God’s plan is that the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified during the Church Age. One important reason for this is that every human being will have an opportunity to make a decision to accept Christ as Savior. Therefore, when we say that Christ is glorified during the Church Age, we are saying that Christ is the celebrated Person of the Church Age, the focus of attention.
For this reason, one of the Holy Spirit’s main functions during the Church Age is to glorify Christ and to make Him known to all people.
John 16:13,14, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you.”
It is also the responsibility of Christians to glorify Christ by their own lives; and the Holy Spirit provides the power for us to be able to do that. The believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and this glorification occurs on the inside of the believer.
1 Cor. 6:19,20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
And the Church (the Body of Christ) participates in bringing glory to God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Eph. 3:20,21 “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
But, Satan is Christ’s enemy and is completely opposed to any activity that glorifies Christ. Satan’s strategy has always been to oppose Christ at every turn and to turn human beings away from Christ whenever possible. Satan has specific strategies in his campaign against both unbelievers and Christians.
The unbeliever is made blind to gospel information by being distracted by Satan and by exercising negative volition toward the Word of God. While Satan does not force anyone to be lost, he uses every means to steer the unbeliever away from the truth. His ultimate weapons in this are religion and humanism. He tries to promote the glorification and deification of mankind while downgrading the Lord Jesus Christ.
Satan doesn’t give up when a person accepts Christ as Savior. He has a strategy regarding believers which is very subtle and far-reaching. Satan accuses believers before God. The sins of the Christian are observed by the fallen angels and reported. Satan tries to keep the believer from the Word of God. He encourages Christians to ignore the Word and accept false teaching so that they will revert to their former manner of life.
In short, Satan does everything possible to keep people from being saved; or, if a person does get saved, Satan tries to keep that person from being effective in the Christian life.
Satan’s total plan, or strategy, is known as Evil. In the Bible, “Evil” is the technical term used for Satan’s world strategy. As such, “Evil” is an objective term and has specific meaning and implication. The word “Evil” is capitalized in this paper to show that it is the title of Satan’s plan.
Definition of Evil
1 Thess. 5:22, “Abstain from every form of Evil.”
To obey this command it is necessary to learn what Evil is and what forms it takes…
The word “Evil” has a distinct technical and categorical meaning in the Word of God. It is not simply a generic word referring to anything that is bad or sinful.
The word “Evil” refers specifically to the policy of Satan as the ruler of this world. Evil is the modus operandi of Satan from the time of his fall throughout the angelic revolution and down to the point when be became the ruler of the world.
Satan is directly opposed to anything involving the Lord Jesus Christ. Satan’s is devoted to distorting or obscuring any truth related to Christ.
2 Cor. 4:3,4 “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
Evil is Satan’s system by which he administers the rulership of this world. He uses his world rulership to try to bring about the downfall of Jesus Christ. Failing that, Satan tries to turn as many people away from Christ as possible.
Through Evil, Satan brings about two major consequences on earth: sin and human good (the motivation of Evil), both of which are based on errors in thinking. The sin of self-righteousness combined with human good or sincerity produces a saturation of Evil in a nation.
One of the main reasons for learning about Evil from the Bible is to learn that man cannot solve his problems by human solutions. Any effective solution to a human problem is a divine solution. And there is an answer in the Bible for every human need or problem.
Anything that is outside of the plan of God is part of Satan’s strategy of Evil. Therefore, any person who is consistently involved in the cosmic (Satanic) system is directly involved with Evil.
Evil results in the destruction of society, the malfunction of society. Evil causes the removal of legitimate authority and its function under the laws of divine establishment. Just as grace and doctrine represent the genius of God in relationship to the human race, so Evil represents the genius of Satan in relationship to the human race.
Therefore, what you and how you think is very important.
There are two ways of thinking:
Divine viewpoint is thinking doctrine, which glorifies Christ.
Human viewpoint is thinking Evil, which dishonors Christ.
Therefore, the issue is thought vs thought.
Evil attempts to produce a human good panacea which is expected to solve the problems of life apart from doctrine and divine establishment. So, Evil is often a distortion of doctrine or a distortion of the laws of divine establishment. Satan’s original sin was a distortion of doctrine.
Evil comes in many forms:
Distortion of the law
Bribery in government
Reducing the military
Evil produces the erroneous concept of “brotherly love.” The whole idea of government trying to abolish sickness, mental illness, economic problems, frustrations, and human problems by legislation and human solutions is Evil.
