The Gospel for today’s Mass records Jesus as saying the following:
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him? (Lk 11:13)
I received an e-mail today regarding this verse:
This line bugs me. I think I know the larger point that Jesus makes here, and/or perhaps it’s poorly translated, but it seems a bit harsh for Jesus to refer to mankind as “evil”. Evil? That’s tough stuff! But perhaps, to Jesus, we are evil. I don’t know. Bring on the redemption Lord!!!
So what is going on here? Why does Jesus call us evil?
Let’s check first and make the translation is good. The Greek expression πονηροὶ ὑπάρχοντες (poneroi hyparchontes). Now poneroi is defined in the Greek lexicon as “bad, of a bad nature or condition.” But it is also defined as “full of labors, annoyances, hardships.” And hyparchontes is translated as “from the very beginning” or “being inherently.”
Thus the translation “you who are evil” is likely accurate. It might be more precisely translated as “If you then, being inherently bad (or evil).” Or perhaps also it could be rendered as “If you then, being evil from the beginning….”
But it also seems, if we take the second meaning of poneroi it could be rendered: “If then you, being full of labors (or hardships)…” However, I checked over a dozen translations over at Biblos.com and none of them render it in this secondary way. All of them simply say, “If then, you who are evil….”
So it seems the bottom line analysis of the text in Greek is that we’re stuck with the fact that the Lord is calling us “evil.”
What do the Commentaries say? It is interesting that in the seven modern commentaries I consulted, none of them make any mention of this expression. However some of the ancient Fathers make mention of the phrase:
1. Cyril of Alexandria says, When he says, “You who are evil” he means, “You whose mind is capable of being influenced by evil and not uniformly inclined to good like the God of all. (Commentary on Luke, Homily 79)
2. Bede interprets the phrase to mean, Any human mortal, weak and still burdened with sinful flesh, does not refuse to give the good things which he possesses, although they are earthly and weak, to the children whom he loves. (Homilies on the Gospel 2.14)
3. Bede also says elsewhere: He calls the lovers of the world evil, who give those things which they judge good according to their sense, which are also good in their nature, and are useful to aid imperfect life. Hence he adds, “[They] know how to give good gifts to [their] children.” The Apostles even, who by the merit of their election had exceeded the goodness of mankind in general, are said to be evil in comparison with Divine goodness, since nothing is of itself good but God alone (Quoted in the Catena Aurea at Lk 11:13)
4. Athanasius Says: Now unless the Holy Spirit were of the substance of God, Who alone is good, He would by no means be called good, since our Lord [Jesus] refused to be called good, inasmuch as He was made man. (Quoted in the Catena Aurea at Luke 11:13)
Therefore if I can be so bold to enter the company of these Ancient and approved Fathers of the Church I would like to draw a conclusion from our consideration of what the Lord means by calling us evil.
1. Jesus, it would seem, is speaking by comparison or degree here. He may not mean that we are evil in an absolute sense, rather, that we are evil in comparison to God who is absolute good. The Hebrew and Aramaic languages tend to lack comparative words and this means that ancient Jews would often use absolute categories to set forth comparison or degree. For example elsewhere Jesus tells us that we must hate our father, mother, children even our very self and that we must love him (e.g. Luke 14:26). This does not mean we are to literally despise our family and others. It means we are to love Jesus more than them. Ancient Jews spoke this way and used a lot of what we consider to be hyperbole (exaggeration) due to the lack of comparative words in Hebrew and Aramaic. Hence in calling us “evil” that Lord may not mean it in an absolute sense but is setting forth a comparison in a Jewish sort of way. Hence in modern English we might tend to say, “If you then, who are not nearly as holy as God and are prone to sin, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will God, who is absolutely good and not prone to sin give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
2. However, we ought to be careful here as well not simply to discount Jewish hyperbole and simply re-write it as I have done. The point of the hyperbole cannot be missed or set aside. Created things may share in God’s goodness, but God ALONE is absolutely good. So good is He, in fact, that everything else is practically evil in comparison to him. The hyperbole places the emphasis of God’s absolute goodness. We have no goodness apart from God’s goodness. And, if we do share in God’s goodness, it is infinitesimal in comparison to God. Hence, as Bede says above: The Apostles even, who by the merit of their election had exceeded the goodness of mankind in general, are said to be evil in comparison with Divine goodness, since nothing is of itself good but God alone.
