according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience Ephesians 2:2
Working – We are quite familiar with this Greek word. It is energeo, our root for energy. Please notice that the focus is on activity, not cognition. The expressions of the ruler of this age are demonstrated in the actions taken by those under his influence. These actions show up in production, work, operations and effectiveness. What Paul says is that we can literally see the effects of disobedience by what disobedience produces – and it’s not always moral corruption, as we will discover.
It’s very difficult to step outside the presuppositions of our own culture in order to examine the atmosphere we live in. Because it flows almost unconsciously through the processes and systems of our world, we assume that this is just the way things are done. It’s like thinking that God moved the day of worship from the Sabbath to Sunday when the truth is that the Holy Roman Catholic Church and the emperor deliberately changed the day nearly 1700 years ago. Now it seems so much a part of worship that we don’t even realize we are breaking a commandment. The same is true for many elements of the actions of the disobedient. It seems perfectly normal to think that more information and better technology will be a benefit to mankind. That is the mantra of the new society. But history suggests that “more” is not the panacea we thought it would be. We are awash in information, but our lives are not better for it. In fact, the sheer volume of information directly contributes to the feelings of helplessness and meaninglessness that plagues us. Progress isn’t necessarily good. We progressed from the bow and arrow to the nuclear bomb. Are we better off as a result? We moved from the Word of God to God’s words in a dozen different translations. Does that make knowing Him easier? Or does it move us toward bickering, dissension and general discouragement about ever knowing what God really said?
One of the characteristics of the energy working in the sons of disobedience shows itself in the belief that information itself is good. But just knowing more and more leads to less and less connectedness. This is the inevitable consequence of the Greek metaphysics of human measurement. If Man is the true measure of all things, then there is no information unworthy of knowing, since I alone give information its value. The end of this game is the bankruptcy of knowing. I may know more and more, but I end up with mountains of useless facts because none of it is connected to a purpose greater than me, and information disconnected from purpose is garbage. Unless we have a guide to what is valuable and what is not valuable, the world’s system of information overload will drown all of us in a sea of free-floating bits and bytes. Now you know why Paul (and the Bible) restricts the amount of information that is good for us. The Greek mind has no boundaries on knowledge, but the Bible absolutely does. Some things are not worth knowing.
Part of the temptation of Havvah (Eve) is the seductive appeal to be able to decide this question by ourselves. Greek metaphysics is a lot older than Greece. If you want to see the end result of all this, take a hard look at the current world chaos. We know more and more about everything that doesn’t matter. We have lost our mooring lines because we have decided that we will determine what is worth knowing. The Bible teaches something quite different, but if you believe what the Bible teaches, you will have to stand up against a tidal wave of the systems of this world. You will be called “antiquated,” “irrelevant” or “obstructionist.” You will be considered old fashioned or a fanatic. The sons of disobedience do not like restrictions on anything.
Perhaps it’s worth a little reflection to ask yourself if you are determining the value of information by yourself or if you are paying attention to the guidelines that come from God. What are the active ingredients in your choices, His Words or your assessments?
Topical Index: disobedience, Ephesians 2:2, paradigms