Christian Related Articles by Various Writers
DOES EVIL EXIST ONLY AS PART OF HUMAN NATURE? By ralph jackson
Most people will agree that evil exists but the majority cannot accept that evil comes from the outside and is placed there by a living devil. We see the atrocities of human against human and attribute the evil they do to each other as inherent in humanity. But by making evil a condition of our natures we believe its origin.
The universe was quiet; everything was in harmony with a loving creator God sustaining millions of worlds in their orbits and protecting those immortal beings who live on them.
Lucifer, the bright and morning star was the most beloved of the created angels. He had the most melodious voice and all the angels loved to hear him sing. They adored him, almost as much as they loved God Himself, but only to God did they bow down and worship, as worship could only be given to the omnipotent One. Because of Lucifer's adoration by millions of the angels, he began to feel more important that he really was. He questioned why he was not allowed into the council of God on matters pertaining to things, which were only for non-created beings. Only God, His Son and the Holy Spirit could be involved in such matters. Little by little Lucifer became dissatisfied with his position and coveted a more important role in heaven. As he grew more and more dissatisfied, he started to make his feelings known to other angels. When God held a council to discuss with His Son and the Holy Spirit about making ta new planet - he Earth, Lucifer questioned why he could not be involved? Lovingly the Father told him why but this did not satisfy Lucifer. He made it clear to everyone who would listen to him that God was unfair in His dealings with His creatures. He questioned the love of God and doubted His justice. In reality, Lucifer was envious and felt that he was as important as the Son of God and he should have been included in the work of creation. The more he thought about not being included, the more his character began to change. He was still adored by millions of angels and it was to these that he murmured and complained how he had been treated. God was very patient with Lucifer and counselled him many times. Lucifer on more than one occasion saw his error and withheld his complaining for a time. However, his envy of the Son of God was deep routed therefore it did not take long to spring up in his heart again. Not long after God had created the Earth and placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Lucifer openly rebelled against God. He had persuaded millions of angels that God was not a just God and therefore could not be trusted to rule the universe. God, in His sorrow, cast Lucifer and the angels that followed him, out of heaven. (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:1-19; Jude 6; 2 Peter 2:4)
IN THE LIKENESS OF GOD
The Earth was to be a special creation. Humanity would be made in the image of God Himself and molded by His own hand. Not only would humans look like their creator, He would breath His Spirit into the body of Adam giving him the same attributes as God Himself. Within mankind would be the ability to create and to pro-create, something both the angels and other worlds could not and did not need to do.
God foreknew that Lucifer would rebel and try to usurp His position as the God of the Universe. Because of Lucifer's dissatisfaction, many of the angels that he had tried to persuade to rebel had remained loyal to God, but doubt had been planted in their minds. It therefore became necessary for God to let Lucifer continue his quest to gain worship for himself. Therefore the Earth would become the stage on which to carry on the battle of good versus evil and humanity would be the prize.
After God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden there was peace for the newly created couple who where enjoying their new existence. They loved God, with whom they openly talked and walked with upon the earth. We do not know how long it was after the world was created, that God cast out Lucifer and his dissenting angels to the Earth, but it was not long after their fall from heaven that Lucifer began his plan to take over the new kingdom. He looked upon the beauty and peace of God's creation and his jealousy grew stronger. He had been excluded from the planning of the Earth, the Moon, Sun, Stars and Planets therefore his heart turned to hatred for God and this hatred would be directed at those who resembled God. He purposed in his heart to destroy all that God had made and to make it look as though it was God who had caused all the problems. He was now Captain of millions of fallen angels who would carry out his orders. He did not know in the beginning were his plans would take him, but nevertheless he was determined to prove that God was unjust by whatever means, foul or fair. In Satan's mind, persuading Adam and Eve of God's injustice would be the first step towards bringing God down from His throne.
THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL
God had instructed Adam and Eve that every tree in the garden was good for food, with only one exception. God instructed the human pair that if they ate of the tree of 'The Knowledge of Good and Evil', they would lose their lives. He made it very clear to Adam and Eve so they would not fail to understand the serious consequences if they failed to obey His command.
