Archive for the ‘Evil’ Category

Mortal Sins for the Noughties

March 10, 2008

So the Vatican has updated the of mortal sins to meet the needs of 21st century sinners. The new list includes environmental pollution; Genetic manipulation; Accumulating excessive wealth; Inflicting poverty;Drug trafficking and consumption; Morally debatable experiments; Violation of fundamental rights of human nature.  Abortion and paedophilia were also mentioned- although a spokesman said that cases involving Catholic priests had been exaggerated to discredit the church- I’m sure the victims don’t think they have been exposed clearly enough.

It of course begs the question of why add this new list of sins? Seemingly the problem is a dramatic falling off in the number of people attending confession. So the logic goes if you rbing the sins up to date people will confess. Interesting theory. The new sins are clearly directed towards corporate/social evil rather than personal responsibility. I fail to see how if people are refusing to face up to personal sin they are now going to go and confess to nameless, faceless corporate sin.

Of course the really key issue is the definition of sin and the problem of trying to define it in terms of specific acts.  The real problem with sin is the sinful human nature that leads to acts of sin and until that is dealt with then acts of sin will follow freely. And moving sins up and down a list of priorities is not going to change anything. Nothing less than a regenerate nature which is the fruit of Christ’s atoning sacrifice upon the cross can deal with mankind’s fallen nature.

The Vatican is falling into one of the great traps of our time- removing a sense of personal responsibility and culpability before God and replacing it with a generic sense of corporate evil. Not only does this undermine any sense of personal morality but it removes the gospel from ordinary people who are not engaged in corporate evil but who need the forgiveness that God alone can bring through Jesus Christ.

PS The original mortal sins were-Pride; Envy; Gluttony; Lust; Anger; Greed; Sloth

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We know God is there because of the evil in the world

December 13, 2007

In the 1990’s Romeo Dallaire, a Canadian career soldier, was posted to Rwanda in charge of UN forces. During his time there Dallaire witnessed the mutual slaughter of Hutu and Tutsi whilst the international community stood by. Over the course of 100 days he saw over 800,000 people being killed. Dallaire’s experiences left him distraught and destroyed. He was eventually discharged from the military suffering from PTSD.

In his autobiographical account of his experiences in Rwanda, ‘Shake Hands with the Devil’, Dallaire, who was brought up as a Catholic, makes the following comment, ‘I know there is a God because in Rwanda I shook hands with the devil. I have seen him, I have smelled him and I have touched him. I know there is a devil, and therefore I know there is a God.’ It is a striking comment about the nature of evil. Very often the modern mindset is how can there be a God if there is evil and suffering in the world? Dallaire puts the question in a rather different way. If there is evil in the world how can there not be a God?

It is an important question. For evil and suffering are only a problem if there is a God. If there is no God, no arbiter of justice in our universe, then evil and suffering are not a problem-they are normal. When we witness evil then in our hearts we cry out for justice because we know that the world is not the way it is supposed to be. We long for justice and it is God alone who can offer that justice. As Dallaire’s experiences in Rwanda show the great liberal idea of the goodness of man, an international community of nations working together for the good of mankind is just a myth. Instead nations led by sinful individuals are driven by self-interest. Rwanda, like other acts of genocides shows the reality of the rottenness of the human heart where machete wielders and passive politicians equally have blood on their hands.

There is no hope for humanity from within the human race. Our only hope is the God who breaks in from the outside. The God who gives a second Adam. A new head of humanity who brings with Him a kingdom of righteousness, holiness, justice and joy.

Why is there evil in the world? The explanation of that evil ultimately lies beyond our understanding. Indeed it may do so forever. But we know that God is not indifferent to that evil. Instead He gave His one and only Son Jesus into the hands of wicked men who put Him to death, so that by that death He might overcome the evil one and all who live under his rule.

Sadly as long as our world continues there will be other genocides. Because genocides occur because of the evil that lies in the heart of man and only God can deal with that evil. It is He and not the UN or any other organisation or individual who will bring justice to the earth.

Eight Things to do with Evil

September 17, 2007

In a recent sermon on the fall of Satan in his sermon series’Global Sins and their Spectacular Purpose in the Glory of Christ’ John Piper offers 8 things that we ought to do with evil-

  1. Expect evil
  2. Endure evil
  3. Give thanks to God
  4. Hate evil
  5. Pray for escape from evil
  6. Expose evil
  7. Overcome evil with good
  8. Resist evil

Then he also offers four things not to do with evil-

  1. Never despair that evil is out of God’s control
  2. Never give in to the sense that because of random evil life is absurd
  3. Never yield to the thought that God sins, is unjust or is unrighteous
  4. Never doubt that God is totally for you in Christ