3. As an illustration, some decades and many pounds ago, I ran track. We would sometimes josh a runner who had lost a race by saying, “That guy ran past you so fast you looked like you were standing still!” It was hyperbole (and a cruel one at that). However, the exaggeration was meant to make a real point: he out-classed you, he whooped you. And so it is that, even if Jesus is using hyperbole and absolute categories, we cannot miss the point: whatever goodness we have is really a participation in God’s goodness. God is so great that our goodness can barely be seen as goodness.
4. Even Jesus refused the title “good” for himself in terms of his humanity. In the Gospel of Mark we have the following dialogue: As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good — except God alone. (Mk 10:17-18). Now, as God, Jesus is good. One would also argue that in his sinless humanity Jesus was also good. But, presuming the man merely regarded him as ordinarily human, Jesus rebukes him and declares that God alone is good.
5. So, in the end, it’s time for some humble pie. Jesus probably does not mean we are absolutely evil and with nothing good in us. But God ALONE is absolutely good. And he is so good that we can barely be thought of as anything but evil in the face of his immense goodness. Humble pie doesn’t have much sugar in it, does it?
48 Replies to “Why Does Jesus Call Us Evil?”
What is the proper way to interpret scripture? The proper way is to interpret it in a manner consistent with the whole of the Faith and not merely take single words out of context.
Who made us? God made us.
Can God make anything bad or evil? No. Can He, being all good, make anything that is less than good? No.
Therefore, we are not bad or evil. We might have done evil, we (i.e. Adam and Eve and us) might have committed sin, and thereby corrupted our nature, but the nature, in and of itself, being made by God, cannot be evil. If we are evil, then God having made us, God is the cause of such evil. And if God is the cause of evil, then God Himself is evil. Which, of course, is a fallacy.
Bad and/or evil is not something we are, it is something we do by our free choice of the will (as Augustine pointed out). Thus, Jesus either said something else or meant something else.
So how do you interpret this scripture? Is it, as I say, that Jesus is using a Jewish idiom or did he not mean it all? I am not sure I know what you are getting at here.
John, this is so sophmoric I’m not sure if your serious. At the very least, I’d love to see a source for Augustine thinking we have free will; after the Fall, Augustine thinks we’re in a situation of non posse non peccare — it’s not possible not to sin, precisely because he have been spoilt by original sin (ie, we’re not born good!). Further, towards the later stages of his life as a result of the Pelagian contrversy, Augustine becomes much more predestinarian…
Not sure why you call John sophmoric. However, I think your inclusion of the Augustine material is helpful.
Excellent reflection! Perhaps your post is an avenue for ecumenism with our Lutheran brethren. Whose founder famously quipped, “I said before that our righteousness is dung in the sight of God.” But that is another can of worms for another blog post, I suspect. 🙂
I, of course, am staking out a middle postion here. Not that we are dung, but also that Jesus in calling us “evil” while not meaning it absolutely, he strongly contrasts us with God’s absolute goodness.
Well I guessI’m off the reservation. I didnt get it. I thought the text was talking about prayer and our attitude in prayer. asking God for woeldly things which are evil and not asking God for spiritual things which are good. I think I agree with Bender somewhat. Again you fellas are better at this than I am. I am still learning
You are correct in the overall context of the passage being about prayer. However, we are still left with the question as to why Jesus calls us evil.
Regarding your #4 comment above, I have always taken Jesus’s rebuke of the man who called him “Good Teacher” to be an invitation to us to see Him for Who He really is. I.e., “Why do you call me good? Only God is good. Are you implying that I am equal to God? (Because, in fact, I AM!)” I don’t know how valid that is in terms of the Church’s interpretation of scripture, but perhaps you could help me with that.
I think your assessment of this passage is a good one. Hence his question why do you call me good is more rhetorical.
