Saturday, May 14, 2005

Good and Evil

"For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory-- even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?"
Rom 9:17-24 (ESV)

"Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness.
All can know good as good only because there is evil.
Therefore having and not having arise together.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short contrast each other;
High and low rest upon each other;
Voice and sound harmonize each other;
Front and back follow one another."
-Lao Tzu

"Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here in this world we have to sin. This life is not a dwelling place of righteousness."
-Martin Luther

Good and evil complement each other. In a sense, both follow along different sides of God's sovereign purpose, which allows them both to exist in this present world. However, this assumes a belief in God; for the atheist "good" and "evil" can only be defined by ever-changing reference points, such as oneself (post-modernism) or circumstances (situational ethics). In reality, there is no absolute good and evil that can be defined in this way; good and evil really cease to exist separately in any meaningful way, and a man is left to whatever end his unchecked selfish imagination takes him. The worst part of it is, with no true understanding of the difference between absolute good and evil, there is no cure for this condition.
This is the type of thing seen in communist countries like China. As a matter of fact, this article on China got me thinking about this:
This is part 4 of a 9 part commentary on Chinese communism and is a great discussion of what happens when you "war against heaven" in denying God. The index is here:
It is a long but good read. The failures of communism shed light on the evil present in every human.