Is Evil Necessary?

Certain religions and philosophies see evil and good as eternal forces that will always exist in the universe. Both are necessary for the right operation of the universe. Evil and good are opposites that require each other. If there were no evil, there could be no good. The yin and yang is a classic picture of this viewpoint.

A more modern version of this concept is the idea that evil is absence of good. Just like dark is the absence of light and cold is the absence of heat so evil is the absence of good. Since there is light dark must also exist. Since good exists, there must also be evil. But must it?

Evil is not necessary. God existed for eternity before creating the universe. God existed without evil. God continues to exist without evil. God will exist through all the eternity to come without evil. Evil is not necessary to God, but what about to men?

When God created the universe everything was perfect. Satan had not rebelled and man had not sinned. How long things lasted before sin is unknown. The universe functioned just fine without sin.

Evil is not just the absence of good. Evil is the rejection of God. Sin originated in Satan when he determined to rebel against the rule of God. Sin came into the world when man doubted the goodness of God and chose to reject God’s commands in favor of a promise to be like God. Evil is always the rejection of good and rebellion against God.

Evil is not necessary. Evil is sand in the gears of creation. Evil is a destructive influence that hinders the proper working of all things. Evil and all the consequences of sin- death, pain and sorrow- are not necessary. They will not last. The present age is marred by evil but this age is short.

A time is coming when all evil be removed from the universe. All of wicked humanity, all the rebel angels and Satan himself will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. The influence of evil upon the universe will be removed.

The universe that now exists is entirely corrupted by sin. “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together.” (Romans 8:22) God will destroy this universe. “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10) God will create a new universe which will be as perfect as the original creation. Revelation 21 and 22 describe the coming universe as eternally unstained by sin.

Evil is not necessary. Evil exists for a brief time, but the eternal universe which is coming will be forever free of sin and all its consequences.

Who made God?

Zeus, the king of the Greek gods, was the child of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. He ascended to throne of the gods by overthrowing his father.

The father of the Viking gods, Odin, was the son of Bor and grandson of the first viking god, Buri. Buri came from the icefields of Niflheim and was uncovered by a giant frost cow’s licking of the ice. Odin became the chief of the gods as a result of his role in defeating the frost ogre Ymir, making the world from Ymir’s corpse and giving life to the first humans.

Many ancient religions represent their chief gods as the offspring of another. Imagining gods as having ancestors is logical since every living being has a predecessor. Human experience teaches that life comes from preexisting life. What about the God of the Bible? What is the story of His origin?

The Bible presents God as without origin. This is hard to fathom, since all we know has an origin. Human reasoning rightly recognizes that something that has no beginning does not exist. Except, God exists without a beginning.

God has always existed. Reach far back into the ancient depths of eternity and God is there. His existence stretches away into a realm which we cannot comprehend. In the dark past before the creation of the universe God eternally existed.
Psalm 90:2, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”
Psalm 93:2, “Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.”

God has no antecedent. No one, no being, no universe, no force, no energy, no thought, nothing, came before God. He owes His existence to none. He follows after none.
Isaiah 44:6, “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”

None came before God and God has eternally existed. As difficult as it is to comprehend, there has never been a point when God did not exist. God never sprang into existence. God never caused Himself to exist. God has always existed.

God has eternally existed because He is not dependent on any. In His infinite perfection God requires no one and no thing to complete Him or to assist Him. God is eternally self-existent. Everything else that exists, whether it be spiritual or physical, material or immaterial owes its existence to God. Space, energy, time, force, matter, spirit, angel and demon were all created by the uncreated Creator. Nothing created God.

Lest there be any confusion on this point, the Triune Godhead has eternally existed as a Trinity. The Father, Son and Spirit eternally existed. None were brought into existence by another. No person of the Trinity is dependent on the other for His existence. God has eternally existed as a Trinity.

The eternal existence of God is incredibly difficult to understand. Everything we know is dependent on something else. God is infinitely greater than everything else. The truth of His eternal self-existence highlights the unfathomable magnitude of God’s greatness.

Since Gehenna is a physical place of punishment, doesn’t that mean hell is not eternal torment?

Gehenna is a place of judgment mentioned in the Old Testament. When Jesus’ speaks of hell He several times refers to it as Gehenna. Since Jesus refers to Gehenna in identical terms as those used in Isaiah 66 doesn’t this mean that hell cannot possibly be a place of eternal torment?

