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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Why Does Evil Exist?

“IF YOU ABIDE IN MY WORD YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES INDEED AND YOU SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE” (John 8: 31 & 32). 
INTRODUCTION
Many people and Nations are distressed because of the constant reports of evil occurring both in this country and all over the World. We see the worldwide concern for the spread of the dread disease of Ebola, and the equally worldwide concern over the multiple ungodly acts resulting in beheadings by what is described as “Islamic terrorists.” There has been a seemingly endless explosion of athletes, both professional and non-professional, engaged in multiple acts of violence from murder to abusive assault on both women and children. There seems to be an exponential increase of violent evil actions and each act of terrorism, violence, or other multiple reported evil acts brings about another round of clamoring and demands for action to be taken to prevent the respective abuses and terrorism. This is nearly always coupled with the phrase “we need to take this action to make sure that this never happens again”. In many cases, these are well-meaning people, but they are attempting to treat the symptoms by requiring the alleged perpetrator to go to “anger management classes”, “parenting classes”, and other such social programs in order to keep these things from happening again.
            Why does such evil exist? Why is there so much poverty which brings about a constant demand for “social justice” and redistribution of wealth?  We live in the midst of a Biblically ignorant society. We have endured multiple years of constant attack on the Bible, frequently in the name of “tolerance”. Usually, this is merely a euphemism for opposition to Biblical Christianity!
            The problem of evil is not something that is outside of people. Evil cannot be “treated.” Evil is a problem that repeats itself over and over and is inside of people not outside. This is a known Biblical fact. It is the ignorance of Biblical truth that results in the constant attempt to solve these multiplicities of problems without the God of the Bible. The book of Proverbs tells us that “as a man thinks in his heart so is he”. (Proverbs 23:7)  Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.” Jesus said “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34) This is not new, the creator of the universe has come into the world and has told us what the problem is. “Light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3: 18-19) The apostle Paul writes in the second chapter of his epistle to the church at Ephesus that men are children of wrath “by nature”. Indeed, the contrast everywhere in scripture is a contrast between children of light or children of darkness. In the fifth chapter of Paul’s epistle to the Church at Ephesus, he says the following: 
            “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light for the fruit of the spirit is in all goodness, righteousness and truth, proving what is good and acceptable unto the Lord. Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them for it is shameful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light for whatever makes manifest is light.” (Ephesians 5: 8-13)
            Jesus, recognizing this very dichotomy between light and darkness said in the seventh chapter of Matthew to “strive to enter in at the narrow gate for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many there be who go in thereat. But narrow is the gate and straight is the way which leads to life eternal and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7: 13-14)
            Jesus himself also says, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart and you shall find rest unto your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)
            Thus we see that the problem for all of mankind is that men love darkness more than they love light. Nevertheless, Jesus himself offers himself as the real and only solution. The call which Jesus issues is to everyone! “Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart and you shall find rest unto your souls.” There is the invitation to everyone to come, and the instruction is to be “yoked” to Jesus. That means we are going to go where Jesus goes and we’re not going to go where Jesus does not go. Jesus promises us that his “yoke is easy and his burden is light”. It requires a yoke. It requires a burden. But, the yoke is easy and the burden is light! Thus we see that we walk in either light or in darkness. We’re either with Christ or we’re against Christ. Nobody is neutral. The pernicious call for “tolerance” is not at all neutral. It is actually a call for toleration of anything and everything except Biblical Christianity.
            Today there is a great lack of knowledge of Biblical Christianity. In order to move from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light there must be a holy work of the Holy Spirit. This is asupernatural act of the Holy Spirit of God.