Throughout the Bible, man is referred to as being evil, wicked, playing the harlot and whatnot because it is the truth … we have been given free will and we choose to do evil over good. Jesus calling us evil is in the same vein of all those prophets who did so before Him.
Bender — God is not the cause of evil. Evil exists because of the devil. And our goodness means something because there is evil … because we can reject sin and choose to do good. If there were no evil, if we were automatons and robots programmed to do only good, where will our growth come from? So perhaps evil has to exist. I wish it didn’t … but then again, I am a mere cracked clay pot. I do not know the grand scheme that God has planned.
Yes, the overall assessment of us by God throughout the whole of the bible is pretty sobering.
Other translations seem to render Lk. 11: 13’s “evil” as “wicked”. In any case, I think that Jesus is calling us “sinful” but in a sharp tone reminiscent of the prophets before him, as Vijaya pointed out. Maybe another way of thinking of it is that selfishness which is at the root of sin and which often makes us hold back in some way in our charity is being contrasted here with God’s total and complete gift of Himself; when God bestows grace He does so completely and fully without holding anything back. Thus God’s charity is perfect and ideal; ours is that way only insofar as we imitate that love of God and possess the virtues that allow us to imitate His perfect charity.
Mt. 5: 48- “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect”.
Yes, I would agree with you.
Conjecture and surmise is the best we can do to interpert the mind of Jesus. Obviously, there is no correct answer to the riddle Msgr. Pope has put on this site. Any explanation given will be inadequate. There is simply no evidence as to why Jesus called his audience (or us) evil or wicked. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).”
I think I am a little less pessistic than you Grandpa. The Fathers seem also to be a little more confident as well. I know what you are saying but I also resist notions that make the Word of God unintelligible, It was given for our instruction and so I suspect that we can do more than shrug
Thank you for helping us to understand Jesus teaching. I believe that Jesus is not ambiguous as He warns of the evil intent in our heart when one asks Him how to pray, praises Him as Good Teacher, or even asks Him how to do good to enter eternal life. Does he see in our hearts altruism comingled with pride? In my opinion, Jesus is warning us of the evil of our pride especially when we do the good work. Also, thank you for showing us God’s humility by quoting the dialogue in the Gospel of Mark. God Bless.
Yes, I am glad this helps.
I am completely confused. I wish I had never read this post. How could God love us if we are evil? I have never thought of myself as evil, a sinner yes, but not evil. That puts me in the same category as Satan. Also, why are worldly things evil? Living in a shelter, having enough money to pay your bills, even wanting to get married — these are all worldly things. Why are they evil? This is why I am never really content with my faith. I believe, but I don’t understand. It wasn’t my choice to be born in original sin, yet as soon as I came out of the womb, I was branded as evil, and I hadn’t even had a chance to do anything evil yet.
Be of good cheer Kathy. God does not love us becuase we are good. He loves us because he is good. As for being branded evil, for me, I am aware that I have ratified what Adam and Eve did and thus God is not unjust in reminding me that there is evil in my heart. It is a true fact and I know one God will deliver me from this present evil age.
If Mankind was not Evil, there would be no starving children, anywhere.
You would care for every child like it was your own.
But you don`t.
Since you address “us” in the second person plural “you” are we who read to conclude that you are outside this category. Perhaps you are in fact the Archangel Gabriel and not one of us fellow (evil) travelers? 🙂
Only God is good, Monsignor.
HOWEVER, I am not so sure The Lord was reffering to Holy Mother Church, or her Children, when He made this statement. On the contrary, as you have brought the world from the claws of the Roman Empire, and bathed the world in love according to your mission and currently count 1,116 billion people, in a world consisting of 6873700000 souls, I hold the Catholic Church solely responsible for the good there is in this world.
How Monsignor, do you believe The Lord looks upon his Church?
His one bride and joy, that is.
How do you think your thoughts, your prayers and your endless acts of love and devotion are considered from His point of view? As acts of Evil?
No Monsignore, If you were evil, we would not be having this conversation. Your voice, the Catholic one, in a world with so many others, is the one true voice.
Forget not were you are coming from. All the Church has endured, all she has given and all She is.
