The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Friday, April 12, 2013

What Do You Know About Knowledge?

As I am wont to do (I am especially wont to use the word wont a lot!), I referred to a Bible verse when making a Facebook comment a few weeks ago.  Apparently, that is about the only unacceptable thing left to do.  My "friend" was upset that I "went there."  Another commentator thought my verse deserved another, so he offered what is probably his standard "in your face" Bible verse to make the point that he is more ignorant and rude even than I was purported to be.  I tried to query about the proper use of comments among friends, to discover whether a Facebook friend is only allowed to say what the other person thinks, or if friends might be expected to represent themselves.  I got my answer, so now I don't even bother reading my friend's many posts because I know now that whatever my reactions might be, they don't matter.

Enough venting already?  This all is mentioned because as part of the dialogue described above, one person who went and read the verses from Genesis that I had referenced made the outrageous claim that the story of the fall of man teaches us that God does not want us to have KNOWLEDGE!

From Genesis 2
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

It is this kind of ridiculously sloppy interpretation that bothers me.  If I said to the man: "Please do not drive the car of death and destruction to the store," would he be likely to claim that I told him "do not drive any car"?  I hope not.  If he is living his life without considering the impact of any adjectives, adverbs, modifiers, qualifiers, nor even the relevance of the nearest prepositional phrase , I imagine that he gets a lot of funny looks from people.  But no.  Regular communicative people who get along with language and logic and normal rational processes, sometimes seem to turn these off when the Bible is the subject.  

This is so sad because, when considered carefully (or with at least normal language skills) the Bible makes perfect sense.  A little deeper look into the verse above for example, tells a lot.

When I was much much younger, and first heard from Genesis 4:4 that "Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain," this King James understanding of the word "know" became a silly game with me and my friends.  We could actually talk about "sex" in public without anybody (under the age of 1 1/2) knowing (ooops! I just said sex again!) what we were giggling about.

But the understanding is important.  Adam KNEW his wife.  It means that the two of them had become intimate partners.  There was actually a permanent bonding of their spirits that could never be undone.  And this is the relationship with evil that God was hoping the first two people would never...know.  

Since God had declared His creative work to be "good," a couple of times during the creation week (until Eve had been fashioned; then God said His work was "very good"!), the nature of "good"  was already well known to Adam and Eve.  But evil is only the absence of good.  When good is covered, or ignored, or dismissed, evil appears.  It is this complete awareness of evil's corrupting influence that came to Adam and Eve when they decided to disobey God.

The Bible does not teach that "knowledge is bad."  To the contrary, many verses encourage the gathering of knowledge.  Check out a few of these encouraging words about knowledge, if you like.  But here in 2 Peter chapter one we see knowledge in its proper place as a tool, or stepping stone to something even better:

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The next time you hear or read some simplistic statement that would belittle the Bible, I hope you will pause long enough to consider the intrinsic value of any such claim.

PS  For more about the value and import of KNOWLEDGE, come back on April 22nd when S is for Science!


By the way...MILLERWRITES copy is COPYRIGHTED. Why cut and paste when you can simply copy the link?


  1. Great post, great theme and I look forward to S day.

  2. Visiting again, as I am wont to do. (See? I went there.)

    We had junior high boys in our Sunday school classes who KNEW how to play the same word games. When I worked with youth, it used to crack me up to see how each new group thought they invented the joke. Didn't have the heart to tell them otherwise. (They didn't KNOW the difference. Oh, whoa. She went there too.)

    TGIF ... Enjoy the rainy spring weekend!

    1. Those silly boys. They don't even realize that it all started on the south side of Chicago in the '60s, with me and my buddies!


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