Just What Is Evil?

gooddocmike

Follower and Believer of Christ
Few things shock us anymore. But the events that recently took place in Wisconsin did make me take pause. The attempted murder of a twelve year old girl by two of her friends. These two twelve year old girls claimed they were led to commit this tragic crime by a mythical character named Slender Man. The urban legend that has come to be known as Slender Man, first made his appearance on the internet in 2009. He is seen as a tall, narrow figure dressed in a black suit, with arms that hang almost the length of his body. This “so-called” supernatural spirit is said to have no face, but has tentacles that protrude from his back. It is said that all who look upon his face as snatched up, never to be seen again. It is also said that children are his favorite prey.

The two girls lured their friend into the woods after a sleepover, stabbing her nineteen times and leaving her for dead. Reports also show that the two girls had been planning this murder for months, proving their devotion to Slender Man by attempting this murder. Both believed Slender Man to be real, living in a forest in northern Wisconsin. Both said they planned on joining Slender Man at his estate in the wooded area after murdering their friend.

A few hours after committing the crime, the two girls was caught. One of the two girls told the police she felt no remorse. When asked why they had committed this horrible crime, one of the girls said she had to carry through or Slender Man would kill her family. One of the girls told police that although she had never met Slender Man, he watched over her and could read her thoughts. Both girls are being tried as adults, and could face up to sixty-five years if convicted.

As I heard this tragedy being discussed on television and radio, the comments that followed troubled me as much as the acts of these two girls. More than once I heard it asked, “If there is a God, why did He not stop this?“If God was so loving, then how could He allow such evil?” And, “Where was God when this girl needed Him to protect her?” I then heard a pastor speak, who had been asked to help make sense of the situation. His reply troubled me even more. He told the audience, “God has not given us the ability to understand evil. We are incapable of knowing what evil is, explaining where it came from or how it was created.

With each tragedy we see today, we watch the world ask these same questions. And with each question, we often watch as Christians today do not have the answers. We make vain attempts to answer, leaving the world with even more questions than they had before. We then are left to watch as the world pushes God farther away.

So why can the Church not seem to answer these question when it is asked? Why are we unable to leave the world with answers of a loving God, rather than leaving them with more questions of why God would allow this? Although sad, the answer to this question is quite simple. We, the Church, no longer understand what evil truly is and what place it has and carries in this world today. We can no longer answer the ‘why” and the “how”, because we no longer follow and understand the words of the “Who”. To truly understand this, we need to take a hard look at two often asked questions. “What is evil?” And, “Who created evil?

So what is evil? The dictionary defines evil as “morally reprehensible, sinful, wicked”. Evil has become a very broad term to define the malicious and destructive acts we often see around us. In order to truly defining evil, we need to look at what it does. Evil can only be defined if we not only look at its’ cause, but also at its’ effect. In order to do this, let us look at a simple comparison.

Walk outside in Green Bay, Wisconsin in the heart of winter, and you will soon hear one phrase over and over. “Wow it is cold!” But ask any scientist and they will tell you that there is no such thing as “cold”. Cold is nothing more than a word we have created to describe the absence of heat. The less heat we feel, the “colder” we say it has become. The same can be said of evil. Evil is the word we have created to describe the absence of God, and the goodness that only He can bring this world. Therefore, the farther we find ourselves separated from God, the greater the chance of evil a situation may hold.

When we see a tragedy on the news, we need to understand that the event we are watching is not evil. Evil is the result or the outcome of the event we see. Evil is not the action, evil is the outcome, or the effect of that action. The action that caused the evil is sin. We often confuse sin, the act, with evil, the effect. When we watch a terrorist strap a bomb to their body, walk into a building and kill all those who were innocently there, we are witnessing sin. The act they commit is sin, evil is the result or the effect of that act.

Sin is the act of behaving against the law and teachings of God, and His plan for our life. Sin is what separates us from God, and prevents us from allowing His love and wisdom to guide our lives. Sin is a choice, one we make each day. Do we follow the ways of God or do we follow the ways of man, allowing sin to rule our lives? Evil is often the outcome of that sin, and the effect of our choice not to allow God’s plan to lead our lives. We must understand, where you see evil you are witnessing a choice that has been made. A choice by someone that has chosen sin over God. We must also understand, evil and God can never be found together in the same sentence. Where God is present evil cannot exist.