The world’s problems can never be solved apart from Bible doctrine and the laws of divine establishment.
Evil also includes:
Restriction of human freedom for the greater good
Distortion of law to solve social and economic problems
Interference of government in business and free enterprise
Satan: The Originator of Evil
Evil originated and existed before human history. The means by which it was transmitted from previous creature existence to human history is Satan himself.
The origin of Evil is Satan’s genius to devise a system to oppose God.
Evil originated in angelic creation in the greatest creature to ever come from the hand of God.
Satan controls most of Christianity through his cosmic system. The thing that makes people function in the cosmic system is arrogance.
Satan’s plan is related to beating Christ to the Millennium with his own attempt to produce a perfect world. The more the world follows his plan, the greater the degeneracy which occurs.
Satan’s plans always look good to the stupid, but it always results in degeneracy.
Refer to L. S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. 2, pp. 100-101, 108-111.
1 John 3:8, “When anyone commits a sin, he has become the agent of the devil.”
The sin nature is usually the source of temptation; volition is the source of sin.
Your decision to sin puts you immediately into the cosmic system, making you the agent of Satan.
The works of the devil can only be destroyed by functioning inside the plan of God. We are the products of our own decisions; therefore, we bring disaster on ourselves.
Biblical Conclusions About Evil
- The mature believer should be able to distinguish between sin and Evil.
Heb 5:13-14 “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and Evil.”
- Motivating Evil exists in the thought pattern of the soul. Evil and degeneracy start with a thought. It takes lots of doctrine to reject Evil. The Christian walk is the only real protection against Evil.
Matt. 6:23, “But if your eye is Evil, the entire body is full of darkness [cosmic involvement].”
Matt. 15:19, “For out of the mind come Evil thoughts.”
- “Love” refers to the spiritual love which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Personal love can think Evil, but impersonal love, a function of the royal family, cannot think Evil.
1 Cor. 13:5 “Love does not behave dishonorably, is not preoccupied with self, is not hypersensitive, does not think Evil.”
- God protects the believer who is occupied with Christ and who has positive volition to doctrine.
Prov 12:21, “No Evil happens to the righteous.”
Ps 37:17 “But the Lord sustains the righteous.”
Ps 91:10, “No Evil will befall you; you who love the Lord hate Evil. The Lord preserves the souls of His mature ones; He delivers them from the hands of the Evil one.”
Ps 121:7, “The Lord will protect you from all Evil; He will guard your soul.”
Prov 2:11-13, “The wise sees the Evil and hides himself, but the stupid goes on and is punished for it.”
- A believer who walks in the cosmic system can expect to be frustrated by Evil.
Rom 7:19, “For what I desire I do not do, but what I do not desire [Evil], this I keep practicing.”
- The believer is warned to beware of those who practice Evil, Phil 3:2. Not tavern owners and drug dealers, but the respectable …
Even legitimate things are mutilated or distorted. To beware does not necessarily mean to avoid but to understand.
- Sincere do-gooders are the major practitioners of Evil. The more involved you are in sincere human good crusades, the more you intensify your Evil.
3 Jn 11. “Beloved, do not be imitators of the Evil but of the good.”
- Those who are under the influence of Evil always have a price.
It is a dangerous temptation to any poor believer to chase after money so as to neglect Bible doctrine. Actually, this verse applies to the love of any detail of life.
1 Tim 6:10, “The love of money is the root of all Evils.”
- Influence by Evil explains why prayers are not answered.
Job 35:12, “There they cry out, but He does not answer because of the pride of Evil men.”
This explains the pattern of saying “no” to truth, building callous on the soul, intensifying arrogance into self-pity, self-righteousness, and guilt, and therefore coming to believe the lie.
- Believers are often led into the cosmic system and Evil by their Christian friends.
1 Cor. 15:33, “Evil companions corrupt good morals.”
2 Thess. 3:2-3, “That we may be delivered from perverse and Evil men, for all believers do not have doctrine; but the Lord is faithful and He will strengthen you and protect you from Evil.”
- The attitude of the mature believer toward Evil is stated in:
Ps 84:10. “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand days in the cosmic system. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of My Lord than to dwell in the tents of Evil.”
Submission to the authority of establishment prevents Evil and the influence of Evil, Eccl 8:2-5.
The laws of divine establishment are designed to protect the citizens of the nation from Evil.
