I still seek understanding - Part one

Father, forgive me, I tried not to do it
Turned over a new leaf, then tore right through it
Whatever you taught me, I didn't believe it
Father, you fought me, 'cause I didn't care
And I still don't understand - It's a Sin, Pet Shop Boys

I have no idea how many parts this exploration of knowledge and understanding will encompass. 

This whole concept of understanding was brought back to my attention a couple of days ago in a conversation with a friend of mine and a perspective that I received from who knows where about the internet. Adam and Eve were commanded to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Many scholars believe that this tree, and the designation of "good and evil" was something that would subject Adam and Eve to information that they would not know how to process and that they would, ultimately, abuse. Indeed, when their eyes were opened they realized that they were naked. 

Now being naked in front of the person that God had specially designed to complete you is not a bad thing at all. Spouses are regularly naked in front of each other even now and there is no shame in that. But Adam and Eve had no idea what to do with this new knowledge. They could not process it within their finiteness, their limited understanding of the world, their lack of perspective. So what did they do? They felt shame and sewed leaves together to cover themselves. That was their response to their acquisition of this knowledge. It was the wrong response to their nakedness. Would God have ever told them that they were naked? Maybe. It is hard to say, but I think it is safe to say that if God would have told them that they were naked he would have also told them that this is a "good" and "proper" thing. He would have given them that bit of knowledge coupled with direction concerning how they were to process what he had given them. But they would have none of that. They opened a door where they would subject knowledge to their own perspective and understanding. 

And now I sew fig leaves together in response to what I know.

Do I understand everything that God has asked me to do? No. I know what he wants me to do and what he wants me to refrain from. I am quite sure of a lot of things and usually know what the right thing is to do in the situations I find myself in. But I do not fully grasp the "why" he has asked me to do this thing rather than the other thing. I just don't. Now, believe me, I think that it is all right to wrestle with that. To seek understanding concerning his commands or his character or his creation is what makes us human and we need to pursue that.

Where the wheels came off for Adam and Eve is where the wheels come off for me. I set myself up as the one who "should" understand in order for me to obey. Now, the only rational position of a rational, created creature to its creator (me to God) is that of love manifested in obedience. There are no qualifications to that obedience at all. I cannot make that obedience dependent upon my understanding of the "why" I need to do it. I must simply obey with the full knowledge that this is the best (the only) position I can rationally occupy. 

But isn't knowledge that I have acquiesced to a fancy way of saying that it is something I understand? You could say that. In fact, that is exactly what it is. But more on that later.


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