Often today, we hear a familiar question every time evil raises its’ head. “How could a loving God allow this to happen?” We can find the answer within the question itself. It is because of the love God has for us that we have the choice we just discussed! Free will allows each of us to choose or reject God, to choose His wisdom or to follow the logic of man. Tragedy, destruction and evil are the outcome of this choice, a choice each of us has the ability to make daily. Although God could easily stop each catastrophic event we see, in doing so He would also take away this incredible gift He has given us, the gift of free will. We would become nothing more than robots, following a path that was chosen or predestined for us.

Way too often, we confuse what God allows with what God desires. God wants nothing but the best for each of us, and no one hurts more when He sees heartbreak come to our lives. God has given us the wisdom of His Word, and example after example of what can come from our choices. He has done everything short of stopping free will in order to keep evil from our lives. God knows our future, and has over and over tried to warn us of where our choices may lead, and the devastation that could await us because of those choices. But in the end, God knows that man will often choose sin, and evil will again show its’ face. We must never forget, evil has and never will be the result of God’s judgment, but is the outcome of man’s choices.

Now that we have an understanding of evil, we can look at the second question, “Who created evil?”. For years this question has been at the heart of attempts by many to disprove God. They often say that if God is truly good, then evil could not exist. They even go as far as to try and link God and evil. They will often make the following argument, attempting to make God as the cause of evil. If God is the creator of all things, and evil exist, then God must be the creator of evil.

This is a logic that may be sound to the minds of man, but does not hold up when we look at it with the wisdom of God. To accept this argument, we must accept the assertion that evil is something, that evil is a “thing”. Evil is not a “thing”, but the lack of a “thing”. As I stated earlier, evil is the outcome of sin, the absence of God. Evil is not a created thing. I have never met a person who has seen, touched, felt, smelled, or heard a physical evil. It does not meet the definitions and principles of physics, you will not find energy, matter, or dimension associated with it. I have never yet seen a person who went to the store and purchased a bag of evil!

Evil is without question a reality, but evil does not and cannot exist in or unto itself. Evil has no existence of its’ own, and cannot be found outside the action of sin. Unless we first see the choice of sin, we cannot find the presence of evil. We can look to God’s Word to prove this. All of us know the Creation story, of how God created this world and this universe. The Bible tells us that as He finished this creation, everything He made was good(Genesis 1:31). In other words, the universe was without sin. We know that sin entered this world because of rebellion against God, not because God created it. So therefore, evil came into this world because of the action of sin, not by the hand of God.

God did not create evil, but because of free will, He allows for the possibility of evil. And praise the Lord that He does! Had He not allowed for the potential of evil, we would be serving and worshipping God out of requirement and necessity, not out of choice. What a blessing and a gift that we can each choose God!

When we look at these two questions, we begin to see how our nation today defines and labels God. We have continued to push God farther and farther away from our everyday decisions. We define God by our own logic, confining God to our own desires. We paint a picture of God with the broad strokes of a logical brush, not with the precisional beauty that can be found in the brush of wisdom. Looking at this painting, we should not be surprised when we see the face of evil, because in this painting you will not find the true image of God.

The Church needs to understand what evil actually is, and the role it plays in our society and in each of our lives. We need to be ready the next time we hear those familiar questions, “If there is a God, why did He not stop this?” “If God was so loving, then how could He allow such evil?” “Where is God when evil comes?” We have to let the world know that God is right here! Here waiting for us to do with this gift of free will what He has always longed for us to do. Choose Him!

Praying each of you choose wisely!

ChristCalls
 

mikhen7

Freed By Christ to Serve Christ
Outstanding article!! Until mankind quits suppressing the truth in unrighteous living, seeking to find an answer for evil through the deception of relativism, their rebellious nature will never allow them to agree with the biblical truth that they are fallen, separated from holiness, and a Holy Creator. Just as you have stated evil is a result of the actions played out through their sinful nature. But how ironic they are when they quickly blame evil on God--a God they do not believe in.
God Bless
 

paidinfull

Well-Known Member
I remember as a boy one of my classmates spelling devil wrong. In correcting him the teacher asked him to spell "evil". The lad spelled evil correctly and the teacher said, "Put a D in front of evil and you have the devil and never forget it." I'm sure he didn't and nor did I.

