On the other side of the library Christian saw a man, well dressed, sitting at a desk with several books opened in front of him. He appeared to be studying. Selfie noticed and spoke concerning the man, “He only stops reading to eat, and then he returns to his studies.”
The man overheard and looked up from his book, “Will you just talk about me, or will you come and speak to me?”
Selfie motioned as if she did not want to intrude on his studies, but Christian went over to him and Prostitute followed. “What is your name?” Christian asked the student.
“My name is Knowledge,” he replied as he read, “You are from the other side of the chasm. Am I right?”
Christian answered, “Yes. How did you gather?”
Knowledge looked up from his book again, “You present yourself according to the instructions, which I have read.”
“Is that how you read them?” asked Christian, “as instructions?”
Knowledge thought for a second, “Is there another way?”
“Let me ask you this question,” Christian continued, “Do books have more of an impact if they only give instructions, or if they give an argument for their instruction.”
“I prefer to have a valid reason for doing the things that I do,” replied Knowledge, “To know for sure.”
“Then there is a sense in which one should not follow instructions without reason?” Christian continued.
“Yes, that seems right.”
Christian browsed the shelves for the instructions. When he found them, he took them and set them in front of Knowledge, “Why do you think I follow these instructions?”
“Is it because you believe the argument in their favor?” Knowledge ventured a guess.
“Yes,” replied Christian, “There is a greater story behind the instructions given. I would almost prefer to call it a history rather than a law book.”
Knowledge now placed his book to the side and opened the religious text, “It is doubtless that there are laws present, though.”
Christian agreed, “But they exist as a part of the historical narrative. Even the second part is full of instructions that are based in a certain historical context.”
“Interesting,” Knowledge admitted, “So the history is the argument for the standard of morality described?”
Knowledge handed the text to Christian, “How can you know that the history is accurate? Can you know that the King, if He exists, created the world; that His people stepped out of His grace; that He pardoned their sin in death; or that He conquered death and was revived? If you cannot know any of these things for sure, how can you follow the convictions that you do? What causes you to declare that some moral convictions on this side of the chasm are false?”
Christian thought for a moment concerning the great question that had been laid before him. He was certain that this man was more learned than he and was also certain that he could not prove true every detail of the history. In fact, there was a large degree to which he believed the history by faith. Silence filled the library as he thought about the question.
After a few moments, Knowledge spoke, “Take all the time you need. I would rather you answer in wisdom rather than speak quickly anyway.” He continued reading the book that he had been immersed in before the conversation.
Christian continued to think, and the more he thought, the more daunting the question became. It was not simply whether or not he could know the validity of the history, but whether or not anything at all could be known for sure. Christian turned the question back to Knowledge, “How can you know the things that you know?”
Knowledge smiled as he looked up from his book, “I look for evidence. If a history book makes a claim to a certain event, I look for evidence within archaeology. If philosophy makes a claim about the human mind, I look for evidence in science. For instance, I do not believe that people live forever because there seems to be no favorable evidence.”
Christian continued his question, “How can you know the validity of such evidence? Are not archaeological findings simply another form of recorded history that themselves need to be evidenced?”
Knowledge foresaw the outcome of these inquisitions, “Careful, friend, we may conclude that one cannot truly know anything; in which case we will both have to rethink our worldviews.
Christian replied again, “I’m not sure that is necessarily true. Either knowledge cannot be gained, or it depends not on evidence. Belief in God allows me to accept knowledge by faith, while your belief leads you to the conclusion that there truly is no valid basis for the gaining of knowledge.”
“That is an easy belief for you to hold,” accused Knowledge, “when you have no standard for belief.”
“To the contrary, my friend, the standard is the history revealed by the King, who knows everything. This is more than I can say for a system of knowledge that depends entirely on evidence that may or may not be interpreted correctly. If knowledge can be had, it comes from a source; it is not invented based on findings. Thus, it must be revealed, not discovered or invented,” Christian answered.
Knowledge leaned back in his chair and remarked, “It seems that you are making a valid point.” He closed his book and took the history from Christian. He opened it and began to read, “I will need to think on this for some time. Thank you for the conversation, Christian.”
Christian turned and realized that Prostitute was behind him, “I did not know that you followed me over here.”
Prostitute was a little confused, but she picked up the main point of the conversation, “You know who I am, right?”
“All I know,” Christian replied, “is that you were the first person I met on this side of the chasm and that you offered to show me around.”
“That was my job,” Prostitute continued, “I was to entice you that you might convert to a new way of life; so that you would stay here and not return home. That is why I wanted to show you all of the great things of this city, but you were not drawn like the others.”
Christian placed his hand on her arm, “As enticing as this city is, my home is much greater. There I have worth. The King there gave His life for me. This place only wants to take that life. The good news is, even though you sold yourself to this city, the King offers to redeem you. He will satisfy your debt so that you no longer have to sell yourself. You can have life too, because the King considers you to be worth so much.”
“How is this possible?” asked Prostitute.
Christian replied, “Come with me.”
The two exited the library and looked toward the next city. They agreed to continue on together. They stayed at an embassy on the edge of Enticement before moving on to the next city.