Friday, July 21, 2006

The origin of evil

Follow these 12 points:

(1) God created everything, and it was very good.
(2) Adam and Eve sinned against God, and in so doing, brought a curse upon all creation.
(3) In this first human sin, "good" human beings did something evil. God is not the author of sin, nor does He tempt anyone to sin. Yet, it was His will that humanity and creation would fall into sin for the expressed purpose taht Jesus Christ would receive glory as Redeemer of creation. Jesus is "the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world."
(4) Since that first human sin, all humans descending from Adam and Eve (everyone alive today) has a sinful nature, which means that there are no "good" human beings and that our evil stems from our nature.
(5) It's very easy to explain why we sin - the sin nature - but it's not so easy to explain why Adam and Eve sinned. They were "good," and there was never a time we could label ourselves as "good."
(6) We can say that although Adam and Eve were "good," they were naive to "good and evil." Thus Satan's temptation served as their motivation to sin. We, being "sinful from conception" (Psalms 51:5, 58:3), need no external motivation, as our sinful nature serves as the primary motivation.
(7) Since we can say that Adam and Eve sinned on account of Satan's evil motivation, we can also say that although the first sin counted against humanity and that over which humanity was given dominion was the first human sin, the very first sin was that of Satan when he rebelled against God in pride (Isaiah 14).
(8) Why and how then did Satan, who was created "good," come to sin against God? What was his motivation? We today have the sin nature as internal motivation and the fallen world as external motivation. Adam and Eve had Satan's tempting as external motivation, despite their lack of internal motivation. But Satan presumably had no internal motivation - he was created "good" - and no external motivation - nothing sinful (or evil) had yet entered God's "good" creation.
(9) This is the only dilemma that I can perceive in the Reformed and Calvinist systematic theology. All other so-called dilemmas posed to Calvinists and Reformed theologicans are only so-called and not real dilemmas. But this one is genuine. As Jonathan Edwards showed, the will is that by which the mind chooses, and thus all decisions or choices are determined by the will. Edwards added that the nature brings about the desires of the will. Therefore, every choice or decision is a result of the greatest desire, and the greatest desire is determined by the nature. Thus, how Satan came to sin is of great importance, given the above logic. And my answer to this dilemma, while not without problems, comes from Scripture:
(10) 1 Kings 22:19-23 and 2 Chronicles 18:18-22:

Micaiah continued, 'Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne with all the host of heaven standing around Him on His right and on His left. And the LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?' One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, 'I will entice him.' 'By what means?' the LORD asked. 'I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,' he said. 'You will succeed in enticing him,' said the LORD. 'Go and do it.' So now the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you.

(11) Picture the Lord asking, "Who will entice Adam and Eve into eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and falling into sin by so doing?" God Himself could not and would not entice them, as this would be against His nature. God does not tempt anyone to sin. Yet, it is within His will and capabilities, remaining consist with His nature, to ask someone else to serve as the tempter. We see this exhibited in Job 1-2.
(12) Picture the angels suggesting things to God and finally Lucifer saying to the Father, "I will entice them." God asks, "By what means?" Satan replies, "I will go out a be a lying serpent ("Did God really say...?") to the humans." And the LORD said, "You will suceed. Go and do it." And that's why we call Satan "a liar and the Father of lies."

Any thoughts?

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