Saturday, March 24, 2012

On ignorance

Hodge's word's struck me.
There are different kinds of ignorance. 
  1. There is the ignorance of the idiot, which is blank vacuity.  In him the statement of a proposition awakens no mental action whatsoever.
  2. There is the ignorance of a blind man, of color.  He does not know what color is; but he knows there is something which answers to that word and which produces a certain effect on the eyes of those who see.
  3. There is the ignorance under which the mind labors when it can prove contradictory propositions concerning the same object, as that the same figure is both square and round.
  4. There is the ignorance of the imperfect knowledge.
Animals possess the first. To them the concept of God is beyond understanding. The atheist holds the third type, God is like a square circle to them, they are first unwilling, then unable to grasp His nature.
The Christian as a fallen creature moves us into state two, being that we are a ruin but we have within us the inherent knowledge of God, because we have a knowledge of ourselves. We can draw a straight line out and see that if we are moral, personal, intelligent, then God must be all those things to a greater degree. It's imperfect, but it's not wrong.

Four however is the interesting one, because that is in essence the definition of a human- a finite, limited, dependent creature, because if we were not ignorant, and we did have perfect knowledge then we would be God.
Derek over at Theoparadox has made this his theme, his lens that he celebrates as the foundation of his knowledge.  For myself, I wouldn't pick it (well obviously), but reading Hodge I think I understand now what he meant with it. He didn't mean that difficult things resolve as a paradox to us, he meant that as Christians we live in type four knowledge, and to deny that there is a limit to our knowledge is to demand that we are God.  It's not a denial of knowledge, it's a confession of reality, it's like saying water is wet or plants need sunlight to grow.
But when the perfect comes, then we shall know Him as He is.


David said...

You left out what the Bible also talks about Wilful Igorance, namely of the fool, etc.

Wilful ignorance is a big problem out there.


THEOparadox said...


Thanks for the interesting thoughts and the quote. Which Hodge said this, C or A?

I don't think I would classify my subject as category 4, strictly. I find that category 4 (which we might call mystery) feeds category 3 (paradox). The difference between the Christian and the atheist is the Christian's firm commitment to the Scriptures, which leads him first to embrace, and then try to explain, any apparent contradiction he finds there. The atheist has a vested interest in opposing the Scriptures, so he prematurely declares an apparent contradiction to be an actual one--exalting his own logic in the process.

So I think my interest is inclusive of both categories (3 & 4).

I'd like to know if Hodge develops these concepts further.