Does evil really exist?
This question came up in one of the audio books I was listening to recently. I believe the context was in a police academy class, but it is a question that anybody might ask or ponder. And, perhaps, beyond that is the question of how evil is defined and if evil can be erased or eradicated.
On the other side is another question: Does good exist? and what defines it?
Of course, the Bible has much to say about both good and evil. In the beginning of the Bible, in the book of Genesis, we are told that God created man and woman, in His image, and when he looked on all He had made he saw that it was very good. We could say that the Bible defines good as God – There are many verses in the book of Psalms that say that the Lord is good.
I believe that whatever good we see in our world, and in our lives, is a reflection of the God who created the universe, who put our earth together with all of its properties and scientific laws and who created every living being that is alive on this planet. There are many places to find good – in the wonderful colours of the sunrise and sunset; in the stars and planets with the mystery of rotation that we can’t fully understand. We see good in other people as well.
God’s goodness is reflected in the actions of people who are kind to one another, who take the time to help the less fortunate and work to make the world a better place for all. His goodness is also seen in the work that people do – in creativity, in working to bring forth a harvest that can be used to feed and sustain life.
However, we are also told in the Bible that there is evil in our world. While the presence of evil was not God’s intent, it entered the world due to human choice (Genesis chapter 3). Evil is seen in our world by the disregard for other people’s well-being and needs. It is seen in the willful deception of others in order to gain money or reputation. It is seen in the horrible diseases that take many young lives. It is also seen in wars that arise from people who think they are better than someone else and those people don’t deserve to live the way they want.
Yes, evil exists, it brings much suffering and heartache to our world. And yet God has said that He is greater than any evil in this world. At this time, Satan, the prince of evil, is seen in our world, but the book of Revelation ensures us that there is a day coming when God will be honoured as the King of Kings. Revelation 20:7-10 tells us that Satan will be defeated and thrown into a lake of burning sulfur.
In contrast to what will happen to the prince of evil, the book of Revelation describes a beautiful place, free of all suffering where those who have believed in the God revealed in His Word will enter everlasting life.
Indeed, what a wonderful day it will be when God’s people will be joined with him, living with Him in His dwelling. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning, or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3b,4)
Rev. Annette Wells is pastor of seniors and outreach ministries at First Baptist Church in Charlottetown.
A guest sermon runs regularly in Saturday’s Guardian and is provided through Christian Communications.