We are what we behold

April 7, 2007 at 4:53 pm Leave a comment

In keeping with my last post on the epistemological role of love, I thought I’d comment on another epistemological concept I recently discovered. It comes from 2 Corinthians 3:18:

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

In other words, by beholding we become changed. Or, even more simply, we are what we behold. Presumably, if this is true of beholding Christ, it is also true of beholding things besides Christ: our thinking patterns change to reflect whatever is the object of our focus.

An epistemology of beholding

eye.jpgI had not viewed this text in an epistemological light before, but the implications are rather striking.

Namely, knowledge is subjective, not objective. We might like to think of ourselves as objective creatures, rationally evaluating the choices and information with which we are presented. And this is true to some extent.

But in another sense, Paul suggests that our thinking patterns and our knowledge are shaped by what we are beholding. We become what we behold; we conform to what we behold; we know (in the sense that we think like) what we behold.

Obviously, when one is constantly being changed by what one is viewing, objectivity is next to impossible. Best to make sure that we choose to behold—choose to saturate our minds with—that which we wish to become like.


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The epistemological role of love Were you there?

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profile.jpgI am working on my M.A. in Religion at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Besides having a big interest in theology, history, ethics, and the deep stuff of life, I am also very fond of Mediterranean food, snow, and the color red.

Email me: jamie.kiley@gmail.com

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