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Knowledge and Knowing

March 28, 2007

I was standing today in the dark toolshed. The sun was shining outside and through the crack at the top of the door there came a sunbeam. From where I stood that beam of light, with the specks of dust floating in it, was the most striking thing in the place. Everything else was almost pitch-black. I was seeing the beam, not seeing things by it.

Then I moved, so that the beam fell on my eyes. Instantly the whole previous picture vanished. I saw no toolshed, and (above all), no beam. Instead I saw, framed in the irregular cranny at the top of the door, green leaves moving on the branches of a tree outside and beyond that, 90 odd million miles away, the sun. Looking along the beam, and looking at the beam are very different experiences.
God in the Dock – by: C.S. Lewis

There is a difference between “knowledge of” and “knowing.” You can see the sunbeam and know it exists – easy to do. You look around, observe, and see the sunbeam and the results of its light. In essence, you simply have “knowledge of,” but no more.

However, if you move into the sunbeam, and look out, you can see all the beauty through the sunbeam. You have taken the next step, and made the effort to stay in the sunbeam and see all that is through the crack and out of the darkness. Again, in essence, you “know” and experience the sunbeam and see the goodness through it.

It is that same way with the Christian walk. Most of mankind “knows of” Christ, but they don’t “know” Christ. They see the sunbeam (Christ) and how good and wonderful He is, but that is all. They cannot see through Him and the further beauty and wonder that is beyond.

All it takes is a little belief that there is something more than the dark little shed, and then make a little effort based on that belief, and then you can see the wonder and beauty that is outside of the dark shed through that sunbeam.

All it takes is a little belief that there is something more than what the world has to offer and then make a little effort based on that belief, and then you can see the wonder and beauty that is outside of this world through Christ.


Note: C.S. Lewis went on to make a different point from his example. His example has been re-used to make a different point.

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