Evil has a point of origin in time, in place and in person whereas goodness doesn't. Jesus explained to us that there is none good but God and even a father giving a good gift to his child still has the problem of evil in his heart and when we try to correct our children to go in the way of what is right we still do it with an evil heart. When we trace the origin of evil we find it has a father just as lies has a father and murder has a father and thieving has a father these evil acts all bring us back to the devil. We find that there was a time when evil began and it was birthed in the pride of the devil wanting to go his own way and rebelling against God: evil entered into the world as rebellion against God.

Goodness is different from evil but not the true opposite of evil for goodness has no beginning and no end because goodness is a virtue that is found exclusively in the character of God. As Mike put it so well, evil is the absence of the goodness of God himself.

The only person ever to walk this earth who was truly full of grace and truth brought us this horrible truth, that we have evil hearts: that we are evil and we demonstrate it by what we say, think, feel and do and in so doing we prove that the devil is our father and our best acts of goodness cannot change that fact. He proclaimed we can be extremely evil and guilty when we look our most religious so understanding the nature of evil is critical for one of its strengths is its ability to deceive us about ourselves. It is offensive to be told your heart is deceitful above ALL things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer.17:9)

We need a mirror to view ourselves as we are and the love of the truth to accept the horror of what we find. God gave us that mirror in the Word of God but it is offensive to us, it brings us death and so there is no greater challenge than the discovery of where evil resides in the world for the search brings us full circle back to ourselves.

So just as the spiritual personification of evil is the devil, the physical personification of evil is man. That is why the Bible calls us fallen and enemies of God without hope in the world. This is terrible news and all who find this truth are heartbroken and fearful for when we measure ourselves by the simplest target, the 10 commandments, we find we fall short every day.

But God is also love as much as He is good and in His infinite wisdom He did the impossible and the unthinkable to bring us Good News... a way to beat the power of evil and to no longer be an enemy of God but to be fully restored to fellowship with God. This is why understanding evil is not an abstract, philosophical discussion. Rather it is about understanding ourselves; our deepest nature and desperate need to be saved from sin and its power over us.

We can never understand evil until we understand why God sent Jesus to save us from the evil in our own hearts. So when we ask, why doesn't God do something the truth is, He did. Now the only question is, why don't we respond?
 
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araj54

Well-Known Member
What a blessing and a gift that we can each choose God!

Amen Mike.

Joshua 24:14,15
14"Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15"If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
 

gooddocmike

Follower and Believer of Christ
We can never understand evil until we understand why God sent Jesus to save us from the evil in out own hearts. So when we ask, why doesn't God do something the truth is, He did. Now the only question is, why don't we respond?

Very well said!:thumbup


:thinking: Lots of room for thinking in this thread.

I hope there is alot of room for thinking Carl, that was my intent! I firmly believe that a smile comes to God's face when He sees the wheels in our mind spinning. When we think, we search for the truth. And when we search for the truth in God's Word, we must pick up that Word and read what He tells us. What an opportunity then arises for the Holy Spirit to do His thing! A thinking man or woman who truly searches for the truth, opens a door that the Lord is always glad to step through!:thumbup
 

Mustang

Well-Known Member
Satan is attacking in these last days from every way and angle he can. It's in the movies, music, sports figures, seemingly everywhere anymore.
Some of these children have no parents, their (parents) show up from time to time to buy them another violent game to play or minutes on the cell phone. Satan is absolutely LOVING IT!
Notice how people have become real cynical and all ME ME ME.
I believe Satan has his dirty little demons working overtime like never before. Notice all the shows promoting ghosts, they aren't ghosts, theyre demons.
It's really not hard to figure this all out.
 

paidinfull

Well-Known Member
When we look at these two questions, we begin to see how our nation today defines and labels God. We have continued to push God farther and farther away from our everyday decisions. We define God by our own logic, confining God to our own desires. We paint a picture of God with the broad strokes of a logical brush, not with the precisional beauty that can be found in the brush of wisdom. Looking at this painting, we should not be surprised when we see the face of evil, because in this painting you will not find the true image of God.

