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The Reformation Herald Online Edition

Knowing God

Sabbath, December 2, 2023
Knowledge That Kills
Rolly C. Dumaguit
The crisis in Eden

In the garden of Eden, there were two special trees, each planted by God for a distinct purpose. The first was the tree of life with healing virtue—a fountain of youth and immortality, while the second was the tree that would give the knowledge of good and evil. Eve ate of the fruit of this second tree when she was “deceived by the serpent, to think that there was something withheld which would make them wise, even as God. Instead of believing and confiding in God, she basely distrusted His goodness, and cherished the words of Satan.”1

“Here the father of lies made his assertion in direct contradiction to the expressed word of God. Satan assured Eve that she was created immortal, and that there was no possibility of her dying. He told her that God knew that if she and her husband should eat of the tree of knowledge, their understanding would be enlightened, expanded, and ennobled, making them equal with Himself.”2

“After Adam’s transgression he at first imagined that he felt the rising to a new and higher existence. But soon the thought of his transgression terrified him. The air that had been of a mild and even temperature, seemed to chill them. The guilty pair had a sense of sin. They felt a dread of the future, a sense of want, a nakedness of soul. The sweet love, and peace, and happy, contented bliss, seemed removed from them, and in its place a want of something came over them that they never experienced before. They then for the first turned their attention to the external. They had not been clothed, but were draped in light as were the heavenly angels. This light which had enshrouded them departed. To relieve the sense of lack and nakedness which they realized, their attention was directed to seek a covering for their forms; for how could they meet the eye of God and angels unclothed?

“Their crime is now before them in its true light. Their transgression of God’s express command assumes a clearer character. Adam censured Eve’s folly in leaving his side, and being deceived by the serpent. They both flattered themselves that God, who had given them everything to make them happy, might yet excuse their disobedience, because of His great love to them, and that their punishment would not be so dreadful, after all.”3

Now a new inclination developed in their being. A bent toward evil was formed—a tendency that now enslaved them. They had experimented with a new height of sinfulness. A new height of knowledge to do wrong. “Thus Adam and Eve were worked upon by Satan until God’s restraint was snapped asunder, and their education under the teacher of lies began in order that they might have the knowledge that God had refused them—to know the consequence of transgression.”4

Before the Flood

“The human race yet retained much of its early vigor. . . . There were many giants, men of great stature and strength, renowned for wisdom, skillful in devising the most cunning and wonderful works; but their guilt in giving loose rein to iniquity was in proportion to their skill and mental ability.

“God bestowed upon these antediluvians many and rich gifts; but they used His bounties to glorify themselves, and turned them into a curse by fixing their affections upon the gifts instead of the Giver. . . . Not desiring to retain God in their knowledge, they soon came to deny His existence. They adored nature in place of the God of nature. They glorified human genius, worshiped the works of their own hands, and taught their children to bow down to graven images. . . .

“Men put God out of their knowledge and worshiped the creatures of their own imagination; and as the result, they became more and more debased. . . . If the mind is never exalted above the level of humanity, if it is not uplifted by faith to contemplate infinite wisdom and love, the man will be constantly sinking lower and lower. . . . God had given men His commandments as a rule of life, but His law was transgressed, and every conceivable sin was the result. The wickedness of men was open and daring, justice was trampled in the dust, and the cries of the oppressed reached unto heaven.”5

Later on they explored the forbidden knowledge of wrong marriage relationships:

“Polygamy had been early introduced, contrary to the divine arrangement at the beginning. The Lord gave to Adam one wife, showing His order in that respect. But after the Fall, men chose to follow their own sinful desires; and as the result, crime and wretchedness rapidly increased. Neither the marriage relation nor the rights of property were respected. Whoever coveted the wives or the possessions of his neighbor, took them by force, and men exulted in their deeds of violence. They delighted in destroying the life of animals; and the use of flesh for food rendered them still more cruel and bloodthirsty, until they came to regard human life with astonishing indifference.”6

The exploration of this forbidden knowledge of sexuality did not end with only polygamy. “If there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God and caused confusion everywhere. God purposed to destroy by a flood that powerful, long-lived race that had corrupted their ways before him.”7

The quest to find new and advancing knowledge continued. But the knowledge they were thirsting for was invented by the father of lies. Soon every imagination of their hearts was only evil continually, so the Lord said unto Noah, “The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth” (Genesis 6:13). None escaped the consequences of their wrong use of knowledge. All died except Noah and his family.

The tower of Babel

After the flood waters had subsided, “those who desired to forget their Creator and to cast off the restraint of His law felt a constant annoyance from the teaching and example of their God-fearing associates, and after a time they decided to separate from the worshipers of God. . . .

“They decided to build a city, and in it a tower of such stupendous height as should render it the wonder of the world. These enterprises were designed to prevent the people from scattering abroad in colonies. God had directed men to disperse throughout the earth, to replenish and subdue it; but these Babel builders determined to keep their community united in one body, and to found a monarchy that should eventually embrace the whole earth. . . .

