The one and the only obstacle that hinders learning

Learning is different from acquiring a college degree. Learning implies becoming a positive cause-point in a world of insanity. A truly learned person is not the one influenced by what goes on in the environment, but the one influencing what goes on in the environment. The only time a learned person is proven to be educated is when influencing what goes on in his environment. Such positive influence, actually, continues even after his/her demise.

While college is necessary to facilitate learning, it is possible to acquire learning without college attendance. It goes without saying that most colleges produce the most destructive offenders, as manned by criminals who are bad models in society. This results from a system that proffers college education with titles that infer graduates as better than those not privileged to access college education.

This is different from an education that seeks to answer the question on how the society would benefit through one’s education. Although in high demand, education aims at wrong reasons. The first realistic education was introduced by Jesus. He taught the principle of value-addition to His twelve disciples, but this was extended to the spontaneous followers.  That education focuses on motivating individuals to also support others in attaining their potential in life.

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It equips other people with value, more than giving them a sense of loss and degradation. For instance, in Zimbabwe we have thousands of graduates churned out of universities every year. But, it seems, no one has ever evaluated the benefits accruing from those graduates. How has the country benefitted from the production of such graduates? Or, rather, how have those graduates benefitted from having spent more than four years in college education?

Thousands of graduates, lament of the environment that is not conducive for exercising whatever they learned. In other words, those graduates wallow in being effects, rather than being cause in their environments. Education is meant to empower, so that a person becomes able to control his environment, rather than being controlled by the environment.

The obvious blame goes to the governing authorities. But, the governing authorities are themselves, the product of a bad educational system. The vicious cycle will remain for a very long time, until there is concerted effort to change the educational curricula to focus on value addition. Colleges should not be viewed as being the only method in acquiring education. The most fundamental and highly effective education comes from God.

Jesus was not a product of college education, yet His educational standard was doubtlessly regarded as supreme. Today we have scholars, popularly known as Theologians, basing their education on the person of Jesus, rather than on what Jesus taught. Their popularity lies in highlighting the worship of Jesus. Christianity is popular due to advancing theology. But, what those Theologians advocate, resonates well with an uneducated populace that has passion for idolatry.

Theologians are regarded as authorities in the Christian religion. Worship services are deified throughout the world where Jesus, as conferred with membership in Trinity, is the center of attraction. Trinity has become the stable datum of the Christian religion so that worshipping Jesus drives Christianity. But, the only time Jesus mentioned the term, ‘worship’ was at the well, with a Samaritan woman. This was coincidental, through the conversation that had ensued, between Him and that woman:

“Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:20-24) (NIV).

The woman knew what the term worship implied. The Israelites had previously been instructed to worship their God in Jerusalem. The Samaritans had since disconnected themselves with worshiping God in Jerusalem. Yet, God had instituted a worship system, involving Jerusalem, for all Israel. Jesus declared having instituted change that took place after His arrival. What did that mean, to His followers?

This is clarified in that it was no longer necessary to need a place of worship, as had been designated in Jerusalem. Now we have to explore the meaning of worshiping in spirit and in truth. The spirit cannot be seen or touched, but remains to be what it is, just as truth also remains to be what it is. Truth cannot be seen or touched but remains true, whether anyone labels it truth or not truth.

The spirit and the truth are synonymous. To discover what truth is requires willingness to observe the obvious, before acquiring certainty in its knowledge. Rather than assuming knowledge of what has not been observed. That which exists is anchored on spiritual source—understood through the verification of the provided data. Some people insist that faith implies believing what is unknown.

This assumes that faith is based on assumption, rather than the truth. This is where most Christians get engrossed in desiring to worship when, actually, disconnecting their faith from the truth.  The definition of faith, itself, is clearly provided in Hebrews Book:

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:1-3) (NIV).

Truth comes from God, who is spiritual. Therefore, without God’s word, there is no truth to talk about. The starting point is, therefore, to establish the existence of God before taking His word as truth. Those having established the existence of God and taking God’s word earnestly, are naturally identified with faith. When willing to sacrifice his own son, Isaac, because God had spoken, Abraham demonstrated knowing God. (Hebrews 11:17-19).

Also, the three lads, Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, could not succumb when confronted by king Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3:17-18). They remained resolute—being willing to die for what they understood to be true. Caleb and Joshua had to withstand the wrath of the entire Israelites’ resolution to oppose entering into the Promised Land (Numbers 14:6-10). Those individuals established their faith onto the unshakable truth, based on things unseen by physical eyes.

