First of a four-part series on the relationship of good and evil.
No standard of goodness exists apart from God, and no standard of evil can exist without reference to God’s goodness. God cannot be subject to a standard of good outside Himself, and He alone embodies and defines good, against whom all good is measured. Moral evil exists as contrary and opposed to God’s perfect goodness. But, is moral evil the equal opposite of good?
Evil began as a choice of the will in created beings, with its first appearance in Lucifer. God, however, can never be the source or cause of evil. In fact, moral evil cannot and does not exist apart from the will of created beings. We describe and discuss it as a concept or principle, but it only exists as a choice of the will. It involves more than the mere absence of good because it includes an active opposition to the goodness and authority of God.
Moreover, the days of moral evil are numbered and will end when God destroys its unredeemed promoters forever. The new heavens and earth will be without sin and its curse, while the saints will dwell sinless with God for eternity.
For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress (Isaiah 65:17-19 ESV).
As the bride of Christ, we long for the “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him” (Revelation 22:3 ESV). Evil, then, is a temporary stain in the universe that can never be co-equal with good. It brings terrible destruction to its subjects, but only exists as a weak and beggarly thing in God’s grand scheme of things. Those who live and die in its service will be shattered to terrify no more. Satan, the source of all evil, will have his eternal torment in the unquenchable lake of fire.
Good will have no such fate as an eternal perfection of God, who lives without beginning or end. Good existed eternally prior to God creating the heavens, earth, angels, and people, and will continue forever. Perfect and everlasting righteousness will reign forevermore while evil will long be forgotten. “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17 ESV). When we are tempted to despair at the increase and influence of the evil disturber of peace and goodness, we do well to remember that his days are short and judgment sure. In the meantime, he unwittingly strengthens our faith and pushes us to Christ, for “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 NAS). We should be thankful that we will soon dwell in the light of God’s perfect holiness, with nothing to disrupt our view and experience of His infinite beauty, least of all, evil. —Adapted from Craig Biehl, God the Reason (Carpenter’s Son Publishing, 2015).
Next Up: Does Free Will Require the Option to Choose Evil?
© 2015 Craig Biehl, Adapted from Craig Biehl, God the Reason: How Infinite Excellence Gives Unbreakable Faith, Carpenter’s Son Publishing, 2015.
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