A Christian Theology of Evil

One Pastor's Thoughts . . .

The basics . . . Many Christians speak of God and speak of the devil but don't know who they really are. They act as if we live in a dualistic world where two equal powers struggle for control. No question, there is struggle in the world, and there is sin and evil in the world, but God and Satan are not opposites.

Qualities of God: All Knowing, All Present, All Powerful, Eternal

Qualities of Satan [the devil] and demons: Not all knowing, not all present, not all powerful, created.

What does this mean?
This means that God is in control. Remember Satan is a created being, an angel that fell from heaven. He is not from the beginning, God is. He is not everywhere in the world . . . God is. Satan is probably not at your house; he is probably working on Osama Bin Laden. He cannot be in both places at the same time.

Prov 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Jn 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:


Only God deserves the attributes of a god. Satan is not equal to God and he is not the opposite of God. God made him to be a beautiful angel and was given free will and unfortunately he rebelled against God. He does not deserve the attention that God does. He is operating in this world for a short time and will receive judgment in the end.Gen 3:14-15 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Isa 14:12-15 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of
the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
2 Pet 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

The limited created evil beings in the world are fighting a losing battle against the almighty power of God that works in the world through the Holy Spirit and those who call upon the name of the Lord.

Being led by the Holy Spirit and being possessed or oppressed by demons.
How does one become a Christian? You choose to ask Jesus to come in.

How does one become possessed or oppressed by evil? You choose to ask it to come in.

What does this mean?

It means that evil cannot come in and control you without you having opened the door. He/they cannot just sneak up on you and suddenly inhabit your life. You let in Jesus if you want to and you let in demons if you want to. Let me be clear, there is not room in the soul of a Christian for the Holy Spirit and demons. If you have accepted Jesus, you are in filled with the Holy Spirit. You cannot then be filled with the demonic, one or the other, never both.

Psa 91:9-11 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
1 John 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

So is the devil real?

Yes the devil is real, but he is not the opposite of God. See above description. People can be possessed by him or by his demons. These are horribly frightening people. If you have ever met someone who was in such a state it would make a tremendous impression on you. Many people will live their entire lives and never see or meet someone who is possessed. Believe me, you don't want to meet such people.

Mark 5:1-20 1They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.[ ] 2When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil[ ] spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. 6When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!” 8For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!” 9Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. 11A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. 14Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon possessed man-and told about the pigs as well. 17Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. 18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him. 19Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis[ ]how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Are there other sources of evil? Yes! Other sources of evil include: other people, yourself, and the world.

· People can choose to do evil things. They are responsible for their choices and usually they are not possessed when they choose evil. The human spirit is capable of evil choices without the benefit of or help of the demonic.

· Flip Wilson used to say “the devil made me do it.” He was wrong. He chose to do evil himself. All of us make bad choices and choose to do evil things. That is what sin is. It doesn't mean that you are demon possessed. It means that you are human.

· The world has evil in it. Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, disease. These things are common to human existence and are not the work of demons or the vengeful acts of God. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. The flu is the flu and a cold is a cold. It is not the oppression of the devil.

Does our language and our prayer life glorify God or Satan? This is the real question.

CS Lewis once said “the best thing that the Devil can do is to convince the world that he doesn't exist.” Probably the second best thing for the Devil to do would be to get us to overemphasize his role or involvement in our lives, bringing him glory instead of God.

As believers we are called to lift up the name of Jesus and bring people to him. Most Christians will never see a demon possessed person in their life and would not necessarily be prepared to deal with it if they did.

When our prayers refer to Jesus, he is lifted up. When our prayers refer to the devil and evil, they are exalted and fear is injected into the believers thought process.
 
If you are trusting in Jesus, you don't have to be afraid of such evil. You are walking with the King. Many Christians unintentionally glorify Satan by including him in all of their prayers and daily chatter and banter. You can do that if you wish. Talking about evil fills people with worry. Talking about Jesus fills people with joy. I want to choose to lift up the name of Jesus. What about you?

Theology

In this section . . .

Wisdom is its own reward.
~ My Aunt Jewel

WCC

jeffb@woodschapelchurch.org
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