can attest that there's a crisis of knowledge amongst everybody. But in particular as it relates to faith, that's why the title of your book, "Knowledge for the Love of God", if someone's paying attention, it's provocative to say that we can have knowledge about God as opposed to just faith or feelings. So are you saying we can have knowledge about God like we can in the sciences and math and history, same kind of knowledge? Is that your claim? If so, why?

>> Well, fundamentally, I wanna say the answer to that question is Sean is yes, but I actually think it might even be deeper than that because I think these other kinds of knowledge are really in a way, ways of knowing God and about God. So let me give you some examples. So you mentioned things like science, history, math, those kinds of things. Math in my view is really the study of the kind of deep structure of God's mind. It's understanding the way that God's mind is organized. Science is studying patterns in the will of God. History is studying God's actions in the world through time, through his people, through other people in the natural order. So all of these are ways of God revealing himself and his works to us. And of course we also have the scriptures, but fundamentally, yeah, we can know about God through these means, through the scriptures, and we can know God himself, which is something I hope we'll get to talk about later. Yeah.

>> Tim, I think it's fairly common in the culture at large that when any religious person, not necessarily Christian, but when any religious person comes to a deep religious faith, somehow to do that, they have to put their mind on the shelf and they just have to stop thinking and just accept things by faith. How would you respond to that?

>> I think that may be a fundamental misunderstanding of the notion of faith, actually. So I mean, faith and when you think about it is really a fairly mundane thing. We express faith in all sorts of things. We express faith in other people. We're all sitting, we're expressing faith in a way in the chair by sitting down, we trust it to hold us up. And our faith in God is similar in structure. That is, we trust God for certain things, for providing for us now and forever and so on. Now faith, if you think about the ordinary, mundane sorts of faith, it's not opposed to knowledge at all. In fact, you see in those kinds of faiths that knowledge actually buttresses and supports and amplifies faith that is coming to know deeper the nature of this chair would help me have more faith that it will hold me, because I can understand how it's put together, how it's structured in order to hold someone like me and so on. I remember my wife actually for a while, she was struggling on airplanes to not just sort of experience fear, and one of the things she did was listen to a podcast, which was pilots talking about how piloting works, how planes work, how all of this stuff goes together and works. And it teaches you things like the wings move and that can kind of freak you out. But it's actually really important that the wings can move in the air because if they couldn't, if they were too rigid, they would just break off and you would crash, so coming to understand things about planes and how that works actually helped her trust the process of flying in an airplane. And I think it's similar with our faith in God, to have knowledge of God and what he has done will help buttress your confidence in his actions in the future. And that's why God calls us to love him with our minds.

>> So lemme ask this, how do we then have knowledge about God? Because I think it's clear to everybody, here's how we have knowledge of history. We look at remaining writings, we look at archeology. Here's how we have knowledge in science. When it comes to God there's all sorts of different people claiming that they have knowledge of God in a way that seems more diverse than in other subjects, although I guess we could argue that point. So how do we actually have knowledge about God?

>> Well, that's a very complicated question, Sean.

>> Sean: Simplify it for me.

>> Well, I mean, I think there are two things that are going on here. The first is just how can we actually know about God? And I think fundamentally the way we know about God is by receiving his revelation. And that comes in at least two forms. One is what theologians will call special revelation. You can think the Bible there, but also prophets, words of knowledge, those kinds of things.

>> Sean: Visions, dreams.

>> Visions, dreams.

>> Sean: Angels, et cetera.

>> All of that sort of stuff, right? And most fundamentally, the person of Christ himself as he ministered to people when he was pre resurrection incarnate. Now, we also have general revelation that is knowledge that we can gain about God through things like science. And this is what the scriptures talk about when in the psalmist says, the heavens declare the glory of God. When you listen to the heavens speak about the glory of God. That's a way of God's revealing himself to us. Now, that's one thing. So that's how we can come to know things about God. It's basically just by investigating God and His works, just in the ways that we do other kinds of things. The second part of your question was about, well, what about all these people who don't believe in God but maybe have access to these things? I think that is a very difficult question to answer in a short timeframe, but I want to say this.

>> Scott: Give it a try.

