“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion…. An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” (Proverbs 18:2, 15)
Eve was not alive when the Lord first instructed Adam that he could eat of any tree in the Garden of Eden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but that in the day he ate of that tree, he would surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17)
After Eve’s creation, either Adam or the Lord clearly shared this prohibition with her. But it is equally clear her understanding of this instruction was only partially correct. Because she was partially informed, she was easily deceived.
When Satan uses the serpent to tempt Eve into sin, he starts by questioning her understanding of what trees she can use for food. Eve explains she can eat from any tree except the tree in the middle of the garden, but that if she eats from that tree, or even touches its fruit, she will die. (Genesis 3:1-3)
In fact, the Lord never said anything would happen if you just touched the fruit. So, when the serpent tells Eve the fruit will make her wise like God, and she goes to the tree and sees that the fruit is sweetly scented and appealing in appearance, and she takes the fruit into her hand, and nothing adverse happens to her, she concludes the serpent must be right and the Lord wrong. (Genesis 3:4-6). She eats. Adam, who came to the tree with her, also eats. And the rest is history. Sin and death came into the world, and they are still with us today. (Romans 5:12)
Abraham was a friend of God and often talked with Him. (James 2:23) At the outset of their relationship, the Lord told Abraham He would make him the father of a great nation. (Genesis 12:2) Ten years later, in his mid-80’s and still childless, Abraham shares with the Lord his concern that his heir will have to be his household servant rather than his own son. (Genesis 15:2-6) The Lord assures Abraham that his heir will be his own son, and Abraham believes Him.
Shortly thereafter, Abraham’s elderly wife Sarah tells him that the Lord has prevented her from having children. She proposes they birth their child and heir through her Egyptian servant Hagar, and Abraham “listened to the voice of Sarah”. (Genesis 16:1-2) He did not consult the Lord as he had done in the past, and so he did not learn from the Lord until years later that God’s plan was a son and heir through Sarah. (Genesis 17:16-22)
Abraham was partially informed, knowing his heir would be his son but not knowing it would also be Sarah’s son. As a result, Ishmael was born as Abraham’s first son – a man who as Abraham’s offspring would father his own great nation, but a man (and nation) also destined to live in conflict with everyone else, including his kin. (Genesis 16:10-12, 17:20)
Again, the rest is history. Ishmael became the father of the Arab people. Mohammad, founder and “Great Prophet” of Islam, traces his Arab ancestry and biblical legitimacy to Abraham through Abraham’s “first son”, Ishmael. Today there are almost two billion Muslims in the world, all of whom believe God has no Son and, therefore, John 3:16 cannot be true.
Jesus is the Truth. (John 14:6) Satan is the father of lies. If he cannot deceive you with a full lie, he will deceive you with half-truths and partial information. (John 8:44) Bad choices are destructive, and that is always the devil’s goal. (John 10:10)
Our nation’s political divisiveness today is largely the result of so many Americans being partially informed. The news media are all biased one way or the other, filtering what they report, and both progressives and conservatives tend to pay attention only to news sources that support their existing opinions. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
As to the Church, most professing Christians do not personally study the Bible. They prefer to receive God’s Word “second-hand” through their denominational doctrines, their local preacher, their friends, and now even online. Because so many are partially informed and not personally informed, they often accept human doctrine and tradition as God’s Word even when the full testimony of scripture directly contradicts what they have chosen to believe. (Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 7:1-13; Colossians 2:8) The sanctity of papal decrees, cessationism, the “prosperity gospel”, and sexual permissiveness are just four examples of this.
Study the Bible personally, not just through others. Pray every day that the Holy Spirit will give you wisdom and lead you into more truth. (Isaiah 11:1; James 1:5; John 16:13) As to any issue, hear both sides and be fully informed before you reach a conclusion.
The partially informed are easily deceived. The truth sets us free. (John 8:32)
God bless you, and God bless our community.