Friday, August 7, 2009

Evil, Who Knows It And How? Pt. 2

This article is continued from Part 1 found HERE.
The Complete article is available at The Dunamis Word 2.

III: Can Them That Are Lost Confidently Know What Evil Really Is?

Everything in the natural world (HIS creation) only has extrinsic value and goodness as declared by God himself. This is called a metaphysical value statement. Extrinsic values are derivative values, therefore intrinsic values preceed extrinsic values. This is the problem with idol worship or any exaltation of "things" above God, as those "things", idols or whatever they may be have no intrinsically good value. Their value is only given and accounted for based on subjective ascriptions of value. This concept should also give additional insight into the writings of Paul in Romans 1:25 when he said:

"Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen."

The "creature" here represented men and mankind as well as the pleasures of this world. In reference to natural things one does not normally say that there is an "evil" tree or an "evil" rock. Once again, the identification that a tree or rock is not evil in and of itself is an ascription of value to that object. The rock or tree only becomes evil when their use is perverted or corrupted in some manner. For the Christian this is confirmed within the creation when God said this:


Gen. 1:31 ~ "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good"

God declared that everything that he had made was good from the time that he made it. By declaration of God this is an example of the creation being declared extrinsically good. This is called an extrinsic value declaration.

What is unaccounted for by the philosophical crowd is the difference that came into existence after the fall:


Genesis 3:17-19 ~ "17-And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18-Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19-In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."

By the exercise of the freewill that God had given to man, the very creation that God had made and called good, had now been cursed. Please note extrinsic value of the creation changed so much that even the creation itself cries to be redeemed as noted by Paul in Romans:

Romans 8:22 ~ "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."

Spinoza Unraveled:

In Spinoza's understanding as referenced previously within this article, "evil" would only be applied to something after the consideration of the benefits to which those actions are applied. Corruption of what is good was not a consideration for Spinoza. All was purely based on a persons relationship to what was done. For example, killing, though generally held to be "evil", under certain circumstances may not be "evil" because it may be for self-defense or self preservation. Therefore the concept of klling may not be thoroughly or absolutely evil.

The little trick here deals with the "own temperment" part of Spinoza's statement. This rests upon a persons basis for carrying out the action. Using killing as an example again, under Spinoza's construction, "evil" would not be applied to killing if killing were in line with the killer's own standard of moral justification no matter what suffering results from the action. In fact in war killing is praised as long as the enemy is the one killed. Therefore, the act of killing takes on a relative and subjective position and moral value under certain circumstances.

Another example may include a person who steals out of what they think is necessity for their family to eat. Although thievery is wrong in some cases it may be looked upon as a noble and sincere action to prevent further uncomfort or evil from occurring.

The Christian must admit that these statements seem to be a highly plausible statements and ones that appear to have validity. God who abhors murder also told the children of Israel to possess the land of promise and in many cases kill or destroy all the inhabitants of the land.

Deut. 9:3-4a ~ "3-Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee. 4-Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: "

The critic happily assesses that even God's moral values are subjective and based on his whims or are arbitrary in nature, but is that really the case?
First, God has declared that he is the Lord and he changes not:

Malachi 3:6 ~ "For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."

Heb. 13:8 ~ "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."

Being the only uncaused cause, God's steadfastness is clear. God's nature remains the same. God's intents remain the same from all etrnity. What the critic misses is that God has also said that he abhors evil and the sin that man continues to choose. Remember, God had a disdain for sin before sin even existed. Being omniscient he accounted for it before the world was founded as jesus was a "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world". (Rev. 13:8) The people in Caanan were idolotrous and full of all the sins that God said he despises. The elimination of sin, would not have been a violation of God's nature or a subjective value change of God's nature but was fully in accord with the nature of God. Look at what he said in the same verses of scripture regarding Caanan's destruction:

Deut. 9:4b-5 ~"4b-For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee. 5-Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."

God's righteousness cannot be separated from his nature. He has eternally set forth the standard of righteousness and his "temperment" is made known from the beginning. Therefore he is consistent in demanding justice for sins committed and that consistency overrides what men call moral subjectivism.

So the view of the world regarding "evil' is all based on concepts of subjective rationalism and those concepts do not and cannot apply to God as his standards have been set much further than what men have traditionally given him credit for. As you can see, to not have an understanding of the objective nature of the morality of God only leads to blatant absurdities.

Possibility vs. Actualization:

The duality of 'good versus evil' is expressed, in some form or another, by many cultures. Those who believe in the duality theory of evil believe that evil cannot exist without good, nor good without evil, as they are both objective states and opposite ends of the same scale.

In the Christian worldview evil exists as an exercise of the human agency of free-will. This thought is highly effective when one realizes first that freedom is not about having unlimited choices. Freedom is about having the unfettered ability to make a choice. God made man free moral agents and beings via that process he also extended to man the opportunity actualize evil. Therefore, God by creating free moral agents also created the possibility of evil, however man made the actuality of evil by the exercise of his free-will. For God to have created without the ability to do evil would have been manipulation plain and simple and would have destroyed free-will and freedom alltogether.

