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January 30, 2006

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Does evil exist?

Note: After last week's cute little story about the teacher's (invisible) 'brain' (e-mailed to the subscribers, but not posted to the website), a subscriber forwarded along this other little story, which 'seems' to run along a similar line of reasoning...but which comes out in the end to a wrong conclusion. Here's the story first, and then I'll make some comments after it:

    The University professor challenged his students with this question. "Did God create everything that exists?" A student bravely replied, "Yes he did!" God created everything?" The professor asked. "Yes sir", the student replied.

    The professor answered, "If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principal that our works define who we are, then God is evil."

    The student became quiet before such an answer. The professor, quite pleased with himself, boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth.

    Another student raised his hand and said, "Can I ask you a question, professor?" "Of course", replied the professor. The student stood up and asked, "Professor does cold exist?" "What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?" The students snickered at the young man's question.

    The young man replied, "In fact, sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-460? F) is the total absence of heat; all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat."

    The student continued, "Professor, does darkness exist?" The professor responded, "Of course it does." The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact we can use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present."

    Finally the young man asked the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?" Now uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course as I have already said. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.

    To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist sir, or at least is 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.

VW COMMENTS:
Well....not quite!

This logic comes from the same pit that proclaims faith sans repentance; that proclaims grace minus sin. Like "the message" says that it was God's "sheer generosity" that gets us "out of the mess", rather than mentions of Christ's redemption and God's justification of us. (Rom3:23-24) This is the logic that invites people to "come to God", or to have them "invite Jesus into your heart", and then you'll be forever happy, blissful and content, with no more sorrows; but that refuses to humble itself and acknowledge God's verdict that there is "none righteous, no not one" (Rom3:10)

It is not that the sinner is simply, merely 'minus' God; or that he is absent a knowledge of God. No! He -knows- of God, but is busy "turning aside" (Rom3:12) He is busy "going astray". (Is53:6) He is not only -being- deceived (led astray), but is also -leading- astray. (2Ti3:13) He is not a passive 'victim', but he is an active -perpetrator-.

Why is there such 'tolerance' today for -everything-; but not for Christianity? Even in a climate of this so-called "war on terror", there is tolerance for the very entity that would seek to destroy us, Islam. But for the one who brings true "peace on earth, goodwill among men" (Lk2:14)...they want nothing to do with Him! At every opportunity possible they are -very- 'intollerant' of anything having to do with the Most High.

Cold does not -do- anything. Darkness does not 'affect' anything. But evil -does-. Sin is characterized as: "its -works- are evil" (Jn7:7) And where darkness is a label for sin, it is the "-works- of darkness". (Eph5:11) If evil were merely a "lack of God's love", then there should be a 'nothingness'. Oblivion. But evil is "-FULL- of all deceit and all mischief" (Ac13:10) How is one "full" of -nothing- or -absence-?

This is the same excuse the John Bradshaw teachings of self-esteem proclaim about 'sin', when so-called "christians" take his teachings and twist God's Word around them....that if only babies could be removed from their parents at birth, and placed in an environment of isolation to grow and develop by themselves, that they would grow up "good"...but that it is their perceived lack of parental 'love' and not getting enough of what they 'want' that makes them into sinners. Well, God did that at the very beginning with Adam and Eve...and yet they sinned.

Where does sin come from? From God?

"Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted by God; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lusts and enticed. Then, when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death." (Ja1:13-15)

No... it is not the -lack- of 'wants' fulfilled, but it is those very 'wants' (lusts) that starts the chain reaction. It is not the -lack- of self-esteem...self-esteem is the -very- issue! "For no one ever hated his own flesh..." (Eph5:29a) The problem is not that we don't love self, but that we don't love others -as- we do self. Speaking of marriage, the most intimate of relationships: "So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself." (Eph5:28) "love your neighbor as yourself" (Ja2:8, Ga5:14, Rom13:9, Mk12:33, etc,etc)

Bradshaw also teaches that for children to read the Bible is the worst form of "child abuse" possible.

Evil is not so much an 'absence' of God and His love, although it certainly includes it... but it is -REBELLION- against the Most High God, whose existence they are well-aware of, but militantly -REJECT-.

Ezekiel was sent to the "rebellious house" (Ezk2:5,6,8 3:9,26,27 12:2,9,25, 17:12, 24:3)


Now....to the question, "Did God -create- evil?" I suspect that is a question for which we don't have all the facts....way back with satan. A whole litany of "what if?"s could be possible. If there had not been a "serpent" tempting, would Adam and Eve have partaken of that tree?

