Most of the world is watching with disgust and horror. Civilians bombed, buildings destroyed, lives taken, millions fleeing in terror, certainly this is absolutely wrong. Yet in the mind of Vladimir Putin and apparently a few others this is a justified, moral war. They are fighting to preserve their own safety. They are fighting to free a country, who apparently doesn’t know it is captive, from Neo-Nazism.
Morality moves in people’s minds. It usually moves to a place that suits them. But is there a higher judge? We are not talking about a majority opinion. Even majorities can be corrupt. Is there a judge that is higher than us? Of course, there is God.
God will bring judgment on all immoral acts–those of global scale and those done individually in secret. His standard will not be adjusted for the majority opinion or culture. What He will bring judgment against is evil. But what is evil?
Defining evil is harder than you think. You usually know what it is when you see it. You can identify actions, words and ideas that are evil. But forming a working definition is hard. This is, at least in part, because evil is a part of each one of us.
Evil is everything that does not find its ultimate source in God. Evil is the opposite of love. It doesn’t have to be hatred. It can be apathy. It doesn’t have to immediately hurt a person, it can corrupt them and harden them toward their Creator.
Evil can be doing what a person wants you to do for them: enabling an addiction, endorsing their ideology, tolerating their actions or beliefs without speaking out. Evil is not a moving target, but it can be a complex or confusing target. We are easily deceived with respect to evil. In fact, we would not be able to discern it well at all without the revelation of God’s law. We almost all have a conscience. That helps. But consciences can be desensitized and even eliminated. God’s Law helps us understand what is evil.
As much as we would like to identify evil in others, the disturbing part is that we find it in ourselves. There is no room for self-righteousness as an individual or as a nation before God. That said, we still should speak out against evil. It will consume us if we don’t. But our speaking must be as people who understand that we are evil ourselves.
Many would like to dismiss God’s Laws as outdated–the morality of an ancient culture with no relevance to today. There are some things that God asked only of the ancient Jews. Laws that would prove to be prophecies. These did not identify evil. There are a few more biblical laws that instructed his people how to deal with the evil culture around them. These instructions may differ as situations change. But the core of God’s instructions identify evil as an absolute. We ignore these at our own peril. Evil is never to our advantage.
God will eventually bring His judgment. It is not a few evil people who will eventually be forsaken by God. Because we tend to love our own evil, many, even most people will be lost. God didn’t want it that way. You don’t make a sacrifice like Jesus made and not want it to save everyone. While the sacrifice of Jesus will only save a minority, it will be a significant minority. Maybe only when evil is completely gone, we will understand why it was evil at all.