GLEANINGS FROM THE SCRIPTURES
The Face Of Evil
By Keith L. Estes
Since the World Trade Center disaster we have been reminded that evil still raises its thorny head in our world. Dean Rusk, the former Secretary of State, said, “When half the world is asleep, the other half is wide awake and up to no good.” The Bible mentions the word evil 596 times and its plural evils 9 times. Let’s explore that little word evil.
The first mention of evil in the Bible is in Genesis 2: 9,
“And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”
The word pleasant is a very interesting word. It is the same root as covet in the Ten Commandments. We tend to covet things that are pleasant to the sight. Notice what the Scripture says concerning Eve.
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
God had warned Adam, “…Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
In the Bible there are three deaths: Physical death, separation of body and spirit; Spiritual death, separation of the individual from God; and Eternal death, the final estate of the lost person in the “lake of fire” termed the “second death,” separation from God forever. (Rev. 20:10, 14)
There are different degrees of evil. The evil of Adam and Eve has a moral significance. Adam and Eve didn’t murder over 6000 people as the terrorists; however, they laid the groundwork for it to happen. Since the fall of man all of us now have the capacity for doing good or doing evil.
The equation of the terrorist is: A hates B so A murders C in order to harm B.
When Adolph Eichmann, was being tried for murdering Jews, one of the witnesses was brought in to the courtroom, and when he saw Eichmann, he wept. He didn’t see a nine-foot giant or a terribly hideous man. What he saw was an ordinary man. He now realized that Eichmann was not a monster but that evil deeds can emanate from the most ordinary of men.
When evil deeds are perpetrated upon the innocent, such as the WTC, then the Government has the right (given to them by God) to punish those evildoers who are responsible. The Bible reads:
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers [Government], For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Subjection to the government is the obligation of all mankind, not just Christians. It is not optional, but an absolute necessity. The higher powers are established by God. (Titus 3:1, 1 Pet. 2:13)
Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
Damnation is not a reference to eternal judgment but is still a judgment by God, because God has delegated authority to human government.
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same.
The minister of God to thee for good: The purpose of human government is to uphold the good and punish the evil. Right and wrong is determined by the state. The Christian citizen is to fear and obey the government, as long as the government does not demand citizens to violate God’s Word. Governmental officials hold office by virtue of God’s appointment and are primarily the servants of God in their offices. The political leader is to actively uphold the good. The sword is a symbol representing the authority given to government to protect its citizens by punishing those who do what it has determined is wrong. It is important for Christians to be actively involved in government so that the government’s values are consistent with the Word of God.
Mankind may look in the mirror to see both the face of good and the face of evil.
Ref. The Annotated Study Bible, The King James Version.