>> Yeah. So one of the things that the scriptures teach us is that by faith, we understand, by faith we understand that the heavens and earth were made by the hand of God and so on. So I actually think in part it's reveals the connection between our mind and the rest of our heart when we recognize that it's by faith we understand these things that are unseen. And so part of what we have to attend to is the way that our whole self is oriented toward God. So I think a big part of the answer to that question is by understanding that the way we orient ourselves to the world and to the God who made the world, is going to shape our capacity to understand God and what he has done in the world. So it actually is mandatory for us to have faith in God to really come to deeper and deeper forms of understanding about God. By faith, we understand that's the consistent message of the scriptures. So that's the beginning of an answer. There are all sorts of things that you would want to follow up on that about, which is, well, what about these other people that seem to have faith in something else and so on? And how do we minister to people in those kinds of spaces? All of that is--

>> I just throw one thing in, but before I jump in here, is what we believe about certain historical facts and scientific facts minus like gravity doesn't really affect the way we live for the most part. But if you believe in God and accept revelation, it affects how I spend my money, what I do with my body, my affections, my time. It affects me emotionally, relationally, spiritually. So there's so much more at stake, accepting or not accepting the knowledge here that of course changes the equation.

>> I agree with that speech.

>> Good, I'm feeling better. Feeling the love. Yeah.

>> Now, Tim, you've had a whole chapter on objective truth and why is that concept so important? And what do we make of religious claims, which our culture widely regards as entirely subjective, but you're making the point that those are actually objective claims. So help our listeners understand, our viewers understand the difference between objective and subjective claims, how those relate to religious beliefs.

>> Yeah. So I actually think there's a good amount of confusion around this question. So I'm glad you asked Scott. The first thing I wanna say is that truth in general always has to respond to an external standard. That is to say, if you say that something is true, there's always going to be a standard independent of that thing that is the, as it were, judge of its truth. So when we say things, we can say things truly, we can say things falsely, we can make promises, and we can be true to those promises or not. But there's always going to be a difference between the thing that's true and the thing that makes it true. So when we talk about the objectivity of truth, essentially what we're saying is these truths have to respond to the standard and be accurate representations of that standard. So when you make a promise, if you want to be true to that promise, the promise makes a demand on you. So to be true to that promise is to actually act in a particular way. So if I promise to love and care for my wife in sickness and in health, if I don't do that, I'm not being true to my promises. I have to live up to that standard. So when we talk about truth in the religious domain, it's the same sort of thing. You can be true or false to a standard. Now why do I think there's a kind of objectivity? Well, it's because the external standard is what it is whether or not I believe that it's that way, or I live up to that in the case of a promise or whatever. And religious truth claims, especially the truth claims of Christianity are about an external standard, namely what's happened in the world. So for example, the Christian faith claims fundamentally that God is creator, well, did God actually create the world or not? There's a fact about that, whether or not I believe it or can assert something about it or whatever. Similarly, and most importantly for the Christian, Jesus either rose from the dead or did not. Paul talks about this in his first letter to the Corinthians, what we think of as 1 Corinthians, and he says, look, if Jesus was not raised from the dead, our faith is in vain. What does he mean by that? He means that our faith is rooted in a historical fact that is relevant to God's saving us from our sin and rescuing us from the curse of death. If that didn't happen, if that's not an objectively true thing about the world, then the Christian faith doesn't give you the hope that it promises.

>> So let me follow up on this. So what do you say to the, you say you have a freshman student who's come from a public high school and sort of, this is part of the air they breathe, but they've been taught, live your truth, how do you respond to that?

>> Yeah okay so that's a part of the first question I didn't get to. So when we talk about subjective truth, it's actually kind of difficult to know what we mean because truth in general is about something external, but subjectivity is about something internal, so I think usually what is going on is one of two things. Either someone is saying, this is what I believe. Well, okay, so your truth, my subjective truth in this sense is just a report on what I believe. But your beliefs can then be tested for their objective reality as well. So that's one thing. But I think the thing that really is most often going on when someone says, this is my subjective truth is it's something like this. It's what I want, it's what I feel, and therefore how I'm gonna live. So I want this, and so I'm going to pursue it. And so when we talk about the subjectivity of truth, often I think when people say, this is my truth, they really just mean this is what I want to do and how I want to live.

>> Scott: These are my desires.

