1. Heaven’s Most Splendid Gift

God’s wisdom is proved by its result. _Christ (Matt. 11:19)

Be…an ark on the ocean of knowledge…123 _Bahá’u’lláh

“To learn and never be filled is wisdom; to teach and never be weary is love.” The gate of heaven opens to the fortress of wisdom, and the fortress of wisdom opens to those who knock at the door of knowledge and truth. Wisdom always remains awake and watchful; it cannot rest in the darkness of despair and unconcern. It is always hopeful, daring, and curious; it cannot dwell in the land of fear. Wisdom always hungers for knowledge; it cannot accept tradition for truth or submit to apathy or inaction. Like an eagle with open wings, it soars with a keen eye in search of truth.

The true beginning of wisdom is the desire to learn (Wisdom of Solomon 6:17). Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you (Matt. 7:7). Test everything. Test the spirits to see whether they are from God (I Thess. 2:25; I John 4:1). Be always on the watch [investigate] (Luke 21:25). Whoever is thirsty, let him come (Rev. 22:17).

Knowledge is Heaven’s most splendid gift to humans. It must be sought and cherished with a fervent hope, a passionate desire, and an undying resolve. It is the lever that elevates the hearts to contentment and harmony with the whole universe. It is more precious than life itself. Indeed, without it there is no life:

…my people perish for want of knowledge… _Hosea 4:6

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. _Christ (John 6:63)

Some people must “die” before they learn to accept or appreciate knowledge. This is how Dr. Raymond Moody, in his book The Light Beyond, describes the change of attitude in those who encounter near-death visions:

The short time they were exposed to the possibility of total learning made them thirst for knowledge when they returned to their bodies. Often, they embark on new careers or take up serious courses of study. None that I know of, however, have pursued knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Rather, they all feel that knowledge is important only if it contributes to the wholeness of the person. Once again, a sense of connectedness comes into play: knowledge is good if it helps make something whole.124

Dr. Moody then offers this example about a businessman who used to scorn knowledge:

Doctor, I have to admit to you that before this cardiac arrest, I had only contempt for scholars. I worked my way up with little schooling, and I worked hard. There is

a university nearby and I used to think those professors were just lazy, doing nothing of any practical value…But while the doctors were saying I was dead, this person I was with, this light, the Christ, showed me a dimension of knowledge…That was a humbling experience for me. I don’t scorn professors anymore. Knowledge is important. I read everything I can get my hands on: history, science, literature. I’m interested in it all. My wife fusses at me about my books in our room. When you have one of these experiences, you see that everything is connected.125

The Bahá’í Faith hails knowledge as “a wing to human life”; “a veritable treasure”; “a source of glory, bounty, and joy”; “a wondrous gift of God.” But the light of knowledge needs a lamp by which to focus and manifest its glory. That lamp is a heart detached from preconceived notions, free from anything that may dim its light: attachment to traditional beliefs, fantasies, and false assumptions; fear of searching for new knowledge; self- satisfaction and pride; and concern for self-interest, such as “if I do this or that, what will others think?”

…the pure heart becometh the mirror of the beauty of truth.126 _ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

The heart—the ultimate jury—must be totally impartial to arrive at a just decision. When knowledge strikes a pure and just heart, the spark is the truth:

…through knowledge shall the just be delivered. _Hosea 4:6

…thou…doth direct the path of the just. _Isaiah 26:7

Blessed are the pure in heart…For they shall see God. _Christ (Matt. 5:3, 8)

The hearts of all children are of utmost purity. They are mirrors upon which no dust has fallen.127 _ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

I tell you that whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it. _Luke 18:17

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