“The dwellers on the plain of Shinar disbelieved God’s covenant that He would not again bring a flood upon the earth. Many of them denied the existence of God, and attributed the Flood to the operation of natural causes. Others believed in a Supreme being, and that it was He who had destroyed the antediluvian world; and their hearts, like that of Cain, rose up in rebellion against Him. One object before them in the erection of the tower [of Babel] was to secure their own safety in case of another deluge. By carrying the structure to a much greater height than was reached by the waters of the Flood, they thought to place themselves beyond all possibility of danger.”8

New knowledge of architecture and structural design was invented. Knowledge to organize and direct vast multitudes of people to construct this massive tower was also developed. Soon a new style of monarchial government was introduced, making one person king and their city the metropolis of the universe in defiance of God.

“Suddenly the work that had been advancing so prosperously was checked. Angels were sent to bring to naught the purpose of the builders. The tower had reached a lofty height, and it was impossible for the workmen at the top to communicate directly with those at the base; therefore, men were stationed at different points, each to receive and report to the one next below him the orders for needed material or other directions concerning the work. As messages were thus passing from one to another the language was confounded, so that material was called for which was not needed, and the directions delivered were often the reverse of those that had been given. Confusion and dismay followed. All work came to a standstill. There could be no further harmony or cooperation. The builders were wholly unable to account for the strange misunderstandings among them, and in their rage and disappointment they reproached one another. Their confederacy ended in strife and bloodshed. Lightnings from heaven, as evidence of God’s displeasure, broke off the upper portion of the tower and cast it to the ground. Men were made to feel that there is a God who ruleth in the heavens.”9

In the wilderness

When God delivered His people from Egypt, the Egyptians—including Pharaoh—acknowledged that the God of Israel is powerful and a living God. The Israelites had been miraculously delivered from bondage to make them free, happy, and healthy people that would serve only Him. He gave them laws to govern them and statutes to guide their spiritual path. He directed them into the desert for forty years instead of guiding them straight to Canaan for two weeks to try their characters and to make them know more about the character of God.

Reaching Mount Sinai, the Lord gave Moses the Ten Commandments. While waiting for Moses’ return from the Mount, the Israelites became restless and nervous as to why Moses coming was delayed. They were determined not go forward to the promised land but to retreat back to Egypt and they finally decided to make a statue of a golden calf as their god to lead them. Since Aaron was second in command, the people demanded that he do it.

“Aaron feared for his own safety; and instead of nobly standing up for the honor of God, he yielded to the demands of the multitude. . . . He made a molten calf, in imitation of the gods of Egypt. The people proclaimed, ‘These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.’ And Aaron basely permitted this insult to Jehovah. He did more. Seeing with what satisfaction the golden god was received, he built an altar before it, and made proclamation, ‘Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.’ . . . Under the pretense of holding ‘a feast to the Lord,’ they gave themselves up to gluttony and licentious reveling.”10

Instead of directing their faith to the knowledge and allegiance to the true God during this waiting time, they turned on the acceptance of the knowledge of the false god. They made a feast which ended up in the forbidden knowledge of gluttony, licentiousness, and revelry. The love of pleasure disguised by a “form of godliness”! A religion that permits men, while observing the rites of worship, to devote themselves to selfish or sensual gratification, was pleasing to the multitudes in the days of Israel. And there was pliant Aaron, who, while holding positions of authority in the church, yielded to the desires of the unconsecrated, thus encouraging them to sin.

At the height of their wild, riotous celebration, Moses arrived at the encampment with the two tables of stone and saw Israel worshiping the golden calf. His anger was greatly kindled, and he threw down the tables of stone, broke them, burned the golden calf, ground it to powder, strewed it upon a stream, and made the people drink of it to show the utter worthlessness of the false god they had been worshiping.

Again and again the tendency to accept the knowledge given by the father of lies has been repeated. In this instance the people ignored the all-powerful God and chose instead to accept the twisted idea that a mute, immobile, molten-sculptured Egyptian god could lead them back to Egypt. We can see here that such knowledge ended up in destruction.

At the Messiah’s coming

“The Hebrews were the chosen people of God. It was their common hope that the Messiah would come to free them from bondage to the Roman power. However, the true purpose of the Saviour’s mission was made known through the sanctuary services. Every sacrificial offering prefigured the coming of the Saviour. The paschal lamb and services pointed to Christ. In beholding these services, those who desired a true knowledge of God would realize He came to save his people from their sins.