Then look upon the rest of mankind.
What do you think Monsignor?
Maybe it is time to give yourself a hug.
I reflected on this phrase,and I concluded that since Jesus came to the world to make us free. It is obvious that humanity were slaves to Satan and sin,so to me Jesus was making it clear that humanity in Jesus time and in the old testament could never be good unless born through the Holy Spirit.From Jesus baptism Satan’s spirit lost human possession forever,and after Jesus death, the Holy Spirit became possessor of humanity.John 8:35 Now the servant abideth not in the house for ever; but the son abideth for ever. 36 If therefore the son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed So Jesus now through the Holy Spirit, is in possession of humanity forever,but we are really free to live according to our will for the first time,not as slaves to Satan. To me Jesus was indicating that unless He dies for us to get us free from this evil spirit we are obvious evil since both flesh and soul were one,from the other hand humans now are evil only if they are slaves to sin only, or rather irresistible to the body which is still filthy since it has to die.The only subject which is vital for Satan to control souls.So it is up to us to have self control and not to be evil. Thanks for Jesus our Lord to make us free.
Yes, with Jesus we’re eheded in the right direction.
From another direction: Can anyone even imagine a person 100% evil, someone who never said or did a good thing to his/her parents, friends,or him/herself? (although that person is still to come).
Then it stands to reason that no purely human being is all good. ( once again an exception-Our Holy Virgin Mary).
Agreed. We’re a mixed bag.
Thinking back to the story of creation where God created x,y,z, and saw that it was good, did the include man till the fall of Adam and Eve?
Does not Baptism cleanse us from the stain of original sin?
All that I know for sure is that every “good” act that we do is not of ourselves, but rather a gift from God.
Thank God his mercy and love are greater than our sin, and whatever evil we harbor. “God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him; 1 John 4:16.” Surely if there were no mercy, or love, from God, there would be no salvation. “Thanks be to God for our victory through Jesus Christ; 1 Cor. 15:59.”
Imagine you’re Jesus delivering the lines.
I hear the voice of the persuasive, public speaker here – the down-to-earth guy talking sense. The passage begins with a humorous story – parable – about prayer and the One who receives prayer, and goes on with a couple of hyperbolic metaphors illustrating very, very bad parenting. Am I being blasphemous in saying the story and the metaphors raise a smile on my face? I think their rough humor is purposeful. An abrupt change of tone to a withering attack on his hearers makes no sense to me. When I read “wicked,” I hear something opposite running underneath the word – maybe an empathic current, begun in the little yarn He uses to pull us in. Yeah, “evil,” but not so far gone, for God’s sake, you can’t tell how a father is supposed to treat his children.
He’s not blasting the Pharisees here; He’s teaching us about prayer and God’s Fatherly love.
That He separates the story and the hyperbole with some lines of spontaneous and deathless poetry (“…ask and you shall receive…”) is so like Him. He must have been something to hear….
“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
I’d locate the rhetorical center of the oration in these words and surmise that what precedes it and follows it harmonizes.)
If we weren’t evil by nature, why then would we christen babies? These babies have not had time to sin; so it must be that they need to be cleansed of something within, a depraved nature, or Original Sin. I don’t know, but I believe that baptism fills the soul with grace and leaves an indelible mark on the soul, so that sin will not triumph over that soul. And I believe that confession can return us to that baptismal beauty and perfection; so I avail myself of that sacrament as often as possible. I encourage my brothers and sister in the faith to do the same. Thanks for the great article!
Holy Mother Church DOES care equally for all children, as if they were Her own.
What more could God possibly ask of the Catholic Church?
The Church is not part of mankind.
You have been redeemed.
It is meant to stress even more the unfathomable goodness and awesome love of God for each and all of us.
