Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Christianity and Evil

Christianity and Evil

Another Q & A with John of AllFaith -- 10.12.10

Questioner: Skyah
Private: no
Subject: Christianity and evil.


    I was wondering if you could enlighten me to the views of the Christian views of evil?

    We as a race or a species, are the ones who have spread and initiated the most amount of evil throughout the world... So why is it that the devil is to blame when it is we who choose this path that we walk?

    God created everything, therefore was it he that created evil? Or unitentionally created evil within lucifer?

    What is considered evil within Christianity?

    What does the Bible say about evil and sin? Or are these components completely unrelated?

    How does this affect the way decisions are made throughout the Christian community?

    Sorry for all the questions, I am highly curious.
    Thank you very much for your time.

My reply:

Hi Shyah,

Christians vary on this quite a bit so I will speak in fairly general terms that are harmonious with basic Christian doctrine. It can be a very deep subject. What follows does not in all cases agree with my personal views but would be accepted by most Christians generally.

God created the Earth and everything within it, including humans, completely perfect. God did not create evil (although He granted us the ability to do evil acts: biblically "evil" is not a thing in its own right).

God grants all of His creatures free will. This is essential to biblical and Christian belief.

At some uncertain point an angel (sometimes known as Heylel, Lucifer, Satan, the Devil etc.) used his free will and persuaded 1/3 of the angels -- according to tradition based Revelation 12:4 --- to join him (Isaiah 14:12-15) in rebellion against God. In time this being (referred to simply as "the serpent" in the Genesis account) persuaded Eve (the first woman) to join the rebellion (by eating the forbidden fruit) and she persuaded her husband Adam (the first man) -- Genesis 3:1-

Because Adam and Eve joined the rebellion they and their ancestors (all of us) were cursed with the "sin nature" (known theologically as Original Sin). Because of this innate nature to sin (Rom 3:23) "... all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."

According to standard Christian belief the first prophecy in the Bible is that one day a Savior would arise and bring salvation:

Genesis 3:15 I will put animosity between you [i.e. Satan] and the woman, and between your descendant and her descendant; he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel."

This is understood as meaning that Satan and his descendants (the fallen angels, demons etc) will be in conflict with humanity until the end of the age (i.e. when Messiah comes). One day "the seed of the woman" (Jesus) would confront Satan and his minions directly. The evil ones would "bruise his heel" -- which occurred with the execution of Jesus -- but that he will one day bruise their heads -- i.e. he will utterly destroy them at the end of the age.

Historic Christianity is predicated on the belief that Jesus is the ONLY Savior (the one who frees everyone who accepts him from the results of the original sin) and Lord (the one who guides those who are "saved" throughout their lives) and Redeemer (the one will eventually destroy all evil and return humanity to perfection).

So... evil exists because the created beings, both the fallen angels and others (i.e. demons etc.) and humans, choose to rebel against God in various ways. Jesus is always working as High Priest and Mediator between God and humanity (I Timothy 2:5) to draw us into closer fellowship with God. One day, as Messiah, he will destroy evil and restore humanity to perfection:

I Corinthians 15:24 ... then the culmination, when he hands over the Kingdom to God the Father, after having put an end to every rulership, yes, to every authority and power. 25 For he has to rule until he puts all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be done away with will be death, 27 for "He put everything in subjection under his feet." But when it says that "everything" has been subjected, obviously the word does not include God, who is himself the one subjecting everything to the Messiah. 28 Now when everything has been subjected to the Son, then he will subject himself to God, who subjected everything to him; so that God may be everything in everyone.

We are free beings capable of great good AND great evils. Because we have free will we are responsible for our deeds but ultimately only God can save us through His mercy. Jesus, God's Son, provides the only path to our salvation and restoration.

As for what is evil, Jesus' brother James tells us this:

James 4:17 So then, anyone who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it is committing a sin.

Every time we as individuals, as communities, as nations, as a planet do what we know we should not do (or fail to do what we know we should do) the quotient of evil in the world increases and humanity moves farther away from the God of Love. Evil is our fault, not God's.

Hope this is helpful, Feel free to write back,

    ~ John of AllFaith
    Yochanan ben Avraham
Of Noah
The Noahide Nazarene Way
Nicene Christianity
Thus Say the Prophets
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