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Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by IveyLeaguer, Jun 1, 2006.
Is there a distinction?
Many times in the Old Testament 'Evil' is not wickedness as some would think. Many times it means 'trouble'
Here's some thoughts:
evil (kakos) = intrinsic evil in nature/character
evil (poneros) = evil in effect/action
evil (phaulos) = worthless as contrasted to good or valuable
These would all be generic "sin" - some internal, some external/comissive, some omissive
Evil in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Here is the definition in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia...
ēv´'l, ē´vil רע, ra‛; πονηρός, ponērós, κακός, kakós, κακόν, kakón): In the Bible it is represented as moral and physical. We choose to discuss the subject under these heads. Many of the evils that come upon men have not been intended by those who suffer for them. Disease, individual and national calamity, drought, scarcity of food, may not always be charged to the account of intentional wrong. Many times the innocent suffer with, and even for, the guilty. In such cases, only physical evil is apparent. Even when the suffering has been occasioned by sin or dereliction of duty, whether the wrong is active or passive, many, perhaps the majority of those who are injured, are not accountable in any way for the ills which come upon them. Neither is God the author of moral evil. "God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempteth no man" (Jam_1:13). See TEMPTATION.
1. Moral EvilBy this term we refer to wrongs done to our fellowman, where the actor is responsible for the action. The immorality may be present when the action is not possible. "But if that evil servant shall say in his heart" (Mat_24:48, Mat_24:49), whether he shall smite his fellow-servants or not, the moral evil is present. See SIN. "All these evil things proceed from within, and defile the man" (Mar_7:21-23). The last six commandments of the Decalogue apply here (Exo_20:12-17). To dishonor one's parents, to kill, to commit adultery, to steal, to bear false witness and to covet are moral evils. The spiritual import of these commandments will be found in Mat_5:21, Mat_5:22, Mat_5:27, Mat_5:28. "But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness" (Mat_6:23). Words and deeds are coined in the heart before the world sees or hears them (Mat_12:34, Mat_12:35). The word ought or its equal may be found in all languages; hence, it is in the mind of all people as well as in our laws that for the deeds and words we do and speak, we are responsible. "Break off thy sins by righteousness" (Dan_4:27) shows that, in God's thought, it was man's duty, and therefore within his power, to keep the commandment. "Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well" (Isa_1:16 f). We cannot think of God commanding men to do what He knew they had no ability to do! God has a standing offer of pardon to all men who turn from their evil ways and do that which is right (Eze_33:11-14 f). Evil begins in the least objectionable things. In Rom_1:18-23, we have Paul's view of the falling away of the Gentiles. "Knowing God" (Rom_1:21), they were "without excuse" (Rom_1:20), but "glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened" (Rom_1:21). "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Rom_1:22). This led the way into idolatry, and that was followed by all the corruption and wrongdoing to be instigated by a heart turned away from all purity, and practiced in all the iniquity to be suggested by lust without control. Paul gives fifteen steps in the ladder on which men descend into darkness and ruin (Gal_5:19-21). When men become evil in themselves, they necessarily become evil in thought and deed toward others. This they bring upon themselves, or give way to, till God shall give "them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting" (Rom_1:28). Those thus fallen into habits of error, we should in meekness correct, that "they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him unto his will" (2Ti_2:25, 2Ti_2:26).
