Watchman Nee was correct, and informative, in his writings concerning the battlefield of the mind. It is the battlefield front for every Christian. It is the gateway between the soul and the physical world. It is where conflict begins between the things of God and the things of man.
It cannot be overstated; the inherent risk, knowledge represents to the things of the spirit. One would think the more you know about the Bible in general, the more it would be an additional support to faith, and many have fallen into this abyss. The first sign of danger is when you begin to try to explain away the miracles of God by defining them simply as occurrences of nature.
Does that make them any less miraculous? Hardly. But the knowledge of the how, seems to overshadow the why, by the logic of the mind. The battlefield of the mind is where the conflict of knowledge and faith rages. Between what we can explain, and what we must accept by faith. There are so many examples, it would be impossible to address them all, but we will give but a few as we go along.
We are up against a strong adversary, who knows how to attack us at our weakest point, and the story of the Garden of Eden is its beginning. Satan knew if he could convince man, while being a child in the faith and knowledge of God, to disobey and partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil before he was wise enough to partake, wise enough to control, and wise enough to use correctly, he could destroy mankind.
And he was right.
The warfare of the mind would be forever easy to conduct on his part, he would only have to use man’s own logic to invoke disbelief, the mortal enemy of faith. He would no longer need miracles of evil, he would only need to send to the battlefield of the mind a question; “Indeed has God said,” (Genesis 3:1)
Every defeat of faith is contained within this short, yet deadly preface; “Indeed has God said.” It becomes the banner of the defeated, the banner of those who have become so knowledgeable, that belief in God has become unnecessary. Image the arrogance of man, the creation of God, taking the stand of unbelief in his creator?
And yet we see this battle ongoing continually, with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil being worshiped by man, while the tree of life is rejected. History is full of instances where mankind chose the knowledge of good and evil over the tree of life, until sadly, at last breath, they realize their faith in their own knowledge could not save them from the inevitable, their own death.
Evil men and women, rejecting God, engaging in every violation of the Commandments of God, who at the last of their lives, turned to God for salvation. And too many more, who after gaining a reprieve from God, returned to their former ways.
I love history, and I science. But I must always be on guard to make sure my gained knowledge of such subjects doesn’t weaken my faith. Our Lord said “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:25)I would like to submit ‘it is just about as hard for an academic to enter the Kingdom of God as it is a rich man.’
You see with education (knowledge) comes arrogance, one of the seven deadly sins, so now faith has two enemies. Self created enemies of man, resurrected on the battlefield of the mind. How could the wonders of nature be created – “Indeed has God.” Our own logic tells us, the earth couldn’t have been created in six days, ‘it cannot be.’
No says our knowledge, the earth came about over a period of millions of years, as logic dictates, drowning out the seed of faith that cries out ‘is anything to hard for God.’ “With men it is impossible, but with God all this are possible.” (Mathew 19:26). To the educated, the creation happening over a period of six days is folly.
To those who stand on the side of folly, a thought or two to consider: were the six days of creation 24 hours in length? Or were they six dispensations of time? If you chose the six dispensations (or epics) of time over the six 24 hour days, what do you base that position on? Is it the current way we measure time, or the geological evidence of the earth itself?
Likely your answer is based on the ‘belief’ the earth began as a molten mass, eventually cooling down enough to support life. I submit, it is just as likely the earth was a cold rock, which with the birth of our sun, became hotter and hotter until it was warm enough to support life. Volcanic activity coming as a result of warming up, not cooling off.
The length of time of creation makes no difference in my faith in God. Nor does it change my belief that man was created by God. Wait until it becomes accepted fact, that the speed of light is not constant; held as scientific gospel, but is in fact slowing down. When the educated come to grips with this fact, their rock solid, epics of time, will challenge their accepted knowledge of creation.
