Problems with Knowledge
I had a strange dream last night that got me to thinking about the problems with knowledge. It is easy to slip into the subtle trap of desiring knowledge so much that it feeds a spirit of independence at the expense of relationships. When I start to think of knowledge as a way to leverage myself into independence from God, then knowledge turns into a curse for me.
God is the source of all knowledge and has no problem whatsoever sharing that knowledge with me as long as it doesn't work to deteriorate or undermine our growing friendship. He knows that anything that detracts from our friendship will also result in the erosion of life for me, so in love He measures out to me only the amount of knowledge that that I can handle that won't weaken my dependence on Him. There is a certain exhilaration in gaining knowledge. This is not at all bad if it is couched in the context of enhancing the joy of healthy relationships. But knowledge outside of an intimate relationship fosters independence which too often can undermine nurturing relationships.
Eve was tempted with the idea that she needed more knowledge, but a knowledge outside of a trusting dependence on her loving Father. Ever since then we have been addicted to wanting more knowledge while failing to realize that if we made the God of all knowledge our first priority, we would always have access to more than enough knowledge at any time.
I am starting to see that intellectual knowledge may be one of the 'externals' that seduced Lucifer into believing that value and worth is based on superior knowledge, beauty and abilities rather than simply his existence as a creation of God. Subtly he now entices us with an experiential knowledge – knowledge of good and evil – that can appear similar to the kind of knowledge that is vital for us to have to live in healthy connection with our true Source of life. But when our experiential knowledge is linked to the wrong sources – the designer of the fruit on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil – then our experience and relationships become a source of emptiness, pain and death instead of life.
When we worship anything or anyone less than the one Source of life, love and peace, then this focus acts like a leech sucking the life out of us instead of infusing life into us; we become more and more like a vacuum instead of like a spring of living water. In turn, we also turn into leeches toward others, ever seeking to suck life out of others in attempts to satisfy our increasing emptiness, trying to replace our diminishing joy with personal pleasure at greater and greater expense to those around us.
Then Satan comes with another temptation from the other direction, leading us to think that maybe knowledge is bad in itself. We then may blindly follow leaders who promise to provide all the necessary knowledge that we need, or better yet, promise us that they retain superior knowledge that we should seek to attain to. We entrust our souls to others who seem to have greater wisdom and knowledge instead of seeking God for ourselves and tapping directly into the balanced kind of mental and experiential knowledge that we were designed for in relationship with Him. Whenever we allow someone else to usurp God's place in our trust, we are allowing other gods to rise to eclipse Him.
Religious knowledge is a very seductive attraction that can blind us and prevent us from letting God love us the way we must be loved if we are to heal and mature. God wants us to grow in knowledge, but not ahead of growing up in trust for His heart and in His love for us. If my intellectual knowledge gets too far ahead of my ability to respond positively to His love deep in my own heart – my experiential knowledge with Him – then I am in danger of being blinded just like Eve, thinking that what I need is more knowledge instead of more dependence.
Eve was not entrusted with all possible knowledge to empower her to handle any possible deception by the enemy. Rather she was equipped with a relationship with the One who had all knowledge, and if she had distrusted the flattering, crafty words of a stranger and had chosen instead to take her doubts, questions and curiosity back to her Father before making any decisions, she would have grown immensely in both kinds of knowledge through that process and would have greatly enhanced her protection as a result. But instead she was allured by the flattering words of the enemy offering her a kind of knowledge that would put her in competition with God instead of closer intimacy with God. And deeper intimacy with God was what she really needed to feel more fulfilled.
The serpent told her that God knows..., and that if she would distrust His words and instead trust in her own knowledge abilities that she could take a shortcut to advancing her position in the universe. Strongly implied in these inferences is a belief in hierarchy. In this way Eve was deceived into thinking that the most important thing in life was advancement in status instead of just being happy with enjoying the relationship of a dependent child. She was led to think that God also was little different than Satan in experiential knowledge of both good and evil, so if she were ever to advance in authority and knowledge or status and class, she too would need to personally experience both good and evil. She was seduced into believing that it was this knowledge that would be the magical entrance into a world of greater power she could then access to acquire power and control over others.