TREE OF LIFE
Inside the garden was also the 'Tree of Life'. Adam and Eve were created mortal; they did not have inherent immortality. To live forever, they had to eat the fruit of the tree of life once a month. Satan was aware of this when he tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. He knew that if Adam and Eve could be persuaded to disobey God, their allegiance would no longer be to God but to himself. He thought God would destroy the pair for their disobedience and therefore prove to the watching universe that God was, as he (Satan) had said, a vengeful and unjust God.
A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON GOD
When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they saw things differently. They had not known or understood what evil was until they had eaten the fruit of the tree. God had wanted to protect the pair from knowing evil, as any loving father would want to protect his or her child from harm, but Satan twisted God's love for His created beings to make Him look oppressive.
Adam and Eve knew what they had done was wrong. Before they ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were naked in the garden. They were covered with the light of God and therefore did not know they were naked, but when they had tasted the fruit, the light of God left them and they not only saw their naked bodies, they felt a nakedness within their hearts.
Immediately they found leaves to cover their fleshly nakedness, and hid in the garden hoping that God would not find them and end their lives. They now felt new emotions and this gave them a new perspective on the way they viewed God. All their walks and talks with Him in the garden were now forgotten. The trust they once had now turned to guilt and fear.
GOD CALLS TO ADAM AND EVE
Although God called out to them to ask where they were, He was well aware what they had done and why they were hiding. Nevertheless, to give them the opportunity of repentance, God asked them what they had done to hide themselves? They did not repent, but cast the blame first Eve blamed the serpent and then Adam blamed his wife but ultimately through Adam's words he blamed God. (Gen 3:12).
SATAN LOOKS ON
Satan and his angels were watching and listening to the conversation between God and Adam and Eve. Their faces were full of expectation and smugness as they waited to see what God would do. To their horror, God did not kill Adam and Eve as they thought He would. Instead, He told them to leave the garden and become wanderers on the face of the earth. Eve would bear children and Adam would till the ground for food to keep them alive. Even though God expelled them from the garden, His love for them had not ceased. He would also help them through the forthcoming trials they would be put through by Satan. He put enmity between the devil and mankind's seed. (Gen 3:15). Satan was deflated. God had shown love for those who had disobeyed Him. He had not killed them as he thought and now God had put into mankind's character the seed of hostility towards the devil. Satan wanted man to worship him, but God's love is so great for His creatures, He gave a way of reconciliation to the disobedient pair. They would worship only God and instruct their children to do the same. (Gen 3)
BARRED FROM THE TREE OF LIFE
On leaving the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve and all of their offspring would be barred from access to the tree of life. They were not immortal. Only God has immortality, this is one of His incommunicable attributes, along with His Omniscience, Omnipresence, and Omnipotence, which belong only to God. Mankind can never possess these godly attributes. Now they did not have access to the tree of life, their bodies would slowly decay. The substance with which God formed mankind was of the wet dust of the earth. God made man of clay and breathed His breath (Spirit), into man's nostrils, and man became a living being. Time erodes matter. After expulsion from the Garden of Eden, all things on this earth now became subject to time. Animals, insects, birds, plants, trees began to die. Although still sustained by God, the Earth itself started to groan as it aged. The corrosion of all things had begun. The organisms and bacteria that once sustained life were changed and began to fight each other both within and outside the host body. The air, once pure oxygen, would eventually fill with toxins reducing the world's oxygen content. To remind humanity what it had lost, the Garden of Eden remained on earth for a time, its access barred by an angel with a flaming sword. It is not known how long it remained before being removed to heaven. Adam and Eve had eaten freely of the fruit of the tree of life, therefore their life span was much longer than today. It took Adam 930 years until he finally died. His many children and their children's children lived long lives. Methuselah was the oldest recorded human, living for 969 years. As time moved on and the human family became more diluted, the lives of those who lived after the flood, reduced until it reached the average age the human family lives today. (Gen 5).
