The noted British philosopher, writer, and theologian G.K. Chesterton once remarked that he could not understand why skeptics (religious unbelievers of Christianity) could not understand the doctrine of “Original Sin” (the belief that all human beings are born with an inward disposition toward evil and malicious actions that are called “sins).
Chesterton stated that the doctrine of “Original Sin” was one of the few Christian doctrines that were empirically proven simply by reading the front page of the world’s daily newspapers!
When one glances through papers such as the Times of London or the New York Times or the Washington Post one sees such topics of “World Terrorism,” “The Ebola Outbreak,” the ongoing “chaos and strife among political parties in Washington D.C.” – and strife between “Police Departments and the Citizens” of different American cities.
How does one define evil?
Does the term evil have objective definition?
Is there a shared definition of evil that all humanity could embrace?
Are human beings intrinsically evil (within our nature) or are our bad, unkind and horrible actions the result of the environments in which we are raised in?
These are not easy questions – and minds much sharper than mine have wrestled with these themes for thousands of years.
Nevertheless, this writer believes that the Judeo-Christian worldview (a way of viewing reality) offers the best explanation of why the world in which we live in is filled with so much heartache and sorrow.
In the 6th chapter of Genesis the following description of “evil” is penned by Moses (the author of the first 5 books of the Bible) in verses 5-9 (The New International Version – NIV):
5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.
7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”
8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
Noah and the Flood
9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.”
What could have been transpiring during Noah’s time to warrant this bleak and pessimistic description from Almighty GOD with reference to the humans whom He / She created in His / Her Image?
The humans in Noah’s day engaged in lying, deceit, murder, theft, rebellion, sexual lust, and covetousness (desiring things that are not their own and stealing to acquire them) – and displaying no love or desire for intimacy with GOD.
Sounds like the Bible describes the events of our day…
GOD calls the items on the aforementioned list “Sin or Sins.”
The Westminster Shorter Catechism (completed in 1646) defines “Sin as disobeying or not conforming to GOD’s law (GOD’s teaching, instruction, or revelation) in any way.”
Wow, what a provocative indictment against all of humanity!
The prophet Jeremiah described the problem of sin as arising in the human heart in the following way in Jeremiah 17.9-10 (NIV):
9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”
These writings from the The Holy Bible (Saint Paul picks up this theme at great length in his letter called the book of Romans) show that GOD takes the whole notion of “evil” or “sin” quite seriously.
As a matter of fact to quote the Reformed theologian R.C. Sproul all “Sin properly understood is nothing short than ‘Cosmic Treason’ against the very Person and Character of Almighty GOD!!!”
Treason is the one penalty mentioned in the United States Constitution that demands the “death penalty.”
Treason against mankind is a serious offense; however, treason against an All-Powerful, All-Knowing, and All-Present GOD is far worse!
If this is the case, then is there any remedy for this “Cosmic Treason?”
The answer is a resounding “YES!”
In the Christian New Testament, Saint Paul writes in the book of Romans and in the 6th chapter and in the 23 verse that “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord..”
The “YES” is found in the very nature and meaning of CHRISTMAS.
Christmas properly understood is GOD doing for sinful, evil, and hopeless humanity what mankind cannot do for themselves – and that is namely that GOD placed the penalty of SIN on the very back and body of His SON JESUS CHRIST.
Christmas represents GOD taking on human flesh (a process and doctrine known as the Incarnation) and becoming one with humanity so that GOD could cure the hopelessness and evil of the human heart.
GOD instructs human beings to embrace the supernatural and sacrificial work of CHRIST by receiving the gift of His Son through “Repentance.”
Repentance is a Greek word known as “metanoia.”
Metanoia literally means to “change one’s mind” it carries with it the connotation of a change in one’s way of life resulting from penitence or spiritual conversion.
The only way to ultimately deal with evil and injustice is by cutting it off at its roots.
Over the past 2,000 years believers in CHRIST – as The MESSIAH or the one who saves and redeems humanity – have proclaimed that in CHRIST there is an ultimate answer that successfully transforms the evil in our hearts into a beautiful oasis of love, peace, joy, goodness, grace – and love for GOD and love for all of humanity.
MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR!