>submitted by Robin Schmidt

It is the information age. We can find out pretty much anything through books, television, or the world wide web.

We value knowledge and pursue it. We have game shows where people compete to see who possesses greater knowledge. Remember Ken from Jeopardy? He seemed to know EVERYTHING. We believe knowledge is power. If we know then we are in control.

My father-in-law is not a doctor, but he plays one on the internet. With a small amount of research he can diagnose symptoms, attempt to manage treatment and presume to advise doctors. Sometimes a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

Recently, I have been reflecting on the connection between knowledge and fear.

In the beginning there was a tree and it was called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Of all that God created this was the one tree whose fruit man and woman could not eat.

Then came the lie. You will not die if you eat this fruit, said the serpent, eat it and your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

You will be like God. What did the woman think that meant? Exactly like God? Equal to God? Did she get that it was just like God in knowing?

Fast forward a few hundred/thousand years and consider some shepherds outside of Bethlehem. An angel appeared to them, and his first words were: Fear not. Why? Because an angel appeared to the shepherds and suddenly they knew. They knew that angels existed. They knew they were not alone. They knew what an angel sounded like, looked like, and they were afraid, sore afraid.

Faced with the knowledge of an angel, we know we are not the biggest thing going. We are NOT God, we are little and powerless and vulnerable and we become afraid. Very afraid. Sore afraid.

We are made in God’s image but we don’t have his perspective, his power, you name it we ain’t got it. So, here we are, NOT a lot like God, only now we know.

The woman saw that the tree was good for food, it was a delight to the eye and it was desirable for gaining knowledge. She desired knowledge so she took it and ate and gave it to the man.

You might say she had a hunger for knowledge. So do we.

They ate the fruit and they recognized their nakedness and attempted to hide it and then hid themselves from God because they were afraid.

Afraid of what?

I’m thinking they were afraid of what they knew.

God told them not to eat from that tree, presumably because they didn’t need to know good and evil. God walked with them in the garden and was asking them to live on a need to know basis. But knowledge is power and we want to know.

The thing is, they already knew all they needed to know. They knew God.