The third path that Beebe and Foster identify in Longing For God is the Recovery of Knowledge of God Lost in the Fall. They write, “Each one of us has a longing to know–to know right from wrong, to know the ultimate destiny of our life, to know how we can make a meaningful contribution with our gifts and abilities. We want to know where we were born, how we were raised and what we will do in the future. We want to know that we are part of something greater than ourselves. Ultimately, we want to know that we belong to God. This knowledge never comes about quickly or completely; it must develop over time as we deepen in understanding our life with God.”

In the thirteenth century the world was changing. People had been increasingly dissatisfied with the growing corruption in the church. Society was changing. For nearly nine hundred years monasticism had been seen as the higher devotion to God. This too was changing. Beebe and Foster identify several significant movements that helped shape these changes.
  • An increase in biblical literacy
  • A rise of spiritual theology
  • The emergence of women as church teachers and advocates for life with God.
  • The modification of the goals of spiritual formation (with personal communion with God being added to the eternal contemplation of God), and
  • The growing interest in the education and training of the general public.