Science, knowledge, gnosis and God

When I was a kid I was a scientist. However, by that I mean I had two scientific lives.

One was in science books and experimenting with plants, animals, chemicals and weather to see if the books were right. The other was not in the books; it was a divine sense of grandness, meaning and connectedness that I felt when I was quiet in nature, tuned into my inner-most self.

Some people would say: “Knowing about that science stuff spoils it for me”. My experience was the opposite.

For me these two types of science met – learning something ‘scientific’ about cloud formation or cell behaviour or atomic interactions heightened my appreciation of the divine beauty all around and within me. And the divine beauty heightened my sense of wanting to understand it more and more deeply in the material sense.

It is still like that for me today – I’m still both kinds of scientist and they meet in the middle, in me: as they do for all people, whether we are aware of it or not.

I went to Uni, I worked in laboratory research, and there was much I loved about it. But the white coat world of ‘doing science’ became less and less satisfactory the more I saw of it. So much of the ‘doing’ of science is not done in the appreciation of the divine. In fact, so much of the ‘doing’ of science isn’t even science anymore – it’s politics and economics and competition in some of their worst expressions. It is taking humanity further and further away from that divine inner knowing and connection that meets pure, true physical science.

There have been scientists throughout history who were troubled by this schism between our divine inner knowing and connection to that truth, and the dishonesty rampant in our so-called search for truth via science. Albert Einstein is perhaps the most well known, although by no means the only one.

So what is science, really?

Looking it up in the dictionary gives a lot of meanings and shades of meaning, too much to digest really, like a lot of what’s in the dictionary. I never feel I get the whole story from a dictionary, and I like to go back to simplicity, to origins. However, in essence, it goes something like this: science is ‘knowledge gained by studying’, or ‘a knowing’. Oddly, in old languages, it meant ‘to cut, split, separate or divide’. Well that’s pretty much how modern science gets its knowledge and puts it into books! But that bit about ‘a knowing’ has me fascinated – that’s more like the science I felt in my heart when I was connected with the oneness of nature.

Looking at some very old texts of ancient wisdom, e.g. the “Corpus Hermeticum[*] by Hermes Trismegistus, to get more insight into what ‘science’ means, I came across another word: ‘gnosis’ – a kind of knowledge or knowing that’s different from ‘science’. The dictionary says it is ‘mystical knowledge’ or ‘revealed knowledge’ (compared to learned out of a book). Gnosis seems to be the knowing which comes from within, that can’t be communicated, while science is knowledge which is a product of man (albeit also ‘God’s gift’) and can be communicated in speech and writing.

Hermes says: “All science is incorporeal, the instrument it uses being the mind, just as the mind employs the body.” Of gnosis he says: “Gnosis is our common being’s nature” and “Gnosis is the end goal of science”. Once someone gains it, they are “made one with God.

So it seems to me that you can mess around thinking up science, but that is only a step along the way to the far greater inner wisdom and all-knowing that is gnosis and oneness with God.

Here’s my whacky contribution to the difference:

1 + 1 = 2. You put one person with another person and you have two persons. That’s science.

1 + 1 = 3. You put one person with another person and you have two persons, plus you also have the relationship between them as a third unit or entity. To me this feels like gnosis – that which includes more than just what you can know by studying and thinking about tangible things.

  • [*]

    The “Corpus Hermeticum”* by Hermes Trismegistus, translated by G.R.S. Mead


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  • By Dianne Trussell, BSc(Hons); 17 years in medical and biological research, co-author of 12 peer-reviewed scientific publications.

    Science is the love of my life, and for me it confirms Divine beauty, intelligence, and wisdom. I’ve always felt science to be one with philosophy, religion, art, and music, part of the oneness I feel with everything.

  • Photography: Dean Whitling, Brisbane based photographer and film maker of 13 years.

    Dean shoots photos and videos for corporate portraits, architecture, products, events, marketing material, advertising & website content. Dean's philosophy - create photos and videos that have magic about them.