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Education is NOT the Answer

Davis Carman|May 2, 2023

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 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 2:16-17

Plenty of problems exist in the world today, and many times, the solution appears to be education. In other words, people wouldn’t have these problems if they only knew the solutions available to them; if they only knew better.

Here are some common examples:

It’s common knowledge that eating too many high-calorie foods and drinks is not a healthy diet. Those who are overweight know they need to exercise; they simply don’t. Everyone knows that smoking kills. It says so in big, bold letters right on the carton. And friends joke about how they are more likely to get struck by lightning than win the lottery. But the popular mantra “You can’t win if you don’t play” rules the day. Finally, all the public schools are bad, except the one my kids attend.

In other words, people are fully aware of the foods they should avoid, the habits they should break, and the routines they should change. They just don’t have the willpower to do what is right, or maybe the peer pressure to follow the crowd is too powerful.

This brings us to Genesis 2:16-17. God created a lush garden for Adam and Eve, the first man and woman. In the middle of this sacred garden stood two trees: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God allowed Adam and Eve to eat fruit from every tree in the garden. However, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was off-limits. They were not to eat its fruit. If they did, they would die.

Let me point out two quick facts. First, they knew eating from this tree was forbidden; they were fully educated on this point. Second, this was the tree of knowledge—knowledge of good and evil. If they ate from this tree, they would be educated. And on the surface, you and I might think that knowing good and evil should be desired. I mean, why would God not want me to know the difference between good and evil? If I eat of this tree, then I can choose good. Right?

I gave some simple examples earlier of people choosing against what they know is right. It turns out the answer is not education. So why are we so foolish to think that we would make good decisions when educated on the subject? Sure. Sometimes I’ll surprise myself and make a good decision. You might even do this more often than not. But there are still plenty of times when you lie, cheat, or overeat, even when you know better.

So, if education isn’t the answer, then what is? In the Garden of Eden, God wanted Adam and Eve to choose life. He wants the same for you and me. Our heavenly Father wants us to enjoy an abundant life, which is only available in His Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

When you choose life instead of knowledge, you are making a connection to God’s own divine life, and life with God allows for infinite potential. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve went for “the grab” and seized life on their own terms, apart from God’s wisdom. As you know full well, things went south real quick and stayed there for a very long time. Judges 21:25 accurately sums up the state of God’s chosen nation and mankind in general. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Not good!

The temptation to choose knowledge over life is strong. Families all around the world prioritize education. Apologia is in the education space. We exist to help homeschool families learn, live, and defend the Christian faith. We value home education. But the answer isn’t a textbook, an online class, or a diploma.

The answer is to choose life.

In John 17:3, Jesus tells us that eternal life is to know the one true God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Just one chapter earlier, Jesus explains that He must leave and return to heaven so that a Helper can come— the Holy Spirit. If you have the Spirit of God, He will guide you into all truth and glorify Jesus.

On the surface, education may sound good like a wise approach. But you and I don’t have the willpower to do what we know is right. Our sinful nature gets in the way. Therefore, we need to choose life.

To know and love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is a much wiser and more fulfilling way to live.

Dear Father in Heaven,

You made me in Your image to know and love You. Your ways are not my ways. I think I’m pretty smart, but my thoughts are not Your thoughts. I know it is better for me if my desires align with Yours. So change my way of thinking and change my desires so that I will choose life. Help me to rely on You for answers to life’s questions. When left to my own wisdom, I learn how foolish I really am. I want to be close to You and depend on Your love and grace to see me through. Dear Father in Heaven — I want to live.

In Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen.


Walking by faith and enjoying the homeschooling adventure of a lifetime!

Davis Carman

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Davis is the president of Apologia Educational Ministries, the #1 publisher of Creation-based curriculum for homeschooling families. He believes that if there was ever a time to homeschool, it is now! You can read more of his articles and devotionals at the Apologia Blog, and you can listen to a weekly message at the Let’s Talk Homeschool Podcast.

© 2023 Davis Carman