Friday, January 15, 2010

Mystery of Iniquity

Ever heard one of those seemingly unanswerable questions like … how many Angels can dance on the head of a pin? Or perhaps, could there ever be a question God could not answer? Well, the answer to the first one might be “as many as want to”, but an answer to the second one is a bit more tricky. For if God is ALL-knowing and infallible, then how could He be presented with a Mystery too great for Him to figure out? Yet the Bible speaks about the Mystery of Iniquity even from God’s point of view. Let’s take a closer look.

A purely logical look at God reveals that He must be made of, or embody if you will, every good thing. If God were tainted by any evil in any form He would eventually self destruct, as this is the natural result/state of evil when allowed to run freely. Therefore since God has existed from before our concepts of time and space, and will continue to exist beyond our understanding of either, He must only embody that which is good – no evil ingredients.

This is not because He does not know evil when He sees it. Nor is it because He is constricted from choosing an evil path – you could hardly constrain the author of freewill after all. His lack of evil is due to both His knowledge of evil’s true nature, and His logical choice not to have anything to do with it. The English comedian Eddy Izzard once did a routine set on an airline where a stewardess walking down the aisle would offer her customers . . . “cake or death”. Customers consistently chose cake. God consistently chooses good over evil.

So then if God embodies everything that is good, then any departure, any deviation, from God would define evil. This is merely extending our logical view of God to its natural opposite conclusion. If God is everything Good, then outside of God is everything evil. Makes sense. So then to better understand evil all you need to do is more closely examine what we know of God.

God is love. God is life. God is happiness. God serves others, constantly, no matter how they react to Him. Just to name a few. God defines self-sacrifice and service to others. Then what must evil look like? Evil is hate. Evil is death. Evil is misery and pain. Evil serves only its own interests, constantly, no matter how it impacts on the lives of others. Therefore Evil defines selfishness and the entire pursuit of pleasing one’s self. The differences are stark, but even the more subtle ones tend to be profound. Such as; good is always content, evil is always hungry. Good can relax, Evil is always hunting. Good recognizes and supports others, Evil cannot be bothered with others as it has no time for them.

So the first mystery becomes if you understood the true nature of evil, why on earth, or anywhere else for that matter, would you consciously choose evil over good? The next mystery becomes an even greater one, knowing that evil embodies self inflicted pain, and having had personal experience with that pain, do we continue to choose to bring it on ourselves – doing the same self destructive thing – over and over and over again? To me this is the definition of addiction. Helpless to stop self destructive behavior due to an “inability” to act rationally. But where does addiction come from? I believe it is part of the nature of evil itself.

Compare evil to cancer for a minute; cancer spreads and destroys every good thing it comes into contact with. Cancer is not content to remain still, not content to remain fixed on a certain part of the body, it seems to want to spread out and infect as many things as it can. Evil is much the same way. It is not content to minimize damages. It wants to spread them out so that not just the doer of evil is punished with pain. So are his victims, those that care about both the victims and the perpetrator, and of course God who loves us all. The ripples of the pain of evil extend quite a distance.

When Lucifer became Satan, he did not begin his career in evil by committing murder, adultery, or homosexuality. His launch into evil was far more subtle than that. He merely posed an unanswered question to that point in time … what would happen if I stopped serving others for a minute and served me for a while? After all, how bad could it be? The answer, as bad as killing the Creator of the Universe on a cross of torture by those He was trying to save. It did not immediately look as bad as all that. It was just a simple question. But its answer should have been self-evident. Remember if God embodies all that is good, any deviation is bound to define evil, and so it did.

But Satan having known the paradise of serving God, and the infinite fulfillment of Heaven, chose to forsake it all in pursuit of pleasing Himself; an empty pursuit with no value in the end. And so a mystery is born that I believe even God cannot fully answer – Why – Why would anyone ever do that? What’s more, why would they do it again and again and again? But this is the nature of sin.

One of my favorite texts in the Bible is Nahum 1:9 (one of the minor prophets, you know those small books right before Matthew). It says that “affliction shall not rise a second time” meaning that in Heaven at the end of time and our world as we know it, there will be NO more sin ever again. It points out that there will be a definitive ending to ALL evil. It means we will never be slave to evil again. But how? It is not free-will that is extinguished in God’s kingdom. Free-will has always and will always be a principle of Good upon which His kingdom is built.

Therein is the point. While we will maintain our ability to choose good or evil, we will no longer have ANY desire to ever have anything to do with evil ever again. There will be no more Lucifer’s turning into Satan’s in our distant future. No more fallen worlds. No more fallen species to redeem. We are it. This is all. The conflict will be over, both in the world between good and evil, as well as in our hearts and minds. Having been made free from evil and our slavery to it, we will not ever wish to return to it.

I submit, if you are unwilling to part with something in your life that you know to be evil, it is perhaps because you have not seen the pain that accompanies the evil you are playing with. But know this, evil is by design inextricably linked to pain, and whatever evil you are engaged in will naturally result in an abundance of pain in your life and the lives of everyone around you. This is not intended to be a threat of any kind, instead it is intended to be a definition to be applied to everything in your life. If it is not good, it will be a source of pain. The timing of the delivery of pain, and the amount of pain it may bring may be different with each evil you entertain. But the more you indulge evil, the more you give the cancer license to expand, until one day it dominates your every thought, every deed, every motive.

See evil clearly, and go to God. Go to the source of both forgiveness, and reform. Only God can change what it is you want, what it is you do, and what you are bound to. Give it up to Him, and let Him rule over it, and you will be made free from evil. Having been made free, your choices to return to slavery will become less and less likely, as you are rooted deeper and deeper in His love…

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