Not as a theologian, but instead a simple layman who’s been around for a long time to see the changing trends in Christianity, and especially in Roman Catholicism, I must marvel at all thnnly e “discoveries” we’re making about Holy Scripture and its meaning! God knows, we’ve had a long-enough time to thoroughly read and interpret it, dissect it, and come up with all sorts and kinds of inferences, some of which may never have been intended. But, that’s the working of “Tradition”, not of God. The Gloria in Excelsius explains the concept of who is and isn’t Holy, very plainly, yet we persist in throwing the term around: Holy Mary, Holy Church, Holy Saints, Holy Father, Holy Priests, etc., wherein the prayer of praise clearly states: “Only Thou art Holy, Only Thou art the Lord, Only Thou with the Holy Ghost are Most High inn the Glory of the Father . . . ” or something close to that, don’t hold me to spellings and exact quotes from memory, but my point is clear: Only t,e Triune God is Holy, and EVERYBODY ELSE falls short of the Glory of God, because we are ALL flawed and weak, and at times, even Evil (as well as Wonderful, at other times), but it is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost who is ALWAYS and in EVERY INSTANCE, HOLY, and there is no mortal man or woman who can or should have the right to assume the title of “Holy”. That’s what I think that JJesus meant, although I don’t have the ability to read Jesus’ mind, as some churches seem to feel they have.
I agree with Bender in that Scripture should be put in the context of all Revelation to be better understood, and as well needs to be read in the Spirit; the Spirit of Jesus; the Spirit of the Father; the Advocate Jesus told us about; who will guide to all truth. The Spirit of Jesus will help us understand the mind of Jesus.
What God creates is good, so the pinnacle of his creation, the creature created in God’s image and likeness would also be basically good. Mary can say that her human soul magnifies the Lord.
What is good and what is evil are not compatible, so how could we share in God’s life if we were evil, or how could we even have the possibility to share in God’s life if we were evil ? Why would Jesus give his life for something that is evil ? Why would God become a human, if humans were evil ? God would not love what is evil. The whole Christian story would not be possible if humans were evil in an absolute sense.
I think that option #1, speaking by degree, is correct.
#2 I don’t like, because even if we were one-billionth good and God is a trillion-trillion good. Our good would still be good. All goodness is from God, so good could never become evil or seem evil no matter how small. I think to say this is just to respect God.
#3 seems like #1 and provides some more insight as to the point of what Jesus is telling us and as to why he might use hyperbole. Jesus knows we have difficulty having faith (trust) in God. (He is always telling us to have faith.) And the point of the comparison is that since we know there are situations when we can trust a human (to take care of their children) how much more we can trust God to give us good things. By calling us evil, it highlights what is obvious to us about human behavior; that we are often not trustable not care for others, even though we were created to be trustable and care for others.
I sympathize with Cathy and that is what got me to write this post. God’s Word is powerful and a misunderstanding or twisting of God’s Word can be harmful. I think simply in terms of respect for God, you have to realize that you are fundamentally good. The Catholic Church says, “‘Being man’ or ‘being woman’ is a reality which is good…” CCC 369; “The first man was not only created good…” CCC 374 and with regard to original sin (which is not a personal sin) “…human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it…” CCC 405.
By the way, having enough money to pay the bills is good. I would challenge anyone to find a Saint who says otherwise. And desiring to be married (a Sacrament) is good. These are things God wants for us, that is why we help the poor pay the bills as well as get married.
The Gal. 13:7-14 reading from Friday says, in part, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, since he became a curse for us. For it is written: ‘Cursed is anyone who hangs from a tree.'” So man was evil yesterday, and Jesus became a curse today. 🙂 If we weren’t evil, Jesus wouldn’t have to become a curse. But He did, therefore we are! Or at least we are until we undergo baptism, which is alluded to in this Sunday’s reading from Timothy, where we hear about dying to the old (evil) self and rising to new life (in the likeness of the one Who is good).
The readings from Luke and Galatians over the next few days seem to continue an idea that the old Law was not sufficient to make men good, and even that “Scripture has enclosed everything under sin” (wow!) as we read on Saturday. Jesus’ overall emphasis is to rely on the spirit of the Law that is Christ, rather than upon the calcified letter of the Mosaic Law, like the “wicked generation” who hear Jesus in Monday’s reading. The letter (or works, or going through the motions of the liturgy) can’t save. The grace of Jesus is the only remedy for evil.
