By Simon Ifeanyi Ezeh
What is evil?
English dictionary (word web) describes evil as morally objectionable behaviour or that which causes harm, destruction or misfortune but Jesus Christ (who is my only authority for all the conclusions reached herein) describes evil only as morally exceptionable behaviour except that he included thoughts in addition to words and actions. He doesn’t include things that cause harm or destruction as in the Old Testament.
Natural phenomena like a thunderstorm, shipwreck, disease, stillbirth, earthquake, etc. are absolutely objectionable to man and could be affected by man’s faith in God but they are not evil from the point of view of Jesus Christ. Evils are morally bad words or actions that originate from the heart or mind (thoughts) of evil people.
So, evil is sin or sinful according to Jesus Christ. That’s why Jesus Christ is always asking to come into one’s heart since a pure heart is the basis of a righteous life.
I checked the gospels where Jesus spoke and used the word evil and found 42 verses and 47 matches.
Matthew 18 verses found 20 matches
Mark 6 verses found 6 matches
Luke 12 verses found 14 matches
John 6 verses found 7 matches
Let’s hear the LORD Jesus Christ in these verses
1. Matt 5:45 – here, he says evil people are human beings that are not good
2. Matt 6:34 – The day is loaded with evil (temptations to do wrong)
3. Matt 7:11, Lk 11:13 – The unrepentant man is evil (ungodly or immoral)
4. Matt 7:18 – Good people with good thoughts, words and actions contrasted with evil people with evil thoughts, words and actions
5. Matt 9:4 – Immoral thoughts are evil
6. Mk 9:39 – Immoral words against Jesus Christ is evil
7. Lk 6:22 – A man’s name could be seen as evil or abominable if the man is evil himself or if he’s being persecuted by the world for righteousness sake.
8. Lk 6:35 – God is kind even to the evil person (i.e. He’ll always forgive the sinner whenever he repents in his lifetime in addition to supplying free air, rain and sunshine etc. to all. The greatest favour one could get from God is forgiveness of sin, that’s also the zenith of God’s kindness.)
9. John 3:20 Evil people avoid the light (righteousness or righteous people) in order not to expose their evil deeds.
10. John 18:23 – Talks of evil words/speech
11. Upon inspection of Mk 10:17-18; Lk 11:13 and Lk 16:25, we find that evil and good seem to have been rendered as in the Old Testament where sickness, lack and loneliness etc. were seen as evil just as food, family, house, financial wealth etc. were also seen as good. Lk 11:13 and Lk 16:25 seemed to refer to things that are highly esteemed by man as good but we know it isn’t drawing from our Lord’s earlier teaching in Lk 16:15 which condemns everything that’s highly regarded by man as abominable to God.
Mk 10:17 tells us that whatever is good must derive from God and we know that God’s essence or blessings (see the beatitudes) are in his love, righteousness, faithfulness, mercy, justice, and never in material or earthly things like food, house, cars, wealth, etc. as apparently implied in Lk 11:13 and Lk 16:25.
12. In conclusion: evil is immoral, ungodly thoughts, words or actions of man or spirits (yes, there are evil spirits), just as good is the totality of God’s essence like righteousness, mercy, faithfulness, justice, kindness, long-suffering etc.
The question then would be, ‘How did evil start?’ Or, ‘Who created evil?’ God made man in his image and that includes certain capacities like ‘creating’ things by first imagining it, etc. So, man created sin or evil by his capacity to imagine things! It’s a blank cheque which you could fill whichever way you elect.
Metal has properties like lustre, strength or rigidity etc. and things made of metal also have the same properties of metal. God also has properties and things made of God must possess the properties of God. What are the things made of God? Well, unlike metal, only one thing is made of God: man! Man is made of God and has intrinsic properties like goodness, mercifulness, immortality, ability to create, ability to give life, faithfulness, ability to forgive sins, the knowledge of good and evil and the ability to choose to do good or evil.
Although man was given such an enormous power to imagine and create etc. at the beginning, he is absolutely responsible for whatever he imagines and/or creates, good or bad. So, God could not be responsible for the evil that man does. Both good and evil acts have rewards from God.
God didn’t create the atomic bomb but he created the raw materials which could be used either for good or for evil. The human genitalia is made by God for godly uses but men and women could also rape and abuse others with their sex organs even though that’s not why the organs were created. We were made with the capacity to choose, neither God nor the devil interferes with that.
The old testament partially blind prophets thought that natural disasters were evil but they were wrong. They also thought it was evil to die from natural causes but not according to the revelation of Christ. Natural disasters are automatic, they are part of the natural forces of nature like gravity which interplay without any help from anywhere. Man could affect them by his faith in God but it doesn’t make them evil at all.
Death is just an exit strategy for man from this world. One doesn’t have to die to leave this world but most people die to exit this world. The lines get blurred if you believe that God is both good and evil together, or that light is the same as darkness as presented by partially blind old testament prophets. That’s at variance with the revelation of Christ. Be careful what you think or imagine or create because whatever we create by thinking or imagination has consequences which we cannot run away from. Unlike Christ, Paul asserts that God is responsible for both our thoughts and our actions, good or bad, but we know whom to believe.
Jesus Christ teaches as follows:
Matt 12:35 A goodman out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
If any man has ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.
And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said that which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
From the two passages above, it’s obvious that there are good and evil people (determined by their thoughts) and both groups are responsible for their thoughts and actions and that evil is immorality that always comes from within (thoughts) human beings. We had been misled in the past by pastors that poverty, sickness, death, failure, childlessness, not being married etc. are evils that must be prayed against just as wealth, good health, material success, marriage and childbearing are good things or blessings which we must continually pray for. Thank God for the words and teachings of Christ which are available to set us free from pastors and Satan. Praise God.
With your God-given capacities, you determine whether to be good or evil. The whole point of this message is for you to know what’s good or evil, to choose good over evil and to glorify God in your lifetime. Having been properly enlightened regarding good and evil, our prayer lives should not remain the same in terms of what we ask for and how we ask for it. Stop wasting time with pastors!!!