Evil: countering the lie

I’m growing an inability to say nothing when I read or hear the almost-truths that abound in our church culture today. Today I read the tale of a debate between a philosophy professor and a student. After the professor silences the student, the student rises to the challenge and silences him back. It’s a fun tale…until the left hook at the end where it turns from truth to lie. One of the greatest lies of Satan: that he doesn’t exist; that is, that evil doesn’t exist – that evil is only the absence of God’s presence. I couldn’t resist this reply:

The post below, “God vs. Science” is an interesting example of two intellectual individuals using logic to prove/disprove God’s existence. While it does present an interesting argument, its conclusion (the last paragraph) DANGEROUSLY misses the bulls eye. It presents an appealing lie.

As Jesus said, Satan is a liar and the father of lies (note 1). The strongest lie is one that contains elements of truth. There is “evil” and there is “godlessness” – but they are different! (note 2) What the story below actually talks about is what happens when people are “godless”: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened… They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” (note 3)

That is “godlessness” and its results. There is also something different, called “evil.”

“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual FORCES OF EVIL in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (note 4)

The most dangerous enemy is the one we do not realize exists or do not acknowledge the presence of – and hence we cannot and do not fight it. Our battle is against “forces of evil.” The only countries that have “forces” are countries that exist. If “evil” has forces, then it exists.

If “evil” were merely the absence of God’s presence, then we, God’s people, would be fighting against His absence, which makes little sense. No, “evil” is a real thing, and we must fight its forces daily.

The good news is that “you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world… this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (note 5)

“To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (note 6) Let us go forth in Christ’s power and overcome evil!

1: John 8:44
2: It has been said that there are actually 3 “forces” that oppose us as followers of Christ: the lust of the flesh (the sinful nature inside us, here referred to as “godlessness”), the world with all its distractions and attractions, and the Satan with his “forces of evil”. See Matthew 4:1-11, 1 John 2:15-16 and Ephesians 6:10-13.
3: Romans 1:21, 29-31
4: Ephes. 6:11-13, capitalization added
5: 1 John 4:4, 1 John 5:4
6: Revelation 2:7

Reply to the post: God vs Science

‘Let me explain the problem science has with religion.’ The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.

‘You’re a Christian, aren’t you, son?’

‘Yes sir,’ the student says… (a great deal of the story is deleted in the interest of space)

To this the student replied, ‘Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.’

The professor sat down.

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