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On the Origin of Evil In Creation October 12, 2015

Posted by regan222 in Philosophy, Religion.
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This is mainly for me but if it helps someone then I am blessed.  If you disagree, that’s OK also.

On the Nature and Origin of Evil in Creation

The origin of evil has been a stumbling stone almost since the appearance of Mankind on the planet. It is difficult for us to rationalize the existence of a perfect creator God with the existence of imperfection in the universe. Great intellects like Augustine and Einstein wrestled with the question of the origin of evil and many Christians today are plagued by the same quandary. How can a good God, a perfect God, allow evil to be? Did He create it? Where exactly did “evil” come from?

Einstein was a follower of the Jewish faith. As such, he was shaped by his culture just as we all are. He could easily rationalize a creator God because he understood that cause always precedes effect in our universe. The idea that the universe sprang into being from nothing for no reason was as ludicrous to Einstein as it should be to us. However, shaped as he was by his Jewish culture, there was within him a need for rational and logical rules. This can also be seen in Einstein’s abhorrence of the Quantum Mechanics theory. He could not rationalize the existence of evil outside or apart from the creator and yet he could not indict God with the willful creation of Evil.

The answer to the question lies in defining evil. We tend to anthropomorphize evil into a personality. We equate evil with Satan. We give it personality, or at least, existence. The key to the quandary is found here. None of these things are true. Evil is not a quantity, a quality, a substance, or an object within creation. Evil is simply the absence of God. Anything, apart from God, is less than God, and thus, imperfect. We assume that evil is a created thing, when, in fact, it is the absence of something; God.

We can draw a parallel between the appearance of evil in the universe and the appearance of the universe itself. In Genesis we read that

 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

(Genesis 1: 3 – 4)

God created light but he did not have to create darkness. It exists as the absence of light. God perceived the light based on the way it interacted with darkness and in this same way we know that light exists. It was created. Darkness, on the other hand, cannot be created. It is a state apart from light. It does not exist as an entity. Light always banishes darkness because darkness is simply light’s absence.

In this same way, evil is the absence of God. Imperfection is the absence of perfection. God is defined by his nature, just as everything is. He is, of all things in the universe, the only example of perfection. He is a singularity in three aspects. The concept that there is one God only is fundamental to existence.

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”

(1 Timothy 2:5)

As a singularity, God was alone in eternity past. He chose, for His own reasons, to share his existence with others (e.g. angels, people, animals, etc.). According to God’s inherent nature, he had three choices.

  1. Not to create at all and continue as a singularity.
  2. Create exact copies of himself, indistinguishable from Himself, and thus, perfect.
  3. Create beings that were not Him, and thus, were, by definition, imperfect.

There are no other options. Perfection is impossible apart from God. Anything created that is not God would be less than God, even if created BY Him, and so, imperfect. Had God chosen to create perfect beings of His own nature, or in other words, to duplicate Himself, it would have violated the nature of God as an eternal singularity, without origin. God’s nature demands that He be eternal. To create others like Himself would seriously rearrange reality and the space/time continuum. God’s only choice then would be to create beings outside of and different from, Himself, who, because they were not of God’s nature, had within them the capacity for imperfection. In this way, “evil” can be considered to exist as the absence of God in creation. Even when created perfectly, the capacity for imperfection exists within the creation because we are not God. Given the existence of the capacity for imperfection within created beings, coupled with the proliferation of creation, it was a matter of time and statistics.

The follow-on question then, is, how can a benevolent God allow evil to continue? The short answer is that He has no choice. We have established that imperfection is a potential inherent in everything that is not God. If God were to sovereignly banish evil He would have to get rid of everything but Himself and become alone again in non-creation. The only option for creation to continue is to allow imperfection to continue. Thus, evil, as the presence of anything “not God”, persists. God, never being without foreknowledge was aware of this condition of creation, and accounted for its resolution within His blueprint. He was aware from the beginning that simply creating would not be enough. He would have to deal with the potential for imperfection. The plan of salvation is as much a part of the plan of creation as “Let there be Light.”

Even Satan is a convert to evil, for he was not always so.

12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.

13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.

(Ezekiel 28:12 – 16)

Here Ezekiel is commanded to lament for the King of Tyrus but most scholars view this as a description of Lucifer prior to his fall. Lucifer was in Eden. He was, perhaps, second only to God in glory and beauty. He was the covering cherub. He was perfect until he was not. As a created being, not being God, Lucifer had that potential for imperfection. God did not appoint him to the position of evil but God knew of the possibility and chose to account for it in His plan. Had God chosen to destroy Lucifer instead of banish him, then, as eternity progressed, another and another of the created beings would have fallen until, once again, God would have found Himself in isolation. Anything not God is doomed by definition to imperfection. God did not immediately destroy the fallen but instead chose to use him to strengthen and perfect the other parts of creation.

God allows Lucifer/Satan to continue but not indefinitely. At some point, the imperfect will be removed from creation and only the perfect will remain. That is why it was so important that Christ be identified with us as human. As he is like us, we have the potential to become like him, and thus, like God. If we are made of the same substance or type as God, then we can share in God’s perfection. We have now, in the spirit, the same relationship that Christ had with the Father. When we are changed, we will have it in physical reality as well. All that is not God will be removed and only that sealed portion of us that is essentially the indwelling of God will remain. The miracle of salvation is the transformation of created being from “not God” to “God like”. We will see Him as he is because we will be as He is. God will no longer be a singularity but the foremost of a perfect congregation.

