Copyright © 1981, 2005, 2009 Philadelphia Church of God
What an age
The dissemination of knowledge about sex has occurred only since World War i. Medieval ignorance, coupled with the “sex is shameful” attitude and church repression, caused frustration and miserably unhappy marriages. But the modern diffusion of biological sex knowledge and the permissive sexual freedoms of the “New Morality” have plunged the Western world from the frying pan into the fire.
And why? Because the most vital dimension in knowledge about sex and marriage has been missing.
But this vital dimension is missing not only from knowledge about sex and marriage. It is missing from knowledge in general!
To understand, we need to realize the impetus behind the general knowledge explosion, and how the most vital dimension came to be missing.
The dramatic rise in the world’s total fund of knowledge began, roughly, 170 years ago, with the advent of modern science. The new knowledge in the fields of science and technology developed slowly at first. Knowledge production gained momentum gradually, and then, finally, came the knowledge explosion.
Even when I was a boy, we used kerosene lamps, horse-and-buggy transportation and the little “dinky” trolley cars which had just replaced the horse-drawn street cars. Radio, television, airplanes were unheard of.
It’s hard to realize, now, that this world went along on virtually an even keel—with no material progress to speak of—for thousands of years. It was primarily an agricultural world, using primitive farming methods. The cast-iron plow was not invented until 1797—the disc plow not until 1896, when I was a growing boy. The first harvester came in 1836.
Think of it! Through those long millennia the world was virtually without transportation or means of communication! Transportation was by foot, mule-back, camel, elephant or horse-drawn. By sea it was slow-moving sailboat. The first steamboat (Fulton) was 1803. The telephone was not invented until 1876, wireless in 1896.
In my lifetime we have whipped past the machine age, the automobile age, the jet age, the nuclear age and the space age. What stimulated this accelerating materialistic development?
It occurred simultaneously with the sudden spurt to national wealth and power of two nations—Britain and the United States—beginning in 1800. With this suddenly acquired material wealth, our people became materialistically minded.
Modern scientists assured the world that man had progressed to the point where he could safely dispense with the superstitious crutch of religion and belief in God. Now humanity could rely on the new messiah—modern science.
“Given sufficient knowledge,” said the scientists, “and we shall solve all of humanity’s problems and cure all the world’s ills.” The tools of modern science were merely a stepped-up use of those man had employed since the dawn of history—observation, experimentation and human reason.
So knowledge production has increased at a fast-accelerating pace. And this includes the area of sex!
Paradoxically, humanity’s problems, troubles and evils have been increasing at an equal acceleration! In the decade from 1960 to 1970 man’s total fund of knowledge doubled! But, incredibly, in that same 10 short years the world’s troubles and evils doubled also! The decade of the ’70s produced a like “advancement.”
What’s wrong with the dictum that knowledge is the sole need for solutions? Increasing evils have come with increasing knowledge! That’s the hard, cold fact that must be faced!
Is it wrong to possess or gain knowledge? Most certainly not! Am I discouraging the acquisition of knowledge? By no means!
On the other hand, we are face-to-face with the fact that evils have escalated along with the production of knowledge. That does not necessarily mean that the knowledge produced caused the evils. It does mean that the knowledge produced did not cure existing evils or prevent new evils.
There has to be a knowledge gap—a missing dimension—somewhere! It’s high time we learn what it is!
For every effect, there has to be a cause!
There has to be a cause for all the world’s evils! There has to be a cause for the worsening moral problem! There can be two kinds of knowledge—true and false.
In this feverish development of knowledge production, scholars in universities have been placing emphasis on academic freedom. Academic freedom is defined as the independent judgment allowed teachers, scholars, scientists, students, in the pursuit of knowledge.
Science as a whole, and higher education, have exercised the academic freedom to postulate a creation without a Creator. They have engaged in the activity of knowledge production with total rejection of any possibility of the miraculous, the supernatural, the existence of God—or anything outside the realm of the material. In the realm of knowledge of the spiritual they know nothing. They have rejected utterly revelation as a source of basic knowledge!
When I engaged in research on the theory of evolution, I studied Darwin, Haeckel, Huxley, Vogt, More, Chamberlain and other exponents of the theory. I also looked at the other side of the question. But I would venture to say that most of those whose higher education has been acquired during the past half century have been taught and have accepted without question the evolutionary theory, not having examined with any seriousness the biblical evidences of special creation. To go along with the evolutionary concept has become the scholarly “in” thing. In most institutions of higher learning, the world’s “Best Seller” has been dismissed without a hearing.
Is it not human to err?
Could it be possible for the most highly educated minds to have been intellectually misled or deceived? Could they, viewing only one side of the question, be infallible, entirely above making mistakes?