>> These are my desires. And so when I'm talking with students, what I want to help them to see is that that's important to recognize. But the Christian faith teaches us that we're fallen and broken and that attends our desires as much as our minds. And so we have to allow God to help shape our desires, what we feel, what we want, and what we believe. And so God doesn't want to leave us in the pit of despair. That is our natural state in a fallen world.

>> I'll often say to students, you can have your own belief, but you can't have your own truth. Because truth is when a belief matches up with reality. I think a piece of this though is that the locust of authority has shifted from external reality that we try to discover versus what I believe based on what I want or my experience. If I believe it, it's true for me. And you have to affirm it. At the root of this is a different view about freedom, isn't there? What it means to be free. You talk about that in the book. Tell us how you see the connection between knowledge and freedom.

>> Yeah, Jesus wants freedom for us. I mean, this is why he says, you'll know the truth and the truth will make you free. And that sort of freedom is not the sort of freedom as you point out that we generally think about. Usually when we talk about freedom, what we mean is basically the capacity to do whatever I desire. But I don't think that's the deepest kind of freedom that we should be pursuing. I think the sorts of that sort of freedom is maybe a condition or a substrate for the kind of freedom that we really want, and the kind of freedom that we really long for is a freedom to live well. And living well is more than just living according to your desires. It's living according to a kind of reality that will shape us into people that really experience the true deep human freedom of living well, I mean, look, love constrains us in certain ways, but I don't think it's contrary to freedom. It is borderline. I mean, I can't imagine treating my family in certain ways, and that's not because I'm unfree in this sort of, I could choose to do that if I wanted to sense, it's because I love them and in my love, that sort of mandates, it constrains, it compels me to treat them in certain ways. The kind of freedom that Jesus offers is the kind of freedom born of that sort of love of God and neighbor. And so when we talk about the freedom that Christ offers, we're talking about a freedom to love well, and that's the sort of thing that I think we have to have our minds shaped by God to achieve.

>> Let me go back to the whole area of religious beliefs. You framed this in terms of religious beliefs either being reasonable or unreasonable. Why do you frame it in that way? And how is that a helpful set of categories for you?

>> Good, so knowledge of truths, so not of persons or things, but knowledge of truths in my view is basically to have beliefs that is representations of reality that are internal and stable beliefs that are both true. That is they match the way the world is and reasonable that is, you have some good evidence for them. So the reason why reasonableness matters is because knowledge matters and knowledge is just reasonable, true belief. And I think we see this born out in the scriptures because Jesus is not interested in indoctrinating us and manipulating us. What he's interested in is educating us. And education is a matter of giving people compelling reasons to believe that the world is truly a certain way. So one of my favorite stories in all of the scriptures is a story in Mark 9 where a father comes to Jesus with a son who's been demonized basically since he was born. And the story I think, is really about the dad, because the dad comes to Jesus and he says, if you can heal him, please do. And Jesus is like, if, what do you mean if. Don't you know that anything is possible for people who believe, and you might expect, I don't know what Jesus would do in this sort of situation. I don't know what my expectations of what he would do are anyway, but he confronts the father. I mean, the son is demonized rolling around on the ground, and Jesus is busy confronting the father about his misconceptions about who Jesus is. That's an interesting fact. But I think whats going on is that Jesus is forcing the father to come to grips with a certain reality, namely a reality about himself that he believes, but also unbelieves. He's an believer and a believer. So that's why the father says, and this is a mantra of my life, Lord, I believe help my unbelief. And what does Jesus do? He doesn't say, child have faith that I am who I say I am. Of course that's not what he does. He deals with the son and the father simultaneously. He gives the son what he needs. He heals him, and he gives the father what he needs evidence that Jesus has authority over these evil things in the world by healing his son. So he cares for the father's unbelief, not by just saying, have faith, my child. He says, here's some evidence. And of course the Father doesn't go away unbelieving that deals with the father's unbelief right in the way that is appropriate for a rational being while also lifting up his heart by seeing Jesus' care for his son. So Jesus is dealing with the whole person of the Father, but part of that is helping the father overcome unbelief through the giving of good evidence, the healing of the son, and thereby knowledge that Jesus is who he says he is.

