Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
We have seen that the Bible opens with two trees, the tree of life, which brings in life, and the tree of knowledge, which brings in knowledge. However, knowledge is a pretense, for the tree of knowledge actually is the tree of death and brings in death. Thus, from the very beginning of the Bible we see two lines which continue throughout the entire Bible. The first line is the line of life, beginning with the tree of life and continuing throughout the Scriptures until it ends at the city of New Jerusalem, where we also see the tree of life (Rev. 22:1-2, 14). The second line is the line of knowledge, beginning with the tree of knowledge and continuing throughout the Scriptures until it ends at the lake of fire. In this message we shall consider the line of knowledge throughout the Scriptures. In every book of the Bible we can see the knowledge that troubles, damages, kills, and destroys. Now we shall examine many cases of people who lived, worked, moved, and acted by knowledge, not by life.
Cain, the first son of Adam and the second generation of mankind, was the first person to live according to knowledge. Cain brought the fruit of the ground as an offering to the Lord (Gen. 4:3). Although this appears to be very good, it was wrong because Cain presented an offering to God in his own way, not in God's way. God's way required that fallen man offer a redeeming sacrifice in order to contact Him. However, Cain only offered the fruit of the ground without the redeeming blood. Cain's offering was presented according to his own consideration in his mind. It was offered in his own way. Every such way originates with the human mind. We must be careful. As we have pointed out, the principle of the tree of knowledge is to be independent of God. It means that we make our decisions independently. Although Cain performed a good deed, it was independent of God. Everything that is good yet independent of God results in death. This is similar to insulation which severs the flow of electricity. Regardless of the substance that is used as insulationit may even be diamondelectricity is cut off nonetheless. As long as it causes insulation, it does not matter whether the material is good or bad. Likewise, if a thing keeps us away from God, it brings death, regardless of how good it is.
As a consequence of acting independently Cain went out from the presence of the Lord (Gen. 4:16). That was dreadful. It does not matter how good we are, for if we are away from the presence of God it is awful. We may be either good or bad, but the issue is the same as long as we are out of the presence of the Lord.
Once people have acted in their own way and have left the presence of God, they desire to erect a building for themselves. Cain built a city and called it Enoch, after the name of his son (Gen. 4:17). Cain did not name the city after the name of God; he made a name for mankind. This was a declaration that man was independent of God.
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