Advent is the season and time to not only reflect upon what is true, but what is relevant in consequence. The effects of human frailty are apparent. The cause of these effects is less obvious when ignored from the viewpoint of the results of interwoven human nature in a fallen world.
In the world today, those of a secular world view can agree with those of a Christian world view that temptation and evil coexist in the world. Secular confirmation of this fact can be determined from the example of human nature and the reality of existential problems of people in society today. Christian confirmation of this fact is recorded in the Bible.
In Genesis, the Garden of Eden is described as paradise. Yet, in paradise, two things existed that required discipline in character to enjoy the benefits of a perfectly ordered society. These two challenges to be confronted were temptation and evil. The forbidden fruit was described by the “great deceiver,” Satan, to be the elixir that would provide all knowledge. Evil temptation is always propositioned with a lie.
To complete the order of paradise, God gave mankind free will to reject temptation and defeat evil. God seeks a relationship wherein people choose Him by their own free will to live with Him in trust that He is omniscient in wisdom. His laws are absolute truth. And in obeying Him through one’s free will, a perfect relationship is established with the promise of the benefits of paradise.
Human frailty is a collective reality of humankind. Evil exploits human frailty for personal gain, political power, or the fulfillment of lustful desires. Human evil is as much a part of the societal story as human frailty. Evil may be pursued out of selfish need, misguided judgement, or even unrequited revenge. The worst kind of evil is embraced by those who enjoy it.
To bridle evil, citizens must declare that which is acceptable and that which is unacceptable. Foundational values must be absolute. A society that only believes in transient guidelines becomes a culture wherein there are no binding principles. A culture without values recognizes no absolute truths. A culture without truths leaves the door open for the lies of temptation to become the evil principle unchecked. In such an environment, human frailty is exacerbated in vulnerability. Evil then exploits the opportunity. In such a society, uncommitted to transcendent absolute truths, the combination of human frailty and evil exploitation overwhelms the entire societal ecosystem. Secularists have great difficulty addressing this connection of frailty and exploitation.
Because, without absolute truth, there is no clear definition of evil. Therefore, evil continues to skate along on the edges of society and only the symptoms of the consequences are addressed by government policy.
The prayer of the Christian faith is the Lord’s Prayer. The most important call is to give praise and glory to God. For themselves Christians ask, “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”
The path to destruction is paved with the unrealistic intentions that temptation can be controlled one step at a time. Telling oneself, “I will steal just this once, I will sniff cocaine just this once, I will betray my friends just this once, I will denounce my country just this once, I will defy my Lord just this once,” sets the hook of the “great lie” that you are independent in your own wisdom and without need of commitment to absolute truth. Such a society leaves our children defenseless in the face of the “great lie of evil,” real to Christians by faith and real to secularists by fact of reality.
The Bible directs Christians to seek knowledge, with knowledge get wisdom, with wisdom, understanding, and with understanding, then brotherly love. Knowledge is knowing the absolute truths. Wisdom is committing to obey them. Understanding is recognizing the interwoven natures of mankind. And then realizing how obeying God’s laws renders brotherly love and a personal relationship with the Lord. It is critical that each of us decide for ourselves and for our families what is absolute truth. Stating this truth and defending it against all lies is the essence of the bonds of humanity that defends us against evil intentions.
Call evil what it is. Never compromise on the values of absolute truth. Stand against those who would exploit the frailty of human nature.
In this season of Advent, reflect upon this admonition of the Lord’s Prayer and what it means to you. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.
What do you believe?