Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Good and Evil

A man in our Sunday school class made several comments on the material we were studying, but one kind of stood out in my mind, "All evil is sin, but not all sin is evil." His claim was that a man can do good yet sill sin (wrong motives, etc), but he is still doing good, not evil. I know that in the eyes of others the man is doing good, but in the eyes of God is the man doing good? Is man capabable of good apart from God? Does anyone care to weigh in? Any verses you can think of to support or deny this assertion? Verses that come to my mind are:

Genesis 6:5
Romans 3:12


Patrick O'Hara said...

Good is following God's will, evil is not following God's will. Therefore no one can do good without God, but not all who follow God's will know that they are. God motivates people in many ways, some more direct than others. In the eyes of man there will always be examples (Mother Theresa, Gandi, Pasture) of good men and women who are not following God.

Pat O

Joel B. said...

The verse that comes to my mind is Rom 14:23. The context is somewhat lengthy, but in short Paul said that he is convinced that nothing is unclean of itself, and that those who are weak in the faith (Paul's example: those who don't eat meat) and those who aren't weak in the faith (those who are free to eat meat) shouldn't judge each other. In the end he says, "But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

So the "free" person is not really free because he really doubts. Or going along with your post, he may be doing "good" (or at least what he is free to do in the eyes of the Lord), but since he's not doing it in faith, but rather in doubt, he is really sinning.

In a big way I think faith/doubt is the key to everything. I think Adam and Eve had it good in the garden, but it was doubt (of the truth that God had told them) that caused them to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Abraham was justified by faith, although he did a lot of evil things. I mean, seriously, his life was far from white as snow. :) But he was righteous in God's eyes because he believed Him. Gen 15:6 And he believed the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

Upon God's promise and Abraham's response, hangs the whole matter of what our life in Christ is all about. I think the Romans scripture is not about being "condemned" by God (there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus), but I think it means that a person is putting himself in the place of a hypocrite for judging another, and it's more blessed to have your faith "before God" (vs 22). "Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves."

I think what I'm getting at is that good and evil isn't so much a black and white list of "good things" and "evil things," but a matter of a conscious of faith or of doubt towards God.

I'm not sure how much sense that makes. It sounded good as I was writing it but I'm not sure how it came across. :-D

Anonymous said...

Hello! I found your Blog page off of Aida Carter's Blog-Forgetting the Former Things. I've recently become a commentor on The God Journey Forum ( as well as Darin Hufford's Free Believers forum (

I love the fact that you provide some excellent thought-provoking statements, then ask commentors on their ideas. Love that...interactive and relationship-based. As for me, I agree with elements of both Patrick's and Joel's ideas. Additionally, however, I'd like to add that TRULY God is the only one who can ultimately what is in the heart's and minds of each and every person - God's child or not -regarding one's motives. If a motive is of unselfish Love, I believe God sees that as good, because Love is good.

In any case, I look forward to reading more of your posts here on your page.

~Amy :)

Gary Kirkham said...

Thanks everyone for your have given me some good feedback. I am still pondering it.