The evil all around us permeates the atmosphere, invading homes, neighborhoods, cities, towns, municipalities, states, regions and nations with fear and angst, deception and theft, as well as hatred and murder. From racist cops to criminals and terrorists, including many others in between, evil is all around us. How did this evil get here, and who is responsible for it?
While most people like to believe that mankind is basically good, with only a few who are capable of evil, I subscribe to another, less popular viewpoint. It is my belief that since Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, forbidden to them by God Almighty, the Creator of mankind, everyone birthed thereafter, was born with a sinful nature, which makes each one of us susceptible to evil. Indeed, as the knowledge of man increases, so does his capacity for evil, and it is the sin, into which we are all born, that destines us to death.
Many, who don’t ascribe to my views often pose this question to those who believe as I do, “If all of mankind is truly born into sin, then how can there be any good people? The answer to that question is that the Creator of all humanity has given everyone a free will, which enables them to choose whether to succumb to their sinful nature, or choose to do good. Furthermore, He gave people (who, because of their sinful nature, were all condemned to die once, and after that, receive judgment), the option to receive the free gift of salvation and redemption, if they would simply choose to have faith in Him and His Son, Jesus. However, as simple as that sounds, our humanity rebels against the notion that our salvation rests on something as simple as having faith in the One who created us.
When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.
(Romans 5:12 NLT)
Adam’s single act of disobedience to God’s command led to the first murder, which, incidentally, was also the first death, when his and Eve’s firstborn son, Cain, killed his younger brother, Abel, in a jealous rage. I’m certain, that when Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, in an act of rebellion against their Creator, they never dreamed that this single act of disobedience would lead to the devastating loss of not just one, but two sons. For when Cain slew his brother, Abel, not only was Abel lost to them, but Cain was as well, for the Lord punished him by cursing the ground he walked on, forbidding it to yield crops to him. He also banished Cain from the land, and condemned him to walk the land as a homeless wanderer. From Cain’s vicious and murderous attack on Abel, man grew more and more sinful, and more and more violent. If Adam’s one act of disobedience could have such devastating effects, that have continued to grow more and more horrible, with each generation that followed, how do we effect the world and the people around us, when we reject our Creator and His commands?
Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
(Ecclesiastes 7:20 ESV)
Because each of us is born with a sinful nature, sin is instinctual to us. Children need to be taught what good is, and how to do it. Yet, no one has ever had to teach a child how to sin, because that comes naturally to us. Have you ever noticed that when a child begins to crawl around and walk, discovering the world around him, he immediately begins discovering the many dangers around him? Though we try to baby proof our homes, there is always some danger that the toddler discovers, that causes our hearts to pound in fear for him. It is during this time, that we begin to tell the little one, “No,” and the child quickly learns what “No” means. However, although that child knows that it is wrong to touch certain objects or to go to certain places within (or sometimes even outside) of the home, for some reason, the child seems to gravitate towards those things. Did you ever wonder why that is? It is because that baby, just like every other baby born after Adam ate the forbidden fruit, is born with a sinful nature, and it is the responsibility of the parents and those who are involved in that child’s life to teach him what is good, and how to do good.
Though all of us have different weaknesses, every one of us has been guilty of some wrongdoing, and no one had to instruct us on how to do the wrong thing. Indeed, no one even needs to tell us that it is wrong. For just as we are all born with a sinful nature, we are also born with the knowledge of right and wrong, because God, in His infinite mercy, has written His law on the hearts of mankind, so that no one can truly say, “I didn’t know my actions were wrong.” In fact, that very law that is written on our hearts not only checks our actions, but even our very thoughts, so that we also feel guilty, when we are simply thinking about those things that are wrong.
14 Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know His law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.
(Romans 2:14-15 NLT)
“If this is true,” some may ask, “then why do so many people commit such heinous crimes, without feeling any guilt?” The answer to this question is very simple, yet very profound. For although we may feel guilty when we first commit a sin, the more we engage in that or other sins, the less guilty we will feel about it, until, eventually, our conscience is seared.
12 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. 13 You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.
(Hebrews 3:12-13 NLT)
This is true for all sins, no matter how big or small they may seem to be. For God does not measure the size of a sin to determine one’s guilt or innocence. God hates ALL sin, because sin is deadly. It’s like cancer, killing and destroying every cell within us, until we, like every man, woman and child, since Adam sinned against God, finally die. For those, whose hearts are hardened against God when they die, there will be no other chance for redemption. Those, who choose to believe in their Creator, and His Son, Jesus, will receive eternal life, though their earthly bodies have died.