Rom 13:3-4 implies that the unbeliever can function successfully within divine establishment when he follows establishment truth. “Do you desire not to fear the authority? Therefore, keep on doing the good and you will have recognition from it. For it [government] is a minister of God to you for the purpose of good. But if you do Evil, be afraid. For he does not wear the sword for nothing.”
- By protecting against Evil, the laws of divine establishment give freedom and protection for evangelization and for the teaching of Bible doctrine. The only limitation on crime is humility and respect for authority. Micah 1:12 teaches that our failure to cope with Evil leads to destruction of the nation.
Amos 5:14-15, “Hate Evil, love good, and establish justice in the court; consequently, the Lord God of the armies will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.”
- Evil is distinguished from war and disease, Jer 28:8. Sin and Evil occur in war, but war as a category is not Evil. War brings national freedom. War is not sin; it is inevitable and a necessity. Disease in itself is not sinful, though sin and Evil are associated with disease. Not all people who are sick are being disciplined by God.
The Relationship of Evil to Arrogance
Mental attitude arrogance is anything related to preoccupation with self to the point of sin, human good, or Evil. It is satisfaction with self and dissatisfaction with others and with God.
Negative volition arrogance is related to preoccupation with self and causes apathy toward doctrine. The authority of the pastor or the message of the Bible is rejected.
Impulsive arrogance is any abuse of authority.
Blind arrogance is the arrogance of legalism. In this a person is partially divorced from reality (sociopathic rather than psychotic). This includes self-righteous arrogance, in which a person fails to see in himself what he criticizes in others.
Arrogance toward institutions is rejection of the authority, policy, and purpose of a bona fide organization.
Conspiracy arrogance follows institutional arrogance and results in a conspiracy to overthrow the purpose, policy, or authority of an organization.
Criminal arrogance seeks to solve problems through violence. It is totally divorced from reality. It includes terrorist and revolutionary activities.
Crusader arrogance is the self-righteous arrogance of trying to straighten out the world. A person places his personal standards above the law or any form of establishment or authority. When criminal arrogance interlocks with crusader arrogance, there is terrorism or revolution.
Psychotic arrogance is total divorcement from all reality. It is a result of bad decisions, not genetics. It is intense concentration on self. It is the emotional control of reason.
Sexual arrogance is preoccupation with sex and self-gratification. It is preoccupation with the body to the exclusion of the soul.
Genetic arrogance is assuming that greatness in life is inherited. Parents who seek recognition through the achievement of their children have this type of arrogance.
Political arrogance is a result or companion or crusader arrogance. It tries to offer human solutions to life’s problems. Liberals and conservatives both suffer from political arrogance.
Client nation arrogance emphasizes the laws of divine establishment and the function of government leadership in terms of arrogance versus humility.
Client nation arrogance is the failure of our elected representatives and arrogant bureaucracy to control the government.
Client nation arrogance is the collective arrogance of a people living in Satan’s world.
Monarchy is the rule of one man in the interest of the common good. Under arrogance this becomes tyranny, i.e., the rule of one man for his own advantage.
Aristocracy is the rule of a group in the interest of the common good. This degenerates to an oligarchy, which is the rule of a group for their own benefit, as the cosmic system influences the nation.
A republic is the rule of the better part of the people in the interest of common good. But when arrogance comes, it degenerates into a democracy, which is the rule of the worst part of the people for their own benefit.
In authority arrogance, the individual fails to make the most difficult transition of temporal life, which is going from the authority in the home to freedom in life. The home is organized humility. The parents’ authority is enforced humility, and child’s response to enforced humility produces genuine humility. Rejection of overt authority in life results in rejection of inward authority of the soul, and that destroys a person’s self-discipline.
Arrogance of Ignorance. Genuine humility is necessary for the transition from authority in the home to freedom in life and from ignorance at salvation to wisdom at spiritual maturity. Genuine humility is teachability to make that transition. The arrogance of ignorance is the failure to make that transition from ignorance to cognizance in the Christian way of life.
In the arrogance of unhappiness, self-centeredness eliminates any capacity or possibility for happiness. Involvement in the world guarantees unhappiness and leads to erroneous ideas about what constitutes happiness. This means you expect others to make you happy. Entertainment and marriage is for people who are already happy. But with the arrogance of unhappiness, you have a martyr complex which results in trying to control people by giving them a guilt complex. This is how the weak control the strong.
