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Good and Evil


Blog title card; topic is that good and evil are real
Good and Evil

Genesis 1 records how God created the world in six days—light, firmament, land and plants, heavenly bodies, birds and fish, land animals, and humans. In the short time between creation and fall, the world was in a condition that God describes with a single word: good. The world He had just formed with the power of His Word was good (1:10), good (1:12), good (1:18), good (1:21), and good (1:25). Altogether, it was very good (1:31). How could it be anything else? Psalm 119:68 says that God both is good and does good; the world He designed directly reflected His character as the truly good One. Since God in the fountain of goodness, we can say, then, that good things operate according to God’s design. Creation was good because it functioned exactly and only as God intended.


God’s design was not limited to the raw material of creation, though. He created the hierarchy of man and animals. He instituted the family with husband as head and wife as helper, the husband answering directly to God. The earth was to be filled by families procreating and creating faithful copies of the original family structure. In God’s first commands there was a sort of basic government, and freedom of conscience over matters God did not address in His very short law code.


The fall, of course, corrupted that good creation. How the corruption began is important to notice. It began with humans—and the spiritual beings trying to steer them—intentionally deviating from the inherent goodness of God’s design. That rebellious effort to twist God’s world into something else was the first domino to fall. Now, the earth is burdened with death, disease, and violence of all kinds. The Lord adjusted some of His design features to allow humans, plants, and animals to function in this downgraded and groaning creation that is often its own enemy. But even though the world today is a valley between the high point of creation and the higher point of new creation, there are still plenty of examples of goodness. “The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD,” Psalm 33:5 says. However, since evil and good now exist in the same world, from that first day of the fall to this day there have been two paths. One path is to discover and operate within God’s design of the world. The other path is to intentionally deviate from that design to accomplish another design that springs out of the rebellious human heart and the rebellious angelic heart.


If goodness is faithfulness to God’s pattern, then evil is the twisting of creation to accomplish an ungodly purpose. Man in a fallen state knows good and evil, but is bent toward the latter. God judged the earth with the flood because “the wickedness of man was great in the earth” and because “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). The consequence of man’s evil designs was that the earth became corrupt. Humans forced creation down a path directly opposite God’s design. Genesis 6:11 records the result of man’s evil heart. “The earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” Why was the earth so bad? “For all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth” (Genesis 6:12).


Good and evil continue to do battle today. Whether or not they know the Lord, people recognize that there are fundamental problems with American culture. Only Christians know what the problem is: sinners, discontent with operating according to God’s good blueprints for the world, want to remake it according to the blueprints that come from their heart. Since, as God stated at the end of the flood, “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21), the designs of humans for the world are often evil. Marriage, for example, is replaced with any and every imaginable perversion, from fornication, pornography, and divorce right down the line. We could make a list, but since there are so many ways to deviate, we could include them all. No matter how long the LGBTQIAA2S acronym gets, there will always be a +, for evil cannot be satisfied with anything short of destruction. This is the essence of the downward spiral described in Romans 1:18-32.


We see the corrupting influence of evil around us in far more places than just in marriage. The point is not to create an exhaustive list of practices that twist and rebel against God’s design. The point is to recognize the lowest level of the spiritual conflict. Fundamentally, we are either promoting God’s good design for the world, or we are promoting evil’s imaginative horrors.


It is necessary for Christians to do several things. The first in this non-exhaustive list is to understand and speak the gospel. Since the problem of evil is a heart problem, the solution to that problem must also be a heart solution. God saves us “by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6). Saved people are cleansed people, free in Christ from the bondage of evil hearts. We are free to pursue the goodness which the Holy Spirit produces in us. The second is to cultivate a love for God’s designs. Marriage and family, the church, friendships, communities, owning tangible property, prayer and Bible meditation, and productive work are examples of good things God has built into the world, that Christians should pursue. A third is to enjoy and be thankful for God’s good blessings. “There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God” (Ecclesiastes 2:24). A fourth is to recognize that God is able and willing to use human evil to accomplish His purposes. Joseph recognized that though his brothers thought evil against him “God meant it unto good” (Genesis 50:20). When God steers His plans through the rocks of this evil world, He allows us to brush against the dangers. But His course does not falter, and on the other side of the often harrowing run is the broad mercy of new creation that we, with cleansed hearts and renewed minds in Christ, will be able to enter.

 

The above article was written by Jonathan Kyser. He is a pastoral assistant at NorthStone Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. To offer him your feedback, comment below or email us at strengthforlife461@gmail.com.


Every Tuesday, SFL publishes relevant Bible-based content. Check back next Tuesday to read the next SFL article.

 

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