The Reality of Evil
By Hal Lindsey
A 2011 article in Slate Magazine written by Ron Rosenbaum asked, “Is evil over? Has science finally driven a stake through its dark heart?… Yes, according to many neuroscientists, who are emerging as the new high priests of the secrets of the psyche.”
In the last few years, countless scholarly articles and books posit the view that the human will is an illusion. They see men and women as machines — able to do only what their genetic and environmental programming tells them to do. Remove moral choice from the equation, and humans would not have the capacity for evil. They would simply act and respond according to set laws.
We all recognize that we would be different if we had different parents, or grew up in another culture. Many things influence us. But these people are talking about more than influence. They’re talking about a complete inability to make choices. To them, the murderer does not decide to kill. He just follows his programming. They see the child molester as merely doing what nature and nurture have programmed him to do.
Since this is fast becoming the prevailing view at universities, we can expect it to spread through society. What happens when parents, schools, and government see human beings as machines without choice? How could you punish anyone? What are the consequences of a “no consequence” society?
And what happens when people see themselves as helpless puppets unable to choose? What would the world look like if people ceased to take responsibility for their actions, or hold one another accountable? “It wasn’t my choice. It was my programming.”
Satan’s job would be all but over. People would give in to every temptation believing they have no choice in the matter, and therefore no culpability for any of their actions. You would also have people being thrown into re-education camps meant to “fix” their programming. A few elites would take it on themselves to determine right and wrong for everyone.
In 21st century America, we’re already glimpsing a society that ignores personal responsibility, and spends its time trying to reprogram its citizens. It doesn’t look good.
The Bible teaches that human beings make moral choices. Every biblical command, every admonishment from God, is a divine acknowledgment of human choice. “You shall have no other gods before Me,” [Exodus 20:3 NASB] is a command to choose God over idols. You have the privilege of deciding, but also the responsibility.
Without an understanding of the reality of evil, the world falls into chaos. ISIS makes a perfect example. On August 13th, the New York Times ran an article entitled, “ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape” by Rukmini Callimachi. Even with all the horrible things we’ve heard about ISIS, his report should shock the conscience of the world.
In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her — it condoned and encouraged it.
He bound her hands and gagged her. Then he knelt beside the bed and prostrated himself in prayer before getting on top of her. When it was over, he knelt to pray again, bookending the rape with acts of religious devotion.
“I kept telling him it hurts — please stop,” said the girl, whose body is so small an adult could circle her waist with two hands. “He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God.”
What happened to this 12-year-old is happening to thousands of young girls across that region. If evil does not exist, if humans only follow their programming, then no one can blame the rapist. His crime would cease to be criminal. He could say he was merely acting out his programming.
But God sees the inner workings of every heart. Jeremiah 17:10 says, “I, the Lord, search the heart.” [NASB] Jesus said, “I am He who searches the minds and hearts.” [Revelation 2:23 NASB] He sees the choice as it’s being made.
In the hardest heart, an innate sense of right and wrong still exists. Even after a man’s conscience has been bound, gagged, and shut in a closet, the man still knows it’s there, and what it would say if it could. That’s why the jihadist defended himself to the girl he was about to rape. He knew he was wrong, but his interpretation of the Quran gave him an excuse. His religious belief freed his wicked nature from the usual constraints of societal norms and human punishment. But the Quran did not make the choice. He did.
The Times article said, “The practice (of rape) has become an established recruiting tool to lure men from deeply conservative Muslim societies.”
That, friends, is evil — rape as a “recruiting tool.” Join ISIS and rape little girls. It shocks and appalls us to hear such things. Why? Because we know that these are the actions of men, and not machines. A man has a choice, and these men have chosen evil.
The worst thing about evil is that we’re all infected. Most societies have safeguards in place to restrain people from evil’s worst manifestations. But we all do evil things. We are bent that way from birth, and have only one hope. Of all history’s philosophers and kings, only Jesus tells His followers, “You must be born again,” [John 3:7 NASB] and then performs the miracle Himself.
The Bible teaches that we are born physically alive but spiritually dead. It’s only when we are miraculously born spiritually that we can communicate with the true GOD and come to know Him. The first thing we learn is that we now stand before a Holy GOD and are responsible to Him. We grow in that knowledge and in His love and forgiving Grace that is based on Jesus’ shed blood for our sins.
It is best summed up by this verse of Scripture, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” [2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV] We grow spiritually in this as we grow in Christ. He will discipline us, but He will not disown us. As Jesus promised through the Apostle Paul, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who has began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 1:6 NKJV]