7:37pm, January 6, 2017.
Torture. The mere thought of it brings horrible images to mind. However, according to CNN anchor, Don Lemon, the act is not evil but is the mere result of bad upbringing. That was Lemon’s response to the torture of a mentally-challenged young resident of Chicago by four teenagers. Lemon would be the first to respond to the evil of Dylan Roof. Make no bones about it, both Roof and the four teenagers in Chicago committed great acts of evil.
The mention of the term “evil” seems to have become politically incorrect. It’s as if the term has become a bad word of sorts. However, the term “evil” is appropriate to use if the actions justify its use. What is evil? From where does evil originate? Let’s explore this issue.
What is “evil”?
Merriam-Webster defines “evil” as “morally reprehensible; causing discomfort or repulsion; causing harm.” According to the standard definition of the term, an evil act is to cause physical harm to another person. An evil act is one that is morally reprehensible in scope. Did the action of the four teenagers cause harm to the young man held against his will?
Were their actions morally reprehensible?
Did the four teenagers cause discomfort and repulsion?
Thus, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the actions of the four teenagers against the young man in Chicago can be justifiably termed evil! The same could be said of Dylan Roof’s actions against the members of the Charlestonian church that he assaulted. Where do evil acts originate?
The origin of evil in humanity.
Biblically speaking, the origin of sin is found in the fall. God created humanity. He made Adam and Eve and gave them everything they needed. Despite the great care that God had given them, they desired more. They were not happy with God’s garden. They wanted to assume the role of God. Notice the temptation that the serpent offered the first two humans. He said, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden” (Genesis 3:1)? The serpent also said, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5).
The serpent’s temptation and the duo’s subsequent rebellion is rooted in two apparent desires. On the one hand, the first two humans doubted the accuracy of God’s warning. They believed that it was possible that God lied. God is holy. The tripartite acknowledgement of God’s holiness in Scripture notes the absolute holy nature of God (Revelation 4:8). This means that God can do no evil. In addition, God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Therefore, God does not provide instruction to cause one harm. Nor does God state things that are false. God provides instruction because he lovingly desires the best for his creation. When we as people decide that we know better than God, evil is initiated.
On the other hand, the first couple desired to be their own authority and override the authority of God. The first two humans, freshly manufactured with the musty smell of dirt from whence they came abiding on their flesh, actually thought that they could assume the authority from the One who created them. Shocking? Not really. We do the same today.
Why do you suppose that atheism and naturalism are so popular? Why do you suppose that New Age theories are so popular today? It all stems from the idea that the self can be one’s own god. We buy into the delusion that we are the ultimate authority of our own lives and that we need no one else. I mean, c’mon. Some people actually marry themselves because he/she feels that his/her self is all he/she needs and all he/she wants. But, this is actually not the case. We all need someone sometime. More to the point, we cannot assume to steal the role that only God possesses. When a person thinks oneself to be God, then the person will not think that anyone can hold oneself accountable. He or she becomes a law unto oneself. When this occurs, evil is generated because the person will only desire to do what is beneficial to him/herself. Why not steal? Why not kill? Why not maim if it helps you get ahead?
God is the Judge over us all.
The truth is that God is Judge over us all. God is no respecter of persons as he shows no partiality (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11). The growing problem in our society is that we are becoming entrenched in certain political ideologies. If a person is a liberal, he will despise anyone that does not hold to his views. If a person is a conservative, the same is true, also. But, we must realize that we have a greater authority over us all. God will hold each person accountable as each of us will have to stand before him one day (Romans 14:10). God will hold us accountable for salvation. Have we received Christ as Savior? Also, God will hold us responsible for how we have treated others. Jesus even noted that “on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37).
Let us be free to call evil what it is. It matters not if the perpetrator is black or white, male or female, Christian or unbeliever. If we are to have any society whatsoever, we must learn what it means to respect others. Jesus told us that the two greatest commandments revolved around love. They don’t revolve around some ritual aspect of the faith. They revolve around love—the love of God (the greatest commandment) and the love of one’s neighbor (the second greatest). May we all learn how to love and abstain from evil.
Click here to listen to Lemon and a panel’s response to the torture of this young man in Chicago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bv25bPGoxw4#action=share
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 Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture comes from the English Standard Version (Wheaton: Crossway, 2001, 2011).
 Something called “self-marriage.”
 At the Great White throne for unbelievers and at the Judgment Seat of Christ for believers.Click here for reuse options!
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