These are my concluding thoughts on the perplexity of good and evil. Frankly I consider myself a fairly good person, but I know I often fall short of what God wants for my life.
All humankind is faced with daily decisions that require us to decide whether to take a course of good or evil. Both choices are available every day of our lives.
There’s not one of us, with the exception of Jesus, who has made it through a full life without exhibiting evil behavior. Yes, He was the Son of God, but He was also fully human and He always did His Father’s will.
Since our Heavenly Father cannot do wrong and always permeates the best in all He does, we can understand that He represents all that’s good in us. And we can also conclude that all that’s evil in us comes from a diametrically opposed source found in this world.
Paul talks of this conflict in Galatians 5:16-18 with these enlightening words: “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.”
So, what we are really dealing with here on earth is a conflict between good and evil in every aspect of our lives. C.S. Lewis addresses this perplexing dilemma in his literary work, The Problem of Pain.
Lewis tells us, “Traditional doctrine points to a sin against God, an act of disobedience, not a sin against the neighbor. And certainly, if we are to hold the doctrine of the Fall in any real sense, we must look for the great sin on a deeper and more timeless level than that of social morality.”
He continues, “From the moment a creature becomes aware of God as God and of itself as self, the terrible alternative of choosing God or self for the center is opened to it. This sin is committed daily by young children and ignorant peasants as well as by sophisticated persons, … it is the fall in every individual life, and in each day of each individual life, the basic sin behind all particular sins: at this very moment you and I are either committing it, or about to commit it or repenting it.”
Lewis penned those eloquent words 80 years ago, but they still ring true today and for all times. And what rings even truer are the words God penned through 40 authors of the 66 books in the Bible.
Listen to these words of Paul found in Romans 12:9-11: Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”
Let me sum up this discussion with my final thoughts on good and evil. Our Father in Heaven represents everything good. His adversary Satan represents all that is evil. In Matthew 12:30, we hear Jesus telling the Pharisees, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather scatters.”
This is a warning not only to the Pharisees in Jesus’ day, but for all mankind. He wants us to be with Him, to do His will and to be obedient to His Word.
That’s good overcoming evil. It’s your choice. I choose to follow Christ, and I trust you will as well.
Passages to Ponder
— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at email@example.com for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.