The Problem With Evil

One of the main problems with evil we have in the west- is that too many people have no idea what evil is, and don’t believe the source exists. Of course I’m talking about Satan. (Did I hear a little Church Lady echo just now?)

We live in a secular world where evil is defined as a behavior which can be eradicated by education, employment and even off setting our ‘global carbon footprints’, oh, and by love.  Yet in our secular world the idea of Satan is a myth, or something belonging in Grimm’s Fairy tales, and people seem to work hard at making his image into either a misunderstood hero or a cute little cartoon character complete with a little red suit, pointy tail, horns and a pitchfork in a hot vacation spot.

Ever heard someone joke that they’d rather go to hell because all their friends will be there?

We joke, we mock, dress up as and we ignore what we don’t want to believe.

It’s interesting that many people will say they believe in angels- especially the ever present guardian angels, but not many will admit they believe in demons (which are fallen angels) or Satan. Even to many churches of different denominations, Satan is generalized as “the enemy”, yet rarely talked about in great detail. I think I can count on one hand out of all the churches I’ve been to in my life, especially after becoming a born again believer, where  I’ve heard a full sermon on the very real spiritual realm of Satan and demons. Or the fact that he is presently the ‘prince’ of the earth, where he will take full advantage drawing people astray and harassing them until Jesus comes to reclaim His sovereignty.

However there are some on the other end of the spectrum who see the devil’s work in almost everything from culture to illness- and believe that it’s the Christian duty to battle the enemy wherever he is found.

OK I realize it’s not exactly a positive topic, and most would be uncomfortable with such a message unless one is into horror stories, but people, especially Christians or seekers need to know that the enemy is real.  Scripture describes him as a “murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies”, John 8:44, a “thief” who comes only to “steal and kill and destroy” John 10:10 and a “roaring lion looking for someone to devour” 1 Peter 5:8,9  .

Of course it makes sense that in the secular world, evil doesn’t exist, because if it did, sin would be a real issue, and one would have need of redemption- which means a savior, which means being accountable to something or someone bigger than one’s self.

There are so many different ‘sub topics’ on the issue of evil and the ‘doctrine of the devil’ that it can get kind of confusing, and maybe that’s partly why it’s not taught much, or if it is, many Christians are confused by it, and don’t take it literal or seriously.  As for the secular of our world, the concept of Satan as a real being has been so intertwined with myth, fiction stories, consumer branding and culture that the idea is as absurd as that idea that in heaven everyone will be greeted by St. Peter, given a harp, halo and a cloud to float on for eternity. It’s time to set the record straight that Satan is not only a real being, but his agenda is alive and well in our time and his deceptions will continue to draw the lost and harass the believer.  As he knows his time is getting short, his attacks and destruction will come even harder.

One of the first issues deals with the fact that if evil is real, if the devil exists, that would imply that hell is also real and those who are not saved by the blood of Jesus and reconciled with God will be separated from Him forever in hell.  A few months ago, in an article on tough questions Christians are asked, it was said that God doesn’t send anyone to hell, they choose where they spend eternity by the choice they make in receiving or rejecting the gift of Jesus through his death on the cross for our sins.

Many people enthusiastically praise the Love of Jesus, yet they ignore that much of his time in ministry was warning about hell and driving out demonic spirits from the possessed.

There are two choices when it comes to eternity- heaven or hell.  And there is only one way to God in Heaven, as Jesus said, “I am the truth, the life and the way. No one comes to the Father but by me.”

Jesus warned over and over again about hell. And He doesn’t send anyone there- they go willingly by not believing on Him.

There are many verses about hell. If one claims to be a Christian, yet does not believe in a literal place called hell- they do not believe the words of Jesus who warns, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28

If one claims to believe that evil exists- one must also believe in the devil- Satan. If you claim to believe in Jesus, but not in Satan- then you don’t believe Jesus– who was tempted by Satan in the wilderness before His earthly ministry.

For those who do believe in angels, but not demons, they seem to think of a benevolent ‘spirit’ being, usually shining white, or Cupid like, almost like little children with wings and halos, yet they, along with most others who may believe in the spiritual realm may also believe they’re more akin to passed relatives, who bring messages or advice from ‘beyond’ so as to live better lives.

It’s no coincidence that many mediums and psychics use ‘christianese’ when they consult with spirits, making spirits more mainstream and acceptable, even fashionable, because Satan always goes back to the original slick way he had when he deceived Eve by telling her “You shall not surely die”.

So who is Satan anyway? We can find some about him in Ezekiel 28. *Note: Some scholars are split on the meanings of the King and Prince references and while the whole of the text historically points to an actual man, the Hebrew term for King is ‘Melek’ which literally means ‘King’, and Prince is ‘Nagid’ which means commander, captain, leader or Prince. This suggests the text is referring to two different people. It’s interesting that in Arabic, the term ‘Melek’ means ‘Angel’.