2. Physical EvilUsually, in the Old Testament the Hebrew word ra‛ is employed to denote that which is bad. Many times the bad is physical; it may have been occasioned by the sins for which the people of the nation were responsible, or it may have come, not as a retribution, but from accident or mismanagement or causes unknown. Very many times the evil is a corrective, to cause men to forsake the wrong and accept the right. The flood was sent upon the earth because "all flesh had corrupted their way" (Gen_6:12). This evil was to serve as a warning to those who were to live after. The ground had already been cursed for the good of Cain (Gen_4:12). Two purposes seemed to direct the treatment: (1) to leave in the minds of Cain and his descendants the knowledge that sin brings punishment, and (2) to increase the toil that would make them a better people. God overthrew Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, cities of the plain, making them "an example unto those that should live ungodly" (2Pe_2:6). In the Book of Isa the prophet, we find a number of "burdens": the burden of Babylon (13:1-22); the burden of Moab (Isa_15:1-9); the burden of Damascus (Isa_17:1-14); the burden of Egypt (19:1-17); the burden of the Wilderness of the Sea (Isa_21:1-10); the burden of Dumah (Isa_21:11, Isa_21:12); the burden upon Arabia (21:13-17); the burden of the Valley of Vision (22:1-25); the burden of Tyre (23:1-18); the burden of the Beasts of the South (Isa_30:6-14); the burden of the Weary Beast (Isa_46:1, Isa_46:2). These may serve as an introduction to the story of wrongdoing and physical suffering threatened and executed. Isa contains many denunciations against Israel: against the Ten Tribes for following the sin introduced by Jeroboam the son of Nebat; and the threatening against Judah and Benjamin for not heeding the warnings. Jeremiah saw the woes that were sure to come upon Judah; for declaring them, he was shut up in prison, and yet they came, and the people were carried away into Babylon. These were the evils or afflictions brought upon the nations for their persistence in sin. "I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am Yahweh, that doeth all these things" (Isa_45:7). These chastisements seemed grievous, and yet they yielded peaceable fruit unto them that were exercised thereby (Heb_12:11).
Sorry for all the hyperlinks..... i'm not sure how to copy and paste from e-sword.
So kakos, poneros, and phaulos are all primary words and represent the 3 categories of definition or meaning of 'evil' in the scriptures?
All evil is sin put all sin is not evil!!
If this is the case, God sins. Look at Isaiah 45:7
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
God is not the author of sin.
Not to be nitpicky, but is there good sin?
Evil is the result of sin.
Good point, but is sin not evil?
I would say that both overlap each other and can be used interchangeable.
But, I have always taught that evil is the sin-principle.
In other words evil is a system that started with Satan’s choice. God gave Satan a choice. The choice in short order was..”will you follow my will, or is it your will that you will follow?”. Satan choose when he said..”I will, I will, I will and in doing so was saying he wanted his own will over Gods will. This made what we now call the sin-principle or evil. This can be viewed, as anything away from Gods will. Or as the Bile shows over and again, a path way away from God.
It is at this point we have 2 paths. One is good and truth and follows after the nature of God. The other is evil and a lie follows after Satan though our will and away from God.
Man was made and only know of this good path, other then in one area. That one area….The tree. When God made man…it was good. God also gave man a choice….saying..
Adam…do anything you want..but do not eat from this tree.
Now Adam, if you eat from this tree, you are wanting your will over my will.
Adam too made a choice to have his own way. This opened his eyes to the other path…the evil path. At the same time his will to choose good died. Man still knows of the good path, but it is not in his nature to choose it. Man would rather have his sin.
It’s like the nature of the hungry lion that will not eat hay. Hey will help feed him. The lion could eat it if he wanted. But it is not in the lion’s nature to eat hay. Lions love meat and eat meat. The lion will lay in hay and die hungry when hay could save him.
Sin for the most part can be used in place of evil. But I feel the real meaning is events down that pathway.
In other words…to murder is not just the act of murder, but also the path leading to murder. Yet we call the full even…from hating someone..to thinking of killing that one..and the act itself as one sin, ..that being murder.
Interesting thoughts, James.
Would you agree that Satan created evil by the act of choosing to do what he wanted, i.e., to be like the Most High, and that God is only responsible for creating the potential for evil by endowing Satan (and the angels that fell with him), with free will?
Was Satan's choice the original sin or was it pride, or are they interrelated to the extent that they are difficult to distinguish?
Could Satan have contemplated in his heart the thought of 'ascending and being like the Most High' without sin before he actually acted upon the thought?
Also, your idea about the 'evil path' corresponds to what Jesus taught re. lust of the heart & adultery, hatred & murder, etc.
I think evil is the result of sin. They are not separate.
Just some thoughts on Satan: I think it's tricky territory to wonder about how Satan went against God because we are not really given information on that. A lot of people use the Is. 14 and Ez. 28 passages for Satan, but there is no direct statement about what Satan did to cause his fall, is there?
