Is the pursuit of knowledge a continuance of the fall of mankind?

The tree of "knowledge"[of good/evil] was the beginning of the fall of mankind.....therefore, I ask, is the continued pursuit knowledge [good or evil] a continuance of the fall? 

Clarify Share Report Asked December 21 2015 Open uri20170205 23280 h5fbr Peggy Johnson

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
In my opinion, the pursuit of knowledge in and of itself is a morally neutral activity. God gave us our reasoning and intelligence (although those faculties have been corrupted by humanity's fall into sin). The crucial distinctions are the motivations for which we are pursuing that knowledge, and the use we plan to make of it.

Peter, for example, advises Christians to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). And Paul says, "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight." (Philippians 1:9)

Also, even despite our universal sinfulness, humanity's search for knowledge throughout history has resulted in many beneficial outcomes, such as the elimination of various diseases, the maximization of the earth's abundance in order to feed as many people as possible, and the ability to disseminate the message of the gospel to multitudes who might never have heard it otherwise.

What needs to be avoided is the conscious pursuit of knowledge for evil purposes, or for the glorification of ourselves through sinful pride in our intellect or our accomplishments, while forgetting that it is God who has made the acquisition of such knowledge possible -- both by the gifts of intelligence and insight that He has given us, and also by His creation of an orderly universe that functions in accordance with predictable natural laws that God has enabled man to discover and use for the benefit of others.

December 21 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

David 2011 David Robinson Army 1SG, firefighter, consultant (CFPS) - retired from all!
This is an interesting question, but I believe it contains within it a logical error. In your question you state, "The tree of 'knowledge' [of good/evil] was the beginning of the fall of mankind..." This is a false assumption since the tree itself was neither the subject nor the object of the fall of mankind. Neither the tree of knowledge of good and evil nor the presence of the tree in the garden was at all the beginning, cause or reason for man’s fall. Instead, mankind fell because our federal representative (Adam) rebelled against God by refusing to obey His clear command.

While nothing is arbitrary with God and the tree of knowledge carries with it deep meaning and significance within the garden narrative, it is somewhat incidental to the account of the fall in the sense that the result would have been the same for any other act of disobedience. If (hypothetically) God had commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of the orange tree and they had disobeyed, the fall of man would have been just as real and our need for a savior just as acute.

God's command not to eat of that particular tree was for the protection and benefit of Adam, Eve and their progeny. He has not, however, commanded us to avoid seeking knowledge. Eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil by our progenitors is not a metaphor for our acquiring knowledge through study or other learning processes. That would infer that knowledge itself is inherently evil when, in fact, all knowledge is God's knowledge and all truth is God's truth. If knowledge were evil, then God would be evil since He literally knows all things that are knowable.

I also quibble with the idea that the pursuit of knowledge is amoral (morally neutral). Orthodox Christianity has always maintained that knowledge is "top-down." That is, all knowledge originates with God. Therefore, the pursuit of knowledge should be near the very top of our list priorities, especially when we are seeking knowledge of God Himself, His attributes, His creation and His redemptive activities.

We must, of course, guard against our fallen tendency toward pride as we gain knowledge, realizing that we have nothing that is not a gift from Him (1 Cor 4:7). But, that does not mean that we should remain willfully ignorant so that we will not be tempted to be prideful. While resisting the temptation toward pride is a good thing, growing in knowledge of the Lord is also laudable (2 Peter 3:18). Ideally, the more we learn, the more we are aware of how much there is that we don’t yet know (which is a humbling realization). True knowledge of God and His majesty humbles us. Ignorance of our Father in no way honors Him.

What could be more in tune with the Christian life and experience than to study God's word (as well as His book of nature) to discover more about our great Creator, our redeemer, and our Lord (2 Timothy 2:15)? Our pursuit of knowledge is not at all a continuance of the fall, but rather an expression of our desire to regain that which was lost in the fall; an intimate knowledge of and relationship with our Creator, God and Father, to whom be glory forever.

February 05 2016 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

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