How Knowledge Plays in Decision Making

Decision Making Part 8

How Knowledge Plays in Decision Making

“The shooter was not from this community. In fact, the shooter traveled hours from outside this community to perpetrate this crime on the people of Buffalo,” shared Buffalo mayor, Byron Brown following a mass shooting in a local supermarket. Both Buffalo and the Garden of Eden were scenes of a crime. The crime in Buffalo was a mass shooting and the crime in The Garden of Eden was the original sin.

In both situations, knowledge—what each perpetrator knew or didn’t know to be true—was a key factor. Both Eve and the shooter were deceived—led to believe something that isn’t true. The enemy—someone not from either community—was able to deceive Eve and—I believe—the shooter too.

And in each situation, their knowledge played a major role.

Part 8 of Choosing Wisely

I’m focused on knowledge today because it’s the latest concept in our deep dive into Genesis 2:15-17 as part of our series on making decisions when creating our new lives. Today’s exploration of knowledge is the eighth article in the series.

Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
~ Genesis 2:15-17

In this Scripture, we find the first choice God gave to humanity, the choice of selecting our food. As a passage about choice, we can extract guidelines from this passage we can use to choose the activities that make up our lives.

Two Aspects of Knowledge

As I have shared previously, knowledge has two aspects—an intellectual aspect and an experiential aspect. The intellectual aspect of knowledge is to grasp facts and information mentally or to understand them. It takes place in our minds.

Knowing experientially, on the other hand, isn’t something that just goes on in our minds. Experiential knowledge goes on in our bodies. It’s knowledge gained through experience. You know it to be true because you experienced the reality of the facts and information.

For instance, you can understand the concepts that pineapples are sweet, lemons are sour, and pretzels are salty by reading about them. Or you taste their flavors for yourself.

The Hebrew Concept of Knowledge

For the Hebrews to whom Moses was writing in Genesis 2:17, experiential knowledge is the kind of intimate understanding depicted in Isaiah when God asked: Will you know the new thing I’m doing? Will it become real in our lives? Or will it just be a figment of our imaginations?

Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.
~ Isaiah 43:19

Since the Hebrew concept of knowledge was experiential, the word knowledge describing the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil speaks to experiential knowledge—a knowledge God was commanding Adam not to experience.

This is an important point when we look at what Adam’s knowledge and experiences included up to that point. In Genesis 1:31, we learn everything God created in the Creation Story was good. So, at the time God commanded him not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam had some knowledge—but it was all of good things. At that point, Adam had yet to experience evil.

God’s heart, since the beginning, is to protect us from evil. Share on X

As a matter of fact, until God uttered that command about the Tree, Adam didn’t even have intellectual knowledge of evil. But in God telling him of the Tree, Adam gained intellectual knowledge of evil’s existence.

You see, commanding him not to eat of the Tree was a form of protection. God was protecting Adam, and later Eve, from experiencing anything evil.

That is something to shout about: God’s heart, since the beginning, is to protect us from evil.

Now, most people would consider a mass shooting as evil. So, God didn’t intend for us to experience—directly or indirectly via sources like the news—mass shootings.

The Role of Knowledge

In the opening section of today’s post, I posited that, “knowledge—what each perpetrator knew or didn’t know to be true—was a key factor.” Allow me to explain.

Ladies first…

Eve

There is no question Eve was deceived because she admits it in Genesis 3:13. And in reading the preceding verses, we see Eve misquoted God. From her misquotation, we learn she had inaccurate knowledge or misunderstood God’s command on two points:

  1. Eve thought they could only eat the fruit of the trees in the garden. Actually, they could eat “of the trees of the garden,” which means anything including the stalks and the leaves. Their boundary was the tree, not the fruit.
  2. Eve thought simply touching the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil would kill them. Actually, it was eating any part of the Tree that was deadly to them.

And the enemy used her misunderstanding God’s command to deceive her. Had she gotten her facts straight, the enemy couldn’t have deceived her.

The Shooter

As for the shooter, I believe he was also deceived and his knowledge played a crucial role in his crime too. Now, if the news reports are to be believed, this young man was operating on his knowledge and understanding of white replacement theory.

The enemy used the shooter’s misunderstanding God’s character, will, and word to deceive him.

I love how New York Times columnist Charles Blow explains white replacement fact and white replacement theory, respectively:

“There is a replacement fact and there is a replacement theory. There is a demographic fact according to all estimates that white people will be replaced as the majority of the American population in this country by people who are non-white. That’s just a fact. You can feel about it however you want to feel about it.”

“The theory part of it is another thing which is that this is a plan by Democrats or Jewish people or whomever and they are orchestrating this rather than it being a fact born out of basic migration and reproductive data.”

