This is yesterday’s Daily Prompt:
Write about evil: how you understand it (or don’t), what you think it means, or a way it’s manifested, either in the world at large or in your life.
The first time the word “Evil” appears in the Bible is in the very first chapters. In Genesis 2:9, “The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Most of us know the story, God told Adam that he could eat all he wanted from the tree of life but he must never eat of the other tree for he would surely die. Of course, Adam’s wife, Eve, is tricked into eating of the forbidden fruit and Adam follows. Their action brings death and sorrow into the world. But read carefully, the Bible doesn’t say it’s an evil tree. It is called THE tree of THE knowledge of GOOD and EVIL. From the beginning, it was not about good vs. evil. But about life and death. One choice brings life, the other brings death.
Imagine being in the Garden of Eden. God has declared everything to be “good”. The trees are good, the animals are good, the streams are good, etc. Goodness is all you know. Life is all you know. What does the forbidden tree do? Well, look at the name. It is the tree of the knowledge of good AND evil. Evil doesn’t exist in this new world. So what does this tree really do? It shifts our focus from what we have to what we don’t. It causes a fracture in the mind of man. Everything that was one is now dual. We have this but not that. They now had a concept of what isn’t. They now had a concept of separation. This caused them to shield themselves against God. They now believed they were separate from God. This was never the reality. Colossian 1:21 says, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.” Read carefully. We were enemies in our minds. God was never against us.
In the end, the decision to eat from the forbidden tree resulted in death. Again, the choice is not between good and evil but between life and death. Life is only found in Christ. I mentioned in my last post that Heaven, devoid of relationship, is really Hell. Jesus was offered this type of “Heaven” during His temptation. But His response was that “Man does live on bread alone but on every word that come out of the mouth of God.” His response was to say that His relationship, his union, his connection with the Father was more important than sating his temporary hunger. In fact, Jesus confesses to doing nothing but what the Father shows HIm. Jesus is truly the second Adam. Jesus, as a human being, has a pre-Fall relationship with the Father. No separation.
So what is evil? Evil is separation, it is a lack of substance, it is absence not essence. Whenever we propose to act independently of God, we commit an act without substance, without life. That is evil. Think of all the evil in the world and all the death it has brought about. It all comes from someone daring to act independently of God. From Hitler to a toddler stealing a cookie out of the cookie jar.
What about those atrocities committed in the name of God? I propose the same thing. They came from people acting independently of God. How? Well, these atrocities are committed by those who think God needs our help. They are the scariest of all. One of the side affects from eating of the forbidden tree was that you would become like God. Such a blasphemy. Because Adam and Eve were already like God because they were created in His image. What really happened was the birth of legalism and religion. The serpent in the garden tells Eve, “…your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” This implies that if we know the rules, we will be like God. Ever since, mankind has demanded a list of rules to live by. This gave birth to our many religions and legal systems. How many have been killed over these systems?
In short, evil is acting independently of God. It is manifested in the many religious and legal systems on the planet. Furiously enforcing these ideals does not bring life. However, going against them brings death and destruction. Life only comes from God. It is a simple matter to rediscover our union with the Tree of LIfe which is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ died and rose again so that we could uncover our union with Him again.
(I pulled a little bit from here.)