Knowledge

Alton Brown is one of my favorite television celebrities, back from when I actually watched television.  I heard him talk one time about he and his young daughter watching the Mythbusters guys blow things up on their show, after which she turned to him and said, with attitude, “So, what did you do on your show today?”  Apparently, “Cutthroat Kitchen” wasn’t quite literal enough for the young lady.

So he taught her how to make napalm out of orange juice concentrate.  And nitroglycerine.  Let’s just say, the neighbors became aware of their projects at some point.

Knowledge is power.  Indeed.

I’m not sure there is a practical (and legal) application of these principles for most of us — certainly not for 10-year-olds.  But there is a certain sense in which the pursuit and acquisition of knowledge is a valuable thing in and of itself.  Personal growth is a good thing, and I am convinced it manifests itself in unpredictable, unexpected and even unnoticeable ways every day.

But there is a downside.

As one who grew up on comic books, and who rarely heard the word “genius” without the word “evil” in front of it, I know as well as anyone the dangers of knowledge.  And a quarter-century of preaching has brought me in contact with plenty of Jannes and Jambres types — “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7-9).

That’s why love is more important than knowledge — even spiritual knowledge (1 Corinthians 8:1).  Love for God points us in the right direction.  Love for neighbor guides our application.  Without those two helps, knowledge can do far more harm than good.