The biblical account of the flood, and the story of Noah, is considered by those without faith, to be an allegory, a traditional myth, yet the event spoken of in the bible is recorded as fact by other civilizations as well. Our logic questions the story, based on the geographical makeup of the world as it is today. How could all of the landmasses of the world be covered in water?
Would the story be more believable with the realization that at one time in geological history, there was only one land mass? A super continent which broke apart and became fixed in position as it is today? This discovery was made famous around 1912 by Alfred Wegener. Does this ding the pride of your logic, or shake the your faith in your knowledge?
A while back I watched a series on the ten plagues God wrought on Egypt when pharaoh refused to set he Jews free. It was an interesting theory explaining the ten plagues in scientific terms of how it happened, and had scientific merit. The theory goes like this: there was a volcanic eruption (the island of Santorini) who’s ash fallout started a chain reaction of events, which resulted in the ten plagues. The eruption was responsible for plague one, then one caused two, etc.
There are other theories, which seem to have the same outcome, only the timetables are different. It’s nice to think the explanation would increase our belief in God’s word, but science would rather argue over the when and how, and ignore the why.
The archaeological evidence of the ten plagues Egypt suffered is mounting, just as recorded in the Bible. Yet beyond this evidence, there is one overwhelming fact that cannot be ignored, cannot be dismissed, no matter what explanation you subscribe to.
That is prophecy. The prophecy which foretold of the entire sojourn of the Jews in Egypt, before it took place. Prophecy is the soldier of faith sent forth on the battlefield of the mind to challenge the arrogance of knowledge. In Genesis 15:13
“God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.”
After the Jews were in Egypt for 400 years, they were freed, nay, even ran out of Egypt by the Hand of God. The wrath of God poured out on Egypt in the form of ten plagues. Science cannot explain prophecy, so they try to explain it away.
Prophecy is spiritual, it belongs to a realm which is only conceivable through faith, not knowledge. Prophecy is rejected by logic, because it makes no sense. And because logic is the child of knowledge, which has preeminence in man’s mind, prophecy is rejected. The prophecy in the Bible, recorded over centuries, is dead accurate.
Because of this ongoing warfare of the mind, what should we do?
Should we reject knowledge? Should we cease in our investigations into history? Should cease scientific research which has led to wonderful discoveries which have improved the life of man on earth? Absolutely not! But they must be held in proper perspective. We must not allow our knowledge to replace our faith in God, becoming the victor on the battlefield of the mind.
We must constantly remind ourselves the knowledge of good and evil has led to more evil than good. Man has used this knowledge to create weapons of war, whose destructive power has left death, destruction, and misery in it’s wake. Only faith can get us past this abuse of knowledge. We were warned from the beginning about the inherent dangers that would follow partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, before we were mature enough in faith to control it.
“but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat from it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)
It’s a warning we continue to ignore. World War I was heralded as ‘the war to end all wars,’ because of the horrible destruction it brought about. The scars of that conflict will likely never be healed, nor forgotten. Yet a mere twenty years later, there would be another war, twice as destructive.
The destruction of World War I would pale in comparison to the destruction brought about in World War II. Yet with all of the knowledge gained from those wars, it didn’t end there. Recent history records more wars, more destruction, and more misery. We are continuing to pay the price for the knowledge of good and evil.
We are losing the battle of the mind. Allowing our faith in God to be crushed by our attainment of knowledge has a certain end. And knowledge unchecked by faith leads to death. And die we do, and will, until the Lord returns.
Thankfully there is a tree of life which we can partake of. In faith we can partake of the goodness of God, eat of the tree of life, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and it will sustain us on the battlefield of our mind. History shows knowledge is a double edged sword, which man cannot control without wisdom, wisdom which can only come from faith in God.
The battle continues, the battlefield is our mind. Victory can only be achieved by putting God first, and knowledge second. We put God first by obeying his word. Only then can we use knowledge rightly, in service to one another, improving the lives of one another, as is God’s will.
What good is gaining all the knowledge in the world, yet losing your own soul?