Sapiential Theology – Knowing & Loving the Truth

Sapiential truth [i.e. “engaged knowledge that emotionally connects the knower to the known” p. 4] is unintelligible to the modern secularized construal of truth. Modern epistemology not only fragmented truth itself, privileging correct information over beauty and goodness, it relocated truth in facts and ideas. The search for truth in the modern scientific sense is a cognitive enterprise that seeks correct information useful to the improvement of human comfort and efficacy rather than intellectual activity employed for spiritual growth. Knowing the truth no longer implied loving it, wanting it, and being transformed by it, because the truth no longer brings the knower to God but to use information to subdue nature. Knowing became limited to being informed about things, not as these are things of God but as they stand (or totter) on their own feet. The classical notion that truth leads us to God simply ceased to be intelligible and came to be viewed with suspicion.

Ellen Charry, By the Renewing of Your Minds: The Pastoral Function of Christian Doctrine [Oxford, 1997], 236).


3 thoughts on “Sapiential Theology – Knowing & Loving the Truth

  1. The “scientification” (I love the fact that theologians are given the license to create new words) of epistemology speaks to our human need (in most) for order and definition. It kinda follows the idea that a knowable (in an intellectual sense) God is much easier to believe in that a mysterious God. I believe this is where the eastern church has a significant salvo to throw into the western theological arena.

    For myself, I am trying to unprogram myself a bit to allow for the mysterious, or as your post puts it, a sapiential truth to inform me in my experience or “abiding” in Him.

    Does this resonate?

  2. I don’t think we need to make God mysterious just because we don’t know yet how to explain things. I believe God made man intelligent knowing he would seek and try to understand everything possible including the workings of the universe, which I believe brings us closer to understanding God. The more we know about creation the more we know about the Creator. Science helps explain what makes things work in the universe. It is not made-up facts or wishful thinking. Discoveries have to pass a lot of scientific protocols before it is accepted as factual. I believe like Einstein when he said “That which is impenetrable to us really exists. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion.” Just because we don’t know the answers today doesn’t mean we won’t know tomorrow. Our duty to God, as the children of God, is to take the mystery out of God and seek with all our hearts, minds and souls to know more and more about the creations so we can know more and more about it’s Creator!

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