Knowledge, education, research, science–they all provide some pretty great things. But in our age of technological wonder, it is easy to forget that information is about more than what it can do for us. Knowledge is a gift. And like all gifts in God’s oikonomia, it points us outside ourselves.
Certainly, knowledge helps us do more; but more importantly, it helps us be more. The grand abundance that God has sown into our being is a sign of his abundance, yes, but it also speaks of his desire for us, the development and flourishing of the human person.
And our knowledge also helps us to serve more people more fully, to steward our gifts more faithfully. Our God-given insights help us discover new medicines, new means to feed more people, better ways to care for the world. But the creation isn’t just a means to act; the creation itself means. It signifies. It speaks. Look into the world and you’ll find something of him who made it. As John tells us, the generating force of the universe, the LOGOS, the Word, from the very beginning was with God, and was God, and all things that were made were made through him. And as Paul tells us, by understanding the things that are made, we can clearly see the invisible things of God–his eternal power, his divinity, his humility. And then, when faced with his glory, when we remember our humility, when we learn to fear the Lord, this is the beginning of wisdom.
So let us not be afraid to plumb the depths of God’s mysteries in the world. Let us build institutions of education, of research, of exploration, in the full confidence that what we learn will not contradict our faith, but will speak of God’s abundant majesty and grace. Let us explore that we may be more, that we may serve more, that we may know and love God more–that we may wonder at his magnificence.