The arguments and discussions for what is considered good or evil have been and will be endlessly argued throughout history, as long as people who will not bow their hearts to God are determining the outcome of what good or evil is. What do all these scriptures have in common? 1 Kings 15:26, 2 Kings 13:2, 2 Kings 21:20, plus a bunch more that start the same way. They all start off with “He did evil in the eyes of the LORD.” Notice the evil is in the eyes of the Lord and not what the common census of the people say evil is. The starting point for understanding what evil is should be seen from God’s point of view.
Evil exists because I exist. Evil exists because you exist. Have you ever made a decision to do what was wrong even when you knew it was wrong? Every human being on earth has made that sinful choice. The decision to sin by one’s own will is a decision for evil. Evil was chosen in my life because I exist and I am capable of evil and sinful choices, even when it is self-righteousness. Rom. 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Free will gives us the choice to follow what is evil, or what God says righteousness is.
The ad nauseam question “Why is there so much suffering in the world?” is easily answered. Suffering in this world is a result of evil. When we read the accounts of all the kings who did evil in the eyes of the Lord, the result was always suffering – for the kings themselves and the people who were part of the kingdoms. If the king hoarded and stole from his people, the people suffered by starving and dying of the diseases that come with sickness. If the king invaded another kingdom because of a desire for power, people were slaughtered to death with the sword. Suffering existed because the choice to do what was wrong in God’s eyes was done by choice regardless of God’s warnings.
Nothing has changed to this day. People choose to sin and do what is evil, and the upshot is suffering. This is one of the results of our gift of free will that was given to us by God. If we want suffering to stop in this world, then we need to stop choosing sin over God’s righteousness. 2 Tim.3:1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents,ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
We miss the point entirely when arguing over good and evil having the answers in themselves. Good and evil are of the same tree. Gen. 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eat thereof thou shalt surely die. It does not matter how much good or self-proclaimed goodness we do, it will never overtake the eternal effects that evil has caused.
We are going in circles within the limited boundaries of the same tree when trying to cure evil with good. We must eat, so to speak, from another source or another tree entirely; the tree of life or a new position of life given to us through faith in Christ. This is what makes us the righteousness of God and gives us the power to overcome evil with righteousness. We are saved into doing the good works and not by the good works in themselves. Eph. 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Overcoming evil and suffering in this world is and should be our mandate throughout this life. However, this starts when we acknowledge and discern what God says evil is. God’s righteousness is a gift we cannot earn through good deeds. It is a grace-given gift from God Himself but must be accepted by faith in Christ. Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. Good and evil exist, but so does God’s righteousness. The only way to destroy the works and suffering caused by the evil one, is to do it with what God says works. God’s gift to man is Jesus the Lord and the righteousness that comes through Christ our Savior.
Arguing over good, evil, and suffering in themselves will never end, so stop eating from that tree and take a bite out of God’s tree of life. Stop and consider your creator and taste and see that He is righteously good and never evil. Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him. May the blessings of God find us and keep us in Him who first loved us. Amen!