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Friday, February 13, 2009

Where Did Evil Come From?

Below is a post I made in a forum previously. I thought it was pretty good and so I'm pasting it in here too.

There are essentially two types of evil (per the dictionary definition of "evil"), suffering and immorality. Suffering is a consequence of immorality (hence both have ultimately the same source). Immorality is any disobedience to God. All immorality is a decision because we are capable of doing, or not doing, all that God has dictated for us to do and not do. This ability to make moral decisions is, of course, what we call free will. Thus, the ability to choose evil is enabled in every being capable of free will.

The ultimate root of all evil is this: Pride. The first commandment ever broken by any sinner and the only commandment which is necessarily broken every time any commandment is broken is the first. The first commandment is often broken several times just deciding to break another commandment. Pride is the direct violation of the first commandment because if you believe your opinions can be placed above God’s Word, you are holding yourself higher than the Almighty.

Angels have free will too. In all of God’s creation, only one entity with free will (out of all the angels plus 2 humans) is known to have decided to sin without external temptation; how good a creation it must have been! And his first sin also must have been pride (via the logic above). Your question, Father Johny, was, "But how, pray, did it arise in the mind of Lucifer to do such a thing?" At some point this question entered his head, "Are you better than God?" And he sinned by deciding that he was. At minimum, God set up Lucifer’s existence in such a way that he would have eventually asked himself this; at maximum, God asked him the question directly. Either way, why would God put such a question into his mind? Perhaps it was to test him. Did God know he would fail? There is no alternative but that he must have known.

Then Lucifer enters history in the serpent of Genesis, tempting the lady with none other than pride, "when you eat of will be like God." Through Adam's sin at this temptation passed on to him by Eve were he and all of his righteously cursed by the Almighty, hence all our suffering. We make it worse every day by continuing to be prideful and continuing to sin in every manner under Heaven. Every manner of suffering ultimately goes back to some cause of immorality (some more directly than others). I believe it was Paul who said that the entirety of creation groans because of this curse. Could God have stopped Lucifer from tempting Eve or her from tempting Adam? Certainly. Did God know Adam would fail the temptation passed to him by Eve and He would be forced by His own infinite justice to curse the world? He wouldn't be God if he didn't.

It all comes back to the main group topic, the confusion of why. Why would a loving God create a world He knew was destined to be cursed by His own mouth? He did it for us. For you, Father Johnny, and you, my wonderful sister Moniqua, and for me. You see, He wants us to know Him. He wants us to see His absolute justice and terrible wrath; without this curse, we could never have known Him this way. He wants us to know His incomparable jealousy, but how could we have known that if we had never put anything above Him? He wants us to know His infinite mercy and unimaginable love, such that He sent His Son, God, to suffer and die for all our sins and without our sins, we could never have known Him this way. He wants us to know His incredible forgiveness, but how could we have been forgiven had we never strayed. And His forgiveness is unlike that of anyone; He forgave us before He even created us, knowing that we would sin. He forgives us before we even ask Him to forgive us. All we have to do is love Him and choose Him and he will free us from all bonds. And compared to an eternity in the perfect world he plans for us, a few thousand years in this cursed world is not even a blinking of an eye (though it does seem like a long time when you're only twenty something).

Much of this may not mesh well with those who are not young earth creationists because of the alternate position that the fossil record contains history of millions of years of suffering before humans came about, much less sinned (instead of being a vivid reminder of God's terrible wrath executed in the flood). Though I would beckon any Christian who is not a young earth creationist to find out who it is that they are elevating above God and His Word (thereby breaking the first commandment), for God, Himself, said as recorded in Exodus (among many times in the Bible): "in six days Yahweh made the heavens, earth and sea and all that these contain." Besides that, the evolutionary worldview does not answer any ultimate question of where anything came from and doesn't even support the concept of evil, so a discussion of "Where did evil come from?" couldn't possibly make sense from that view anyways.