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Summary: 1. Our problem is the condition of sin. 2. Our problem is committing sins. 3. The soulution to our problem is forgiveness and transformation.

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It is an interesting illustration, and it does have some truth in it, but it can also be misleading. For this reason: evil is not a negative or passive force. It does not exist in a vacuum. Evil is real, as we have been seeing in the headlines this week.

When God created the world, he stepped back and looked at it all and the Bible says, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:3). The creation which God made was good, but something has spoiled it. As the Scripture today said, the creation was subjected to frustration; it is in bondage to decay, and it is groaning as if it were experiencing the pain of childbirth. And we are groaning too as we wait for God to give the final answer and deliver the world from evil.

It was not something passive that spoiled the world, but something that was actively at work to spoil it. It was not the absence of God, for God has never been absent from the world — therefore evil cannot be just the absence of God. It was something else. We call that something “evil.” The Bible speaks of evil as being a personal force. It talks of the Satan or devil. So, the question is: “Since the devil exists, didn’t God create the devil and therefore create evil?”

This leads to the second point: Evil exists because God created moral beings. Both men and angels were given free will — that is, the ability and freedom to choose between good and evil. In the beginning Satan was an angel. In fact, he was the greatest and most glorious of all the angels. But it was not enough for him to be the highest of all created beings. He wanted to take God’s place. The Bible describes what happened next: “And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down — that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him” (Revelation 12:7-9). The greatest created being became the lowest created being because of his rebellion against God. God did not create Satan as evil; he created a good and great angel of light who had moral freedom and will. Satan is not another god or spiritual being who rivals God in power. Satan once was an angel of God who fell from God, and led others to follow him in his rebellion. The Bible says, “And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home — these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day” (Jude 1:6). Lucifer, the angel of light, became Satan the ruler of darkness. The angels who fell with him became what we commonly refer to as demons — twisted evil caricatures of what they at one time were.

So God did not create the devil as the devil. He created a good, powerful and glorious being who used his moral freedom to rebel against God. And he is the source of much of the evil, tragedy and hardship in the world. But there is another source, and it is again from free moral agents — the men and women of earth. We have joined in the devil’s rebellion and revolt against God. We have agreed that we want to be free from God and have our own way. We want to be like God without being subject to God. That was the sin of Adam and Eve. The Bible tells what happened: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”’ ‘You will not surely die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’” (Genesis 3:3-5). When Adam and Eve fell to the temptation of wanting to be like God and rebelled against him, something terrible happened to them and the world. Theologians call it the “Fall.” Adam and Eve’s appearance changed. They were no longer naked and unashamed; they were covered and ashamed. They hid from God. The world around them changed. It lost much of its beauty and friendliness. Nature was now set against man. His work would become hard and there would no longer be a paradise, but an unpredictable and dangerous world. Life would be hard in this world that had now set itself against God. We can actually feel the world groaning under the weight of sin.

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