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Is Ignorance Good Or Bad?

Although in the present-day world it is often used as an insult, the original meaning of the word "ignorant" was neither positive nor negative; it simply meant to not know. Everyone is "ignorant" of what they don't yet know (see The Cure For The Carnal Mind), or will never know (e.g. almost all people are and will remain ignorant of how to do brain surgery), and that in itself is not wrong in God's sight. What is sinful however is when someone is willingly ignorant, arrogantly ignoring what they could know (ignorant and ignore are forms of the same word), as shown in this example of those who scoff at God's Word.

"3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." (2 Peter 3:3-7 KJV)

"I would not that ye should be ignorant ... that Rock was Christ"

At the time that Peter said this, a pharisee named Saul, despite his great knowledge of the Scriptures (and no doubt in Saul's mind at the time, he acted because of his great knowledge of the Scriptures) was still persecuting and killing Christians out of his ignorance (see Was Paul Among Them?). It was that sort of innocent ignorance that Christ referred to when He said "23:34 Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34 KJV).

The Holy Scriptures

"3:17 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. 3:18 But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:17-19 KJV)

Ironically, those who are most ignorant of the Truth often accuse those who have come to know as being "ignorant."

"4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." (Acts 4:13 KJV)

Years later, Paul plainly spoke to the pagan Greeks as "ignorant" - but as an invitation to learn, not as an insult.

"17:22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 17:23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship [see also Worth-ship], him declare I unto you." (Acts 17:22-23 KJV)

What is it that makes some innocently ignorant? For example, Why Can't 'The Chosen People' See? Paul answered that question to gentiles who became Christians:

"11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 11:27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." (Romans 11:25-27 KJV)

Paul became a teacher of what he, before his conversion, opposed - that Jesus of Nazareth was not only the Son of God, but was in fact "the LORD God" of the Scriptures (see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM').

"10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea [see also Why Through The Sea? and The Night Crossing]; 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." (1 Corinthians 10:1-4 KJV)

Fact Finder: What sin are those who are willingly ignorant in danger of committing?
See The Unpardonable Sin

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