Knowledge is a great thing. It allows us to understand and manipulate the world around us. It has the innate ability to guide us and to lead us throughout our lives. It also has the power to damn us to eternal hell. Let me explain.
Ignorance Is Bliss
In 6 days, God created the heavens and the earth. He created a beautiful garden on the earth and then He created a perfect man to tend to the garden along with a perfect woman to be the perfect companion for the man. In God’s own words, everything was not just “good,” but it was “very good.” In fact, it was perfect. If only it could stay that way. In the middle of the garden, God planted a tree. Not just any tree, but a very special tree. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And just like everything else that God created, this tree was perfect. A beautiful tree that had beautiful fruit growing on it. But wait! God gave a command. ”You may surely eat of every tree of the garden,but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Seems simple enough. Eat the fruit of any other tree in the garden. Just leave this one alone. And at first, it wasn’t a problem. God said… and they obeyed. But then, something happened.
Genesis 3: 1-5
1Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
2And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden,
3but God said, ’You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
5For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Be like God? Could it be true? Could we really know good and evil? Something happened in Eve’s heart and mind at that very moment. She moved from trusting God with a childlike faith to questioning whether God was holding out on her. She could no longer see things as they truly were because she was blinded by what could possibly be. And suddenly, she looked at the tree in a whole new way.
Genesis 3: 6-7
6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
What’s this? Had she never before noticed the good fruit? How had it been hidden from her, this delight to her eyes? But now, she saw the “truth” and she desired what God had commanded her to avoid. And the serpent had given her the answer. For God knows… What kind of a horrible God would keep this wonderful tree with it’s glorious fruit from her? A jealous God who obviously didn’t know what was best for her and her husband. So she took the fruit and ate it, then gave some to her husband, who had been there the entire time, and he ate some too. And so, hell upon earth began…
Knowledge Destroys (Sometimes)
Don’t get me wrong. Knowledge has it’s place. Certainly implied in God’s creation command to subdue the earth and have dominion over it is satisfying our natural curiosity about ourselves and the world around us. As our knowledge grows, so does our understanding of created things.
But knowledge alone can never be enough. In fact, knowledge alone can only lead us down the way that is wide and leads to death.
Why? Because knowledge alone causes us to swell up with pride in our knowledge, and we find that we trust in ourselves and our knowledge instead of trusting in Christ alone.
That’s the danger of education without application. We fill our heads with the knowledge of God and never allow it to transform our hearts and lives.
The Pharisees of Jesus’ day are a prime example. They had the knowledge of God in the Torah, the Books of Poetry, and the Prophets, but for as intelligent and full of knowledge as they were, they were never able to apply that knowledge to their lives.
It was all in their heads, when it was meant to be a matter of the heart. As a result, Jesus called them snakes and vipers, white-washed tombs, and hypocrites.
A reading of Luke 11: 37-52 will show you that Jesus condemned them for acting out of head-knowledge and not from the heart.
From The Heart
Romans 10: 9-10
9because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Is knowledge important? Without a doubt.
Can knowledge alone save us? No. Never.
As we can see in Romans, it is both the head and the heart together that produce salvation. The head absorbs the truth about Jesus from the Word of God and the heart is the soil that the Word is planted in.
Will it produce good fruit or bad? I cannot say. That is a work of the Holy Spirit.
“Knowledge without repentance will be but a torch to light men to hell.” – Thomas Watson