Where did that "iniquity" come from, that was "found in" the "anointed cherub that covers"? (Ezk28:14-15) We are not given details. We are told that it was 'pride' and "arrogance". The shining one wanted to become "like the Most High" (Is14:11,14) Where that came from is not recorded for us.

God seems to have created all living beings with free will; otherwise many of the angelic beings would not have rebelled and gone wayward from God. Man was made with free will...by definition. The very fact that God gave "instructions" to Adam, by definition, meant that intrinsic to his existence was the possibility to "disobey" those instructions. Otherwise, Adam would have been like a robot, doing only those things that are pre-programmed. A train set might be fun to play with, but it is confined to that 'track', and simply goes round-n-round. After awhile it becomes, well... BORING! God is 'infinite'; thus for his creatures to have free will is part of the essence of God's infinity, as man was made in the "image" of God; and so as man makes individual choices throughout his existence, there is an 'infinite' number of possibilities to what he does: does the 'left' foot hit the floor out of bed in the morning first, or the 'right? When the foot hits the floor, does it do so 'where' it lands, or an inch to the left? Does he yawn first, or stretch out his arms? Does he put on his trowsers first, or his shirt? Does he start brushing in the 'left' side of his teeth first, or the 'right'? Did the toothbrush stroke 40 times, or 50, or 49? See how the infinity of choices mushrooms out? The fact that some creatures "swarm", and others fly "to and fro" (Gen1:20) is part of God's "infinity" of possibilities, which He designed into the very nature of creation.

I suspect there is a -lot- about the heavenlies we don't yet know, that would likely answer this question:

Job couldn't see past his own nose regarding his difficulties, but it all began with a conversation between God and satan. God allowing satan to test Job, to prove to satan Job's allegiance to God.

God's "wisdom" said that O.T. prophets would be killed through the years to set up the judgment which would condemn the generation that crucified Jesus. (Lk11:49-51)

God's "wisdom" is set in the "foolishness of the message preached" to save sinners. (1Co1:21) The answers will not be found in the wisdom of the university classroom.

God's "wisdom" is also a "mystery" that is "hidden". (1Co2:7)

God's "wisdom" is made known "to the rulers and authorities of the heavenlies" ... "through the church" (Eph3:10)

Since the first recorded sin took place in the 'heavenlies', I'm guessing its 'source' and full understanding of it is also a subject of discussion in the heavenlies. Academia seeks to know-it-all here. But they seek after that which is presently impossible to know fully; because right now we only "know in part"...and will not know fully until we are "face to face" (1Co13:9-12) If we understand the basis for Job's afflictions, and the lying prophets to Ahab (2Ch18:21-22); it would not surprise me one whit to get to Heaven and discover that man's 7000 year history was discussed and 'challenged' between God and satan even before Adam and Eve were created...and the outcome after the Great White throne judgment will be the culmination of satan's challenge against God. Satan was given 7000 years to give it his 'best shot', but through the Church (and all Believers through history) God will have been proven to be the "winner"...the victory as written in 1Co15:54-57.

Academia is like that problem in Logic 101 when I went to college, where, when numerical values were attached to a certain logical sequence formula, designed to simulate the arguments they were used to using about the existence of God (if I am remembering back that far correctly) 2+2 came out equalling 3.99999 God is not defined by man's wisdom and logic. Although, in another formula (in that same class) set up to prove whether or not God exists, using some of the same arguments in the 'story' (above) about good vs evil, the formula resulted in: "therefore, God exists". (I don't now remember the details, and that was a class for which I did not archive my class notes)

We cannot see total darkness (absence of light). Light is something God created on the first day. (Gen1:3) We might not be able to see the teacher's 'brain', but we know it exists due to the teacher's activity, what they -do-. We also know evil exists because we can see its outworkings. It is not some nebulous nothingness, but the word is also usually associated with the word "work/s" or "deed/s", as...action indicates what is in the heart. (Ja2:14-26)

And by the same token, one who "does evil has not seen God". (3Jn1:11)

The only reason the world sits around arguing with logic that God "does not exist", BY DEFINITION, is because -they- 'are' evil. They don't 'see' God, and thus they say He doesn't exist, because they, themselves, -are- evil.

And so, if we circulate this reasoning around another spin: if they wish to say that evil does not exist, then -they- do not exist. But they -do- exist; therefore evil exists. They, in their modality of denying the Most High, in their state of 'existence', are the very 'proof' of the existence of evil. Unless they wish to call themselves a 'vacuum'...a non-entity.

