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14.1 Knowing causes and loves

There are many grades of knowing and wisdom, so first we will establish the principal gradations in the ways that we can know, or think we know, something. We can discriminate between three kinds of knowing, which concern effects, or concern causes and effects, or concern loves, causes and effects. These three are usefully named as:
Knowledge:
knowing an effect, or the fact of something,
Understanding:
knowing the causes of something,
including knowledge,
Wisdom:
knowing the love which leads to a thing,
including understanding and knowledge.
It is useful to distinguish wisdom in this way because the role of love in the world has been sadly neglected, yet its supreme role with people is easily acknowledged. One of the achievements of modern science is to prize the understanding. Scientists want to know the causes of everything so they can make predictions and test hypotheses, etc. They also want to know the causes of thoughts and emotions, which is good. They want to know the causes more than just to describe their effects, so we say they want understanding rather than (just) knowledge.

Theism sees love and causes as widespread and leading to effects. That means that complete information about whole processes requires wisdom and not only knowledge and understanding. We will look at loves and causes in more detail in later chapters, but for we now need only recognize that Wisdom (in the sense above) should be attributed to divinity. God certainly knows everything possible about love as well as about causes and effects.


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