There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know.

There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know.

But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

 ~ Donald Rumsfeld

09-16-12 © Sadeugra, courtesy of iStockphoto

Herbert Spencer gave us his theory of knowing, but the intellectual philosopher admitted he couldn’t know everything. Despite all that we know, there exists the unknown – just as Donald Rumsfeld and others have said.

As much as we’ve learned about our world, there’s so much we don’t know. Even Einstein admitted there was more than he could learn.

This query has puzzled humans for generations. It inspired Columbus in his voyage when he found a new world. It drove Martin Luther to his knees as he struggled to understand God’s righteousness. Hundreds joined NASA to explore the vast unknown – space.

  • Trekkies seek the answers in the last frontier.

William Shatner narrated this purpose before each episode:

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Thus, astronomers find new stars and galaxies all the time. As vast as people think the universe is, we know it extends far beyond that. How far? No one knows.

  • Oceanographers delve into the unknown deep abyss.

Newer technologies allow us to go further that we’ve ever been. Odd-looking creatures. Giant squids. Species long-thought extinct. Living in anonymity with us.

  • Zoologists and botanists discover new species daily.

From colorful spiders to poisonous frogs, many new forms of life are found sharing our world. Scientists have reported recent sightings of a dinosaur-like creature lurking in the African jungles.

  • Geneticists seek to map the human genome.

After Watson and Crick reported their findings on DNA, researchers have spent millions of dollars and man-hours poring over this most basic of human structure. Yet, there is still much to be known.

  • Microbiologists seek answers in the smallest crevices.

What started with Louis Pasteur has spawned many scientific disciplines. Pharmaceuticals have become a gazillion-dollar industry pursuing the unknowns through the microscope.

  • Many other disciplines seek the unknown.

Electron microscopy. PET scans. MRIs. We’re constantly trying to understand what we don’t know, but our pursuits demonstrate there’s too much our finite minds cannot understand.

Why? Because we’re looking in all the wrong places for answers.

  • We don’t need a telescope or a microscope to know.

Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything…

But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him.

~ Colossians 2:8-10, MSG


  • The problem: the Great Savior is unknown to most people.

Those of us who know Him must share Him with others by letting them see Him live through us. The one true God knows what is best even when we don’t, and He enlightens us with all we need to know in each and every situation. Nothing is unknown to Him.


Where do you go when you don’t know what to do?