The knowledge of God versus the knowledge of man! This article details the propensity of humanity toward a daily dependence upon natural revelation and reveals the foolishness wrought from this misdirected faith.
| When God created Adam and Eve, He blessed them with sufficient knowledge and ability to thrive in successful loving relationship with Him and the rest of God’s creation. The Lord God was an intimate friend who walked together with them in the Garden of Eden, which was their home. They existed in a pure state of harmonious relationship with God whereas intellectual delights and satisfactions were, most certainly, in abundance.
Now God had given Adam and Eve the freedom to choose whether to love and trust Him in humility and obedience or reject Him through prideful self-determination and unbelief. (For God knew that we must choose to trust Him, in order to truly love Him.)
So, God made an opportunity for them to demonstrate their trust in Him to provide every good and necessary thing for fullness of life. God commanded them:“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” – Genesis 2:16-17Discontent Fosters Selfish Ambition
Now the serpent also spied an opportunity in this. So he approached Eve in an effort to generate discontent with her present state of being. About eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the devil suggested to Eve: “You will not surely die…For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5) (Italics mine).
Lies are The Doorway to Temptation
A lie, once believed, has a way of increasing through the agency of vain imagination the desirability of that which is evil.
“When the woman saw that the fruit was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate it.”
-Genesis 3:6 (Italics mine)
Once again: a lie, once believed has a way of increasing through the agency of vain imagination the desirability of that which is evil. Just as with Adam and Eve, it is lies that we have come to believe that cause the temptation to sin to have such power in our lives. Our susceptibility to temptation will always be proportionate to the depth and strength of the lies we believe in our inner being. Root out the lies by repenting of them and surrendering them to be destroyed by the power of the Holy Spirit and the strength of the temptations associated with the lies will greatly diminish!
“The understanding is darkened (Eph. 4:18; 1 Cor. 2:14); the heart is deceitful and wicked (Jer.17:9-10); the mind and conscience are defiled (Gen. 6:5; Titus 1:15); the flesh and spirit are defiled (2 Cor. 7:5); the will is enfeebled (Rom. 7:18); and we are utterly destitute of any God-like qualities which meet the requirements of God’s holiness” (Rom. 7:18). And as for the world and man’s interaction with it, God declared:
“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food…” (Gen. 3:17-19).
If we were able to examine the intent of the heart of Adam and Eve at that very moment, that terrible moment of giving in to this temptation, I believe we would clearly see a reflection of the attitude of the heart of all of humanity from that day forward. If we were to summarize into a single statement the intent of the heart of Adam and Eve at the time of their temptation, that statement could accurately represent the fleshly intent of the heart of every man and woman born into this world from that day forward. For what Adam and Eve essentially declared by the choice they had made in believing the devil’s lie, was – ‘man must reach out with his own hands and take whatever he needs for fulfillment of self.’ This is what is meant by “an active disbelief in the goodness and provision of God.” Man, from the delusion of his corrupted nature believes in his heart that he must take what he has determined he needs, because God will not provide this for him.
Worldly Knowledge is Now Our Treasure
Adam and Eve believed the devil’s implication that God was keeping them from what they really needed (Genesis 3:4-5). And they believed that acquiring knowledge from a source other than God (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) could make them more “like God.” This active disbelief in the goodness and provision of God has developed into a universal mentality that has become intricately woven into the tapestry of the sin nature of mankind to this day (Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Tim. 1:3-7 and 4:1-8; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 2 Cor. 11:3-6).
As Jesus cautioned,
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
One of the wealthiest men alive today assembled his riches by inventing mechanical operating systems with the capacity to store vast amounts of information and the ability to access and retrieve this information faster and more efficiently than anyone else. We were all witness to the Y2K alarm at the turn of the century, provoking vast unwarranted fears of worldwide social and economic instability, illustrating our enormous dependence on high-tech information storage systems.
Dependence on Worldly Knowledge Creates Anxiety Overload
If we are persuaded that the answers to life’s problems are to be found primarily within the confines of natural inspiration, then we are committing ourselves to a lifetime of humanistic fallacy. Those who believe this delusion often find themselves suffering from anxiety overload, as they strive to procure and retain the mass of information necessary to be in control of their own destinies. Sadly, the resulting emotional meltdown that is predictably common becomes an avenue to an even deeper dependence upon humanistic psychological precepts.
Man’s Impure Motives
Pride in human reasoning will always emanate from a practiced dependence upon humanistic knowledge. This pride even enters the religious community enticing many people to believe that their dedication and sacrifice at work, or in their family, church, or community will be viewed as an adequate compensation for their sins before God. They have equated the profitability of their efforts with personal righteousness. But, of course, this is not God’s view.
As Psalm 51:16-17 reveals:
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
“but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it.” Why not? “Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.” -Rom. 9:30-10:4
Our Creator is not impressed by our attempts to justify or sanctify ourselves by the use of personal effort based on worldly knowledge. Though our efforts and sacrifices may not in themselves be altogether ignoble, our motives behind those efforts are often suspect. As Proverbs 16:2 informs us, “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”
The most accurate and telling resource available to us for the discernment of motives is the word of God:
“For the word of God is living and active….it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Every thing is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. “-Hebrews 4:12-13
It is not only what we accomplish with the knowledge we possess, but also why we accomplish it, that is important to the Lord.
As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. ”
Our stubborn and desperate dependence on worldly knowledge has only served to blind our eyes to God’s plan of restoration through the knowledge of Him. God offers us this instructional promise: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3; Italics mine).
In His mercy and love, God is offering restoration to us by bringing us into a more deeply intimate relationship with him through a spiritual transformation of self. But, once again, we are free to select the fruit of our choice…
“This is what the Lord says:
-Jeremiah 9:23-24 ( Italics mine)