God could also not have created anything, however that sentiment completely overlooks the fact that what God did create was good and without corruption, therefore God did not create and is not responsible for the actualization of evil in this present world. In short, God certainly created the possibility of evil, however man made evil the actual reality and his choice even effected the echosystem or the natural world in which we live.

Summary:

I propose that evil exists in our world today and that we recognize evil as either corruption or perversion of what is good.

I propose that "evil' cannot be distinguished as 'evil' in an of itself without the light of God through the inner conscience indicating what is good and therefore without corruption.

I believe that all men have been given some sort of illumination of conscience due to the fact that the light has entered into the world from eternity through Jesus.

I propose that since the Holy Spirit is present in the world today to "reprove" the world of sin thereby revealing the moral standards of God to both believer and nonbeliever alike.


It is evident that the world has labeled and branded actions as either "evil" or "good" because of the Holy Spirit's intervention. However, many of those standards have been made to be subjective by sinful man and fail to address the intrinsic nature, value actions or essence of what is being observed.

The atheist has been blinded to the fact that the only way he/she can recognize evil is because of the objective standard of God's good and the recognition of the effect of sin upon what is good and pure.

I propose that since evil does exist, it can only be revealed and known to be evil as a result of God's good, and HIS intervention in the current world, and that Christians are best suited to distinguish it because of the acceptance of the objective moral standards of God.

Blessed!

4 comments:

  1. Amen, Amen!

    I spent a lot of years church hopping because of anti-abortion rhetoric being preached from the pulpit. Being a free-choicer, I would angrily ask myself what abortion had to do with the saving message of Christ!

    About 15 years ago, I decided I was pro-life, but pro-choice for others. I never wanted to see this country go back to the clothes hanger days of the 60's I remembered as a child.

    I continued to reject churches who felt the need to mention abortion in their sermons, and reached for the remote everytime I heard abortion talk on tv. In other words, I sheltered myself from all "propaganda".

    Did you hear there are more Americans with a pro-life stance now than ever before since Roe Vs Wade? Well, I'm one of them, praise God. But it took the supernatural act of God through the Holy Spirit to open my eyes. Before, I would have debated till Tuesday a woman's right to choose.

    And I believe what He is doing IS supernatural in sending His Spirit out to the country with this message and revelation. And it WAS revelation - like standing on a mountain and seeing it through His eyes - I became on of THEM, who can't mind their own business.

    A reading of Romans 1:18-32 is like reading the newspaper. As a Christian, I struggle with right and wrong, good and evil, and pretend we have all the time in the world as a nation to avoid the wrath of God. Evil is digging in it's heals, but the Church...

    But the Church.

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  2. Laura,

    Thanks for sharing that and I'm sure others will be blessed by that too.

    The naturalist has no way to assess or even measure the Holy Spirit's activity other than by revelation...When there is an epiphany people will change just as you and I did.

    It's funny to se all the excuses when arguments like this in the article are made. To say that men simply "know" right and wrong because they exist is silly...That's not the case. Men know right and wrong because GOD exists not them.

    Isn't it beautiful that God has a way to shift the burden from us to him??? That's why he said, "learn of me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light"...Thank God!!!

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  3. Excellent commentary Pastor Burnett

    You know the thing that grieves me is that overwhelmingly this generation is fulfilling the following:

    Isaiah 5:20 KJV
    Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

    Something is WRONG! And it starts with the Churches in the USA!

    Let me give a simple example. I have a very vivid photographic memory. I was born in 1971 and I remember the #1 and longest running sitcom in the 70s was "Happy Days". In the 80s it was "Family Ties", and then "The Cosby Show" which ran into the early part of the 90s. NOTICE, those shows were family oriented.
    Now, the LORD mysteriously weened me from Television and media influence starting 1996.

    In the 2000s, "Will and Grace" and "Desparate Housewives" and "Sex and the City" along with all those reality TV shows show how FAR AMERICA has fallen from basic family mores and values.

    You cannot find on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and with all the other cabel networks...a clean, decent family oriented show TODAY! IT AIN'T out there!

    SOMETHING IS WRONG!!!!
    The Churches in the USA have NO INFLUENCE on the Culture! Whereas 40-50 years ago...the Churches were the MAIN influence of the culture. Boy have we fallen!

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  4. Boy have we fallen!

    Seems like it started with Seinfeld and the Simpsons - they were the first that I recall that openly mocked God and Jesus. Now, I would be hard pressed to name a show that didn't mock God.

    Then you got your History Channel and National Geographic that openly lie about what God's Word says in the same way as forum atheists do, hoping no one checks and just takes their word for it...and there word is some theology teacher that doesn't even believe the Bible...

    And then you can't stand it for another second so you turn to Daystar or the Trinity network, and there is some shyster telling you that God said He would heal you of (fill in the blank) if you would send a love gift of $1000! A thousand dollars seems to be the going fee for healings now days.

    Then you hear about some born-again senator or congressman that just ran off with his mistress and you read that divorce rates among Christians are the same as non-believers, and here's the kicker - some rates as to the use of pornography...

    And all I can say is "Come, Lord Jesus!"

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