In this world there is no knowledge that does not stem from God. While most prophets could be credited for being faithful, none could match the faith of Jesus. Those believing in Jesus, can access the privilege to also acquire the faith of Jesus. Such people hold the truth that is not matched with anything of this world. The irony lies in that Christianity is probably graced with the highest number of Christian religion subscribers. But such subscribers hardly believe what Jesus said.

They profess to believe in the person of Jesus, but not in the faith of Jesus. We have to deal with the real obstacle, blocking access to true knowledge from God. The previous prophets had provided this knowledge in packages that were not as clear as provided by Jesus Christ. But very few people are able to access that knowledge, due to the aforesaid insidious obstacle. It is the same obstacle that blocked the Pharisees during the time of Jesus.

Today, our Theologians cannot access that knowledge, due to the same obstacle. Their departure from Scripture is in assuming that humans are different from Jesus. They disregard God’s word that humanity was created in God’s image. Their error is premised on the assumption that Adam was the first human to be created by God. They totally ignore the assertion that God created man in His own image, and that the term ‘Man’ refers to the entirety of humanity.

The story of Adam revealed how humanity was separated from God, after the sinful incident at the Garden of Eden. At that point, Adam’s curse engrossed the entirety of humanity—never again to represent God’s image—as intended at creation. Our Theologians remain oblivious of this reality when making Adam to be the first man ever to be created. It cannot be disputed that physiologically, all humans adopted the sinful condition of Adam, thereby, existing in sinfulness. This removed all humanity from the original condition of resembling God’s image.

The advent of Jesus was designed to restore humanity to their former state of being in God’s image. This becomes workable when accepting Jesus as the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Jesus provides us with the condition of what God’s image entails. In one of His encounters with the Jews, Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58). That statement is basically, in agreement with what happened in Genesis 1:26-27, before the formation of Adam in Genesis 2:7. All humans ought to declare the same statement, as uttered by Jesus.

What happened in Genesis 2:7 is different from the creation that took place in Genesis 1:26-27. The term, formation, implies manipulating what exists, into the shape that conforms to what exists physically. Creation, itself, implies putting into existence that which had not existed. What is created in God’s image cannot be what was formed from the dust, most inferior to all other species.

This is why, to Adam, God said, “Dust you are, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). Dust, being the soil, is the product of what was created before the plants and animals that depend on the soil got created. Interestingly, the order of creation reveals that the most inferior creation supports what follows in the pattern of gradient scale.

The land supports vegetation, which then supports the animal kingdom. That which was created in God’s image is none of all those things, at the bottom. It is outside time and space, as God, in whose image humans were created, is outside time and space. When Jesus declared:

“Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9) (NIV). Jesus was referring to the fact that humanity had been created in God’s image. In other words, there is no harm in humans declaring similarly, as humans were also created in God’s image. This is corroborated by John:

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:19-21) (NIV).

John clearly shows that God and humanity are one and the same, just as God and Jesus are one and the same. While not difficult to understand, this is extremely difficult for our Theologians—fixated on invalidating all humanity, but exulting themselves. Those Theologians have no time to examine what comes from non-scholars, by the way. To them, getting involved in Theological discussions with non-scholars is degrading.

By elevating Jesus and making Him a member of Trinity, they attempt to validate their superiority position. This puts them in the position of being better than those they regard as inferior. They may not themselves fight in asserting their position. But they have legions of supporters fighting on their corner. This is why they love titles like ‘professor’, or ‘Doctor’, etc. Such titles accord them with the respect they crave for.

A truly educated person does not crave for titles that elevate him as better than other fellow humans. This is why Jesus could not have entertained being associated with the so-called educated of His time. He sought to be as ordinary as anyone of His time. Thereby, baffling the so-called scholars, who could not understand how He accessed His knowledge (John 7:15).

The Jews appreciated that Jesus had knowledge, befitting of being associated with scholars. But they could not acquiesce to accepting what Jesus taught. The obstacle standing in their way was pride, or the idea that they knew better. In education, this is the only stumbling block, causing failures in all fields of study. The most important datum lies in knowing that all knowledge comes from the Creator of all things. When unable to listen to what God says, a person remains uneducated, regardless of status.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.

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