Considering the time and history of when Ezekiel was written, the actual King of Tyre is said to have been Ithobaal III, who was the father of Jezebel. Ithobaal means “With Baal”. Baal was one of the deities worshiped by Canaan and other ancient Middle Eastern tribes. But what is the logic for the conclusion that the later verses refer to the fall of Lucifer?

Well, where the first 10 verses speak about the ruler of Tyre (Who was condemned for claiming to be a god), the discussion changes in verse 11. Many scholars believe that though there was a human ‘ruler’ of Tyre, the real prince was Satan, who was working through the man king of the city.

The description of the ‘Prince’ is also the same as the physical and spiritual nature of Satan.  In spite of the characteristics painted over the centuries of the devil being some hideously horned being, Satan was the most beautiful created of all angels.

It’s interesting that Jesus is described by the Prophet Isaiah (55:2 and3) as having “no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” He is said to have been “despised and rejected” and “esteemed not”.

Lucifer has been drawing people through appearing as an “Angel of light” probably long before Mohammad’s time.  He is also esteemed in modern secular society as a mythical misunderstood freedom fighter against a mean, vengeful God.

Of course he is rebellious- and since sin entered the world through him, all of us have been rebellious as well. We all believe we can be our own gods, we know what we want and can do better. Sin is based on selfish, self-centered feelings, and wrapped in attractive packages. The deceiver always uses the appealing things, glamorous things of the world to hold our attention.

He is also full of pride which caused his downfall. He was the most beautiful creature that God created. He held the highest position in heaven at the throne room of God as the covering cherub at the mercy seat.

God tells about him being, “…the seal of perfection, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.” Lucifer was also the wisest creature God ever created. It’s hard to be humble when one is perfection. Lucifer wanted the honor that should only go to the Lord, his Creator. He wanted it so badly that he was even willing to fight against God for it.

We’ve all had the same pride issue since sin was introduced into the world.  It’s pride that keeps us from believing we have iniquity in us, and that we’re all born of sin. It’s pride which keeps us from believing we need a savior from it all. We are so wrapped up in intellect, sophistication; believing that we’ve evolved from the primitive need for ‘religion’, and that we are much more enlightened by philosophical ideas.

How destructive is pride? So much so that there are over 40 verses in scripture just on the subject of pride. So much so, that Lucifer fell from God’s highest place, and while he might have dominion over the world for now, some day he’ll end up in the lake of fire along with all the angels which were cast down with him- and everyone who chooses to follow his lies.

His intent is to keep anyone from knowing the truth- that Jesus has already won the victory over him, and keep people in darkness and spiritual chains.

While Satan can’t possess those who are full of the Holy Spirit, he can certainly harass those who belong to the Lord. One only needs to read the story of Job to understand.

Are Christians commanded to fight Satan? No.

I know that might shock some, for I’ve heard the same from many well-meaning and big name Christians that since we are victorious in Christ we have the power- and that the disciples even drove out demons from the possessed and spiritually oppressed.

We can be victorious over the enemy, because Jesus is the One who fights him.  Having experienced real demonic oppression, I know there is no way to battle the enemy, and Jesus doesn’t expect us to, because He does it.

We are given the ‘armor’ of God– not to fight, but to stand fast for Jesus in the world.  We pray to our Father to “deliver us from the evil one”, not to fight him. Make no mistake, Satan harasses those of us who belong to the Lord and if we aren’t always on our guard, praying and suited up, he can cause us to fall into temptation- and I don’t mean the obvious ‘big’ sins.

He also causes us to ‘get religious’ to keep us from developing a deeper relationship with Jesus. Why do you think that nonsectarian prayers are more accepted than those which are prayed in the Name of Jesus? Or those religions are tolerable unless they are of Biblical Christian followers of Jesus? Why is it that the only Christians who are persecuted are those who stand on their faith in Him ‘out loud’?

He can be sure that by falling into little sins, we will eventually fall into sin enough to ruin our lives, and worse than that- ruin our testimony. One only needs to think of the many church leaders and ‘televangelists’ over the years who have fallen, to understand how destructive sin can be.

Satan is a real being, and does his best work by adding just enough truth to make his lies believable. Demons tremble at the Name of Jesus because they know His highest authority; Satan enjoys using the world’s ignorance, unbelief and rebellion to weave his deceptions, leading generations astray and keeping people apart from God.

He is prince of this world.  He blinds people to the Gospel by using false teachers and false doctrine- and he will oppress any who seek after the truth.

The good news is that we don’t have to worry about the problem of evil if we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives.

Jesus is the truth, the life and the way. Accept Him as your Lord and Savior, and you will be a child of God.  Things won’t necessarily get easier- in fact Jesus tells us that His followers will face persecution and trials- but we won’t have to face them alone, and we won’t have to stand against the enemy alone either.