Now, I am not here to debate white replacement theory with you. As a Bible teacher, that’s not my role. In the words of Charles Blow, “You can feel about it however you want to feel about it.” Whether or not the young man was deceived in regards to white replacement theory is not what I am here to discuss today. What I would like to discuss is why.

I believe a biblical deception occurred and that is what I am here to discuss today.

I want to discuss why because that is where I believe a biblical deception occurred and that is what I am here to discuss today. So, please bear with me while I unpack this.

If the new reports are to be believed, this young man’s knowledge and understanding of white replacement fact and theory contributed to him allegedly taking it upon himself to drive to another community and kill as many black people as he could. But why? Because the enemy was able to scare this young man into thinking that he was losing power, that somehow these people were to blame, and that his only recourse was violence. Biblically speaking, all three of these points are false:

  1. He was losing power – God’s power is limitless (Ephesians 1:19). So, if this young man wants more power, he went to the wrong source. God empowers us based on our assignments (Genesis 1:28).
  2. Somehow these people were to blame for his loss of power – Again, the source of all power is God. If this young man’s power has changed, is changing, or will change, he needs to seek God, not other people. The parable of the talents explains that God increases power, opportunity, and resources based on our use of what He has already given us (Matthew 25:14-30). So, if you want more, be faithful in using the power He has already given you.
  3. His only recourse was violence – The seventh commandment directs us to not kill (Exodus 20:13), so violence is never the answer. So, even if white replacement fact and theory are true. This man’s alleged actions ring false.

Thus, like Eve, the enemy used the shooter’s misunderstanding God’s character, will, and word to deceive him. Had he gotten the facts straight about God and His power, the enemy couldn’t have deceived him.

Guidelines about Knowledge

Before I leave you today, as I have throughout this series, I would like to share with you guidelines extracted from today’s Scripture. To paraphrase Proverbs 4:1 and 7, today’s guidelines are:

Guideline 16: Pay attention to your Father’s instructions to know understanding.
Guideline 17: With all your getting, get understanding.

The “Choosing Wisely” Series:

  • Part 1a – Choosing Wisely
  • Part 1b – Getting to the Root
  • Part 1c – Fueling Your New Life
  • Part 2 – A Habitat for Humanity
  • Part 3 – The Order of Rest
  • Part 4 – The Right Conditions for Rest
  • Part 5 – What’s the Best Decision-Making Process for Creating New Lives?
  • Part 6 – Five Freedoms When Creating a New Life
  • Part 7 – The Risks of Giving Into Temptation
  • Part 8 – How Knowledge Plays in Decision Making
  • Part 9 – How Morality Applies to Decision Making
  • Part 10 – Biblical Concepts of Time When Making Decisions
  • Part 11 – Some Certainties We Have in This Life
  • Part 12 – How Will Your Relationship End?

COMPLETE LIST OF GUIDELINES

Guideline #1: Choose activities that align with our assignments.
Guideline #1a: The availability of activities that align with our new lives depends on the level of effort we put into completing our assignments.
Guideline #2: Choose activities that support our assignments.
Guideline #3: Choose activities that provide what our lives and assignments need to live, grow, and stay healthy so that we can produce the best fruit.
Guideline #3a: Choose activities that balance the things related to our assignments that we want to do with the things related to our assignments that we need to do.
Guideline #4: During seasons of plenty, choose activities that for seasons of scarcity by storing excess resources.
Guideline #5:  Choose activities that are fueled or empowered by the Son.
Guideline #5a: Choose activities that are fueled by clean energy—energy that doesn’t pollute the environment and has a positive impact on the environment by counteracting the pollution produced by “dirty energy.”
Guideline #5b: Engage in activities that are fueled by renewable energy—energy that is never depleted or is constantly replenished.
Guideline #5c: Choose activities that are fueled by universal energy—energy that is accessible anywhere.
Guideline 6: Choose activities that worship and serve the Lord.
Guideline 7: Choose activities that obey the Lord’s commands.
Guideline 8: Choose activities that are enjoyable and satisfying.
Guideline 9: Choose to complete activities in order.
Guideline 10: Choose to rest before beginning your assignments.
Guideline 11: Choose to rest your new life on a solid, unchanging foundation.
Guideline 12: Always start with God.
Guideline 13: Choose the best option.
Guideline 14: Choose activities that allow you to maximize your power and influence.
Guideline 15: Weigh the risk before choosing an option.
Guideline 16: Pay attention to your Father’s instructions to know understanding.
Guideline 17: With all your getting, get understanding.

I invite you to share your thoughts and feelings with me via social media on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedInTwitter, or Threads.

Until next time,

Dawn Mann Sanders

Cord of Blue divider | Dawn Mann Sanders | Christian Author and Motivational Speaker | Biblical Relationship Advice

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