Knowledge is so important to God that He made it a critical part of Adam and Eve’s experience at Creation by placing a tree of knowledge in the middle of the garden (Gen. 2:9). Satan’s attempt to deceive Eve was on the basis of knowledge. He claimed that if Eve partook of the fruit of the tree, she would be like God and would have the ability to know good and evil. Up to this point, Eve was only exposed to God’s creation, which was declared to be “very good” (Gen. 1:31). Satan’s argument was that she needed additional knowledge in order to become greater (Gen. 3:5).
We learn from the story of the fall of Adam and Eve that “more” is not necessarily more. Satan would have us think today what he tricked Eve into believing in Eden: that knowing more things is better than knowing only good things. We must beware of false comparisons. Many are still tempted to compare good and evil as two things of equal value, thinking by logic that two is better than one. But this is where the ultimate deception lies.
In the narrative of Scripture, God’s value system contrasts the eternal with the temporal. Gaining the wisdom to differentiate between eternal things and temporal things is the first work of education. It equips us to see things from God’s perspective instead of our limited viewpoint. The prophet Isaiah stated it this way: “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance” (Isa. 55:2).
It is in Jesus that critical things about knowledge become clear. First, not all knowledge is of equal value. A person may know a lot of things about an endless number of subjects that would make them wealthy, famous, and powerful in this world. However, a knowledge of all these things will not put them a fraction closer to the realm of eternity. These two worlds do not match. Eternal life comes not through a knowledge of many things but through a knowledge of One—that is, Jesus (John 17:13; 1 John 5:11, 20).
Second, not all life is of equal value. The value of heaven is not only measured in the quantity of days that we’ll enjoy but also in the quality of life we will experience with the unrestrained opportunity to grow in Christ’s likeness throughout eternity. Jesus promised this as the more abundant life (John 10:10), and it is thus drastically more valuable than a million years of temporal living. The two cannot be compared. Fanny J. Crosby understood this when she wrote the song, Take the World, but Give Me Jesus:
Take the world, but give me Jesus,
All its joys are but a name;
But His love abideth ever,
Through eternal years the same.