Using a concordance to find the meaning of the Greek word used in this scripture as the word evil, is very helpful, but I believe we are concentrating too much on the word “evil” and not reading what the scripture actually says.
Jesus says in Luke 11:13 “If YE then, BEING EVIL,…. translated into a modern version = “If you are then evil”…. or “If evil is what you are….. Evil then is used as an adjective, to modify a noun or a pronoun by describing, identifying, or quantifying the word.
Also, I think the word ‘unrighteous’, would be a more appropriate way of using the word evil.
Evil as an adjective :
1. morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked: evil deeds; an evil life.
2. harmful; injurious: evil laws.
3. characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering; unfortunate; disastrous: to be fallen on evil days.
4. due to actual or imputed bad conduct or character: an evil reputation.
5. marked by anger, irritability, irascibility, etc.: He is known for his evil disposition.
failure to adhere to moral principles; “forgave us our sins and cleansed us of all unrighteousness”
sin, sinfulness, wickedness – estrangement from god
impiety, impiousness – unrighteousness by virtue of lacking respect for a god
immorality – the quality of not being in accord with standards of right or good conduct; “the immorality of basing the defense of the West on the threat of mutual assured destruction”
unjustness, injustice – the practice of being unjust or unfair
dishonorableness, dishonourableness – the quality of not deserving honor or respect
dishonor, dishonour – lacking honor or integrity
dishonesty – the quality of being dishonest
I believe that the defining words in this scripture are “IF”, “THEN” ,”BEING” and EVIL. In His discourse on hypocrisy, Jesus says, “IF YE THEN”, or “IF YOU ARE” and not “YOU” as inclusive of mankind as a whole…. “BEING” as in “EXISTING”, “EVIL” as in “UNRIGHTEOUS”, know how to give give gifts to your children that are good….etc”
IF you are, and not, “that” we ALL are, existing in unrightousness, knowing how to give gifts to our children that are good..etc.
But on the other hand I can see that if we understand the culture and time that Jesus was preaching in, which is BEFORE His death and resurrection, it would be more likely that Jesus MEANT ALL mankind at the time He was saying this.
Are we not grateful to God for sending His one and only Son to take on the sins of the unrighteous? To become our Savior, so that we would be ABLE to CHOOSE for ourselves, “if we are or are not to exist in unrighteousness now.” Before Christ’s death and resurrection, we did not have a choice – we were ALL sinners, without hope.
2 Corinthians 5:16-19 “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
Galatians 2: 20 “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Horace,God is definitely holy but as soon as he created Mary,she must be holy as well and sinless since the Holy Spirit became her husband to give birth to Jesus who is both man and God and in the same time the opposite of Eve like Jesus is the opposite of Adam.The entrance in Jerusalem riding on a donkey and a colt is a proof that Jesus and Mary are the opposite in every sense of Adam and Eve.The three figures Donkey,colt and Jesus represent Eve ,sin and Adam, and Mary, Satan,and the second Adam Jesus respectively,entering Jerusalem to Die but to triumph. Adam and Eve became one but in evil,and Jesus and Mary became one in a perfect love so they are both Holy.Also the whole of humanity depends on both Mary and Jesus.Mary is designed by God not to give birth to Jesus only but since Jesus was subject to Mary in order to be born which both represent the church, all humanity no matter who are subject to Mary,and also in heaven all what Jesus do will go through Mary’s hand because both are the symbol of humility.Through the yes of Mary for God to become man,She became the most powerful being after God so powerful that she is capable of destroying Satan like she destroyed him from human souls on conception and birth of Jesus,the Church. The opposite of Eve which Satan was the subject of, the foundation of both sin and death,and the opposite to that are Jesus and Mary the foundation of redemption and life for ever.
I really enjoyed reading everyone’s responses to this blog posting. Having reflected on everything I have read, I am drawn back to John 15:5, where Jesus says, “I am the vine; you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.” Conclusion: We are nothing apart from God.
St. Augustine concluded that “evil” cannot be a “thing.” God, who is all good, cannot logically create evil. Rather, evil, according to St. Augustine is the complete deprivation of goodness. In more scholarly words, “The diminution of the property of goodness is what’s called evil.”
