Our Limited Knowledge and Foresight

God is omniscient, yet we often act as though we are the ones with all knowledge.

Eve saw the Tree of Knowledge as desirable,and many artists' renditions don't change that sentiment.Public domain

Eve saw the Tree of Knowledge as desirable,
and many artists’ renditions don’t change that sentiment.
Public domain

6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

~ Hos 4:6

“Zero tolerance” is a phrase that was in the news yet again not long ago.  Yet, this is a term that should have by now brought instant derision.  It always ends up with some stupid decision that goes far beyond intent, but it is all in the name of zero tolerance.  Young boys are suspended for sandwiches shaped like guns, one person is sentenced far longer than another because of a “three strikes” rule designed to enforce zero tolerance.  Flags are banned from schools, and so on.

It occurs to me that decisions nearly always have unintended consequences. Take the standard legal forms in existence. They are usually based upon a standard formula that will fit 80 – 90% of the cases out there for a given subject.

What of the other 10 – 20%, though? Sometimes, one size does not fit all, and there can be unforeseen circumstances that change what might have otherwise been a normal situation.

David often found himself in unexpected situations. Especially before he was actually crowned king, his life was often turbulent and downright unpredictable. He had a lunatic king after him, and the king’s psychosis made it impossible to know from one day to the next what would occur until David fled the country.

The early story of David seems to be somewhat out of time sequence (which I’d written about in “Why Did Saul not Recognize David After Killing Goliath?“), so it is a valid question as to whether or not David could have foreseen what was to occur after slaying Goliath. Did he even realize he would one day be king? Even if so, I doubt he could have foreseen the amount of raging jealousy that King Saul possessed.

God, however, is eternal. Time is His creation, so I do not know that even time can contain Him and His power for very long. He can see the end because it all lies before Him like a folding roadmap might stretch out in front of one of us.

10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Isa 46:10

Yet, we are limited in not only power but in knowledge. We cannot reliably know what is even just around the corner. Sure, we can reasonably guess from experience, but we cannot really know until we get there.

Mankind has always sought knowledge. Mankind has often had a fascination with predicting the future. I think that was part of what drew Eve to the fruit on the forbidden tree — “knowledge”, to include knowledge about the future.

Oddly enough, mankind turns to many sources for that knowledge but largely rejects the main source of that knowledge. The proliferation of prophetic books (of things that fail to come to pass), horoscopes, fortune tellers, and so on, are a testament to this search, but to borrow from a song it is searching for knowledge in all the wrong places.

Yet, the Bible is often vague, and it is often purposely so. Maybe Adam and Eve had an inkling of their future. Maybe they understood exactly what was meant by being made in the image of God. Maybe the serpent was offering a shortcut.

After all, did not Satan offer Jesus a shortcut? Jesus knew that if He suffered and died, He would rule the earth. At last, He could dispense real justice upon the earth. However, Satan had another idea. Why not worship him instead? He could then give it all to Jesus right then and there with no suffering and no pain.

Of course, if anything sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Jesus was human, after all. Sooner or later, he would grow old and die. What would have been the point then? That’s just one of the better consequences, too, for it is doubtful Satan would have kept his word in the first place.

Jesus knew to put His faith and confidence in the Father.  If Jesus, as God in the flesh, declared that He without God the Father can do nothing (Jn 5:19) and even has limited knowledge (Mt 24:36), then who are we to rely upon our own strength and knowledge?

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