And, well, sigh! I guess some logic even speculates on that turn, too...don't they! That we are merely all the figments of our own imaginations, but we don't really exist...but are like a computer 'program' running, designed to simulate all these things we assume to be reality.

And...maybe I've been watching too many episodes of the Outer Limits or the Twilight Zone!

However: If evil (sin) does not exist, then 'repentance' is not necessary; which the world's self-esteem and many [c]hristians also proclaim. Without sin, a person is -already- of great 'worth' to God. They are not sinners. And, by their own proclamations thusly, Jesus did not die for them: "I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." (Lk5:32) They are not, and in that continued state of rebellion -will- not be, saved. And so, if they are not repenting...

"And Jesus answered and said to them, Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. (Lk13:2-4)

For academia to argue that evil does not exist, is to argue that God does not exist; because evil (sin), to be rectified, requires "repentance toward God" (Ac20:21); but man is in rebellion against God. If he can pretend that God doesn't exist, even though he pretends to call upon Him, in his own imaginations he doesn't have to obey God:

But...
"...God...now -commands- all men everywhere to repent," (Ac17:30)

Related Q/A: Where does evil come from?

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Accountability partners?

READER QUESTION:
About biblical accountability Eph 5:21 says "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." and I cant think of any passage in the bible that says that we have to be accountable to a particular person. My question is: What do you think about the traditional (apostasic)church concept of "accountability partner"?? I agree that is important to submit to one another and always submitting to God first...like "Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29, but I've been thinking about one case in particular, were two christian roomates have been living together for [many] years, they are best friends, they are supposed to be "accountability partners"; each knows everything about the other, and it seems to me that the dependance, over protection, and the extreme influence they have on each other is not very healthy, one of them is more quiet and submissive, while the other tries to be in control most of the time.

Is there any more solid biblical evidence to proove that that kind of one on one "accountability partenrship" is not edifying at all? I know this is more of a "relationship question", but checking the page under accountability, i found no reference to the concept of "accountability partners". I think that groups like "promise keepers", and some women's minitries use the cooncept as a suposed way to control the spiritual growth of people.....and honestly.......i think that's another sign that the teaching is just another twisting of scripture in favor of human methods instead of sound biblical advise.

VW ANSWER:
From reading what you've said, I think you already -know- the answers; so I suspect what I will say will merely be 'confirmation' of what you already know.

As I think you've observed, there are two issues. Being 1) friends and roommates, and 2) -spiritual- accountability.

In a 'friendship' situation is it not normal that one is more dominant, and the other more submissive? Two submissive people might get along, but two dominant ones will tend to butt heads a lot. It's just the nature of human relationships. And I don't think this matter is necessarily a 'spiritual' issue. The dominant one is so naturally and through their upbringing, and the submissive one 'likes' having the dominant one more in control and making decisions. It's just the way people are. And outsiders, looking 'in' on the relationship, should not necessarily condemn the dominant one -for- being dominant; nor should they necessarily feel sorry for the submissive one.... if the relationship is a 'reasonable' one with these two personalities. If they're happy being such friends, others should butt out and mind their own business.

That last sentence is not directed at -you-. This is in 'general'. How often do we not see the do-gooders and activists of the world trying to grab the submissive ones and encouraging them to become more dominant and shed their "shackles" of servitude, when perhaps, the more meek-mannered one is -very- happy in their current state. If everyone was a 'leader', who would be the followers? Today's world is teaching everybody to be "chiefs", such that there would be no "injuns" left for them to be chiefs over....if you understand what I'm saying.

Scripture does speak of human relationships...

"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his companion; but woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he does not have another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone? And if one overpowers him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken." (Ec4:9-12)

And if two get along well with each other: "Can two walk together except they are agreed?" (Am3:3) And if they have been close friends for years, well.... people can become quite close in that amount of time, and know much about each other....and yes, 'agree' about many things.

Thus, if two people are friends, who also call themselves Christians, if their relationship is not a sinful one (e.g. gay/lesbian); there should be nothing for which any other person should fault them.

And then....

Regarding "accountability -partners-" the way Promise Keepers or others may do it, I'm not intimately acquainted with all those 'programs'. But a lot of them seem very cult-like, as a way to keep their followers conformed to -the- 'program'.