For many years now, I have observed that errors almost always come from a false basic premise, carelessly assumed as self-evident, and taken for granted without question, then building on that false basic hypothesis. The basic premise for knowledge production in our time has been the evolutionary concept. It has been the eyeglasses through which all questions have been viewed. Yet it remains unproved, and by its very nature it is a theory not subject to proof. It is a faith. And to question it is—to those who embrace this faith—academic heresy!
Do we, then, dare question the theories so generally accepted by advanced scholarship? Is it heretical to question their assumed conclusions and ask for proof? Is it academic heresy to look at the other side of the coin?
Suppose, now, we appropriate the academic freedom to carefully examine that which has been dismissed without examination.
It might prove exciting and enlightening, at this point, to allow ourselves the latitude of academic freedom unprejudicially to examine the biblical narrative of the forbidden fruit. That bit of revelation purports to describe the crucial initial event in human experience that changed the entire course of history.
The first three chapters of the Bible do have something to say about sex and marriage. And, after all, the man and the woman there described were naked, were they not?
Evidently few, if any—whether scientist, scholar or theologian—have viewed this account with any remote conception that it might explain the origin of the scientific method of knowledge production. Or, that it might reveal the very source of the fatal missing dimension! Certainly almost no one—theologians included—has ever understood what this account really does say!
I think we must begin our view of the forbidden fruit narrative at the beginning, the very first verse in the Bible.
So we begin, “In the beginning God ….” That statement definitely puts God in existence before all else. No postulate—no guess—no “perhaps”—just the simple positive statement, “… created the heaven and the earth.”
Whether fact or fiction—truth or error—that is what is written, purporting to be the revealed Word of God.
Something tremendous is indicated to have occurred between what is stated to have been the original creation of the Earth (verse 1) and the statement in verse 2: “And the earth was [became] without form, and void” (Hebrew, tohu and bohu), meaning ruin, confusion, emptiness (see any Hebrew-English lexicon). What occurred between events and conditions described in those two verses is revealed in many other biblical passages. And this allows for any duration of time between the two verses. So far as biblical statements are concerned, the original creation could have occurred millions of years prior to the state described in the second verse.
Coming to the 26th verse, chapter 1, it is stated, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness ….” Other biblical passages state that man is in the same form and shape as God—but with this difference: that God is composed of spirit, and man of physical matter.
Now verse 27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Here is a dogmatic statement that God designed and created sex
And next, chapter 2, verse 7: “And the [Eternal] God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” The flat statement is here recorded that what was made from material substance (dust of the ground) became a soul—a plain emphatic statement that the “soul” was made from matter, not spirit.
Next comes the statement that God planted a garden, or park, in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.
Note well these facts: The plain statement is that the man and woman were created as the final act of creation on the sixth day of the week described in the first chapter of Genesis. They had been created, even as we have been born, with human minds as yet unfilled with knowledge. But they were created as adults, with adult-capacity minds, capable of receiving and reasoning from knowledge.
So their Creator began immediately to instruct them in necessary basic knowledge. And this, it is made plain, included instruction in sex and marriage.
God had said, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth …” (Genesis 1:28). Again, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25).
Mark, please, the plain statement that the attitude of shame was not imparted by God. At the conclusion of God’s initial instruction—which included instruction about sex and reproduction—there was no sense of indecency or shame about that which God had designed and created.
At this point we must bear in mind that the narrative here is exceedingly brief. It touches only on the high spots. There is every indication that God gave Adam and Eve considerable basic instruction—sufficient for their needs for the moment. Only the high-point portions of this instruction are summarized.
But sufficient is recorded to show that they were fully instructed in the way to live that would cause every good effect—peace, happiness, prosperity, comforts, interesting life, abundant well-being.
Notice, now, how much is summarized and condensed into few words: “And out of the ground made the [Eternal] God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. … And the [Eternal] God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:9, 16-17).
God told Adam that he was mortal and could die. He told him that he had been formed of matter from the earth (verse 7) and also “dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (chapter 3, verse 19).
Notice what is symbolized and revealed here. The tree of life symbolized eternal life. They did not, as yet, possess immortal life. This was freely offered to Adam and Eve as God’s gift.
But they were required to make a choice.
Also in the garden was another symbolic tree—the tree of “the knowledge of good and evil.” To make the wrong choice of taking of that forbidden tree would impose the penalty of death. “Thou shalt surely die,” said God—if they chose to disobey and take of that tree.
In other words, as we read in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life ….” This clearly shows that God revealed the gospel to them. And what is the Bible definition of sin? “[S]in is,” it is written in 1 John 3:4, “the transgression of the law.”
Actually, there exist, overall, only two basic ways of life—two divergent philosophies. They travel in opposite directions. I state them very simply: One is the way of give—the other of get.
