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Knowledge of your own consciousness is a form or non-sensory knowledge by acquaintance. It is an example of where you can have knowledge by acquaintance with things you can’t see, touch, taste, smell, or hear. And that’s very important.
Now, when I claim that Christianity provides us with knowledge, one of the things I mean by that is that it gives us knowledge by acquaintance, in that we can be directly aware of God. Sometimes God shows up and we can experience Him directly. We are aware of Him. We sense His presence immediately. That is a form of knowledge by acquaintance, where I can actually perceive God and be aware of Him with the eyes of the heart and the eyes of the soul.
The same thing is true with demons and angels. I know people who have had encounters with seeing angels. They’ve been aware of their presence. I have been aware of demons. I’ve been involved in exorcisms, where I’ve helped cast demons out of people. I remember years ago, I was in a meeting in a gymnasium where a Christian speaker was going to speak at a secular campus. There were 2,500 people who came to hear him. I was sitting in this basketball arena at the half-court line, talking to some people. And I perceived or sensed the presence of evil walk in the door. I looked over and saw three guys walk in. I noted very carefully where they sat. After the meeting was finished, I made a bee-line to them to talk to them. And I came to find out that all three of them were heavily involved in the occult and had come to the meeting that evening to see if they could find a way to disrupt something.
They were demonized. And I had knowledge by acquaintance with the demonic.
Now, the fact that people in our culture are not aware of the demonic is an oddity of our culture. It’s not the way Christianity is worldwide.
I had two students from Africa, who came to study with me at Talbot School of Theology, who tell me regularly that they see and are aware of demons as well as angels even at Biola University’s campus. They’re able to perceive these things because they learned that it was okay to do so as a child. And they’ve developed the ability to see into the unseen world. Whereas we tend to treat all that as psychological and so on.
So here’s the point: Does Christianity provide us with knowledge of reality?
I believe it does, and the first kind of knowledge that Christianity gives us is knowledge by acquaintance.
What do I mean by that?
There is a form of knowledge where we can be directly aware of God and the unseen world. There are times in worship where God literally manifests His presence in a special way and you can sense that He’s there. You can sense His presence. That is knowledge of God. You are aware of Him being there. That’s the first kind of knowledge.
The second kind of knowledge is extremely important. And it’s the kind of knowledge that receives most of the discussion in today’s universities. It’s called “Propositional Knowledge”.
Here is a simple definition of propositional knowledge: It is a true belief based on adequate reasons.
Now, in order to understand this type of knowledge, I need to clarify three things:
1) What is truth?
2) What is a belief?
3) What is meant by “adequate reasons”?
Firstly, a simple definition of truth: It is when things are the way one takes, says, thinks, or believes them to be. Another way to define truth is a matching between thought and reality.
JP will continue his discussion in Loving God with Your Mind next week.
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