Evil and good and ability

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by npetreley, Jul 6, 2004.

  1. npetreley

    npetreley
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    There seems to be a clear distinction between what an evil person can produce and what a good person can produce. This goes straight to ability especially when you consider verses like Matthew 7:17-18.

    Matthew 12:34
    Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

    Matthew 12:35
    A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.

    Matthew 7:17-18
    Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.


    Now consider this verse...

    Matthew 7:11
    If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!


    Notice that Jesus does not say, "If you then, being mostly evil but with still a little remaining good in you left over from being made in the image of God..." Jesus says that we are evil, period. Jesus also says that evil men bring forth evil things, and that a bad tree cannot produce good fruit.

    So how is it possible that one who is evil knows how to give good gifts to his children? After all, Jesus also says, "How can you, being evil, speak good things?" indicating that this should be impossible.

    IMO, the answer to this apparent riddle is obvious, but I'm curious about your views.
     
  2. BrotherJoe

    BrotherJoe
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    Brother NPETRELY:

    YOU: There seems to be a clear distinction between what an evil person can produce and what a good person can produce.

    ME: I think a key verse that contributes much towards our understanding of mankinds ability PRIOR to any being born again is John 15:5, " for without me YE CAN DO NOTHING."

    So then, since we all start out the same (i.e. as totally evil),or as St. Paul put it, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not" (Romans 7:18), the question must be asked how does an evil person become good to begin with? The Bible teaches solely by the Holy Spirit quickening him and giving him a new heart in the act of regeneration thus enabliing him to obey God's commands. Please read the following passage:

    "25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
    26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
    27 And I will put my spirit within you, and CAUSE YOU to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them" (Ezekiel 36:25-27)


    Saved by grace,

    Brother Joe
     
  3. npetreley

    npetreley
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    Brother Joe,

    I agree 100% with your post. But it doesn't answer the question: What then does Jesus mean whey he says, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good things to your children..."? This seems to contradict the assertion that we start out evil and incapable of doing good.

    I am asking this question not because I think this statement really does contradict other scripture, but because Arminians often point to this verse as evidence that we're not "totally depraved".

    They often reason that, "If we, being evil, still know how to give good things to our children, then there must still be some good left in us after the fall, and this is the good that enables us to be able to choose to accept the Gospel of our own free will."

    So, is it true that there is still some "good" left in us? Or if there is NOT, then how do you explain what Jesus is saying here? How does one account for us, "being evil" still knowing how to give good things to our children?
     
  4. pinoybaptist

    pinoybaptist
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    Brother Joe said:

    Harold Camping will say this is speaking of baptism as being in the mode of sprinkling.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm with you all the way, it's just that this verse brought the old feller back to my mind.
     
  5. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    Nick,

    I know we're not on speaking terms but that is a one way thing so here it goes anyway...

    The key is that men are evil ON THEIR OWN.

    If left to themselves they could do nothing good. If left to themselves they could not obey or seek God. BUT we are not left on our own. God does interviene. Responding to the God who is GOOD doesn't mean that we ourselves are good.

    Even Christ Himself wouldn't claim the title of being good but claimed to be one who only said what he was told to say. Being human (God in flesh) he set the example of being a responder, an obedient person. So too we are to respond in obedience. That response is faith surrendering to the righteousness of Christ who perfectly obeyed.

    No one is good but God. Even Christ, who was perfect didn't claim to be good yet he never sinned, yet you think that human's could be called good by merely responding in faith to one who is good? That seems contradictory to me.
     
  6. BrotherJoe

    BrotherJoe
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    Brother Npetrely:

    YOU WROTE: What then does Jesus mean whey he says, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good things to your children..."? This seems to contradict the assertion that we start out evil and incapable of doing good.

    They often reason that, "If we, being evil, still know how to give good things to our children, then there must still be some good left in us after the fall

    ME: I dont find any connection to conclude that if someone knows how to "give good gifts" they = a good person. After all, one could conclude that John Wayne Gaysie knew how to give "good" gifts to little children such as toys, candy , etc. So is the arminian going to now conclude he therefore had some good in him? Absolutly not! Therefore, we conclude being able to give good gifts to humans has no relation to being a good person. Im sure even Adolf Hitler himself gave good gifts to his wife. Just a thought.

    Brother Joe
     
  7. BobRyan

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    In the Matt 7 context of the tree...


    "NOT everyone who SAYS Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of God but he who does the will of My Father"


    But this is MORE than simply choosing life - this is ALSO the NEW Birth.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  8. BrotherJoe

    BrotherJoe
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    Brother Npetreley:

    YOU SAID: If you then, being evil, know how to give good things to your children..."? This seems to contradict the assertion that we start out evil and incapable of doing good.

    I am asking this question not because I think this statement really does contradict other scripture, but because Arminians often point to this verse as evidence that we're not "totally depraved".

    They often reason that, "If we, being evil, still know how to give good things to our children, then there must still be some good left in us after the fall, and this is the good that enables us to be able to choose to accept the Gospel of our own free will."


    ME: Brother Nick,I have been giving that verse from Matthew further thought since my last post. Here again is the verse,"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him"

    Could it be that perhaps here the word "good" has nothing to do with the moral definition and usage of the word ? For example, I could state, " I gave a really "good" guitar as a gift to my sister for Christmas." Of course in this context I am not stating the guitar is morally good, but I am using a different meaning of good that simply is describing the QUALITY of the gift, not its moral standing! I think this interpretation makes more sense because good here is a pronoun, it is simply describing the noun "the gift." Our Lord ISNT stating the giving of the gift is "morally" good, he is simply describing the quality of the gift itself.

    Even if one rejects this interpretation of this verse, the problem is still posed of what is the MOTIVE of giving the "good" gift? Certainly evil people can give "good" gifts, but have EVIL motives for giving the gift. Take for example the holier than thou religious person who gives money to his church or a charity consistently NOT because he cares for the poor, but simply to be seen by man and get glory. Afterall, can an evil heart give with a good motive?


    Take care brother Nick and thanks for starting this thread...gets me thinking!

    Brother Joe
     
  9. npetreley

    npetreley
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    Brother Joe,

    That is exactly my thinking. God cares about spiritual things and spiritual motives. Giving bread to your child is not necessarily a spiritual thing, nor is it necessarily something done from a spiritual motive.

    There's "good according to the flesh" and then there's "good according to the Spirit". Indeed, the Bible goes as far as to say:

    Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
    9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.


    Notice that you can do what seems like "good things" to your flesh while you are only in the flesh (such as feed your child). But those who are in the flesh STILL CANNOT please God. Our fleshly standards count for nothing. So just because we know how to give "good gifts" to our children doesn't make us "good". We are only imputed true "good" (spiritual goodness) if the Spirit of God dwells in us.

    My pleasure!
     

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