More specifically, the one is the way of love, humility and of outgoing concern for others equal to self-concern. It is the way of cooperation, serving, helping, sharing; of consideration, patience and kindness. More important, it is also the way of obedience to, reliance on, and worship solely toward God. It is the God-centered way, of love toward God and love toward neighbor.
The opposite is the self-centered way of vanity, lust and greed; of competition and strife; of envy, jealousy and unconcern for the welfare of others.
Few realize this vital fact: The “give” way is actually an invisible, yet inexorable, spiritual law in active motion. It is summarized, in principle, by the Ten Commandments.
It is a law as real, as inflexibly relentless as the law of gravity! It governs and regulates all human relationships!
Why should it seem incongruous that man’s Maker—the Creator of all matter, force and energy—the Creator of the laws of physics and chemistry, gravity and inertia—should also have created and set in motion this spiritual law to cause every good result for man?
If the Creator is a God of love—if our Maker is a God of all power—could He possibly have done otherwise? Could He have neglected to provide a way—a CAUSE—to produce peace, happiness, prosperity, successful lives, abundant well-being?
I repeat: There has to be a cause for every effect.
If there is to be peace, happiness, abundant well-being, something must cause it! God could not be God without providing a cause for every desired good.
Isn’t it about time we realize that in love for the mankind He created, God also created and set in motion inexorably this spiritual law to provide the cause of every good result?
Now recapitulate. Death is the penalty of sin. Sin is the transgression of this law! To transgress this law is to reject the way that would cause the good all humans want—to turn to the way that causes every evil result. God forbade Adam and Eve to take the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, under penalty of death!
Why? Because He wanted them to choose the way of every desired good—because He wanted them to avoid causing evils, sorrows, pains, suffering, unhappiness. Therefore, taking this fruit was symbolic of transgressing God’s spiritual law!
To have taken of the tree of life was merely symbolic of receiving the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, the very love of God (Romans 5:5) which fulfills this spiritual law (Romans 13:10) and which God gives only to those who obey His law (Acts 5:32).
Consider further: A just God could not have warned the first humans of the death penalty without having fully revealed to them the spiritual law—the transgression of which carried that penalty—the law codified as the Ten Commandments. Remember, the details are not written here—only the highly condensed overall summary of what God taught them.
So God had explained fully to Adam and Eve His way of life—the “give way”—His inexorable spiritual law. God had already set in motion the law that causes all good. He had explained also the way that causes evils—the transgression of that law—else He could not have told them that for transgression they would surely pay the penalty—death.
More clearly stated, God gave man his own choice. He could choose to cause every good and receive eternal life in happiness. Or, he could choose to cause evils. It is humanity—not God—that causes all the evils that befall man. The choice is man’s. What man sows, that does he reap.
Yet here’s the crucial point: It was necessary for them to take His word for it—the spiritual law is as invisible as the laws of gravity and inertia! They could not see this law. It is a spiritual law! But God had revealed to them the way of good, and the way of evil.
Now come to chapter 3 in Genesis.
“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the [Eternal] God had made” (verse 1).
Much of the Bible is in symbols—but the Bible explains its own symbols. It is, of course, very out of date to believe in a devil today, but the Bible plainly speaks of a devil, named Satan. In Revelation 12:9 and 20:2, the symbol serpent is plainly explained to represent the devil.
Notice, now, the temptation.
Satan subtly went first to the woman. He got to the man through his wife.
“… And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be [margin] God, knowing good and evil” (verses 1-5).
The narration here attributes astute subtlety to the devil. First, he discredited God. In effect, he said: “You can’t rely on God’s word. He said you are mortal and can die. He knows better than that; He knows your minds are so perfect that you can be God.”
It is the prerogative of God alone to determine what is right and what is sin—what is good and what is evil. God has not delegated to man the right or power to decide what is sin—but He compels us to decide whether to sin, or to obey His law.
To rightly determine what is good required the creative power to produce and set in motion such inexorable laws as this spiritual law and the laws of physics and chemistry—a law which automatically causes good if obeyed, and evils when disobeyed!
Adam and Eve had only God’s word that they were mortal and could die. Now Satan disputed this. He said they were immortal souls.
Whom should they believe? They had no proof, except God’s word. But now Satan discredited that, and claimed just the opposite.
Satan said their intellectual powers were so great they could determine for themselves what is good and what is evil. That is a God-prerogative. “You can be God!” said Satan.
This Satan was appealing to their human vanity. Remember, they had just been created, with perfect human minds. Not God minds—but perfect human minds. They allowed the thought to enter their minds that they possessed intellectual powers so great that they could assume the God-prerogative of producing the knowledge of what is good and what is evil!
Intellectual vanity seized them! They were thrilled, enthralled, intoxicated with vanity at the grand prospect.
How, after all, could they be sure God had told them the truth?
