The Smell of Knowledge

When I think of knowledge I think of books. When I think of books I think of the fragrance of books, and books come in two “flavors.” The first one is the smell that hits you when you open up a brand-new book; it is the overwhelming aroma of fresh ink and paper. I associate that smell with the pleasurable experience of buying a brand-new book and the anticipation of soaking up its contents. Mmmm. The second aroma is that of Grandma’s basement, yes, Grandma’s basement, that musty damp smell that meant you are lost in the midst of antiquities. Books that smell like this are old and often frail but offer the promise of a treasure trove of ancient knowledge. I love it.

What can I say? I love books. I love the smells. I love the tactile experience of the pages between the fingers. I enjoy sneaking ahead to see how many pages are left, or just finding out how the book will end. So, when it comes to the newfangled digital books on Kindles and iPads I am sort of in a quandary. I am between generations. You see, I do love technology, but I love good old-fashioned books. Did I say that already? Nothing can replace that experience. Perhaps, it would be a good idea to place a scented sticker at the top of the Kindle which smells like a new book or musty pages to simulate the true paper experience, sort of like that “new car smell,” but alas, even that would fall short; the event just cannot be synthesized. Yes, the smell of books signifies knowledge.

We are inundated today with hordes of reading material that promise valuable information, but when all is said and done what really matters is not an insurmountable number of books with supposed knowledge. Solomon writes after a long time of introspection, “But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Solomon has finally understood that all the knowledge he could acquire, or hope to acquire was worthless if it did not lead to eternal life in God. An infinite number of books promising unending knowledge cannot fill an empty soul. Unfortunately, he did not gain this wisdom until he was at the end of his life.

He continues in verse 13, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.”  The only valuable knowledge was the knowledge that points us to a loving Creator who is to be revered, and God so kindly made that knowledge available to us through one book, the Bible. God only used one book; He did not need to produce sequels or subsequent writings. Through the gift of His Holy Spirit to inspire the Word, and again the giving of the Spirit to reveal to us all truth, we have all the knowledge we need. Our world is so consumed with the acquisition of knowledge yet, sorely that knowledge does not lead to life.

To my limited theological understanding, the only other book with which we need to concern ourselves is the Book of Life. Revelation 3:5 declares, “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” If you want your name in the Book of Life, open up God’s Book, the Word of Life, study His commandments, and learn about Jesus and the great plan of redemption. Then, receive Christ. What a great day it will be to hear our names confessed by Christ to the Father as we stand in robes of white!

So, when you take time to settle down, snuggle up, and enjoy a good book, don’t forget to include the greatest Book ever written!