The Church needs to understand what evil actually is, and the role it plays in our society and in each of our lives. We need to be ready the next time we hear those familiar questions, “If there is a God, why did He not stop this?” “If God was so loving, then how could He allow such evil?” “Where is God when evil comes?” We have to let the world know that God is right here! Here waiting for us to do with this gift of free will what He has always longed for us to do. Choose Him!

Praying each of you choose wisely!

ChristCalls

I want to touch upon logic because when God reveals to us in the Bible that we fell through sin in Eden, we are given quite a backdrop to aid our understanding of evil. As Mike said, when God created everything, over and over He said it was good. God didn't create evil and when He created man He said it was very good. So exactly how could it all go so wrong?

I heard a Rabbi explain that the English translation of Adam's comment when he sees Eve for the first time and says, "bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh" misses part of the excitement we experience when we see the most beautiful thing we have ever seen. In the Hebrew it comes across with the context of ,"Wow! That's what I have been looking for!"

God made everything with a degree of beauty we can only try to imagine as we look around at a fallen world full of weeds, decay, sickness, death and groaning. Yet even in its fallen state the world is full of beauty that fills us with wonder and amazement. No doubt Eve possessed a femininity, an elegance and beauty that was breathtaking. She was as soft and alluring as Adam was manly hard and strong. The lilt of her voice was like music to Adam's ears while Adam's deep voice resonated in her deepest being. They were opposites that matched perfectly and the closeness they enjoyed in their naked innocence is beyond our fallen highest.

The father of evil, that great deceiver understood God's order, that woman was man's helper and God had given His instruction to Adam to impart to Eve. It was Adam that God instructed about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and that as the Hebrew puts it "dying you shall die in the day that you eat thereof" (meaning God foreknow that Adam would indeed eat of it rather than saying IF you eat of it).

This was not the tree of evil nor the tree of the knowledge of evil but it was the knowledge of good and evil in relationship with God and until God finally destroys evil we will always find the mystery of these two being intertwined in a way that is confusing without God's Word. It is by the Bible that we have the knowledge of good and also the knowledge of evil and only the Word of God can separate these. If we dare to attempt to understand good and evil without the Word of God we do exactly as Eve did and we fall into the confusion that Adam experienced in making choices.

When the devil deceived Eve he sold her on the idea that God was holding back something that was good: that God was hindering her highest ability: that God was threatened by Eve's potential to be like God. He convinced Eve that God had lied and she would not die and Eve bought into the very same sin as the first sin ever committed: the devil's sin of going one's own way in prideful rebellion against God in order to be more esteemed in others eyes.

So no doubt when Eve approached Adam with the fruit in her hand, probably behind her back, she had that wide-eyed smile that comes from false spiritual enlightenment that made Adam laugh in wonder and ask, "What's happened you Eve, you look different?" She knew she was naked and full of sensual appeal and she knew exactly how to touch every button that would seduce Adam.

Adam was about to face a difficult choice beyond anything he had ever imagined. His mind was lightening fast for he could create names for every species of creature on the earth and remember each and every one of them. However now he had just been gazumped by Eve who had a new level of knowledge that Adam had not even any awareness of. Eve was on a different plane to Adam, seemingly a superior one where the tantalizing hidden mysteries lay.

The devil had upturned God's order, that spiritual instruction was to come from Adam to Eve: now through the deceiver, that fallen angel referred to as "the evil one" Eve had been mentored into believing she could attain the wisdom to make good choices by rebelling against God's Word and now she was going to mentor Adam on how he too could rise to her new level of awareness of the existence of both good and evil.

She produced the fruit and described its beauty like an artist would their finest workmanship. She explained how its incredible flavor on the tongue was unmatched by all the fruit in the garden and praised its health giving qualities saying it was good to eat and that she was proof he would not die. Then she described entering into a realm of knowledge instantly that left Adam back in a different world. Their union was shattered. No longer were they perfectly balanced and Adam faced a fateful choice... should he join Eve or should he run from her and tell God what had happened?

All Adam's senses were being bombarded as never before: there never was a better sales pitch in the history of man and never a more lovable presenter. It all seemed good and that's the problem of evil... it often seems so good and logical and emotive. Evil pulls at us in so may ways that we need the Bible to be able to grasp how subtle this thing is for the Bible tells us there was never any created being more subtle or more clever that the father of evil, the devil. Sometimes we don't have the answers or understanding to deal with a situation but we know God's instruction and we just have to obey in faith that He know the best outcomes.

