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Just dropping by ... Our modern Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

Yevet Tenney Published on 18 April 2014

A recent article states: “The message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the 48th World Communications Day announced that the Internet is a gift from God”.

The Pope’s announcement caused quite a stir. People seemed to rejoice and were gleefully suggesting that now we can do anything we want.

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God would not have given us anything evil. The Internet a gift from God?

Some would think because the Internet is a gift from God, they have permission to drink freely from the rivers of filth available with every click of the mouse, that He condones all the terrible things that flutter from one computer to another: pornography, time-wasters, misinformation and all the sordid characters that come into our living rooms via the Internet.

Some would think if the Internet is a gift from God, He condones and gives permission for all that goes on the Internet. Yes, God gave us the Internet, but long before it was ever a twinkle in the mind of the men who invented it, God set up the rules for its use.

Back in the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve permission to eat of all the fruit in the garden except the fruit that grew on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He said, “thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17).

God’s guidelines were clear and concise: “Don’t do it, but if you do ...” and God followed through on His promise. Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, and eventually they died.

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Was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil a bad tree? Of course not. It was a tree of choices. Before Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they didn’t have the capacity to make choices because everything they saw and touched was good.

There was no evil. In order for men or women to have free agency, they must have choices. There has to be opposition in all things. Good and evil, happy and sad, light and darkness, sickness and health, and so on. If there is not an opposite, there is only one choice.

Satan would have us believe that there is no good or bad. The right or wrong of the choice a person makes is according to the circumstances and intentions of the heart. People can steal as long as the money is used for a good cause. Immorality is OK as long as two people love each other.

The man was “insane” when he took his gun and killed 27 people. It was not his fault. The excuse makes it all right in our society, but with God nothing has changed. Adam and Eve had their excuses: “The woman gave it to me” and “the serpent beguiled me.”

Those are really good excuses, and they could have added, “We didn’t know it was so bad and you didn’t explain it well enough.” Did the excuses change the consequence in God’s eyes? No. Adam and Eve were still kicked out of the Garden of Eden and eventually became prey to the grave.

Back to our discussion about the Internet being a gift from God. Trees of the Knowledge of Good and Evil are everywhere in our society. Are they gifts from God? Certainly. Every invention from the beginning of time has been a gift from God. Let’s consider the astrolabe.

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The astrolabe was a compass that led explorers to the New World. Was it good or evil? If it hadn’t been invented, the Spaniards would not have enslaved the Native Americans.

The English would never have allowed the Pilgrims to come and set up the colonies, and there would have been no America. It was not the astrolabe’s fault that men were pillagers or saints. It was only a tool of travel.

Take the invention of the printing press. Before its invention, only monks and the very elite could read and write. The Bible might well have been a stone for all the good it was to the common man, but the printing press brought a new world.

The Renaissance came alive with its advent. Knowledge began to be shared. People began to perfect the finer arts of drama, painting, literature and science. It was a magnificent explosion. People could write to each other and share information in a whole new way.

Was everything good? Certainly not. There were rebellions and battles over right and wrong. People published false information as well as true information. As time went by, people published pornographic literature and pictures. Did God condone that practice? Of course not. The printing press was only a tool.

Then came the phonograph and radio with music at every person’s fingertips. A person could listen to the glorious classical music of Bach, Handel and Beethoven right in their own home. They could listen to a preacher expound the word of God and sing along with the hymns.

They could listen to the news and be informed of events happening across the world. They could be charmed and persuaded by speeches from political leaders. Yellow journalism, the practice of shaping the truth for political purpose, became possible on a grand scale.

Did God condone that? I think not. The new inventions made it possible, but they were only tools, choices to create good or evil.

Soon the movie camera was invented and people could record events in real time. What a wonderful thing. People could now save images of their family members in moving pictures. They could see places in the world they would never be able to visit.

They could make movies and share entertainment in a brand-new way. On the other hand, these inventions also gave Hitler the tool he used to persuade a nation to attempt to exterminate the Jews. Through moving pictures of his speeches and radio broadcasts, he was able to communicate with his people swiftly.

His propaganda reached millions and persuaded them to his cause. Of course, the same media was used to bring America to the aid of the suffering Jews and the oppressed people under Hitler’s rule. Was the moving camera a bad thing? No, it was a gift from God. He gave the gift; man decided how it would be used.

Now we have the Internet linking every home and every heart. Facebook and Twitter are instant communication sources if we are at our computer. Well, no – nowadays we don’t even have to be at our computer. Our handheld devices carry messages no matter where we are. We are connected in ways never possible before.

We can see the plight of those in other countries and rush to their aid with a monetary gift sent over wireless connections. We can talk with our loved ones who are countries away. We can Skype with our soldiers serving in the military or talk with our friends and families on vacation continents away.

On the other hand, we have pornography, killings, bombings, wars and sources for every kind of evil possible zipping through the airwaves of our world. With the swipe of the finger or the click of a mouse, we can choose to participate in any sordid and lascivious practice.

With a tap or a click, we can degrade humanity to lower than the beasts or we can elevate humanity to a little lower than the angels. It is our choice. This wonderful gift from God, our modern Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, is there for the taking.

With any gift from God, He has set up guidelines at the beginning of time and has reiterated them in every generation through His prophets or His scriptures. They thunder down from Mount Sinai even today. Those Ten Commandments are as relevant as the commandment to Adam and Eve not to partake of the forbidden fruit.

We cannot abuse God’s laws and expect Him to be tolerant with our excuses. He expects us to make right choices with His magnificent gifts. The Internet, as magnificent as it is, is no exception.

We can choose to click on the sites that will lift us near the status of angels or we can grovel with the animals. God gave us that choice, but He also said, “Thou shalt not ...” and He means it. PD

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