The place described in Isaiah 66 is one where Divine judgment falls on wicked humanity at the beginning of the Millennium. When Jesus returns to the earth to establish His millenial kingdom He will do several things. He will imprison Satan in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-3). He will judge the unbelievers who remain alive on the earth at this time. (Matthew 25:31-46) He will throw the Antichrist and the False Prophet into the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 19:20) He will defeat the armies of the world that have united in warfare against Him. (Revelation 19:19-21) The defeat of the rebel armies and of the antichrist will take place at the battle of Armageddon.

Isaiah does not tell the identity of the wicked ones who are slain and cast into the place of judgment. Possibility they are the corpses of the soldiers slain in battle. Possibly they are those who will refuse to obey Jesus during the millennium. Whoever they are makes no difference to the point of Isaiah. God promises shameful death to those who rebel against His Messiah.

Since Jesus referenced this place of judgment in His descriptions of hell, doesn’t that mean hell is just a temporary place of physical punishment? Hell cannot possibly be a place of eternal torment if the Bible never describes it as a place of eternal suffering and if the Bible never uses familiar, earthly imagery to describe eternal realities.

The Bible is very clear that the suffering of the wicked is an eternal suffering. Two passages will suffice to show this Biblical truth.
Revelation 14:9-11, “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”
In this passage those who receive the mark of the beast, that is all the unsaved during the time of the Great Tribulation, will suffer eternal punishment. The smoke of their torment ascends up forever. Lest anyone imagine this only refers to the smoke that tormented them, the passage goes on to say they have no rest, day nor nor night. Their torment is a constant, unending torment.
Revelation 20:10, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
Three persons, two human and one angelic, are cast into the lake of fire. Their torment is eternal, forever and ever. Their suffering is continual, day and night. God has plainly declared in His Word that the judgment of the wicked is one of eternal suffering.

The Bible is prolific in its use of the earthly and familiar to describe the eternal. Jesus uses the manna in the wilderness to describe Himself. He describes believing in Him in terms of eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Does this mean that Jesus will fade in the midday sun like manna did? Is Jesus available six days a week, but not on Saturday? Is cannibalism necessary for conversion? The questions themselves show the absurdity of such an argument. What about the serpent in the wilderness? Is Jesus a bronze snake? Is salvation only for those who have been bitten by poisonous vipers? The tabernacle in the wilderness was a picture of the heavenly tabernacle. Does this mean the heavenly tabernacle was made of badger skins? These are just a few of the many examples of the Bible using physical, temporary things to teach of eternal things. Such things aid our understanding of truth, but must be understand in light of the point being made and in light of the broader context of Scripture.

Jesus’ use of Gehenna does not disprove eternal torment. His picturesque language does not limit the suffering of the wicked. It graphically depicts in understandable terms the unending punishment the unsaved will endure.

Will we know our loved ones in heaven?

One question that weighs on the hearts of many who have lost ones who were very close to them is whether we will recognize those loved ones in heaven. The Bible does not specifically address this question, but it does offer some hints to help us answer this question. One such clue is from when Jesus was transfigured (Mark 9). When Peter, James and John saw a glimpse of Jesus’ glory they also saw two men standing with Him. These two men were Moses and Elijah. Though the disciples had never seen either of those men they recognized them for who they were. The text seems to indicate that they just knew, by some unknown means, who the men were. Though it is possible that Jesus later told the three men who was standing with Him and that part of the conversation was just not recorded for us. Another passage that gives some help in answering this question is Luke 16. Jesus recounts the tale of the rich man and Lazarus. After death, the rich man in hell was able to look across to heaven. He recognized Abraham, whom he had never known in life, and Lazarus whom he had seen in life. This passage is a pretty clear indication that though we will have been given glorified bodies Christians will still be able to recognize one another in eternity.

I do not think we will recognize one another because of similarities to our current physical appearance. In 1 Corinthians 15 we are told that the earthly body will be replaced with a glorified body. The glorified body will be free from the corruption of sin and delivered from all the infirmities of the earthly body. The glorified body will be as unlike the earthly body as a stalk of wheat is unlike the seed. Whatever the physical appearance will be, it seems that we will be able to identify one another in heaven.

Many who ask this question do so seeking comfort that they will be reunited with loved ones. The certainty of seeing loved ones again in heaven is very comforting, but the Biblical description of interactions in heaven all revolve around our relationship with God the Father and Jesus. The relationships between believers in eternity are going to be very different from our earthly ones. The joy of a spouse or beloved child will be replaced by much greater joys. The relationships will be unlike what they were in life, but that difference does not mean they will be inferior. The relationships in heaven will be greatly superior to any and all relationships on this earth. All believers will rejoice together in perfection, harmony and eternal praise to God.