ALL MANKIND MUST EVENUTALLY DIE!
The Bible tells us after each person lived, that he died? God had said to Adam and Eve that eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil would kill them. Because of God's love and mercy, and much to the dissatisfaction of Satan and his angels, He didn't kill Adam and Eve instantly. But they did eventually die and so do all their offspring. Satan had said in the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve would not die, but they would have their eyes open and they would become as gods. In other words, they would live forever. (Gen 5). Who was proven right? God or Satan? Although proven wrong Satan did rest on his laurels. Working through the minds of learned men he eventually gave them a new philosophy, which suited his purpose and perpetuated his original lie - 'You will not die but become like gods'. (Gen 3:5).
BABYLONIAN AND GREEK PHILOSOPHY
When men rejected a Creator God, they began to look for the meaning of life and death. Taking much of the Babylonian philosophy, Greek philosophers formulated the idea that the body is evil and should be got rid of. Only the spirit of mankind is good. If mankind could be free from the body, then the spirit could roam freely and find its peace. This philosophy says the spirit (soul) of man is immortal and departs the body at death. It is only a gateway to another form of life in the spirit world. You can read the Bible from cover to cover and you will not find any mention of a 'conscience' spirit after death. There is one story, (The Rich Man and Lazarus), which many use to prove life in the spirit world. This story however, is a fable used by Jesus to illustrate the huge gulf between heaven and hell. Jesus knew His listeners were steeped in Greek philosophy, so to appeal to their understanding He used a fable as an illustration to say to them: "Even if someone rose from the dead, they would not listen to him". This was a reference to His resurrection after His death on the cross.
Over the centuries, the Greek philosophy that had infiltrated Jewish thinking, eventually found its way into Christianity. It is now ingrained into the psyche of most of the world.
DID ADAM AND EVE LIVE ON AFTER THEIR DEATH?
When Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden they eventually died. They did not become gods or live forever. How do we know this? Because God, speaking to the Godhead, said in Gen 3:15:
"Because the man has become like one of Us, (capital U), to know good and evil. And now, lest he put his hand out and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"
If Adam and Eve were inherently immortal they would have no need of the fruit of the tree of life to live forever. Neither would there have been a need for a 'Plan of Salvation'.
PLAN OF SALVATION
God had formulated a plan of salvation. In this plan, He would sacrifice His Son on the cross of Calvary to save mankind form eternal death. If mankind had an immortal soul, then Jesus need not have died. Mankind's immortal soul would have returned to God and there they would have lived in heaven with Jesus. There would be no need for a resurrection of the body from the grave. Why come back to Earth to claim a perishable body when you are living in paradise as a spirit being? The Bible says that 'the dead no nothing' they have no more a reward for anything under the Sun. (Eccl: 9:5-6). Jesus calls death a sleep. (John 11:11). Separated from our earthly bodies we die. We fall asleep. Time stands still for the dead. Even if a thousand years have passed, the dead do not know it. When Christ leads the angels to raise the dead at the resurrection of the Just, those of us who have slept in the ground or have been lost at sea, or even cremated, will be woken from a dreamless sleep. We will rise in the bodies we lived in on this earth during our mortal life. As each one rises to meet Jesus in the air, our bodies will be transformed into our new heavenly bodies. These will never die. This is when we receive our immortality. (1 Thes 4:12-18).
A CUNNING FOE
The devil is very cunning. Our superstitious ancestors saw the devil as a horned being with a forked tail. Today he has become invisible but not inactive. Through men of evil he continues the fight for this planet. He causes wars, death and destruction using men and women as his tools. Anyone who says he exists is branded a deluded fool. He has turned the world upside down. What was good is now believed to be evil and what was evil is now considered good. Those who are supposed to use the oracle of God His Written Word, now preach that much of it, particularly the book of Genesis is just a fable. They have capitulated to scientific theories, which need as much faith to believe in as the belief in a Creator. The god of this world has blinded their minds and they are leading their flock to destruction. Soon they will see the error in their understanding. (Jer 23:1; 4:23-26; Ezek 34:2
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