In Scripture we do see Barnabas introducing Saul to the apostles as being a -True- Believer. (Ac9:27) After Saul had gone off to Tarsus, after experiencing a lot of opposition as a new Believer, it is Barnabas who goes looking for him. (Ac11:25-26) And perhaps from that bond that formed, they were also appointed to take the gift to the Jerusalem Believers during a time of drought. (Ac11:28-30) As well, they became missionary partners. (Ac13:2~~)

However, then, a rift also occurred when it was time for another missionary journey (Ac15:36~~), and they split up, with considerable acrimony. Barnabas we never hear from again, while the rest of Acts, and the N.T. epistles are primarily Paul's ministry and writings. The one who had originally built up Paul, we never hear from again. If "accountability" (submission) is a Scriptural teaching, the way they speak of it today, then Paul (the 'mentee') should have been considered in disobedience, since he did not continue submitting to Barnabas, his 'mentor'. However, of the two it was Paul (having chosen Silas) who was "commended by the brethren to the grace of God" (vs40)

When it involves Right vs Wrong, a person "gives account concerning HIMSELF to God". We do not judge "another's servant". (Rom14:4,10,12)

Even when a wife is in submission to her husband and is to be obedient to him (1Pet3:1-6, Tit2:5, Eph5:22,24, Col3:18) she must also consider the consequences of what she does; otherwise she can end up like Sapphira. Although in that case it sounds like Ananias and Sapphira -conspired- 'together' to deceive; that Sapphira was not necessarily an unwilling subservient. (Ac5) Peter says, "How is it that you have AGREED TOGETHER to test the Spirit of the Lord?" She was in 'agreement' with the scheme, not an unwilling follower.

That was a different kind of situation from a Believing wife, in submission to an unbelieving husband, going with him to a night club, or such things. Like the case with Naaman who, when about to return home, asks about the requirements to accompany his master to the house of Rimmon, and Elisha says, "go in peace" (2Ki5:17-19)

Gal6:1-5 is an interesting passage. It speaks of "restoring" a person taken in a trespass, and "bearing" one another's burdens. (vs1-2) But then it also says that each one is to "prove" his own work, because each one "shall bear his own load" (vs4-5)

And it speaks of being "taught the Word" (vs6)

The only people I have heard of "accountability" and "chain-of-command" issues the most vehemently from is those who are, themselves, entrenched in false doctrine or in compromise with the world...and they use the term "accountability" as a -shield- against those who might challenge or confront their error. They set themselves up as superior, and the person doing the confronting, then, is 'subordinate' to them (in their own minds), and thus is supposed to submit to the error because of the chain-of-command thing. After all, the command is to "submit" to those "in authority" (Heb13:17) Thus, in their minds, the person doing the confronting is in greater error for not submitting, than the one entrenched in false doctrine and worldliness and compromise. They reject the exhortation to "reprove" the "works of darkness" (Eph5:11)

What I've experienced from those who question my accountability is people who have been in out-n-out compromise, and I was in error for not following their worldly ways; or the exhoration and warnings because I do not trust in all the famous "great" men and church "fathers" and their writings, from the reformation and such things. It is usually those who are apostate who care any whit about my accountability. They will question my accountability with words similar to, "NOT THE LORD...but what -PEOPLE-" am I accountable to? If you've read that particular past writing, one person even looked me in the face, pointing at me as he left my store, that -that- is how people get into error. What was the "-that-" he was referring to? My stance that I rest on the Scriptures, not the writings of men, for my grounding in Truth. I guess he wasn't very familiar with 2Tim3:14-17

I have never gotten this sort of rhetoric from anybody who, themselves, were Scripturally following the Lord.

Isn't it sad that Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Isaiah didn't have the writings of Luther, Calvin, Billy Graham and Rick Warren upon which to 'ground' themselves to keep away from error, as they ministered (alone) to Israel!! That they each didn't have 'buddies' to be accountable to. Jesus said about the apostate buddies: "Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into the ditch." (Mt15:14)

    "And He said to me: Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day. For they are impudent and hardhearted children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, Thus says the Lord Jehovah." (Ezk2:3-4)

    And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said, Here am I! Send me. And He said, Go, and tell this people, You listen to hear, but do not understand; you look to see, but do not perceive. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back, and be healed." (Is6:8-10)

    "Before I formed you in the belly I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I consecrated you, and I ordained you a prophet to the nations. Then I said, Alas, Lord Jehovah! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am a youth. But Jehovah said to me, Do not say, I am a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you, says Jehovah. And Jehovah put forth His hand, and touched my mouth. And Jehovah said to me, Behold, I have put My Words in your mouth." (Jer1:5-9)

What sort of accountability matters... except that which is to God? If it is God who made us (Ps100:3) draws (Jn6:44) and calls (Rom8:30), it is also God to whom we are accountable.

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