“You will be like God.” That’ what the serpent said to Eve. Essentially, the temptation was to think one knew all that needed to be known.
Jesus taught people to seek. In this season of graduations when we celebrate the completion of educational enterprises, we ponder: Are we encouraging new generations of seekers, or creating cadres of ‘know-it-alls’? And what do young people see in the adult role models in their lives?
In his book Narcissus and Goldmund, Hermann Hesse says scientists don’t define things; they learn to differentiate one thing from another. I wonder if that doesn’t have traction for what it means to be “educated” – not that we fully know something, but that we acquire the wisdom to distinguish in ways that are more true one thing from another – arrogance from confidence, deep contentment from superficial happiness, lasting peace from fleeting satisfactions.
As I return to the US from France and a quick stop at CERN’s recently restarted Large Hadron Collider, it occurred to me that there is a tautological connection between seeking and knowing, a circular quality to the simplest and the most complicated of life’s enterprises. The successful search for the “Higgs” means that physicists now “know” something that inspires a new intensity of searching. In other words, every answer leads back in some way or another to the question which generated it.
If there is anything a follower of Jesus should be certain of, it is that Christians must forever be “seekers”. I wonder if that isn’t the most “god-like” quality one can aspire to. And when you think about it, doesn’t an expanding universe suggest a God who is still looking for something?