She was enticed into thinking that she might be happier if she could become greater than simply being equal with Adam; that she would feel even more fulfilled if she could compete with God instead of living in trusting dependence on Him. She was being offered an artificial reality, a false reality that defines our whole world now, wherein people compete with each other and with God for the greatest knowledge, the highest status, the most wealth and control and pleasure – but all this at the expense of those around them. This was the trap and she fell for it, yet this view of reality is what all of us have now inherited and which is the assumed basis we use to measure everything. What we need is a revelation by the Holy Spirit to begin to reveal to our hearts the true reality that is in sharp contrast to the fake worldly system in which we have grown up.
It is often assumed that if we can figure out the scientific secrets of how we and our world is designed, then we won't need any dependence on God for we will be able to cure our diseases, choose our children more directly, explain and solve all of our problems and become much more effective at being gods ourselves. We will know all about good and evil and can then decide how to relate to them ourselves without dependence on a God whom we perceive threatens our supposed freedom.
We mistake independence for freedom when in fact it only leads us into slavery to fear, pain and finally death. God told our first parents that this kind of knowledge would make it happen this way, but we still don't believe Him even after 6,000 years of overwhelming evidence.
Jesus came to show us firsthand a number of things to increase our knowledge about the real truth.
He came to show us what real life can look like as a human.
- He came to show the universe what real death looks like if we choose to disconnect from Life.
- He came to provide reconnection to the only Source of Life so that all could live abundantly.
- He came to expose and destroy the lies of Satan about our loving Father.
- He came to destroy all the works of the devil; the lies, the slavery, the fear, the whole counterfeit system of living that has wreaked so much havoc and chaos in His creation.
- He came to offer us healing, hope, restoration to intimacy with God through which we can receive everything needed for the kind of existence for which we were originally designed.
- He came to demonstrate how to live totally dependent on God for all knowledge, all wisdom, all power, all guidance and all love.
- He showed us that living in God's love and totally depending on Him does not mean one cannot grow in knowledge and understanding, but that it must always be in the context of complete trust in God's heart.
God is eager to impart more and more knowledge to His children, so long as it does not foster any spirit of independence that will prove detrimental in their relationship with Him. This has been demonstrated repeatedly throughout history with people like Daniel, Elisha and most clearly Jesus. Knowledge is a wonderful thing, but living in mutual love with the ultimate Source of life is far more important than any head knowledge apart from Him. As we make living in His love our top priority and then trust Him for all the knowledge that He knows we need, we will find ourselves with access to more knowledge than we every could gain by striving to get it from any other sources. And this knowledge of God will enhance our trust and joy and intimacy with Him instead of debilitating us.
Knowledge can always be a good thing, but only if it is in the context of living in God's love. As soon as it seduces us into trying to live outside of God's care and love for us it turns into a curse.
This applies just as strongly if not more so, to religious and spiritual knowledge. I am always in danger of becoming addicted more to knowledge about God or religion than I am to God Himself. But life only comes from God, not from knowledge as Eve was tricked into thinking. To reverse the effects of this curse I must retrace the steps back to trusting in God again to receive all knowledge through relationship with Him. Then instead of worrying about whether I have enough knowledge to meet any given situation, I can rest joyfully in my trusting dependence on Him to provide me with whatever knowledge I need when I need it, much like Daniel learned to do.
When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit. (Mark 13:11)
It's OK to want knowledge, but to attempt to get it independent from a trusting relationship with Him will only prove to be detrimental for me. He wants me to enter into His joy and live in dynamic interaction with His heart all the time. This is what I was designed for and what will bring the most fulfillment and growth and peace to me. As I continue to rest in His love for me and heal my capacity to know that love even more, I can also be transformed into reflecting the other-centered kind of love I experience from Him. Then my own needs no longer are the main priority of my life and addressing the needs of others becomes a way of life that will increase my joy and their happiness all at the same time.
I choose to let God transform me into a channel of knowledge, of wisdom, of blessing, not just to be a recipient of these blessings. I am choosing to embrace the healing love that is already working throughout my system and restoring my damaged circuits so that I can increasingly receive and give even more. I choose to live in the kind of relationship that He desires for me to have with Him directly so that I can be a faithful witness that can help vindicate God when He comes into court to win His case (Romans 3:4). I want to add my testimony to so many others that God is not like the serpent suggested to Eve, but is totally worthy of all trust at all times and under all circumstances. His ways are perfect, are life-giving and are always completely selfless. This is the kind of knowledge I want to have overflowing from my life.