Devotional addresses the eternal value of knowledge


A BYU faculty lecturer reminded students that their education has more worth than just dollars and cents: it has eternal value.

The May 20 address was given by distinguished chemistry lecturer John Lamb, who has worked with BYU in a variety of offices since 1984. He currently serves as the associate chair for the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Chemistry lecturer John Lamb discusses the eternal value of knowledge in his university forum address May, 20 2014. Photo by Maddi Dayton.
Chemistry lecturer John Lamb discusses the eternal value of knowledge in his university forum address on May, 20 2014. (Photo by Maddi Dayton)

A quarter to a third of a person’s life is spent in the education system, according to Lamb, and he asked hypothetically if such a pursuit is worth the time.

Lamb elaborated on truth, quoting John Keats, who said, “Beauty is truth,” and stating that knowing everything right now isn’t necessary.

“Now I recognize that ‘know-it-all’ is normally considered a pejorative term; but when you stop and think about it, would knowing it all in real fact be such a bad thing?”

Answering his own question, Lamb analyzed how God is all knowing and what that means for his children.

“Did Joseph (Smith) say God was all-powerful because he was in possession of more money, or was better looking, or had more influential friends or possessed the Elder Wand? No, rather because he has great knowledge,” Lamb said.

He continued by saying that knowledge is not something that comes with the privilege of heaven; it has to be earned and attained personally.

“Now you might be thinking — okay, when I am resurrected as a celestial being … hopefully — Poof! — I’ll know everything, and then I’ll have power, too,” said Lamb. “I’m afraid that’s not how it works. Notice what else Brother Joseph had to say: ‘It is not wisdom that we should have all knowledge at once presented before us; but that we should have a little at a time; then we can comprehend it.'”

Lamb said the adversary has always attempted to impede the progression of God’s children by encouraging ignorance.

“Of course, given the value of knowledge in bringing men and women closer to God, is it any wonder that over the ages Satan has done everything in his power to impede its progress,” Lamb said. “Short periods of enlightenment have come and gone, only to be replaced by droughts of darkness.”

He continued by naming several historical events where learning resources were destroyed in attempt to keep people in ignorance.

Even today, Satan is at work attempting to halt our quest for knowledge. Fortunately, accessing information has never been so readily available.

“Anyone who watches the news knows that the forces of darkness and ignorance are alive and prospering in the world even today,” Lamb said. “But there is a flood of light and knowledge that is pushing back the darkness as knowledge becomes ever more readily available through the technologies brought about by advances in human understanding.”

Lamb concluded his remarks by urging the audience to continue in pursuit of learning.

“Gaining knowledge and understanding is a Godly endeavor,” Lamb said. “It can be hard work, but it can also be exciting and it can be intoxicating.”

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