Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Danger of Too Much Information

Beth Patch - Senior Internet Editor & Producer

I join many who sit in amazement at the vast amount of information we have available to us within seconds. When we were children, we went to the library to research anything that wasn’t in our encyclopedias at home. Now, I get online, use a search engine, and can sort through oodles of material before I can even spell e-n-c-y-c-l-o-p-e-d-i-a.

Can you think of anything you can’t learn about by going online? I can’t. We look at our smartphones or other digital screens and our eyes are opened to the world’s endless supply of knowledge – the good and the bad. It’s not the good that bothers us – it’s the bad. We didn’t turn the page of the encyclopedia and find pornography, violence, and all sorts of evil. But we do click on our computer screens and find it – sometimes by accident and sometimes on purpose. It's seeded into popular TV shows and movies, cleverly injected into song lyrics, and seductively placed on the covers of magazines.

As I lamented the big problems that plague our society as a result of having competing amounts of moral and immoral messages blasted at us, it dawned on me: the tree in the middle of the garden of Eden is the tree of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil!

From the Bible

Let’s take a look at that story again:

The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the LORD God warned him, "You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden  —except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die." Genesis 2:15-17 NLT

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made. One day he asked the woman, "Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?"

"Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden," the woman replied. "It's only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, `You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.'"

"You won't die!" the serpent replied to the woman. "God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil."

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. Genesis 3:1-7 NLT

More on Original Sin

I don’t think I’m the only person who has struggled with this story at some point. They ate the fruit. They didn’t drop dead. She wanted wisdom and after eating, they both knew they were naked. Doesn’t really sound all that bad.

But God’s truths are so much deeper than the surface understanding of His words. Before eating the forbidden, they were destined to live forever – never experiencing death, never experiencing eternal separation from God, never committing sin.

Before, they had only believed and obeyed God. They were pure and innocent. Once they ate (sinned) and knew they were naked, they felt shame. Before this, humans had not known shame or any other negative emotion, and their relationship with God was one of pure trust and adoration. Before this, man was happy to be in daily fellowship with the Lord, having nothing to hide. He was to tend and watch over a self-perpetuating garden, name the animals, and reign over them. Man was not created dumb; he was created in God’s image. He was created with intelligence beyond that of the animals and bright enough to converse with and obey God. The knowledge that Adam and Eve had was God-ordained, perfect, and pure.

So, wanting to know everything possible was our undoing. Both God and Satan knew it could be our undoing. God wanted to protect us from it and Satan wanted us to have it. It began thousands of years ago, and here we are today getting an unwelcome deluge of the knowledge of good and evil. It’s being poured into our lives at unprecedented rates. We are experiencing a nuclear fallout from the quest for knowledge. It’s burning our morals away. God knew this would happen. He only wanted us to know good — His good and Holy ways.

What Can We Do Now?

We cannot undo what’s been done, but we can glean a major truth from this: God can be trusted to know what’s best for us! Even when we don’t understand God, we should obey Him. He knows the big picture! He’s not one to spell it all out for us. It would not have made any sense to Adam and Eve if God had set them down and said, “… and not only that, in the 21st-century families could be flooded with images and stories of all the evil in the world through their televisions, computers, radios, etc. … even a young child will see and hear these things.” He told them then what to do and what to not do and He tells us now.

Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”

God's truths will be evident to all the world someday. For now, we should follow the instructions from Jesus Christ:

"You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: "Love your neighbor as yourself." The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments (Matthew 22:37-40).

We can also simply do as the popular old hymn says, “Trust and Obey.” 

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