I.                    The identification of the problem.
            The Bible states in Genesis Chapter 1 clearly and without equivocation that “in the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth. The Earth was void and without form and darkness moved upon the face of the deep. The spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” In the remaining verses of Genesis Chapter 1, God’s Word states that God created all things in six literal days, and on each occasion the Lord God states that “it was good”. Now, however, we live in a fallen world. There is a genuine lack of biblical knowledge. Genesis, The Book of Beginnings, instructs us in the third chapter that the evil one (the Serpent-the devil) attacked Eve. The attack was simply on the Word of God. The Serpent posed a question to Eve forcing her to choose between the word of the evil one and the Word of God. That method has been Satan’s tactic through the years and remains the same attack today. Men have “an evil heart of unbelief”. They are “dead in their trespasses and sins” and are “by nature children of wrath”! They are willing to believe “mans” word rather than God’s Word.
            We are told repeatedly in the Bible that the real cause of the problems that mankind is facing today is a result of man’s refusal to obey the word of the God of the Bible. Why is there sickness and death in the world? We see the answers in Genesis 1 through 11. Why is there disease and destruction from famine and disasters? We see the answers in Genesis 1-11. Why are there abusive relationships and terrorism? We see the answers in Genesis Chapters 1-11. In these chapters we see that there was a time when God realized that “all the imaginations of a man’s heart was only evil continuously”. This was the result of the disobedience of God’s Holy Word.  So in Genesis we see that the Lord God destroyed the world with a global flood. God preserved Noah and his family and each kind of animal by His Grace. We are also repeatedly told in the Bible that the solution to man’s sin problem is the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. This gospel is first presented in Genesis chapter 3 as the solution to the sin problem in order to redeem some of fallen mankind and restore them to their relationship with the Lord God. Mankind, however, is increasingly unwilling and unable to apply or even consider the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
            In the New Testament letter of Hebrews, which has been called the most theological book of the Bible, we read that God has “in these last days spoken unto us by His Son”. The Lord God has a solemn warning to those who will not listen when he says “beware, brethren less there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God (Hebrews 3:12) All of mankind was once “darkness.” Those who have been “redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ”, “have been made alive in Christ Jesus” and have been moved from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. These are called “light in the Lord” and God tells us to “walk in love and walk as children of light.” In other words we are to live as becomes the gospel of Christ. We see that “coming to Jesus” is the first step in solving the problem of sin. Taking his yoke upon us and learning of Him, thus walking in love and light i.e. living as becomes the gospel of Christ, puts us on the road to sanctification and to real problem solving.
II.                  The Biblical Solution.
            In Ken Ham’s book, THE LIE: Evolution/Millions of Years (25th Anniversary edition) Ham sets forth essentially a threefold view of history. He states “a perfect creation, corrupted by sin to be restored by Jesus Christ.” This account is divided into seven periods, that Ham calls the seven C’s:  Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, and Consummation. Ham summarizes these seven periods as follows:
1.        Creation:  In six days God created the heavens, the earth, and all that is in them from nothing. Each part is designed to work with all the others in perfect harmony. God created the different kinds of plants and animals, and He made a special garden (the Garden of Eden) in which He created the first two human beings-Adam and Eve (Adam from dust and Eve from Adam’s side – the first marriage). When God completed His work of creation, He called it all “very good”. There was no death of nephesh creatures (nephesh is the Hebrew word referring to the life principle, or soul). People and animals were all vegetarian.
2.        Corruption:  However, we no longer live in the world God originally created. Because our first parents (Adam and Eve) placed human opinion above God’s Word (as we continue to do), struggle and death entered the world, and God cursed the creation. Charles Darwin called this struggle to the death natural selection and offered his idea as a substitute for the Creator. Evolutionists later added accidental changes in heredity (mutations) to their evolutionary belief. But such processes as natural selection and mutations do not create; instead, they bring disease, defects, and decay into the world God created. Paul describes this now fallen world in Romans 8:22: “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.”
