Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness” Genesis 1:26 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
To all of our friends who consider themselves to be religious “outsiders”, we happily say: YOU are not the ultimate source of evil in the world, and GOD AIN’T MAD AT YOU!
We sincerely apologize for our disagreement with all of our friends who consider themselves to be religious “insiders”, and who strive mightily to convince our other friends that the world would be a better place if they would just “get right with God” or “get saved” or “repent”. To be sure, YOUR world would be better if you were able to do those things, but would THE world be better?
In our post today we take a controversial look at the ultimate origin of evil–WHO is responsible for the existence of evil in the world? Where does evil come from? Does it spontaneously combust? Was it part of the “big bang”? And perhaps in a later post, WHO is going to get rid of it, and how?
If evil existed in the world before any of us who are now alive, dear reader, does it make sense to you that ANY of your actions (or inactions) could get rid of it? Of course not. Let’s go right to the controversial part: the source of evil in the world is NOT sinful people! and that includes you, the religious outsider.
It is popularly believed that evil is a force of nature that fights, wars, struggles, with an opposing force of nature–the goodness of God. And so you have the Devil fighting against God, darkness vs. light, evil vs. good, the Yin and Yang. We mention the last one to highlight the fact that this back and forth nonsense is ancient pagan superstition. It was co-opted by the early Roman church for purposes of controlling the masses. But it did not derive from the Bible or the teachings of Jesus.
Unfortunately, just about every major denomination today embraces some version of this “turn or burn” mentality, that if you are “good” you get to go to heaven, and if you are “bad”, you go to hell, or are utterly destroyed in some fashion. Each group has slightly different definitions of “good” and “bad” and what is necessary to migrate from one group to the other, but from 30,000 feet, they all look pretty much the same. The reason is: they ARE essentially the same. Here is the problem with the whole mentality: it fails to understand the reason and purpose of evil.
The ultimate source of evil in the world is the Creator, who created it. Yes, that is correct, God Himself, with the able assistance of Christ (who later was born on earth and named Jesus). Read it for yourself from the gospel of John, chapter 1, verse 3:
All things came into being through Him (Jesus), and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. John 1:3 NASB
You want to talk about light vs. darkness, then check this out:
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Isaiah 45:7 King James Version
In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider–God has made the one as well as the other so that man will not discovery anything that will be after him. Ecclesiastes 7:14 NASB
If calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it? Amos 3:6 NASB
If one considers the Bible to be authoritative, if not instructive, (and we consider it to be both), one could reasonably be surprised that our premise is so controversial! It seems clear that the Creator created evil. Therefore, let’s next consider how the religious insiders got off the correct path, and let’s start with Adam.
You remember Adam and Eve, the first man and woman? In the garden of Eden? You may remember that they ate an apple, or some other fruit, or whatever, the point is: they disobeyed God; they sinned. You’re probably thinking/remembering (because it has been pounded into your sub-conscience) that they died as punishment because they sinned. Add in the old good vs. evil superstition/motif, and voila! Adam created evil, and because we are all descended from Adam, we are responsible for evil in the world. And because we insiders have repented, that only leaves you outsiders. See how it works?
Yes, Adam and Eve did indeed sin. But did Father kill them for it? See for yourself:
Then to Adam He said,…Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles (weeds) it shall grow for you. Genesis 3:17 NASB
This is a classic example of God’s punishment fitting the crime: you disobeyed me in eating what I provided, so now you will have to work for it. This is why you have weeds in your garden, and bugs in your fruit trees. Adam and Eve did indeed eventually die, but not in punishment. Legally speaking, the punishment was applied to the earth–the ground would no longer blossom absent some good, hard work. The “curse” was not applied to Adam; instead, Adam’s correction was that he had to make restitution.
To find out what happened, we must piece together the story from several places, and in so doing we can see what Father had in mind by creating evil in the world.
Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through (by means of, as a result of) sin, and so death spread to all men, upon which (Gr. “eph ho”) all sinned. Romans 5:12 NASB
So when Adam sinned, Father sent death as the ultimate form of evil into the world. All “lesser” forms of evil are subsumed by and culminate in the pinnacle of evil–death. Men don’t die because they sin; they sin because they are dying. (Think about this for one moment, and you can easily see the truth of it. A baby starts “dying” the moment it is born, before it can take any kind of action that can be called wrongdoing.)
Father used the occasion of Adam’s sin to send death (evil) into the world, and allowed it to spread to all men. Why did He do that? Because His plan was to send another man, and by the actions of the second man, He would cause righteousness (the opposite of evil) and life to spread to all men. The name of this man? Jesus/Yeshua, the messiah.
For since by a man (Adam) came death, by a man (Jesus) also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15: 21
Know anyone who is not dying? They will all be made alive by Christ Jesus. All means all; all die and all will be made alive. How does that work? This is why those of us who know Jesus love him so much:
For as through one transgression (wrongdoing, sin) there resulted condemnation (an eventual death sentence) to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. Romans 5:19 NASB
Dear reader, do you know what the “one act of righteousness” was? Jesus the innocent one paid with his own life upon the cross for all the wrongdoing from Adam until the last of it has occurred. And to top it all off, He agreed to this plan before Adam was ever created.
You might say that Adam gave us a “gift” of a cursed earth and mortality (eventual physical death for all). But Jesus gives us all the free gift of divine life (unending and righteous) which sooner or later (why wait?) all receive. This is a species of life that comes from the very nature of God–His plan has always been to MAKE us in “Our image and in Our likeness”. You may be glad to know that it is not your responsibility.
For if by the transgression of the one (Adam), death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the (other) one, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:18 NASB
(This) gift is not like that which came through the one (Adam) who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment (sentence of eventual death) arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. Romans 5:16 NASB
What a gift! Think of it in parallel terms: one wrong action by Adam, and all the world starts dying. But one righteous act by Jesus undoes eons of wrongdoing by billions of people, and moreover makes them righteous in God’s eyes, and all the world starts living by the power of an unending life of which we wrote earlier.
Father and Son planned this from the beginning, because of their great love for you, dear reader, yes the religious “outsider”. They knew you would wonder about it, puzzle over it, and question why they didn’t do something about it. Well, they did. Father introduced evil into the world so He could be glorified by removing it all in one fell swoop. Can you see why He ain’t mad at you? Why should He be?
As those of us who have come to trust in Him, and as we know Him more and more, to call Him merely “God”, His most common name, is simply too impersonal.
“To as many as received Him (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,…” John 1:12 NASB
As the old song goes, to know Him is to love Him. Calling Him “God” while not incorrect, fails to recognize the profound love which He has for each of us, so as His children, we want to call Him “Father”, or even more lovinglingly, “Daddy”. Those who have a conception (incorrectly) of Him as an angry, vengeful deity have trouble with such familiarity.
As always, we do not ask or expect you to believe us–ask Him yourself. How? Either silently in your mind and heart, or out loud with your mouth, simply ask Him if what we have said is true. You can even bow your head and close your eyes if that will help you believe He is listening, but we assure you it is not necessary. We want to be the first to welcome you to Father’s family!
Blessed are you, O Lord our wonderful God, the king of forever! Great is your wisdom and wise are your orderings of all things, from the rising of the sun until its going down. But greater still is the love you have borne for us all, especially the one who has never belonged. Show your love to the prodigal son, and let the party begin!