So it would be proper for Jesus to call us evil. That is not hyperbole, but rather a simple reality. Each of us, by our fallen nature and sin, is a deprivation of goodness, (i.e. evil). And, apart from God, we cannot do good on our own.
But we need not despair! For Jesus, who humbled Himself and became Man, has grafted us onto His good vine by His redeeming blood on the cross. We, who abideth in Him, are raised up on the last day, and freed from our fallen “evil” nature.
But, detached from His vine, we become “nothing” (read: “no good”), a near complete deprivation of goodness. Satan awaits those who separate from Christ’s vine of goodness.
Fantastic reading!!!! peace be with you.!!!!!
Was Jesus speaking to all of mankind past, present and future at that precise moment and time? Or was He speaking directly to a particular group of people which He considered evil, and at sometimes to be sneaks and rotten tombs.
Rafael Jimenez Cruz,
I am of the opinion that Jesus was speaking to those of His time who were controlled by the sin of Adam and had no hope of salvation.
Jesus entered into a New Covenant or New Testament with the church, Gentiles and Jews alike, which forgives sin. Christ took away any hopelessness of no salvation with His death and resurrection.
We are sinners until we recognize the need for belief in Jesus and His death and resurrection. Sinners in need of a Savior need the saving grace of Jesus Christ as we see consecrated at each mass.
We are all inherently evil, because we don’t fully see the Goodness of God all the time – I think this was also said in the message why does Jesus calls us evil. Because of the wound of original sin, we are all unable to see that God is good all the time. It has taken me sometime to see this point with my catholic religiosity.
Inherently evil? No, we are the inheritors of God’s wealth in the New Testament or New Covenant that Christ made with Gentiles and Jews alike.
“For if by the transgression of the one (first Adam) death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Yeshua Messiah. So then as through one transgression (of Adam) there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness (Jesus Christ) there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience (first Adam) the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One (Jesus Christ or Second Adam) the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:17–19)
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22
“And so it is written, The first man, Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” 1 Corinthians 15:45
We are not wounded by original sin, we are misled by the teaching that original sin still exists and that we are all subject to it. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”- Luke 19:10 We are cleansed of sin by His blood.
Interesting! Have you always thought of God as always good, even when you first came into the faith and were learning about God or when you are under a heavy trial anytime in your life? have you ever had doubt? Many people think awful things when things happen to them or they hear news of a big earthquake etc. Original sin is still valid in our times because I see its effects everyday. God is the only one Good! Jesus son of David have mercy on me! I am not trying to chastise myself but to recognize that without God’s grace I am an unfaithful servant , sinner etc.
Yes, God is ALWAYS GOOD. I was born into the Catholic Faith. Although I did question the ‘laws’ of my religion, i.e. not eating meat on Friday, etc., and realized that those were not God made but organized religion’s man made laws. It was not until I opened the bible that I came in close contact with God’s character which confirmed His Goodness to me.
I am of the belief that our life trials allow us to form a more intimate relationship with God so that we can overcome the world’s efforts to destroy God’s Goodness. I live in the Word of God during times of trouble and find hope and solace there. Some of my favorite verses to live by are:
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God;”
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Psalm105:7-8 “He is the Lord our God. His laws are for all the world. He will keep his agreement forever; He will keep his promises always.”
Psalm 119:114 “You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.”
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world.”
We are ALL like fine, raw diamonds taken from the mine. It is through our trials that God, our Jeweler, cleans, washes, grinds, cuts and polishes us to sit shining brightly, on display in the Great Jeweler’s window of eternity for all to see. It’s up to us, in this life, to decide how many karrats we wish to grow to be.
The world will continue in this suffering as long as the people within this world continue to see themselves as separate from each other and God. I have come to understand that this is as it should be. We all must enter into a learning process to understand our true natures, who we are and why we are here.