They saw (verse 6)—they used observation—that the forbidden tree was good for food, pleasant to their eyes, and desired to make them wise. Intellectual vanity was stirred. In the ecstasy of this vanity they used human reason. They decided to reject revelation imparted by God, and to make the very first scientific experiment!
They took the forbidden fruit and ate it!
They took to themselves the prerogative of deciding what is good, and what is evil. In so doing, they rejected the God-centered way of God’s spiritual Law, and rejecting it, of necessity they chose the way that transgresses it!
They pioneered in deciding for themselves what is right and what is wrong—what is righteousness and what is sin! And humanity has been doing what seems right in its own eyes ever since.
And how did they do it? They 1) rejected revelation, 2) used observation, 3) used experimentation and 4) used human reason. And that is precisely the “scientific” method used by modern science today!
And the result of that experiment
The most vital dimension of knowledge was missing from their “scientific” procedure!
There is much vital, basic and important knowledge beyond the powers of man to discover! Such important knowledge as what man IS, why he was put on Earth and for what purpose. And if there is purpose, what is that purpose? And how may we attain it? What is the way to peace? All nations seek and strive for peace—yet none finds it—they have war! What are the true values in life? This world pursues the false!
Those are the most basic and important things man needs to know. Yet he may search for the answers in vain. He can know them only through revelation.
Then such knowledge as: how the Earth came; when it came—how old it is; how old is human life upon it—the mystery of origins. These questions absorb the time, thought, research and thinking of scientists, philosophers, historians—yet they can come up only with guesses, theories, hypotheses—but no proof—the definite knowledge they could know only by revelation.
In taking to themselves the forbidden fruit, the first humans took to themselves the determination of what is good and what is evil. I repeat—in so doing, they rejected the fact that God’s living, inexorable spiritual law is the way of good—the cause of all good—and its transgression the way of evil—the cause of all evil. Since they and humanity in general after them have taken to themselves the determination of what is good, they of necessity have followed the way contrary to God’s law. They have followed the way that has produced all the vast mountain of evils that has descended on this sick, sick world!
They made themselves competitors of the living God. That is why it is written in Romans 8:7, “[T]he carnal mind is enmity [hostile] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
So what, then, is the missing dimension in sex knowledge—in all knowledge?
It is revelation from GOD!
For even though rejected by the first humans—even though rejected by mankind in general—God did bequeath to mankind His revelation of basic knowledge. We have it in writing! The Holy Bible is that revelation. It contains history, instruction, revelation of basic knowledge and prophecy.
It does not contain all knowledge. It contains that basic, foundational knowledge otherwise inaccessible to man!
What, then, is wrong with knowledge production today? The most vital dimension is missing! I have said that error generally comes from assuming a false premise, taken carelessly for granted without proof, and building on that premise. And when the basic hypothesis or premise is false, the entire structure built upon it topples with it!
I have said that the tools of modern science are observation, experimentation and reason. Are those tools wrong? Not at all! The error comes from rejection of revelation. For revelation is the true starting premise. When man substitutes his own false hypothesis, the most vital dimension in knowledge production is missing!
God’s Word—His Instruction Manual for mankind—is the foundation of all knowledge. It is not the sum total of knowledge. It is the foundation—the true premise—the starting point—the concept that directs the approach to the acquisition of further knowledge.
God intended for man to produce additional knowledge. He gave us the basis—the foundation—the premise—the concept. But He also provided us with eyes with which to observe. With hands and feet to explore and measure. With means to produce laboratories, test tubes, means of experimentation. He gave us awesome minds with which to think.
Today, as I write, I was flown by jet plane from Singapore to Manila. If the pilots in the cockpit had started the plane off in the wrong direction we might have landed in India or Australia instead of the right destination. It is just as important to start off in the right direction, from the true premise, with the right approach, in this matter of knowledge production.
God intended man to use observation, experimentation and human reason. He supplied us with the basis—the foundation—the start in the right direction, with the right concept. But our first parents rejected the most vital dimension in all knowledge. And mankind has continued to reject the very foundation of all knowledge. Knowledge production has been operating without a foundation—based on false premises and erroneous hypotheses.
That is the reason human knowledge production has failed to solve humanity’s problems, and to cure the world’s ills.
Manufacturers of mechanical or electrical appliances send along an instruction manual with their product. The Bible is our Maker’s Instruction Manual which He has sent along with the product of His making—humanity.
Six thousand years of human misery, unhappiness and evils ought to provide sufficient proof for those willing to see, that humanity, starting with our first parents, rejected the most vital dimension.
From this point on, in the current volume, we shall cover the all-important subjects of sex and marriage with the most vital dimension restored—now published for the first time.
It will prove a real eye-opener for those who are willing to see!Continue Reading: Chapter 3: How Shame Entered