“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.” –Job 1:6
Whether you believe the Bible is God’s word divinely inspired and given to humans as timeless principles by which we should live or not, one thing I’m sure we can agree upon is the fact that moral evil exists in our world.
Moral evil is distinct from natural evil (floods, tornados and other natural disasters). According to the Bible, moral evil has existed right alongside moral good ever since the day Adam and Eve disobeyed God in what was hitherto a perfect state of existence called the Garden of Eden.
Moral evil is the opposite of moral good. Moral evil “is any deviation of a moral agent from the rules of conduct prescribed to him [her] by God, or by legitimate human authority; or it is any violation of the plain principles of justice and rectitude.” [av1611.com] All wickedness, all crimes, all violations of the law and right are moral evils.
The real enemy is moral evil, or as the Bible personifies it: Satan, also known as “the devil.” The mythical figure called “Satan” is not some human being in a red suit with a long tail and a pitch fork. Satan is the personification of evil; that which is not only the opposite of good, but also that force seeking to utterly destroy good.
The Bible depicts Satan as a fallen angel (Isaiah 14:12), a tempter (Matthew 4:1), the Evil One (Matthew 13:19), a thief (John 10:10), and one who has power (2 Corinthians 4:4). In Job 1:6, we read, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.” Evil personified presented itself in the midst of good.
Job was an upright man. Job lived a model life, worked hard to take care of his family, and was a respected member and leader in his community. He feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen and 500 donkeys and had a large number of servants.
As the story goes, moral evil (Satan) would be granted permission by God to tempt Job to the point of taking everything from him except his life. The real enemy had Job in its sights, and the real enemy would not relent easily, wreaking havoc not only on Job, but his entire family and all of his earthly possessions.
Why write this column? Why speak of evil? Why now? The answer can be found in an attempt to reconcile my thoughts and reach some sensible conclusion surrounding the continued escalation of hate, violence, mayhem and murder in our neighborhoods and nation.
You see, the real enemy (evil) masks itself in human form. The real enemy causes that human form to mistreat, maim and murder other humans. The real enemy is at the core of every issue we face that represents the opposite of good. The real enemy is always lurking, looking for its next victim.
If we are to address the ills of our society we must address the real enemy. The real enemy is not the perpetrators of violence. The real enemy is moral evil. And moral evil can only be overcome by love.
Dr. Preston T. Adams III is senior pastor at Amazing Grace Christian Church in Indianapolis. Contact Pastor Adams via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @DrPrestonTAdams. For more information, visit agccindy.org.