Dallas Willard

Understanding knowledge

The ancient understanding of holistic knowing that includes experiencing the impact of knowledge on the learner is largely bypassed in our academic pursuits today. Theory rarely if ever leads to practice or application. As a result our contemporary society is mystified by, even cynical about, knowledge and has an increasingly difficult time understanding what knowledge amounts to, much less how to attain and discern knowledge of ordinary life, the nature of human beings, or the world. Let us clearly state that knowledge is the capacity to represent things as they are on an appropriate basis of thought and experience. Knowledge is not present when someone makes a correct guess. Also, the presence of a mound of accurate data or evidence does not in itself constitute knowledge. Two conditions must come together in order for knowledge to exist. The first is accuracy (representing things as they are), and the second is having appropriate thought and experience upon which one’s conclusion (representation) is based. When these two factors are present, knowledge is attained.

From The Divine Conspiracy Continued: Fulfilling God’s Kingdom on Earth. Copyright © 2014 by Dallas Willard amd Gary Black Jr. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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