My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.Colossians 2:2-4 NIV
Wisdom and knowledge. I love learning, especially about the world we live in and the one who created it. I find physics books to be fascinating, which is not to say I understand them well. And I am reading a book now that is about biochemistry, the makeup of living cells; fascinating. I just finished watching a video by Sam Harris on free will (he argues against it). And from it, I gained some understanding of determinism. Most days I try to read an extended passage from the New Testament because I believe it has the most to teach me about my creator and his purpose for me. Learning is fun and highly recommended.
But be careful. Our wisdom and knowledge should be firmly grounded in Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. It is important that as we listen to the arguments presented by others that we always stay grounded in Christ. Sam Harris’ argument against free will sounds reasonable. But it is an argument that will lead you astray if you are not careful and do not know the truth.
There are many in our world today who would seek to move you off the foundation of Christ. Sometimes they make an emotional appeal, and sometimes they make an intellectual appeal. Oftentimes their arguments contain some measure of truth. Sometimes the intent is obvious, and sometimes it is more subtle, seeking to move you just a little bit at a time. But, for the unaware, they all can lead to shipwreck.
And unfortunately, there are many who operate under the guise of Christ, masquerading as angels of light who do the same thing. A person sprinkles the name of Christ into his speech. Or quotes a few selected Bible passages. But that does not mean that what they have to say has any value. Shipwreck also awaits those who follow them unawares.
So how do you guard against being deceived by fine-sounding arguments? While you could certainly choose to not listen to any arguments, that would limit your growth. Better is to first develop your relationship with Christ, the source of wisdom and knowledge, learning to listen to him through both his word (the Bible) and his Spirit. And secondly, bounce those fine-sounding arguments up against the truth of Christ. Do they stick, or do they bounce off?
Don’t be afraid to learn and grow. It can be a rewarding journey. Just be aware of the way-trails that ultimately lead nowhere. Keep your eyes fixed on Christ, and enjoy the journey.