8 Min Read

Of Names & Towers

Published on

November 29, 2021

The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe — Proverbs 18:10

He Who Must Not Be Named

A name is a word or set of words by which a person or thing is known, or addressed. Similar to how certain names evoke certain knowledge, feelings, experiences, amongst others. A name, so to speak, is an access point to a body of knowledge pertaining to “that which is being named”.

Scripture is ridden with passages that speak to the effect and importance of knowledge, as well as the effect of the knowledge of God. One of the most important verses would be John 17:3 which defines eternal life, the God kind of life, in its essence, as the knowledge of the true God, and Jesus whom He sent. The power behind names, is more oft than not, a result of the body of knowledge (by experience or otherwise) and connotations behind that name. Philippians 4:9 that speaks to Christ Jesus as the name above all names, on the backing of verses 5–8.

Of Tetris Bricks and Towers

We have seen how a name refers to a body of knowledge, and from the primary text we see a name also likened to a tower. In the same light, one can picture each block in the tower as a single entity of knowledge that is intertwined, or interfaces with others. Similar to how our brains record information by interlinking new knowledge with what we already know, a body of knowledge (or name) is one with intricately interconnected sets of knowledge.

Like a building, if the inter connectivity between each knowledge is weak, the building would fall like a pack of cards (ever tried cramming a set of items in a particular order, and forgetting one item?). The essence of knowledge is utility, and not merely storage. To make use of stored knowledge, one has to be able to recall said knowledge. The ability to recall knowledge is dependent on how it is encoded, and its interlinks/connectivity with other pieces of information.

The more connected a piece of knowledge is, the easier it is recalled, or remembered. This is one of the reasons it is harder to forget your childhood address (because of the memories connected to that address) than it is to forget a random six-digit number that has no connection to other memories.

Murder your Darlings

“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” — Philippians 3:8.

Because knowledge is built on one another, like bricks in a game of Tetris, each additional knowledge has to fit in, or make sense, with existing knowledge, otherwise, there would be gaping holes in the body of knowledge and such a structure would not be strong (or hold water). This phenomenon can result in faulty buildings, either built entirely out of straw, or built with a combination of materials without structural identity. One of the major causes of this, is what is referred to as the Confirmation Bias.

The Confirmation Bias, often referred to as the “mother of all biases”, is where one tweaks or interprets additional knowledge to suit/conform or add-up to pre-existing notions/ideas/knowledge, and rejects any contrary information. With respect to the interpretation of scripture, this is known as “eisegesis” where one reads scripture into his/her context and this often results in misinterpretations.

A classic example of this would be Peter and his trance about unclean food (Acts 10:9–16). One that I would be remiss to mention is how an entire nation that had waited years for the promise completely missed the promise when He came! (John 1:11) They missed Him simply because they had preconceived notions and ideas that formed the body of knowledge they referred to as the Christ. They could not add up His manifestation to the ideas they already had, and so rejected Him. They did not let scripture interpret itself to them (exegesis), but rather they interpreted scripture into their context (eisegeses).

The Bible notes that the knowledge of Christ is not something you add to preconceived notions and ideas, and instructs that we receive Christ like little children, blank slates, malleable (Matthew 18:3). In Philippians 3, Paul speaks to the body of knowledge he had amassed prior to learning about Christ.

It may be pertinent to note that all the “confidence in the flesh” he spoke to pertained to an understanding of righteousness and spiritual things pre the knowledge of Christ — he made no mention of tent making, or anything without a spiritual coefficient (as it were) — and he counted these as dung.

In essence, there was a pulling down of strongholds (towers), and knowledge that was not compatible with the knowledge of Christ as God and King. (2 Corinthians 10:4–5) and then building up on a clean slate. The knowledge/revelation of Christ as the Son of God is the cornerstone (Matt 16:16–18, 1 Corinthians 3:12), and our faith in Him is the foundation. This is why Peter admonishes in 2 Peter 1:5, to “add to your faith”, because faith is the foundation!

As I begin to wrap up, I would revisit the Confirmation Bias, as it can be very subtle but with far reaching consequences. In Matthew 21, Jesus tells several parables that speak to this phenomenon; The Parable of the Two Sons, and the Parable of the Wicked Tenants. I encourage that we read from verse 23 for context, but for the sake of brevity would skip to the conclusions. In concluding the first parable in verse 31,

“Jesus said to them (the chief priests and elders), “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.”

…and this because the chief priests had a body of knowledge that the facts before them did not add up to, and so rejected the Kingdom of God. In ending the second parable in verses 42–44, we see “the stone the builders (those who claim to know about stones, or have preconceived ideas about stones) rejected has become the cornerstone”. Here’s the funny thing, the chief priests and Pharisees know they are being referred to but rather than adapt, they dug deep into their “strongholds”, and still rejected the knowledge contrary to their pre-existing beliefs — that’s how small but mighty this bias is.

As you go into the week, I admonish that we re-examine our beliefs about God, the body of knowledge we each have that is “named” after Christ, especially the idiosyncrasies and/or dogma that do not readily appear to have any scriptural backing. Engage in structural testing (Romans 12:2, 2 Tim 2:15) of the strength of the materials with which you have built so far, that your house withstands the rain, the flood and the wind. — 1 Cor 3:10–15.

Have a productive week ahead.

Itoro Nehemiah

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