Yet, in spite of God’s great mercy and compassion on mankind, the overwhelming majority of mankind will choose to reject their Creator, choosing, instead, to follow their own sinful nature. Although God has written His law on the hearts of humanity, they will still choose to go to hell, rather than heaven. Indeed, despite the knowledge that is written on every heart, they will still choose to ignore that knowledge and follow the road to destruction. They even make jokes about it, saying, “Well, if I go to hell, I won’t be alone. All of my friends will be right there with me.”
13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”
(Matthew 7:13-14 NLT)
When I look at the world we live in today, it both saddens and sickens me to see how much evil has increased since I was a child. When I was a child, there were the occasional fights in school, talking too much in class and chewing gum. Most crimes were limited to big cities, which were far away, and though we had bomb drills, and lived during the Cold War, we had no fear, for who would ever be foolhardy enough to dare attacking us on American soil?
12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.
(Matthew 24:12 NLT)
Now, I am fifty-four years old, and in today’s world, children and their parents fear they might not come home from school, alive, each day. We now live in a world, where children plot and kill their parents, and where not only fathers, but also mothers, murder, abuse and molest their own children. There are also police, who are corrupted by power, and use it to commit violence and homicides against both innocent citizens and unarmed criminals, thereby violating their duty to protect and defend. Though they have made an oath to heal to the best of their ability, and to do no harm, doctors and nurses murder the very patients they have sworn to care for. Yes, things like this have been happening since Adam’s rebellion, yet it is becoming more and more prevalent, and the crimes that people commit against one another are becoming more and more heinous.
As we look at the evil all around us, and perhaps even within us, it would be easy to lose heart. Yet, the very God who created us, also loves us with an unfathomable love, and He knew, long before He created the heavens and the earth, that Adam would sin against Him, thereby ushering sin into His beautiful creation. Therefore, because sin is so deadly, God had a plan worked out for the redemption of mankind, who was created in His image, even as He breathed life into Adam and Eve.
For the penalty for sin is death, and because sin is so deadly, there are no exceptions. Whether you eat a forbidden fruit, or whether you destroy the life of another human being, the requirement for the atonement of sin is the death of the sinner, for the sins he has committed. Yet, despite the evil all around us, God’s love for mankind was so great that He made a way to redeem the life of man…
16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
(John 3:16 NLT)
God knew the depths to which the depravity of man would sink, still, even so, His love for us was so great, that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son, so that we could live. He knew that Nero would be born, and that he would commit terrible, torturous atrocities against those who followed Christ. He knew that Adolf Hitler would one day, destroy the lives of untold millions, and in the process, slay six million Jewish men, women and children. God knew that Osama bin Ladin would rise up and kill thousands, in the name of his false god, Allah, as he spewed out violence and hatred. God also knows that one day the antichrist will rise up against Christ and His people, torturing and killing countless men, women and children. Still, God chose to give the life of His one and only Son, so that you and I could live and be with Him in eternity. And don’t think that Christ had no say in the matter, for He made it very clear that His love, is so great, that He laid His life down for us willingly…
17 “The Father loves Me because I sacrifice My life so I may take it back again. 18 No one can take My life from Me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what My Father has commanded.”
(John 10:17-18 NLT)
Yes, it is true that we live in a world with evil all around us, yet we don’t have to be discouraged or afraid. For Jesus has told us in His word that as long as we live here on earth, there will be pain and tribulation, but we mustn’t fear, for He has overcome the world. In fact, the word of God also tells us something else that many Christians in the western hemisphere have chosen to ignore…
12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad – for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.
14 If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. 15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. 16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by His name! 17 For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? 18 And also, “If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners?”
19 So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for He will never fail you.
(1 Peter 4:12-19 NLT)
Sadly, not only do these “leaders of the church” ignore this passage, they also accuse those who suffer of having weak faith, causing believers to doubt their own faith in God, sometimes even causing them to turn away from the Lord, because they feel hopeless. Those so called “leaders,” who make these false claims that someone’s suffering is their own fault, because a true child of God would claim healing and walk in it, will be held accountable for every false statement they have made in the name of God. Indeed, the blood of every man, woman and child they have caused to stumble and turn away from God, will be on their hands. For those who do these things, causing emotional pain and spiritual death, are just as evil as those who cause physical harm to another human being, and God will hold them accountable for every sin they committed in the name of Jesus.
As I stated earlier, there is evil all around us. The spirit of evil dwells in the hearts and souls of many men and women, and it also exists in Satan and his demons. Even so, when the enemies of our souls attack us, remember this, and take hope; though the evil all around us can steal our bodies and our minds, those who belong to Christ, should have no fear, for the evil cannot touch our spirits, which belong to Christ, and will one day arise from the grave in triumphant victory, clothed in our heavenly bodies. Therefore, when you read of evil in the news, or watch it on the television, fear not! For if God is for us, who can be against us?