>> We see the same thing with John the Baptist, don't we? When he's in prison and he's suffering emotionally. So his heart is rightly starting to question things. Jesus sends the message, are the deaf hearing, the dead are raised again, the good news is being preached gives him evidence. Now, if people, can--

>> Hold on so notice what's also happening there is he's reminding John to trust in the promises of God. So he is not only giving him evidence that John's ministry was not in vain, he's also reminding John of what he knew already. Which was that God will fulfill his promises to his people.

>> That's good, I'm glad you brought that in. Now--

>> Even though John ended up with his head on a platter.

>> Yeah, he did.

>> Yeah.

>> Well, John will be raised from the dead.

>> Yes.

>> There you go. You started the MA philosophy program about three decades ago. The two of us did that together early two thousands. I point this out because all three of us have philosophical training. If people are still with us so far, they might be thinking, how does the heart play into this when it comes to knowledge of God? You guys are talking big ideas, epistemology, whatever. You have a line in your book, Tim, that says, "Jesus cares about knowledge because knowledge is a matter of the heart." I thought knowledge was a matter of the mind. How is it a matter of the heart?

>> Biblically the heart is our deepest self, but also biblically, the mind is actually a part of the heart. Our culture opposes minds and hearts because, and there's a long historical tale about how this happened that I won't go into today.

>> Sean: Thank you.

>> You're welcome. It's actually a really interesting story, but what's happened is we've come to believe that the deepest part of ourselves is what we want, what we desire. And that is not the biblical picture. The biblical picture is a picture of mind and will together forming the heart, forming our deepest selves. And those two things actually relate to one another in deep and important ways. So the reason why I think that that cultural myth is a problem is because it teaches us to not attend to our mind if we want to attend to our heart. But I think the consistent witness of both the scriptures and the church tradition is that if we want to attend to our heart, our whole self, we also need to attend to our mind. And this is why Jesus tells us to love God with our mind.

>> And with our heart. So in part, what our story says, and this dates a little bit, but the whole Titanic theme was just follow your heart. Disney movies, follow your heart. You're not saying don't follow your heart. You're saying align your heart and your mind together. And in fact, correct knowledge helps better form our hearts to love God and other people fully.

>> I think that's right. But I actually want to say that because your mind is a part of your heart, what you need to do is align different parts of your heart. What you're trying to communicate, which I think is apt, is that we need to align our mind and our wills, our emotions, our desires. But that's not the heart as opposed to the mind. That's actually different aspects of the heart that all need to be working in concert if we're going to experience true freedom.

>> Yeah. I agree with that speech, just for the record.

>> Well, and I think throughout the scripture too, the heart, the soul, all those are often used as figures of speech for the whole person, which suggests that the person is most clearly defined by that which is deepest in that part of ourselves.

>> That's right. And in fact, in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for heart is lave. And the word lave in the Old Testament is often used, as you say, to pick out the whole person. But when it, it's also used to pick out particular faculties. And the most common faculty it's used to pick out is the mind. That should strike us.

>> In fact, yeah. In fact, the heart and the mind actually those are used somewhat interchangeably. So that, that cultural dichotomy and what we, that dichotomy we've been, I think it's fair to say that we were sort of grown up spiritually formed with is just not accurate to scripture.

>> Tim: That is right.

>> So let me go back to knowledge. I'm gonna go back to philosophical stuff.

>> Do it.

>> You consider the Bible to be a source of knowledge, right? And so I'm interested to know kind of what's the basis for that, and then can we know something that's true simply and only because the Bible says it?

>> Oh, I'm so glad you asked this Scott. Okay. You can know things just because the Bible says it's true. And the reason for that is actually very, very simple. The reason is that the scriptures are divine testimony. God is speaking in the scriptures. Now, why does that mean you can know things? It's because testimony, knowledge mediated by others is an absolutely, an inimitable part of our understanding of reality. And this is true not just in the religious case. This is true in every domain of knowledge. We have students on Biola's campus taking all manner of courses, even science classes. And you know what those students don't do all the experiments themselves. They trust the testimony of great scientific figures actually mediating time over. Because they might publish their work in some scientific journal, the scientist does. And then that scientific journal is read by some other scientists who then write a textbook who then publish that textbook and have a professor at a place like Biola help a student understand what's in the textbook. So it's all sorts of testimony going into shaping the scientific knowledge of our students. And so even in the field of science, mathematics, history, it's all a matter of testimony, at least a big part of it. And so testimony is a crucial, vital part. I mean, the example I like to use with my students is that you know your own birthday, something as kind of basic and central to your own self-conception, you only know that on the basis of testimony. And you might think, well, I can look at my birth certificate, you know what a birth certificate is? Testimony, it's a piece of testimony. And in fact, it has to be signed by two people precisely in order to confirm the testimony of the folks that are signing it. So why would we think anything different if God is the testifier, that's the best testimony imaginable. So of course you can know things just on the basis of the scriptures. Now you can also get evidence that the scriptures are reliable, that they're actually divine testimony and all that sort of thing. But that's different than saying, oh, I need something in addition to the Bible to know things that's helping you to understand that the scriptures really are a source of divine testimony. And that's all very good. But it's fundamentally a thing that can give you knowledge because it's God's speaking.