Because we sinned in Adam (he was the head of the human race, and we inherit his sin nature), we were cut off from God – and would be for eternity. But God had a plan to rescue us from what our sin did. In the Garden of Eden, God killed an animal and clothed Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:21). This was the first blood sacrifice and a picture of what was to come in Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. God promised this Savior in Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” 
3.       Catastrophe:  After mankind’s sin and rebellion (the Fall), the earth became so filled with violence and corruption that God destroyed that world with a global flood and gave it a fresh start with Noah, his family, and the animals in the ark. Fossils – billions of dead things buried in the rock layers laid down by water all over the earth – remind us of God’s judgment on sin. Most of the fossil record is actually the graveyard of the flood that occurred about 4,300 years ago. However, this same fossil record is used by secularists as supposed evidence for millions of years.
4.        Confusion:  In Genesis 11, we see that after the flood, man disobeyed God’s command to spread out over the earth. Instead, they congregated together to build a tower to the heavens, likely to worship the heavens instead of worshiping and obeying the God who made the heavens. As a result, God confused their language so that groups began speaking in different languages. Family groups then began separating from each other and moving out over the earth to develop various people groups, which resulted in the diverse cultures and nations we have today.
5.       Christ and Cross:  We find that the earth again became filled with violence, corruption, and death because of human sin putting man’s opinion above God’s Word. God had a plan from eternity promised back at the beginning (Gen. 3:15) to save man from sin and its consequence of eternal separation from God. God’s Son stepped into human history to become Jesus Christ, the God-man. Fully God and fully human, Christ came to heal and restore, and by His death and resurrection, He conquered death. We may be born again into eternal life as new creations in Christ. As Romans 10:9 tell us, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
6.       Consummation:  As surely as God created the world and judged the world with the flood, our ungodly world will be destroyed by fire (2 Peter 3:10). For those who trust in Jesus, however, there awaits eternal life in the new heavens and the new earth. There will be no more corruption because God’s Curse will have been removed. But for those who reject God’s free gift of salvation, the Bible tells us they will suffer a second death – eternal separation from God. (Rev. 20:14).
The Bible tells us that God knows everything. He has all knowledge. This means the Bible is the Word of someone who knows everything there is to know about the past, the present, and the future. If we want to come to right conclusions about anything, the only sure way is to start with the Word of the One who has absolute knowledge.  We Christians must build all of our thinking in every area on the Bible. We must start with God’s Word, not the word of finite, fallible man. We must judge what people say on the basis of what God’s Word says – not the other way around.
*The revelation of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ
            God’s Word tells us that Jesus is God the Son. He is the second person of the Trinity. He is called THE WORD OF GOD. In the Gospel of John we see, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God the same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shined in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1: 1-5)
            Here is the manifestation of the fact that God created all things. He created all things by and through his Word. What we find in reality in our world today is the dynamic tension that first occurred in the Garden of Eden when Satan challenged the truthfulness of God’s Word by saying to Eve “has God said” and then saying, in effect, God is not telling the truth! Today we see this same evil dynamic taking place among those who would couch it in terms of “Science v. Religion”. However it is termed, however it is formatted, it remains the same argument that the serpent used with Eve:  “Has God said?...” and then the statement that it is not really true. “Those who would propagate that the universe and or the earth are really millions/billions of years old, which many surveys reveal is what is going on in many so called “Christian Colleges and Seminaries” are merely using the same argument used by the Serpent. They are attempting to accommodate man’s word i.e. the world’s view, to wit, God did not create, it has just been brought about by natural selection. This is nothing more than God’s Word versus man’s word, or to put it another way God’s Word versus Satan’s word!
*The Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ
  Paul states in First Corinthians Chapter15 the following:  “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received:  that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.” (1 Corinthians 15: 1-11 ESV)
            This is God’s redemption of some of fallen mankind. All who want to come can come. Remember Jesus issues a call to everyone to “come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest”. All those that the father draws to the son shall come. None will be lost. Have you come? Do you know without doubt that you are his? Have you taken His yoke upon you to learn of him? What we see from the Holy Scripture is that Jesus himself took our sin in his own body and bore it on the cross. He knew no sin. He who knew no sin actually became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. We then have been transformed from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. Wherefore walk as children of light. 
