King David was a good man. He had a deep love for God a yearning for justice, and an affection for the lowly. Yet, this same good king committed adultery with the wife of one of his trusted men. And after David discovered that the wife Bath-sheba, was pregnant by him he ultimately orchestrated the murder of her husband. He then married Bath-sheba in an attempt to cover his crimes.-2 Samuel 11:1-27.
It is evident that humans have the capacity for doing much good. Why, then, are they responsible for so much evil? The Bible identifies several fundamental reasons. It also reveals how God by means of Christ Jesus will remove evil once and for all.
An Inclination Toward Badness
King David himself identified one cause of evil acts. After his crimes were exposed, he accepted full responsibility for his actions. He then remorsefully wrote: “Look! With error I was brought forth with birth pains, and in sin my mother conceive children who would sin. However, when Eve and then Adam chose to rebel against God, they lost the ability to produce sinless children. (Romans 5:12) As the imperfect human race increased in number, it became evident that “the inclination of the heart of man is bad from his youth up.” -Genesis 8:21.
If left unchecked, this inclination toward badness results in “fornication, … enmities, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, contentions, divisions, sects, envies,” and other destructive behaviour that the Bible describes as “works of the flesh. II (Galatians 5:19-21) In the case of King David, he gave in to fleshly weakness and committed fornication, which resulted in strife.
(2 Samuel 12:1-12) He could have resisted his immoral inclination. Instead, by dwelling on his desire for Bath-sheba, David followed the pattern later described by the disciple James: “Each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death.” -James 1:14, 15.
The mass murders, rapes, and pillaging mentioned in the preceding article are extreme examples of what happens when people allow wrong desires to dictate their actions.
Evil Feeds on Ignorance
The apostle Paul’s experience highlights a second reason why people do evil things. By the time he died, Paul had gained a reputation as a gentle, affectionate man. He had ex-pended himself unselfishly in the service of his Christian brothers and sisters. (1 Thessalonians 2:7-9) Earlier in his life, though, when he was known by the name Saul, he was “breathing threat and murder against this very same group. (Acts 9:1, 2) Why did Paul condone and participate in the evil acts perpetrated against the early Christians? “Because I was ignorant, he says. (1Timothy 1:13) Yes, Paul formerly had “a zeal for God; but not according to accurate knowledge.1I -Romans 10:2.
Like Paul, many sincere people have engaged in evil acts because of a lack of accurate knowledge of God’s will. For example, Jesus warned his followers: “The hour is coming when everyone that kills you will imagine he has rendered a sacred service to God.1I (John 16:2) Jehovah’s present-day witnesses experience the truth of Jesus’ words. In many lands, they have been persecuted and even murdered by people claiming to serve God. Obviously, such misguided zeal does not please the true God.-1 Thessalonians 1:6.
The Originator of Evil
Jesus identified the principal reason for the existence of evil. Addressing the religious leaders who were intent on killing him, he said: “You are from your father the devil.
Saul condoned evil acts because he lacked accurate knowledge
Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a manslayer when he began.” (John 8:44) It was Satan who for selfish reasons enticed Adam and Eve into rebelling against God. That rebellion introduced sin and thus death to all mankind.
Satan’s murderous disposition was further exposed in the way in which he dealt with Job. When Jehovah granted him permission to test Job’s integrity, Satan was not content with stripping Job of his possessions. He also caused the death of his ten children. (Job 1: 9-19) In recent decades, mankind has experienced a surge in evil because of human imperfection and ignorance and also as a result of Satan’s increased meddling in human affairs. The Bible reveals that the Devil was “hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.” That same prophecy accurately foretold that Satan’s confinement would produce unprecedented “woe for the earth.” While Satan cannot force people to do evil things, he is a master at “misleading the entire inhabited earth.” -Revelation 12:9,12.
Culled from Awake.