“As Adam stretched out his hand to take and eat he was wreaking a change upon the world that was profoundly to do with knowledge. Human rebellion against the word of God had fundamental consequences for our knowledge because, at this one point above all others, our knowledge-as-facts and our knowledge-in-relationship was intimately bound together.”
[Yes, I just quoted myself… you should try it sometime 😉 ]
To back-track a little…
I’ve claimed in a couple of previous posts that because God is a unique being, what it means to ‘know’ God cannot be decided in advance by comparison with our other forms of knowledge. In the Bible we find the claim that we know God when we have faith in him. Faith is the true and unique experience of knowing God. Faith, brought about in us through the activity of the God’s Spirit through the proclamation of the gospel.
And since God is a person, the method through which we come to have this experience of ‘Knowing God’ is through his own personal self-disclosure.
We can see then, that the decisive barriers to a human being having knowledge of God might not be to do with perception or method, but instead be centred on problems of relationship and morality.
We don’t know God because we are strangers to him.
This takes us back to imperial Adam and that scene in the garden where our fellowship with God was broken, and so was our knowledge.
I wrote previously about the forbidden knowledge at the heart of human rebellion – the fruit of the knowledge of Good and Evil.
Briefly, what is being spoken of in the Genesis 3 account, is the grasping by humanity of the Divine prerogative to know Good and Evil for his creation.
Rather than to continuing to know God (and through knowing God to know the world)
Adam and Eve sought to know like God.
Humanity sought to decide for itself what good is, and what evil is.
They did this, first, by deciding that it was good for humanity to eat a fruit of which God had said, â€˜donâ€™t eat!â€™
The fellowship between God and humanity, which is fundamental to knowledge of God, was broken over the matter of Judgement.
Judgement is defined as the ability to make decisions, usually of an ethical or legal kind.
Judgement is how our knowledge of God got broken, and how it was (and will be) mended.
-implied in the act of taking the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. The right to judge is what is usurped.
– judgement – forgiveness (forgiveness is the judgement that the other is wrong and the decision to show mercy)
– judgement – repentance (repentance is the judgement that the other is right and the decision to acknowledge this)
judgement – repentance is the substitution of God’s knowledge of good and evil for our own.
– judgement – wrath, the necessary action of God is reaccquiring the prerogative of good and evil for himself – his reassertion of his sovereignty over his creation.
we can only be forgiven when we accept God’s judgement of us.