III.                Grieve Not the Holy Spirit of God.
            We have seen the problem – sin, or disobedience to God’s Word. We have seen the solution-coming unto Jesus and taking his yoke upon us and learning of Him, i.e. redemption by the precious blood of Christ. Now we see that we are to “grieve not God the Holy Spirit.” The implication here is that we are not being called to be merely men and woman who act morally. We are actually called to Holiness! Remember, that “as a man thinks in his heart so is he”, therefore, what we put first in our hearts tells us, and the world, what we are seeking. Here we see that we are called to grieve not the Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God! D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the greatest expository preacher of the 20th century says:  “This is why we are to walk in the light.We are light! We must continue to walk in the light. God has sealed us with His Holy Spirit”[1]
Dr. Lloyd-Jones continues in his great exposition and commentary of Paul’s letter to the Church at Ephesus to give us added insight into what is meant by the command to “grieve not the Holy Spirit of God”:  “What each Christian needs to remember is that God’s Holy Spirit has been given to us and he dwells within us. He tabernacles within us. We are His Holy Temple. This is a doctrine that runs repeatedly through The New Testament. In first Corinthians chapter 6 the apostle Paul writing as being led by the Holy Spirit of God says ‘what? know ye not’ – and he’s talking about the individual not about the church as a body – ‘know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s’” (Versus 19-20)
            “We also realize from this passage of scripture from the fourth chapter of Ephesians that the Holy Spirit of God can be grieved. God is eternal. He is one God, eternal, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. His name is ‘I am’. God is! He is independent of everything, he exists in himself, he existed before time, before the world was and he has no need of anything or anyone. Yet we are told ‘grieve not the Holy Spirit of God’! The great mystery of the God, referred to by Paul as ‘great is the mystery of Godliness’ shows that this is not something that man can reconcile, but God the Son left his throne above and took on human nature in the incarnation. He knows our ignorance and our weakness and our frailty. He knew what it was to hunger and to thirst and to be tired. Here we recognize that we are being told the same thing about the Holy Spirit. For the purposes of redemption and salvation and sanctification He has come to reside and to dwell in us and in some mysterious way it is possible for us to grieve him. It is possible for us to hurt him, to grieve him, to disappoint him. The Holy Spirit is a person! He can be disappointed in us, and anything which belongs to the flesh and not the Spirit grieves him. In Galatians five we see the following: ‘…         now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these:  adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witch craft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying’s, murders, drunkenness, reveling’s, and such like.’ We recognize that we grieve him not only in actual deeds and practices which are of the flesh but we can grieve him with our words (let no corrupt communication proceed forth out of your mouth…) and we can grieve him with our thoughts. He is in us. He lives within us. This then is how we are to live as ‘children of light.’ We must never forget that the Holy Spirit of God is in us and with us.” Do you know that? Do you honor him? Is this your constant thought throughout the day? If we are failing to do this we are grieving him. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, says Paul to the Christians in Rome they are the Sons of God” 
*The Coming Day of The Lord
            We see in the seven C’s that what is coming is the consumption. That is the day of the Lord that is coming. It is the day when Christ will come back and judge the world in righteousness and destroy his every enemy, and when He will remove every vestige of evil out of the whole cosmos, and usher in his everlasting kingdom.
            This is the answer to the question of why there is so much evil, or poverty, - it is sin. Christ is God’s solution to the problem of sin. We are redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus. We see it first reported in Genesis Chapter three and manifested in the fullness of time by the incarnation, the crucifixion, and the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. See then that you grieve not the Holy Spirit of God but walk as children of light.
            CONCLUSION:  Now unto Him who is able to do far more abundantly then all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever Amen. Your friend and brother in Christ
                                                            Daniel (William Gray)

[1] Martyn Lloyd-Jones exposition on Ephesians Chapter 4 pg. 267