Adam was the one God put in charge and so it was by Adam's rebellion that sin entered the world but God gives us a backdrop so we understand how subtle evil is, who introduced it to Eve and how Adam and Eve fell. We see that what Eve thought was good was actually evil and moreover the outcome she expected was the complete opposite of what happened. We see how and why evil entered mankind and how it is inextricably linked in our hearts to the the father of lies, the deceiver, the devil himself. We see how the tiniest amount of evil multiplies like a killer virus into a world of unspeakable evil.

Then when the Bible pulls back the curtain we see the irony of the poacher become gamekeeper for we see the devil who deceived Eve now assume the role of continual accuser, even being given the title "Accuser of the brethren" where he accuses mankind day and night before God, and then accuses God of not acting to fulfill His Word and destroy man. Thus we understand the nature of evil is one of death and destruction and its goal is total and eternal separation from God.

Every day we hear people join the devil by challenging God's goodness, accusing Him of creating evil and angrily demanding that He takes action against a select group of sinners but not us in our sin. By these actions we demonstrate that we are in league with the Accuser for we are filled with the knowledge of good and evil but without the ability to rightly divide between the two. We feel the sense of injustice when we see the terrible crimes in the world today and especially so when it touches our family, so with stout words we demand God acts, but we also exalt our own goodness as being sufficient that God must put Himself on our side.

We are are filled with the knowledge of good and evil and have no idea how to handle it. It is a weight far too heavy to use without God Himself removing the impact of our sinful flesh and indwelling our spirits and that is something He has promised to do for all who call out for Jesus to save us from our sins. For those who refuse Jesus, good and evil will utterly confound them and so today's news is filled with pictures of Muslims murdering Muslims in drive by shootings and beheading people so that 800,000 people are fleeing a city in terror. Why? Because the sense of self righteous goodness in one sect has amplified their sense of evil in the other sect to the point they believe they are honoring God by the most barbarous acts of randomly murdering men women and children as they pass by. In Northern Ireland the IRA badge was For God and Ireland while the UVF's was For God and Ulster and in God's name they murdered each other believing God was on their respective "Christian" side.

We see the Word of God divides much deeper than outward actions to uncover evil in the heart for it cuts to the very division of soul and spirit. Jesus accused the Pharisees of murder and being of their father the devil who He said was a murderer from the beginning, yet they were not outwardly murdering people until they had enough of Jesus. But murder was hidden in their heart and yet if anyone looked good and righteous it was the teachers of the law! They hated Jesus and by their self righteous goodness they justified He must suffer the death of one who is evil.

The best sales presentations of evil will always come laden with emotive sanctimonious goodness that misrepresents God's goodness. Just as with Eve, evil places our sensual feelings on the throne of righteousness and justice instead of God and His Word alone occupying that seat of holiness. So it is that even pastors who stray from the Word confuse homosexuality with their version of what is good in God's eyes and with misdirected love they miss the fact they are as deceived and sensual as Eve was.

Yes we see evil in others terrible actions in the world but the Bible shows us the clearest expression of the consequences of evil when we see the only beloved Son of God brutalized and hanging on the cross in our place. We can never understand evil until we acknowledge that fact that it was each and everyone one of us by our individual sins that crucified Jesus. Then we understand why the Bible reduces all discussion on sin and evil down to one sentence. The evil of all mankind will be judged by what we did with Jesus.

Jn.16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

13 Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say , What have we spoken so much against thee? 14 Ye have said , It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts? 15 And now we call the proud happy ; yea, they that work wickedness are set up ; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered . 16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened , and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. 17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. 18 Then shall ye return , and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. (Mal.3)
 
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mikhen7

Freed By Christ to Serve Christ
My prayer is that all on RF and the thousands of visitors to this site would take the time to read this thread. Just awesome!! Mike and PIF and others - just excellent!
 

livingskies

Well-Known Member
This is an amazing jewel of a thread. Thanks so much for sharing all the wise thoughts here. Just excellent to ponder!!!
 
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