And so the final question is this: Where do YOU fit in? As a created being, and not being God, you have that capacity for imperfection. Each day of our lives, we are presented with our own “Garden of Eden” confrontation, both collectively and individually, and each day we fail. Our nature demands it. We are flawed. We cannot exist in God’s presence because we are not as He is. Our only hope is the physical, spiritual, and existential conversion of “not God” into that which is “of the same substance as God”. As imperfect beings we are unable to attain perfection.

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

 (Galatians 2: 16)

We require no less than God Himself, in the aspect of His son, the motive force of creation, to continue that creative process in us. Because the task is so herculean, only God could accomplish it. His nature must be satisfied and yet we cannot. In His infinite brilliance, God created a plan whereby we could exist in Him by existing in us. Thus Christ because one of us for all eternity, that we might become one with Him. The vehicle of this transformation is faith. We can simply choose to identify with Christ and allow him to continue the creation story within us, or we can choose to remain as we are; imperfect and lost.

Ye Must Be Born Again April 25, 2015

Posted by regan222 in Philosophy, Religion.
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Salvation by Grace

Sunday, April 19, 2015

11:35 AM

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

It has been said that the Preacher’s job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.  If you didn’t come tonight to hear about everlasting life through the grace of Jesus Christ then you are exactly who I came to speak with.  I hope by the end of the evening you will be able to take comfort in what I say rather than be made uncomfortable by it.

We will be studying tonight in the second chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.  The letter to the church of Ephesus was, along with Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, one of the epistles that Paul wrote while a captive.  Most scholars believe it was during his time in Rome, although some argue that it was during his captivity in Caesarea.  What matters is that in this letter the Apostle Paul, under the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit, pens one of the most doctrinally powerful statements in the entire Bible.  He outlines the path whereby men may be saved from the curse of sin they are living under.

First and most importantly, the Grace of Jesus is Exclusive.  There is not alternative salvation plan.  God doesn’t offer door #2.  The Bible tells us that there is only one name with the power to open the gates of Heaven for you.

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Jesus himself was very specific in describing the pathway to salvation.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the waythe truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The Greek text here has the same absoluteness that God used when He told Joseph to address Pharaoh.  The “I am” of the bible is a very emphatic way of speaking about one’ self.  It is like saying I and only I am.  In this we find what is commonly referred to as the offence of the cross.  This is the aspect of salvation message that the carnal world despises.  Salvation is open to all but it is exclusive in the method.  There is only one way.  Fortunately for us, it’s an easy way.

The Grace of Jesus Christ is not only Exclusive, but finding that grace is Easy.  Sometimes I think that is why it is often rejected.  The prophet told Naaman to wash in the river of Jordan and he would be healed.  Naaman got angry.  He was expecting Herculean tasks and thunder from heaven.

2 Kings 5: 13  And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?

We want it to be hard.  We want the glory of the struggle but the glory belongs to God.  The struggle ended on Calvary.  We just have to accept the gift.  Maybe it offends our pride in our sinful nature.  Surely it can’t be that easy after all that we have done, and yet, the grace of Jesus is just that Easy and just that Effective.

The grace of Jesus, the sacrifice of his blood, is the only thing that will wash away the stain of Adam’s fall.

Joke about Don Knotts in the movie (“And they used Bon Ami!!”)

It is completely effective  and effectively complete.  When Jesus cried out “It is Finished” on the cross, he was not talking about his earthly life or his ministry.  He was declaring the work of salvation to be complete for all time.  It is done.  Nothing more needs to be added.  When the regeneration of a lost soul is begun, it is complete within that same instant.  The sins of the lost man are taken so far away that not even God can remember them.

Hebrews 8:12 “For I will be propitious to their unrighteousnesses, and their sins I shall by no means remember anymore.”

He will BY NO MEANS remember our sin or hold it against us.

So, the grace of Jesus is Exclusive; it’s Easy, and it’s Effective, and finally, the need for that Grace is Emphatic.

The Bible is very specific about who needs the grace of Jesus.  Ye MUST be born again.

John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

All men are born into Adam’s race and all men suffer Adam’s disgrace.

Ye Must be born again.

All men have sinned and all need a savior.  There is only one who is qualified but Praise God His salvation is enough for all.  And Praise God His salvation is free.  Free for the asking.  One thief on a cross mocked and scoffed and died in his sin but the other was justified; set free from a life of wickedness and sin, just.by.asking.

And now it’s your turn.  Remember what I said earlier about afflicting the comfortable.  This is it.  The gospel demands a response.  There is no middle ground.  Jesus told his disciples that whoever wasn’t for him was against him.

Matthew 12:20 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

If you have never cried out, like the thief on the cross, for mercy, then, when you stand before God, as all men must.  You will not receive it.

Revelations 20:11

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

This is what awaits those who would deny the Grace of Jesus.  For those who accept it, like the Thief on the cross, they will spend eternity with the one who died that they might live.

Luke 23:43

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Won’t you join us?