The arrogance of morality is the self-righteous arrogance of superimposing false standards of morality on others. People major in one moral thing so they can rationalize and say they are better than everyone else in that area. This is superimposing a false standard of morality on others or taking a true standard out of its context, e.g., salvation. Morality is designed to protect human freedom.
The arrogance of emotion is irrationality. Arrogant people stop thinking and so their emotion becomes their substitute for thought. This is total preoccupation with self related to emotion. Knowledge is the environment for thinking. Bible doctrine is the environment for decisions. Emotional arrogance fantasizes and therefore collapses under pressure.
In the arrogance of pseudo-generosity, a person gives because of a desire for attention, approbation, or to buy friendship or happiness. 2 Cor. 9:7-11 teaches that the function of genuine generosity is found in the mind.
Arrogance of Christian service. Loss of momentum comes from rejection of doctrine and substituting Christian service for spirituality. Christian service becomes a distraction to momentum. Production is a result of growth, never the means. Perpetuation of Christian service while in the cosmic system is the arrogance of Christian service. Arrogance mistakes Christian service for growth and momentum.
The arrogance of discouragement is preoccupation with self under pressure and testing. Unexplained disaster tempts the believer to feel sorry for himself. Being maligned, treated unfairly, or facing the death of loved ones are the kinds of disaster or pressure that bring this on. (Matt. 26:58, 1 Kings 19:10.)
Arrogance of Lust. When legitimate desire is linked with arrogance, it becomes lust. Inordinate desire is lust. Desire is not wrong, but lust is. Lust is arrogant preoccupation with one’s desires.
Pseudo-intellectual arrogance is the superimposition of human I. Q. over spiritual IQ. Arrogance rejects divine viewpoint. It glorifies human speculation to the exclusion of Bible doctrine, or seeks to reconcile Bible doctrine with false philosophical, psychological, and scientific speculation; e.g., gnosticism.
The Results of Negative Volition to the Word of God
Negative volition to doctrine. A person resists doctrine because he is antagonistic to truth, to God, and to the things of God. He is the enemy of God’s plan. Evil, before it ever becomes a function or action, is a thought or motive. People are degenerate because of the way they think, not because of what they do. You have to be preoccupied with yourself before you can be negative to doctrine. This is characterized by antagonism toward everyone associated with the Christian life. There are three categories of negative volition:
Negative volition at God-consciousness. This is the point of accountability which occurs at different ages depending on the culture. God-consciousness can occur in a number of ways.
Teleological thinking says a structure demands a designer.
Cosmological thinking says the intuitive law of cause and effect demands the existence of God.
Ontological thinking says that since the human mind possesses the idea of a perfect Being, such a Being must exist. There must be an absolute which gives character to the relative.
Anthropological thinking says that man’s soul possesses both volition and conscience with an urge to choose right rather than wrong, and that the structure of society is based on the recognition of virtue and truth.
Theological thinking says that God must exist because men universally believe in His existence. Heathen are heathen because of negative volition at God-consciousness or Gospel hearing, Rom 1:18-25.
Negative volition at Gospel hearing. Rejection of Jesus Christ leaves a person outside of God’s plan: 1 Cor 1:18; 2 Cor 4:3-4; 2 Pet 2:20-22.
Negative volition to doctrine. The believer immediately enters this area when he rejects the communicator or the message. Emotional arrogance is a big reason for this.
2 Cor 6:11, “You are hindered by your own emotions.”
The negative Christian becomes selective in what he thinks, thus rejecting anything resembling truth. Then he leans on his emotions for pleasure, thereby misusing emotion, Rom 16:17-18.
Worldly (cosmic) degeneration occurs hen a Christian becomes antagonistic to truth and enters into a state of degeneracy. Degeneracy is in the mind long before it is in actions. Rom 1:24-27 illustrates, “they who exchange the doctrine of God for a lie.”
Anti-establishment activity occurs when the soul is antagonistic to the laws of divine establishment and authority. 2 Tim 3:2-3 teaches that this begins in the home with “disobedience to parents.” This is ingrained antagonism toward authority.
Rom 1:28-32 is the best illustration of anti-establishment thinking and activity.
Panaceas are Man’s attempts to improve the world and are always sponsored by Satan. Any solution sought apart from divine truth is a cosmic panacea. A cosmic panacea is an Evil (Satanic) solution which tries to keep the Lord Jesus Christ out of the picture.
The world’s panaceas reject any salvation by grace or spirituality by grace.