The prophets revealed many details about this over the centuries, and the Jewish leaders were not ignorant of the miraculous birth of Christ. They had heard the news of the shepherds and special coming of the Magi. They had met Jesus in the synagogue when He was twelve and were astonished to His knowledge of the prophecy despite that He did not attend any rabbinical schools. They saw His ministry marked with divine healing and supernatural power. They heard Him claiming to be the great I AM and to cleanse the temple twice with great authority. Truly the Messiah had come, but they failed to receive Him because they accepted the knowledge invented by the father of lies. They maintained the idea that the coming Messiah must come from a wealthy family and be of royal lineage and highly educated. In their minds, Jesus did not seem to qualify in all these requirements. They despised Him, rejected Him, and hated Him to the core. That precipitated their decision to crucify Him. “Their satanic shouts, ‘His blood be upon us and to our children’, were echoed in the terrible calamity that came upon their city and temple four decades later—all because of the erroneous and fatalistically presumed knowledge of misidentifying the Mes-siah!”

In our days

The quest for destructive knowledge has become even more widespread in our days. The Lord in His mercy sent the three angels messages to sound forth the everlasting gospel before the great day of the Lord will come. One of their special messages is: “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of water” (Revelation 14:7).

Shortly after the initial proclamation of this message, Satan sent an emissary to try to destroy the knowledge that God is the Creator of universe. In 1859, Charles Darwin, an English scientist, wrote a book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, which lay the foundation of evolutionary theory asserting that all species have evolved rather than having been created. Tragically, most educational institutions today, from primary schools to universities, adhere to this idea.

Satan also invented another school of thought totally denying the existence of God: Atheism is an absence of belief in any deity or even that deities exist. This philosophy was promoted in the 18th century during the so-called “Age of Enlightenment.” The political movement that embraced this concept culminated in the lawlessness of the French Revolution. Yet an estimated 450–500 million people still profess Atheism today.

Satan was still not content with his inventions, so he also introduced Pantheism, the belief that reality, the universe and the cosmos are essentially divinity itself and that this, as a supreme supernatural being or entity is still expanding and creating, since the beginning of time, or that all things compose an all-encompassing, immanent god or goddess with the universe itself as a manifestation of deity that includes all astronomical objects. This idea crept into the early Adventist denomination through Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, causing over 4,000 church members to leave the faith, including many ministers and teachers.

Another school of thought invented by Satan is the so-called Hyperianism. It teaches that “you are divine. You are god becoming. There is no creator god to bow down to. Beyond matter there exists an immaterial domain: The source reality. You can catch fractured glimpses of this world in psychedelic states, frequency states, . . . By loosening the reducing valve of the brain, you can explore the inner realms of mind and the god within.”11

Aside from paganism, Satan has invented many more subtle forms of religions to try to deceive the very elect. He knows that the final remnant church is the only church of God in this planet earth. These believers he shakes to form distinct, separate groups to confuse the honest people of God. However, God has given us a clear identification of His church in the time of the end.

“The different parties of professed Advent believers have each a little truth, but God has given all these truths to His children who are being prepared for the day of God. He has also given them truths that none of these parties know, neither will they understand.”12


From the time of Adam until now, Satan has always been indoctrinating perverse types of knowledge to humanity and saying that you will not die, you will become a god, you are a god, nature is God, and that the devil does not exist. It’s amazing to note that many learned people actually accept this. Are you liable to accept such a notion? Those who believe Satan’s lies will receive greater delusions—and if we choose the knowledge invented by Satan, then ultimately we will reap the sure result of destruction. (See Malachi 4:1.)

“Sad will be the retrospect in that day when men stand face to face with eternity. The whole life will present itself just as it has been. The world’s pleasures, riches, and honors will not then seem so important. Men will then see that the righteousness they despised is alone of value. They will see that they have fashioned their characters under the deceptive allurements of Satan. The garments they have chosen are the badge of their allegiance to the first great apostate. Then they will see the results of their choice. They will have a knowledge of what it means to transgress the commandments of God.”13

But instead, the Lord wants us to know Him personally. The psalmist says, O taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). He wants us to worship our Creator alone, who declares, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). By so doing we can have life eternal. Jesus explained that “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). As our knowledge of Him grows deeper, we can appreciate His love towards us and render to Him our utmost service. One day He will invite us to enter the gates of that city and offer us the fruit of the tree of life and bestow upon us true knowledge.

“All the treasures of the universe will be open to the study of God’s redeemed. . . . Upon all things, from the least to the greatest, the Creator’s name is written, and in all are the riches of His power displayed.

“And the years of eternity, as they roll, will bring richer and still more glorious revelations of God and of Christ. As knowledge is progressive, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character.”14

May the Lord bless you wonderfully during this Week of Prayer! Amen.

1 The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 40.
2 Confrontation, p. 13.
3 The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 41.
4 The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Commentary], vol. 1, p. 1083.
5 Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 90, 91.
6 Ibid., pp. 91, 92.
7 The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 69.
8 Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 118, 119.
9 Ibid., pp. 119, 120.
10 Conflict and Courage, p. 97.
12 Early Writings, p. 124.
13 Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 318, 319.
14 God’s Amazing Grace, p. 368.