>> Yeah. I mean, that's an interesting parallel I think between science and history, that both are dependent upon testimony for their reliability. So I think that, we often think of, yeah, you can have reliable knowledge in a lot of different fields, but the way that we determine or discern what we can know in those different fields is actually radically different. But your point is, well, not so much even when it comes to the scripture. The way we know it is actually not that different from the way we know things about science or history or what I had for breakfast this morning.

>> That's right. And I think when you start to reflect on all the things that you know, and important things and reckon with the reality that so much of that is mediated by others, it helps you to see that the fact that the scriptures are testimony shouldn't lead us to question whether you can know things just by reading them. I think this is a vitally important truth, is what I'm saying.

>> Okay let me take us a step further. Muslims believe that the Quran exists basically because of the testimony of Muhammad. They believe it to be absolute truth and they govern their lives by it. Hindus believe that the sacred writings of Hinduism come from the testimony of the various gods and goddesses that they have. What makes you think that what the Bible teaches is the real thing based on reliable testimony as opposed to these others who we, I think we would say, not so much.

>> Well, I want to say one thing. If you look in the book "Knowledge for the Love of God", you won't find an answer to that question. So I want to make sure that people know that's not a question I'm trying to answer in this book. So if you go up and pick it up, you're not gonna find that.

>> Sean: There you go, there you go.

>> However, I think there's a lot to say about this, and this is why I think having multiple sources of knowledge is better than just having one. So from the fact that you can know things on the basis of the testimony of scripture doesn't mean that you can't know things in other ways too. One of the most important things that I think we can know, not just from the testimony of scripture, but from the testimony of scripture, but in other ways, is that Jesus rose from the dead. I think that Jesus rose from the dead because the scriptures say so. But I also can come to know that Jesus rose from the dead by studying history. And I think that there are other ways that God speaks too. So the church tradition talks about the work of the Holy Spirit in confirming that the scriptures are inspired. Now that sounds sort of squishy, but I think there's a reality to that, that we need to take seriously. But here's something striking about the Bible is that the more we come to understand the historical record from other sources, the more confirmatory evidence we get of the central claims of the Christian scriptures. That is not the case with other holy books, at least not as much. And so I think other forms of knowledge can confirm that the scriptures are speaking truly and thereby buttress our confidence that the scriptures are divine revelation. But nonetheless, you don't need all of that in order to know things on the basis of the scriptures. What that helps deal with are objections to the reliability of the Bible, which serve as objections to the claim that God wrote the Bible. So that's what that investigation can help with. I don't think you need it in order to rest confidently in the testimony of the Bible.

>> That's one of the things William Lane Craig has talked about is that before modern history and science and apologetics, there's a ton of people who had the testimony of scripture and could know it by reading it and encountering God directly. The fact that other religions claim that they can do the same thing, doesn't discount that one, in fact could be true and genuine. And in fact, if Christianity was true and is true, we would expect spinoffs to claim similar things. So it actually fits the larger narrative, so to speak. And then he says that we can know it directly, but we show it through the science, show it through the history, show it through apologetics and evidences. But like you said, that goes beyond your book, but you set it up for that question. Lemme go back to a conversation we had earlier. We were talking about freedom and knowledge. The way if I ask young people to define freedom is typically doing whatever you want without restraint. And I'll give you an example, that doing what we want sometimes doesn't lead to freedom. And like you said, freedom entails the right restraints. I'm free with my wife 'cause I say romantically no to everybody else on the planet. But then how does one become more free? That's where this spiritual disciplines start to come into play, to conform my heart, to conform my mind. So earlier when you talked about the mind being a part of the heart, what do we do to start align those things when we look within and say, I don't have the affections that I want. I see my failures, I'm not as confident as I wanna be. Now that may go beyond the book, but just set us up of what that step would look like.