Instead of freedom, there is the demand for equality.
“The end always justifies the means,” is the motto of the believer participating in this. He believes in redistribution of wealth, over-taxation, legislation to solve all problems, sameness in life, big government and little people where citizens are slaves of the state, regulation of private enterprise, confiscation of private property, and utopianism.
Cosmic panaceas lead to violence, terrorism, and revolution under the principle of social engineering.
The state trains the children to be obedient to the dictates of the state rather than to parents. There is a total rejection of freedom and authority.
Religion is Satan’s counterfeit of the plan of God. Christianity is not a religion, but is a relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ. Religion is man by man’s efforts seeking to gain the approbation of God. 2 Cor 11 describes religious leaders. 2 Tim 3:7-8, “these religious types oppose doctrine, are men of depraved mind [degenerate], disqualified from blessing with regard to doctrine” See also 2 Pet 2:1-3.
Anthropocentric (man-centered) academic speculation is motivated by pseudo-intellectual arrogance. This is the attempt to reconcile philosophical and scientific speculation with doctrine. When this can’t be done, the person rejects doctrine and seeks a substitute. The more arrogant you are, the more you are attracted to academic speculation.
Grace Versus Evil
Every generation has to choose between the grace policy of God, represented by the cross, and the Evil policy of Satan. This issue has never left the human race. The genius of God has perpetuated the issue of volition throughout human history and throughout the human race.
Therefore, the issue before the royal family is: are you influenced by doctrine or by Evil? Our parents in the Garden faced this same issue.
Grace is the means by which doctrinal principles are elucidated; Evil as Satan’s policy is the means by which false doctrine is inculcated, Prov 11:18-19, 14:22, 15:3, 16:6, 22:3, 24:1-4; Eph. 5:16; 2 Thess. 3:2-3.
These passages present some of the following principles.
Divine omniscience provides discipline for Evil and blessing for doctrine.
Thinking you are an island unto yourself is in itself Evil.
The ultimate result of the pursuit of Evil for the believer is the sin unto death. This is the most suffering any believer can ever endure, but he deserves every bit of it.
Now, just as in the beginning, when you partake of the “forbidden fruit” of Evil, you receive tremendous divine discipline. Just as what you eat from a tree becomes a part of you, so when you partake of Evil it becomes a part of you. And simply by being filled with human good and Evil, you bring on yourself a whole system of self-induced misery and divine discipline.
Eph 5:16 summarizes all these principles of Evil found in Proverbs. You redeem time by the filling of the Spirit and maximum doctrine in your soul, which at the same time kills off Evil.
Knowledge of the Word of God neutralizes Evil in the soul, Ps 54:5; Rom 12:21.
Once under the influence of Evil, the only possible recovery comes from learning doctrine.
Grace does not come through when you are under the influence of Evil.
It is impossible for any of God’s attributes to be Evil. He is minus all the Evil things Satan does all the time. That there is no Evil in God indicates the great dividing line in the angelic conflict
Protection from Evil
The believer in fellowship is protected from Evil.
Satan wants you to drop your guard and go negative toward doctrine, Ps. 21:11, 23:4; Prov 12:12,20,21; Gen 48:16; Gen 50:20, “They meant it for Evil, but God meant it for good.”
There is no coexistence with both Evil and inner happiness. However, sin and happiness can coexist. Do you know anyone happier than David, or anyone who lived better than David? You can be happy living in your sins.
There is divine protection from Evil for the positive believer:
Ps.37:16-19, “They [positive believers] will not be ashamed in the time of Evil; in the day of depression they will still have abundance.”
Ps. 91:10, 97:10, 119:101, 121:7; Prov. 2:10-14.
Prov 1:33, “He who listens to Me shall live in security, and shall be at ease without fear of Evil.”
Prov 16:6, “By occupation with the Lord, one avoids Evil.”
Prov 19:23 teaches that there is divine protection from Evil all around.
The more doctrine you have in your soul, the more you will love the Lord and the more you will hate Evil. All thoughts in life are actually fighting over your soul, Prov 3:7.
The negative believer immediately finds a great deal against which he can react, and he moves into the stages of reversion. Remember that Satan offers him a pseudo-maturity status and pseudo prosperity. Satan is capable of rewarding as the ruler of the world.
So the constant intake of doctrine is the only insulation from Evil, because doctrine goes where Evil would reside; i.e., in the mind, and there doctrine combats Evil.