God's View of Evil
Whenever there is a tragedy, people ask three questions:
- Where was God?
- Why did God allow this evil thing?
- Why does evil befall good people?
A hurricane that results in 10,000 deaths. People scream, "Where was God?!" A serial killer was caught murdering 37 people. "Where was God?" A building collapses. "Where was God?"
Jesus already told us these answers, but in order to understand them, we must understand evil as God sees it.
- 1. What is Evil?
- 2. What is the Basis of Evil?
- 3. Why is the Love of Life the Basis of Absolute Evil?
- 4. The Answers
- 5. Other Conclusions
What is Evil?
The Two Categories of Evil: Disciples and Men
Evil can be seen in only two varieties. The evil as God sees it, and the evil as humans see it. We can see the two varieties in distinct contrast by looking at this statement by Jesus,
There are three distinct entities in this statement. The "Son of Man," "you" and "men." The "Son of Man" is Jesus, "you" refers to his disciples, and the "men" are everyone else.
We can also find that "men" means "all men" except Jesus and his disciples. And we can see this when Jesus said just a few verses after,
Thus, we can conclude that "men" in Luke 6:22 has the same meaning as "all men" in Luke 6:26. That means we are left with only two categories: that of "all men" or that of the son of man and his disciples. Thus, we who are in Jesus face two, and only two, hard alternatives regarding evil. The evil as seen by men, and the evil as seen by God in heaven. God affirms those who have had their names cast out by men as evil by rewarding them.(As we just saw in Luke 6:22-23.)
We can help confirm our interpretation by looking at verse 23. We see that "Their fathers" are in the same category as "men," whereas "the prophets" are in the same category as Jesus and his disciples. Their fathers were hostile to the prophets, just like men are hostile to Jesus and his disciples.
God's View of Evil Back to Top ↑
Jesus said to the Pharisees,
Jesus has made his understanding of evil very clear. From Jesus's point of view, evil contains anything that is "highly esteemed among men." Thus, whatever men see as esteemed is actually evil.(It should be noted that this does not mean the converse is true. Simply because men classify something as evil doesn't mean the Jesus believes it is a good thing. As an example, both men and Jesus classify the rape of a child as evil, but for different reasons.)
What God sees as "blessed," men see as evil. And what men see as "esteemed," God sees as evil. Some examples of this can be seen pretty easily. A person who has a Ph.D. is highly esteemed, but God would classify this as evil. Yet men praise these things, exalt them, esteem them highly, and think of them as good. Nonetheless, Jesus said,
Let us test out Jesus's definition here, and make sure it is consistent. We have no use for an inconsistent, and therefore illogical, prophet. Such a man would make a perfect God false.
Jesus himself was, and still is, highly esteemed among men. All over the world, you can find churches dedicated to Jesus. Men spend trillions of dollars in his name for various things. Therefore, by God's view of evil, man's conception of Jesus is evil. Very evil. Jesus cannot be said to be "good."
And so what does Jesus say about himself? If he sees himself as good, then he is a false prophet, as he is highly esteemed among men. Jesus says,
The theologians and churchmen will hum and haw at Jesus's truth with all their might, but they cannot touch its pristine purity and simplicity. They must acknowledge this, or otherwise throw out the truth in preference to evil.
For now, this definition of evil for God suffices. We will later give an even more broad definition of evil that explains why this is the case.
Men's View of Evil Back to Top ↑
A definition for what humans see as evil is quite difficult to pin down. Thankfully, every individual person already knows what they personally believe to be evil. So even though it differs per person, no one reading this article will be confused.
The Islamic fundamentalist perceives America to be evil. Americans, likewise, perceive those fundamentalists to be evil. Both parties have profound and rational reasons to believe their positions, but both are only thinking in relative terms. Relative to them.
Had the other been born and raised in their enemies' ways, they would likely not think of themselves as evil. Thus, the evil of man shifts and changes from person to person. Men's definition of evil is a relative evil. We can define man's view of evil as "that which is harmful, hurtful, or bad for their group." A rape of a child is clearly evil. The death of our family is clearly evil. Excessive taxes is clearly evil. We can take this even further. Should a man drive while drunk and therefore have his license taken away, then the state did evil unto him, since it caused harm to him and his family. This is still evil, despite the fact that the state acted justly.
The very worst evil, to men, is the one that kills them. Man believes there is no coming back from death. Yet they ask the same questions when they believe they see evil. "Where was God?" "Why did God allow this evil thing?" "Why does evil befall good people?"
We can see easily the relativity of the evil of men. The Muslims responsible for 9/11 did not see the destruction of the towers as evil. America, however, absolutely saw it as evil. All this evil is relative.
In God's view, both the response to 9/11 and 9/11 itself were evil, as both were esteemed by man.
What is the Basis of Evil? Back to Top ↑
"Everything that men esteems" is evil, and there is "none good but God alone." So why is there evil? Jesus also explained this. He said, as one of his central principles,
In this Great Principle, we find the basis for God's definition of evil. Recall that Jesus only spoke what God told him to,(John 8:28.) therefore, we can conclude that God hates life in this world, and that life in this world is an absolute evil.
Because God grants eternal life only to those who hate life in this world, the person who loves this life does it in opposition to God, who is the only good being. Life in this world is itself an object of love, an absolute evil. God then hates life in this world because we humans must hate this life in order to inherit his eternal life.
