The Nature of the Future Knowledge
1 Corinthians 13:12
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Then shall I know even as also I am known. Better read, "I was known," i.e. known or apprehended of Christ. St. Paul's thought appears to be that soul culture brings the true, full knowledge and power. A man knows only in the measure of the progress of the work of Divine grace in him; and what we may call perfect knowledge can only come when we are ourselves morally perfected, wholly sanctified, through the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Two points claim consideration.

I. THE NATURE AND LIMITATIONS OF MAN'S PRESENT KNOWLEDGE. It is dependent on our senses. Show that this means that our knowledge is limited to the spheres with which our senses stand related. Even transcendent and so called supernatural things cannot be conceived until set under sensible forms and figures. We can only transcend nature by the help of nature. The senses limit even the imagination. It may be shown that God's world is set ready for just the creatures he has put in it; and if any other than the sensible world is to be opened to us, we must be changed, renewed, regenerated, and so new sensibilities and capacities must be given and developed. Illustrate that the world of science is the proper sphere for men who have only senses and intellect. It is a vast sphere, a wonderful sphere, but only a limited sphere; and since researches or observations within it are dependent on the frailty of the instruments used, no absolute truth of science can ever be obtained. Illustrate from the observations of astronomers. No conclusion can be affirmed with absolute certainty because the disturbing conditions of the atmosphere can never be perfectly estimated in connection with any experiment. Then add to this frailty of the senses the influence of sin on man when his attention is directed to moral questions. No man can hope, of himself, to attain the perfect moral truth. Illustrate from the sadly mixed systems of all the great classical or modern moralists, and plead that the key to all truth is the vision of God which comes with the soul's conversion and regeneration. Here on earth a man knows nothing aright until he knows God, as manifested in the person of his Son.

II. THE NATURE AND LIMITATIONS OF MAN'S FUTURE KNOWLEDGE. It will not be imprisoned in sense forms or figures. It will come by soul faculties, of which our bodily senses are but suggestive types. It will come out of new spheres and new relations. It will take new thought forms. It will replace observation by insight, so it will need no verification. It will bear relation to moral character, and not to intellectual endowments. It will be the apprehension men may gain, when the blinding influence of sin and self love are wholly passed away, and spiritual insight has no clouds or veils to pierce through. But man's future knowledge, however wonderful it may be, must still be limited, forever it can but be the knowledge of a created being. He can never know God, never know more than God may be pleased to reveal of himself and of his ways. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

WEB: For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known.

The Knowledge of God
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