Our first experience in life is at birth, when we separate from our mother, the source of our life. This creates the context for our entire reality, which we then come to understand as to be one of separation from God. If we are separate from God, then we must be separate from everything else in life. All our lives we seek that ONENESS again with all things, especially each other. The only problem is, we think that there is not enough of all the other things to satisfy us. No matter what we want, we cannot seem to get enough of it, i.e. love, time, money, or whatever believe we need in order to be happy and fulfilled. When we believe we have enough, we decide that we want more.
Because just BEING isn’t good enough, we believe we have to do certain things to get there. The ones who ‘do it,right’ get to be happy, because they get what they want. If you ‘don’t do it right’, you are not happy. This creates competition because we believe that there’s `not enough’ out there.. We have to compete for everything. The competition is tough because it is about survival of the fittest. If you win life is heaven, but if you lose, life can be hell on Earth.
The clear and present awareness that one must see is that even though you BECOME aware of the illusion that you have created for yourself, you are still RESPONSIBLE for the CONSEQUENCES of all the CHOICES made while under the illusion of being separate from the ONE. World Suffering IS part of the ONE. The fact is, that WORLD SUFFERING IS HERE TO STAY. It is THE REFINING PROCESS for all of us. It is the way to achieve spiritual awareness and a higher state of Christ Consciousness for all mankind.
Christ Consciousness is what Jesus achieved as man, living on earth. His understanding is that love and harmony comes from self-forgiveness and non attachment to self. It is the means by which we open up to compassion and compassion is that which leads to aiding all suffering, personal or world suffering. Non-attachment and aiding world and personal suffering IS compassionate in a non-egoic, emotional way that does not cause further pain to anyone. It recognizes the ills of the world, without carrying those ills within your heart. It allows one to do what they can without guilt, pride or shame. Just VIEWING world suffering and saying that it exists because of evil, is the ego emotional painful way that stems from not forgiving yourself for the ‘things’ done to you, or that you have done to others. It attaches yourself to the suffering of others, and holds you to the outcome of any aid that you may be able to offer. It promotes pride, guilt and shame depending on the outcome.
I believe, Romans 12:2 ” being in the world and not of it”, means living daily without regret because you live in love and forgiveness. You are harmonious within and give of yourself to the best of your ability; there is no reason to not be okay with that.
I believe that God made man for eternity and made him in the image of his own eternity without EGO.
Deathlessness (or “eternity”) was conditioned upon holiness. God said, “On the day you eat it you shall die” (Gen 2:17; 3:3). Satan deceived Eve and said if she broke God’s commandment “You shall not die” (Gen 3:5), which was a lie; for of the sinful Adam God said, “You are dust and to dust you shall return” (Gen 3:19).
What, I believe, is being said to all of us here is that there is an awareness of who you are that extends beyond who you believe you are. When we have ‘eaten’ the illusion of our egos (all our desires) and believe that this is the only thing that exists, then we really cannot stand aside to seek a higher consciousness (awareness/spirituality). We are too busy ‘taking care of business’ on earth which is your lower physical self consumed with desire, rather than your higher spiritual self seeking the devine. We cannot get beyond the world and can only return to dust. We have no soul to return to Christ. We can be only nourishment for the earth. Since thoughts are energy whatever thoughts we are left with convert to energy and are re-absorbed back into the Collective Consciousness to be used again to create another.
For those who have experienced the holiness of being in Christ and Christ being within them, a higher consciousness of knowing who God is and who we are in relationship to God becomes much more clear. Gentiles/Heathens could ONLY be Saved by FAITH because we had NO SPIRIT until we received the Spirit from the Ressurected Christ.
Until Christ our Savior came, no one but Israel was seen in the Lord’s eyes. Israel was not looking towards God any longer. Christ was sent to recapture that which was lost and give the Holy Spirit to all those who wish to receive it through Christ after His resurrection.
Not all of Israel entrusted their spirit to Christ. Not all Gentiles have either.
It’s not to hard to understand why Jesus said that. We are all evil while in the flesh because of all the evil things we do that we are not aware of. Our word and actions can make us evil or not evil. This might help with the question? We can all turn from our evil doings and become like Jesus Mary and Joseph and all those that have turnned from their evil ways into God’s ways. __ Galatians 5:16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.24And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.26Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
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