Same Lie, Different Tree

By Dr. Glen Schultz

Satan has been up to his old ways ever since that dreadful day we find recorded in Genesis 3. If you recall, Satan made a false claim that Eve “bit” into. The lie he presented to her was that if she ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, she would become perfect. She would be like God and, therefore, wouldn’t
need Him any longer.

More than 6,000 years later, we find Satan making the same false claim to us today. In fact, he has been making this claim for centuries. Many have taken the bait and fallen for this dangerous lie. In fact, many Christians have succumbed to Satan’s deception—even in Christian schools.

Even though it is the same lie that he pitched to Eve, there is one small difference in Satan’s attempt to deceive us today: he is using a different tree. You might be thinking what tree are you referring to? I haven’t heard Satan tempt me to eat forbidden fruit from any tree.

Well, the tree I am talking about is the Tree of Education. It is interesting that a well-known symbol of education, the apple, is also used to depict fruit from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. If you listen closely, you will hear Satan quietly telling you that if you eat of this fruit, you will become perfect. You will be like God, and He won’t be necessary any longer. The Tree of Education will solve all of your problems, and not only your problems but also all of society’s problems. Consider the following examples.

When everyone became concerned over a rising teen pregnancy crisis in our country, the solution that was thrust upon us was this. We need “sex education.” What was society’s answer to a growing alcohol and drug epidemic ravaging our young people? It was the need for “drug education.”

A pastor friend of mine tweeted a quote made by President George H. Bush. He said, “Think about every problem, every challenge we face. The solution to each starts with education.” You can almost hear the hiss of the snake in his words as he claims education to be the answer to all of society’s problems. Better education will ease racial tension, reduce poverty, and help everyone achieve the American Dream. This is what we are being told each and every day.

In fact, we were recently told that the way to defeat ISIS is to provide these people with a good education so they can have good jobs. The Tree of Education will perfect all of mankind. If everyone could have free access to the fruit from this tree, utopia would be here in a heartbeat.

Those of us involved in Christian education must be careful of this deceitful temptation by Satan. He would love to get us to believe the lie and reach for this forbidden fruit. We can begin thinking that a Christian education is what will change our students’ hearts and eventually change the culture. The better “education” we can offer in our Christian schools is the answer to the current condition we find ourselves in.

I can remember reading Philip May’s book, Which Way to Educate, over 20 years ago. Listen to what May says about what education cannot do. “Education is not the source of man’s salvation… For education cannot prevent man from breaking the law of God and of his own nature. It cannot force its pupils to choose the right course and reject the wrong one at every stage.” The ignorance that once students are more knowledgeable they will behave more responsibly is just not true.

Another writer who influenced me years ago was Dr. Roy Zuck. He wrote the following. “Christian education demands the Word of God and born-again instructors, but even these do not guarantee that Christian teaching will be spiritually effective. The Holy Spirit working through the Word of God is the spiritual dynamic for Christian living. If the Holy Spirit is not at work through the teacher and the written Word of God, then Christian education remains virtually ineffective and is little different from secular teaching.”

The bottom line is this: Education cannot perfect one single person. Only the Holy Spirit can transform a life through the gospel of Christ. Yes, it is important that we provide our children with a biblical worldview education. This is necessary because they need to be taught truth. Truth is what will set them free from being taken captive by false ideas (Colossians 2:8).

However, we must teach in the power of God’s Spirit so that we can present each of our students more mature in Christ through all of our teaching (Colossians 1:28-29). While we strive to be and do our best for God’s glory, let’s be careful not to reach for that forbidden fruit. Even the best Bible-based, Christ-centered education cannot perfect a person, much less society. We are to be obedient to God’s plan for educating future generations and leave the results up to Him.


Dr. Glen Schultz has given his life to educating future generations according to God’s plan. After five years in public education, he entered the field of Christian education, where he has been a teacher, coach, principal, and superintendent. Glen has directed the Christian school work at LifeWay Christian Resources, served as the Association of Christian Schools International Southeast Regional Director, Superintendent of Liberty Christian Academy in Lynchburg, Virginia, and Headmaster of Sherwood Christian Academy. Currently, Dr. Schultz serves as founder and director of Kingdom Education Ministries. Glen is the author of Kingdom Education: God’s Plan for Educating Future Generations and several parenting booklets. Glen and his wife, Sharon, have three children and six grandchildren and live in Summerville, SC. He is a member of the Renewanation Board of Directors.


This article originally appeared in The Renewanation Review® magazine. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted here by permission of Renewanation. For more information regarding Renewanation, visit renewanation.org.