The Bible has a lot to say about the concepts of good and evil. At the most fundamental level, the Bible presents God as the ultimate embodiment and source of good, while Satan represents the essence of evil. From the very beginning, the Bible sets up a dichotomy between good and evil, light and darkness.
One of the most well-known examples is the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis. God created the Garden of Eden and put Adam and Eve there to live in paradise. However, Satan tempts them to eat the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. By disobeying God’s command, Adam and Eve introduced sin and evil into the world. Their eyes were opened to good and evil in a way they were not meant to experience originally. This first sin damaged the relationship between God and humanity. From then on, the world became corrupted by evil, even though God is still at work redeeming creation.
The Old Testament chronicles the ongoing struggle between those who choose to follow God’s ways and those who reject them. The nation of Israel repeatedly turns away from God, worshipping false idols and practicing injustice. Prophets are sent to call the people back to covenant faithfulness. But the people’s hearts remain far from God. The Old Testament makes it clear that evil exists in the human heart. Despite God’s laws and guidance, people are bent on going their own way. They are unable or unwilling to consistently uphold God’s standards of righteousness.
At times, evil seems to gain the upper hand. Innocent people suffer while the wicked prosper. But the Bible promises that God will ultimately judge evil. Wickedness will not go unpunished. God’s kingdom will be established, undoing the damage caused by sin and rebellion against God’s reign. The Old Testament looks forward to a Messiah who will make all things right.
In the New Testament, Jesus arrives as the fulfillment of these messianic prophecies. Jesus models perfect obedience to God and perfect love for others. In his teachings, Jesus expands on the Old Testament understanding of righteousness. He shows that outward obedience to rules is not enough. Righteousness means having a heart fully devoted to God and loving others.
The New Testament also provides deeper insights into the origins and nature of spiritual evil. Satan and demons actively oppose God’s work in the world. But Jesus demonstrates his power over these dark spiritual forces when he heals sickness and exorcises demons. His victory climaxes at the cross, where Jesus suffers death to pay the penalty for sin. After rising from the dead, Jesus commissions his followers to spread the gospel and make disciples throughout the world.
Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God defeats evil powers and reconciles humanity to himself. Those who put their faith in Christ are forgiven and set free from sin. They are given new life through the Holy Spirit who enables moral transformation. Christians are called to resist temptation and avoid sin, striving to become more Christ-like in attitudes and actions. Though new believers are still imperfect, the Holy Spirit empowers them to grow in godliness. They live differently than the world because their minds are renewed and their hearts changed.
The Bible teaches that the struggle with sin and evil continues throughout the Christian life. Temptation is inevitable, but followers of Christ have resources to overcome it. Christians belong to a spiritual community, the church, which provides mutual encouragement, accountability, and care. Prayer, Bible study, and other spiritual disciplines also equip Christians to walk in holiness. As Christians mature in faith, they grow in the spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The Holy Spirit produces these godly traits that enable Christians to overcome evil desires and actions.
Because Christians have been saved by grace, they avoid self-righteousness and religiosity. They humbly recognize that their righteousness comes from Christ alone. Christians continue to struggle with sin and depend on God’s forgiveness. However, they have been freed from slavery to sin, so they should not use their former bondage as an excuse for moral compromise.
Christians look forward to the day when Jesus will return and fully establish God’s kingdom on earth. At that time, all evil will be eliminated. God’s people will experience perfect communion with him. Until that glorious day, Christians are called to shine as lights in a dark world. They live out attractive lives worthy of the gospel in the midst of cultures that often pursue selfish and harmful ends. Christians also eagerly work for justice, knowing that right will eventually triumph.
The Bible makes it clear that evil is a corruption of the good that God intended for his creation. Thus believers should hate evil itself but still demonstrate Christ’s compassion to those caught up in sin and crime. Christians balance their pursuit of justice with mercy. They remember that all people bear God’s image and have sacred worth. Even the most wicked person can repent and receive God’s forgiveness. So Christ-followers pray for the redemption of evildoers while working to restrain evil behaviour.
In summary, the Bible presents a stark contrast between good and evil. God embodies perfect goodness. All that he created was originally good. Now creation suffers under the curse of human sin. Satan and demons actively promote evil in the world. All people have sinned and fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet in Jesus Christ, God decisively triumphed over evil. Followers of Christ are empowered to resist sin and walk in holiness, while also offering compassion and seeking justice in a broken world. At the final judgment, God will completely eliminate all sin, and his people will enjoy eternity in his perfect presence. Until that day, Christians struggle against evil even as they proclaim the gospel of grace.