Obtaining eternal life, alone, is God's will for humanity.(John 6:39-40. For an indepth look at the will of God, see A Summary of the Will of God) And for that to happen, we must hate our current life. If we loved it, then how can we love God, who is not here?
Thus, "all men" are evil because they love life. The thing that man exalts the most is life. Doctors and hospitals are abound to save life. Wars are decried to prevent the death of life. Pain and suffering is evil because it lowers the quality of life.
Therefore, all men view a threat to life as evil. The instigators of such are therefore seen as a perpetrator of great evil.
Likewise, those are prevent death, or who help raise the quality of life, are seen as great beings of good, and are highly esteemed. This view is in direct contrast with the will of God, who wants people to hate life and seek him so that they may obtain eternal life.
Recall, it is not the people that do great works that get into heaven. Nor is it the people who have great faith in Jesus Christ that are resurrected. Jesus said,
If you don't have a will which looks forward to eternal life at the cost of everything in this life, then it doesn't matter what you've done or what you've believed in, because you are not doing the will of God, and therefore you are evil. Therefore, Jesus calls those who he casts out,
Once again, all men are evil because they love life, in direct opposition to God, who is the only good being. That they love life leaves them blind to the absolute standard of God.
That is why men cannot find answers to questions such as, "Why?" "Where was God?" "Why did God allow this evil thing?" "Why does evil befall good people?" The very thing that establishes their evil nature is the thing they wish to justify. They see the love of life as the epitome of righteousness.
They cannot understand that only death will allow disciples to be resurrected with God. Loving this life means loving life without God. God, our creator, does not want us to life this life without him. It's as simple as that.
Why is the Love of Life the Basis of Absolute Evil? Back to Top ↑
From humanity's point of view, Jesus makes incredibly binding stringent demands on his disciples. As he does so, he says the reason for compliance is so we may be children of God.
The motive for doing these things, peacemaking and loving our enemies, is so that we may be children of our Father, which is in heaven.(Matthew 5:16, 5:45, 5:48, 6:1, 6:9, 7:11 , 7:21, 10:32, 10:33, 12:50, 16:17, 18:14, 18:19, 23:9, Mark 11:25-26, Luke 11:2.)
Thus, Jesus even said,
We can only have one father. God, who is in heaven, wants to be that one. Therefore, only those children of God could possibly be candidates for heaven, as God is good.
But life in this world keeps us away from God, and the devotion to life, family, community, and the nation of this world is keeping us away from him because God has mandated a choice and given us the freedom, the experience, and the knowledge to make it.
Therefore, whatever binds us to this world, which does not contain God, is evil. The love of this life binds us to this world more than anything. Then comes the love of family, community, and nation. These loves are absolutely evil, and "all men" are committed to them, contrary to the will and purpose of God who is in heaven. Thus "all men" are evil, absolutely evil, except for the disciples of Jesus, who alone follow the will of God.
Now we can understand why Jesus said,
The ultimate purpose for humanity is to become his children in resurrection. That, alone, is the good purpose for humanity. As far as humans are concerned, that is the only absolute good. Anything contrary to this is evil. All those Earthly attachments? To mom? To books? To movies? To jobs? To marriages? To nation? All of those are absolute evils.
Where was God? Back to Top ↑
- For a more indepth look at how exactly we know God is in heaven and definitely not on Earth, see God is Not on Earth
Where was God? Simple. God is the
In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the father only thought of his son as dead while the son was away in the far country.(See Luke 15:23-24.) Certainly, his son could have cured cancer in that far country, but to the father, the son was not listening to his will, and was as good as dead.
Why did God allow this evil thing? Back to Top ↑
Why did God allow this evil thing? Simple, God has given all people the freedom to make choices, and that freedom is essential to his will. He wants his children to have the freedom to choose him as their only father. Therefore, he does not interfere with whatever evil deeds men choose to perform.
Why does evil befall good people? Back to Top ↑
Why does evil befall good people? The question is misconceived. There are no good people, not even Jesus. Jesus said,
God Does Not Interfere to Prevent Disasters Back to Top ↑
This is perhaps the most powerful anti-discrimination statement ever made. God's divine laws of nature treat everyone the same. Straight and gay, man and woman, rich and poor, good and evil, just and unjust all experience the same laws of nature.
We see this in action in Jesus's time too:
Both the disciples of Jesus(John 9:2.) and the Jews(John 9:34) believed that the man was born blind because of some sin, either his own or the parents'. But no, God interferes neither to bless or to curse. For this man, there was some physiological reason the man was born blind. God does not discriminate, not even on the basis of immorality, to correct a condition or to cause it. Jesus, who intended to heal the man by a miracle, gave a reason for it.
God Does Not Punish by Means of Disasters Back to Top ↑
Disasters happen, both by human design(e.g. wars) or from natural causes.(e.g. earthquakes) The moral state of the victims is always irrelevant.
The threat Jesus said to the Jews,
Here is the verse again:
We can rewrite this verse to make it relevant to our modern times by paraphrasing it: "Or those three thousand, upon whom the twin towers in Manhattan fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in New York?"
The answer is, again,
God Does Not Open the Gates of Heaven to People Simply Because They Were Victims of Disaster Back to Top ↑
Some people believe that simply because people are victims of disaster, that they will go straight to heaven. Jesus, nor any prophets, ever said anything like this. Jesus gave us the Great Principle, which is,
So the question isn't how people died, it's whether they were loving life and trying to save it when they died.