>> Yeah, I think that this is a question that different people will answer differently. So I'm just gonna answer it for myself. For me, a big part of what has shaped my mind and desires and emotions together, what stitched those together coherently in a way that they weren't stitched together in 2006, is ordinary mundane practices. And in particular, things like Sunday worship with weekly communion, reading the scriptures in a way that isn't sort of analytical. So my mind has a tendency to overanalyze the text. Now, that's not bad, I think that's really good. But there was a period in my life around this time of 2006 that I couldn't read the scriptures that way because what I was doing there was subjecting the scriptures to my own authoritative, so I thought reading and what I needed to do was take the scriptures in frankly by hearing. So I went to a church that said, hear the word of the Lord. And I listen to it spoken over me without even reading along sometimes, those are the sorts of, and in big chunks, big chunks of the text instead of reading a couple verses in my quiet time I would read a huge section and just try to hear God's speak to me. So those kinds of ordinary practices that somehow I don't quite understand how shape our desires and our longings. And what started to come about was a longing to hear God speak through the scriptures, which for me now I can do that analytical work in a way that is facilitating hearing God speak in the scriptures rather than opposed to, or trying to sort of have authority over the text. I can receive the gift of the bread and the wine or the grape juice depending on your church tradition. I can receive those gifts as reminders and signs of Jesus's sacrifice. And that is built in a longing to be with God's people, to worship God, to read the scriptures and hear about what God has spoken and even encounter the natural world in a way that's organized around the basic Christian storyline. And so what starts to happen when you engage in those practices, or when I engaged in those practices anyway, is I began to see the whole of reality in a fresh way. It was by faith, I was understanding, that God has been at work in shaping the natural order, in shaping the history of the world, in helping me to understand and building me in a certain way and so on. So for me, it's been a kind of like ordinary life, life together with others and also life in community of the church. Yeah.

>> Tim, one final question for you. I wanna go back to the title of your book and again, commend this to our viewers and listeners, knowledge for the love of God. So let's be really clear about this. How does our knowledge of God help us, not just to hear him, but to love him better?

>> Oh, that's such a great question.

>> I keep coming up with the great questions.

>> I think I wrote these, I don't know.

>> Let me ask you this Scott do you love your spouse?

>> Yes.

>> Now, in loving your spouse, do you pursue an understanding of her?

>> All the time.

>> And does that help you love her better?

>> Yes. Yes, it does.

>> It's the same thing. If you love someone, you care about them, you care about what they want, you care about how they think about things, you care about what they long for and hope for and expect you investigate them. That's part of loving. But it also noticed that your love compels you to do that. But also that turns around and helps you love them better. So for your spouse, when you come to understand what they want, you know how to buy them gifts, when you come to understand what they fear, you know how to help them walk through certain times and seasons of life. So our knowledge of people in general supports our love of them and our knowledge of them is compelled by our love of them. Well, God is a person, he reveals himself to us in a personal way. And so in our love of God, we will be compelled to understand and investigate God, his history and also what he hopes for in the future. And that will in turn, lead us into greater and deeper love of him because we understand the beauty and the goodness and the power of God that compels a kind of love as well. So it's really no different than the kind of love we have for our spouse, our children, et cetera. But it's maybe the most important form of love that we have. And so therefore, the most important form of knowledge.

>> I feel like we could just close in prayer and hand it right there, nice little sermonette there. Hey, thanks so much, Tim, for being with us.

>> My pleasure.

>> To our viewers, we hope you've enjoyed this conversation. Again, we want to highly recommend "Knowledge for the Love of God" by Dr. Tim Pickavance our colleague, our interim boss. You know, and we did we treated him with sufficient respect as our interim boss?

>> Yeah, you can throw a friend in there too.

>> That's it. Of course, of course. And we wanna make you aware that this is also available on audio as well as video. Most of our Think Biblically will be podcast is on audio. So we hope if you're not subscribed to that and listen to that regularly, we hope to make you a regular part of that. So thanks for being with us. Hope you enjoyed the conversation. [upbeat music]