The Bible is concerned with man's sin, not Satan's. It's enough to know he exists; he works against God; he deceives, lies, and destroys; and works against the church and believers. I do think Satan is probably as absolutely evil as a creature can get.
Others claim that God made sin. This shows a poor understanding of what sin is and who God is. Gods foremost attribute is holiness. Many a Calvinist will jump and say that Gods foremost attribute is being solvereign. The reason I do not say this, is because I place this above attributes and into a realm of its own. This realm is God Himself. I say to be called God is to be solvereign. Therefore from God comes His attributes. Or from The Solvereign we can see His attributes and tell what God is like, in as much as what He has told us about Him. It is clear that one can never remove being solvereign from God. This would remove Him from being God. On the other hand, one can remove love, holiness, grace and still have A god. It would NOT be the God of the Bible, for all of the attributes that were removed are the God of the Bible. Yet we would have a god in control and that is what the word means. But praise His Holy Name, there is more to God then just being in control.
Anyway…my views are...It is Gods holiness that ranks above all other attributes (if we leave out being sovereign as we did above). God is set-apart from sin. To sin is to transgress against Gods will. His holiness sets him apart from sin and this means sin can never be near Him. Therefore, if God wills..it is not sin. If God wills deeds that we now call sin, it is no longer sin, being that God willed it and it is no longer transgressing.
Therefore God cannot make sin.
Another view is that evil was always there. Much like a yin-yang thing going on. Something like a good and evil fight, where good wins out in the end. This view is wrong too. God is the only eternal. There was a time when evil was not. God gave a choice and evil came about. God also knew this would happen being solvereign.
In my view of things…all sins can be traced back to two things. Pride and Lust. In Satan’s case he lusted after the power of his own will, and had to much pride to give it over to God.
Check out the near greek wording about Cain …” And Cain goeth out from before Jehovah, and dwelleth in the land, moving about east of Eden”
A path away from God..
BTW..in case you didn't know..I am a calvinist and that is why I picked on them above.
If 'something B' is a result of 'something A', isn't it necessary for 'something A' to have existed prior to something B'? See what I'm getting at? For evil to be the result of sin, it is necessary that sin precede it. If evil is the result of sin, then by definition sin cannot be evil, since it is the cause of evil. If that is true, then there was a period, however brief it may have been, when sin existed alone without evil.
If evil and sin cannot be separated, and I'm not sure they can, maybe we could say evil is the natural manifestation of sin. Or a natural byproduct. But there again, if they cannot be separated, then it is likely they have always coexisted. It is possible, I suppose, for sin to have existed prior to evil and then, once united, remain in their inseparable state. One thing is for sure: after Satan was created, either sin and evil came into existence simultaneously, or sin and evil came to be at a different points of existence.
I agree great caution is required.
Point well taken.
I think you're onto something there but I hesitate to rate God's attributes, as such. I might say that sovereignty, as well as transcendency, imminence, and omniscience are attributes or characteristics of His Being, while holiness is a characteristic of His Person.
I don't think evil exists on its own -- it's not a force and does not have independent existence. Sin is either sinful actions or describes (and results from) the sin nature. Neither sin nor evil exist as abstract things but are both connected to actions or to the nature of a creature (human and angel). So that is why I said evil is the result of sin. By that, I meant that evil conditions exist as a result of sin - abuse, murder, dysfunction, warped morality in the culture, etc.
I guess I'm using the term evil to describe the broader condition that results from sinful actions and sinful natures. I don't use them as equivalents in describing people, however. I would not normally say someone is evil but I might say someone did something evil. To call someone evil implies to me that the person is either evil personified or is absolutely evil. That's just my take on it. I also think of how everyone is made in the image of God and even though all men are sinful, to call someone evil makes me nervous about attacking someone made in the image of God. Sin corrupted but did not erase that image in man. Having said all that, I must confess I have called certain people evil - people mainly who have led others astray (or to their deaths) such as destructive cult leaders.
I see no problem is calling sin evil. In this case, "evil" is the adjective of "sin," the noun.
Well, you asked a thought provoking question! I'm still thinking on it! :smilewinkgrin:
Sin is the evil that we do ourselves, be it by omission or comission.
Evil is the temptation.
Sin is acting on that temptation.