The Danger of Knowledge: Speculating On Why God Hasn’t Revealed More To Us

Have you seen Will Ferrell’s movie Stranger Than Fiction? I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t. Far different from the standard Will Ferrell movie like Anchorman, Talledega Nights, or Step Brothers, this movie is at least semi-serious. In it, Will Ferrell plays an IRS worker who begins to hear a strange voice narrate his life, which he discovers to be the voice of the author of a book in which he is the protagonist. It’s a clever premise, and it begs the question: If I were a character in a book, how could I be able to relate to the author?

Tim Keller says this,

“C. S. Lewis wrote that if there is a God, we certainly don’t relate to him as people on the first floor of a building relate to people on the second floor. We relate to him the way Hamlet relates to Shakespeare. We (characters) might be able to know quite a lot about the playwright, but only to the degree that the author chooses to put information about himself in the play.”

I’ve always found this quote insightful, but I do think it’s fair to ask why hasn’t God revealed more to us?

When trying to answer why God does certain things, we need to acknowledge that we can only speculate based on what he has revealed. So I want to be clear that I don’t know God’s mind and what I’m doing is just speculation.

When we look at the start of the bible, we see how desiring to know more than God intended us to know is damaging. Let’s look at this famous exchange in Genesis 3 (emphasis mine).

“But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” Genesis 3:4-7

The world is broken. War, rape, sickness, death.  These are all signs of the brokenness we caused when we rebelled against God. In this passage, we see that our desire for knowledge – our desire be knowledgeable like God – was central in leading us down the path of destruction.

So we can say that increased knowledge doesn’t always correspond with an increase in our well-being, and I believe this is one reason God hasn’t fully revealed himself. Next week we will see that God desires to give us something far greater than knowledge.

3 thoughts on “The Danger of Knowledge: Speculating On Why God Hasn’t Revealed More To Us”

  1. C.S. Lewis also speculated in his novel Perelandra that the problem with the fall in the garden wasn’t simply acquiring knowledge, but the timing. On Perelandra (C.S. Lewis’s fictional name for Venus, where he tells the story of a second Eden), by the actions of the protagonist of the book, a second Adam and Eve resist the temptation to disobey a divine command. After that, God does indeed give them knowledge, but now, they are ready for it and receive it without harm. I would add my own interpretation to this that knowledge must always be subordinate to relationship. Eve tried to get knowledge by breaking her relationship with God, and that knowledge — though it was neither good nor bad in itself — hurt her, and all of us.

  2. Dad, thanks for posting the interesting Perelandra reference—that’s pretty interesting.

    Andrew, it’s a good question—why hasn’t God revealed more to us?

    If we assume that God is all-loving, then it must be good for us that God hasn’t revealed more than he has. That said, since we need faith to be saved and most of us need evidence to believe, it’s hard to understand how less evidence is a good thing.

    Wouldn’t you agree that a lot of people will go to hell because God didn’t reveal how biological evolution and Biblical creation can both be true?

    1. Thanks for the comment and the question, David! To answer you’re question, I’m not sure that the Bible agrees that if God revealed more, then less people would go to hell. Twice the words of Jesus imply otherwise.
      1) Luke 16 where Jesus is talking about the rich man and Lazarus: “And [the rich man] said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent’ [Abraham] said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”
      2) Matthew 11 where Jesus denounces unrepentant cities that he did miracles in: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”

      I agree that it can seem as if more people would be saved if God revealed more, but I think this is where as a Christian, I need to ask, do I want to build my life on my own reasoning and understanding and emotion or do I want to build my life upon the words of a man that have been time tested for over 2000 years, a man who started a movement that is still growing and has shaped the world as we know it. I’ve seen where trusting myself leads me, and I’ve seen where following Jesus has, and will continue to lead me.

      “I have come so that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

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