Evil is a perversion of good (Institutes I.14.16)

“let us remember that this malice, which we attribute to his (Devil) nature, came not from his creation but from his perversion.  For, whatever he has that is to be condemned he has derived from his revolt and fall.” (John Calvin)

The Problem of Evil is often viewed as either something that coexists with good and always has.  This is how eastern religions address it, by concepts like yin-yang or Buddhism and Hinduism.  But the Christian view is much more hopeful.  Contrary to the eastern views, Evil is not eternal and persistent, it can’t exercise its desires against God infinitely and unhindered.  To the Christian, evil is not eternal, nor is it created, rather it is the perversion of what is good and right, holy and just.  Evil entered the world when Satan refused to submit to God and do his bidding.

This is fundamentally different from an eternally present evil.  With an eternally present evil, rebellion and corruption will never cease to exist and God’s rule will always be challenged, but with an evil that is a corruption and perversion of God, both justice and redemption can occur.  Justice involves the punishment of all rebellion and the return of all things to their good state.  Redemption involves the restoring of corrupt human wills to Christ so that one is ruled by the Spirit of Christ.

Truly God alone has always existed and ruled.  Evil has no ultimate power and will one day be obliterated when all things have been placed under the foot of the Son and the world is recreated by fire.

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About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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