How Good Will Conquer Evil
King David was a good man. He had a deep love for God, a yearning for justice, and an affection for the lowly. Yet, this same good king committed adultery with the wife of one of his trusted men. And after David discovered that the wife, Bath-sheba, was pregnant by him, he ultimately orchestrated the murder of her husband. He then married Bath-sheba in an attempt to cover his crimes.—2 Samuel 11:1-27.
IT IS evident that humans have the capacity for doing much good. Why, then, are they responsible for so much evil? The Bible identifies several fundamental reasons. It also reveals how God by means of Christ Jesus will remove evil once and for all.
An Inclination Toward Badness
King David himself identified one cause of evil acts. After his crimes were exposed, he accepted full responsibility for his actions. He then remorsefully wrote: “Look! With error I was brought forth with birth pains, and in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5) It was never God’s purpose for mothers to conceive children who would sin. However, when Eve and then Adam chose to rebel against God, they lost the ability to produce sinless children. (Romans 5:12) As the imperfect human race increased in number, it became evident that “the inclination of the heart of man is bad from his youth up.”—Genesis 8:21.
If left unchecked, this inclination toward badness results in “fornication, . . . enmities, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, contentions, divisions, sects, envies,” and other destructive behavior that the Bible describes as “works of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:19-21) In the case of King David, he gave in to fleshly weakness and committed fornication, which resulted in strife. (2 Samuel 12:1-12) He could have resisted his immoral inclination. Instead, by dwelling on his desire for Bath-sheba, David followed the pattern later described by the disciple James: “Each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death.”—James 1:14, 15.
The mass murders, rapes, and pillaging mentioned in the preceding article are extreme examples of what happens when people allow wrong desires to dictate their actions.
Evil Feeds on Ignorance
The apostle Paul’s experience highlights a second reason why people do evil things. By the time he died, Paul had gained a reputation as a gentle, affectionate man. He had expended himself unselfishly in the service of his Christian brothers and sisters. (1 Thessalonians 2:7-9) Earlier in his life, though, when he was known by the name Saul, he was “breathing threat and murder” against this very same group. (Acts 9:1, 2) Why did Paul condone and participate in the evil acts perpetrated against the early Christians? “Because I was ignorant,” he says. (1 Timothy 1:13) Yes, Paul formerly had “a zeal for God; but not according to accurate knowledge.”—Romans 10:2.
Like Paul, many sincere people have engaged in evil acts because of a lack of accurate knowledge of God’s will. For example, Jesus warned his followers: “The hour is coming when everyone that kills you will imagine he has rendered a sacred service to God.” (John 16:2) Jehovah’s present-day Witnesses experience the truth of Jesus’ words. In many lands, they have been persecuted and even murdered by people claiming to serve God. Obviously, such misguided zeal does not please the true God.—1 Thessalonians 1:6.
The Originator of Evil
Jesus identified the principal reason for the existence of evil. Addressing the religious leaders who were intent on killing him, he said: “You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a manslayer when he began.” (John 8:44) It was Satan who for selfish reasons enticed Adam and Eve into rebelling against God. That rebellion introduced sin—and thus death—to all mankind.
Satan’s murderous disposition was further exposed in the way in which he dealt with Job. When Jehovah granted him permission to test Job’s integrity, Satan was not content with stripping Job of his possessions. He also caused the death of his ten children. (Job 1:9-19) In recent decades, mankind has experienced a surge in evil because of human imperfection and ignorance and also as a result of Satan’s increased meddling in human affairs. The Bible reveals that the Devil was “hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.” That same prophecy accurately foretold that Satan’s confinement would produce unprecedented “woe for the earth.” While Satan cannot force people to do evil things, he is a master at “misleading the entire inhabited earth.”—Revelation 12:9, 12.
Removing the Inclination Toward Badness
If evil is to be permanently eliminated from human society, man’s inborn inclination toward badness, his lack of accurate knowledge, and Satan’s influence must be addressed. First, how can man’s inborn inclination toward sin be removed from his heart?
No human surgeon or man-made medicine can perform that task. Jehovah God, though, has provided a cure for inherited sin and imperfection for all those willing to accept it. The apostle John wrote: “The blood of Jesus . . . cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) When the perfect man Jesus voluntarily offered up his life, he “bore our sins in his own body upon the stake, in order that we might be done with sins and live to righteousness.” (1 Peter 2:24) Jesus’ sacrificial death would counterbalance the effects of Adam’s evil act. Paul states that Christ Jesus became “a corresponding ransom for all.” (1 Timothy 2:6) Yes, Christ’s death opened the way for all mankind to regain the perfection that Adam had lost.
You may ask, though, ‘If Jesus’ death some 2,000 years ago made it possible for mankind to regain perfection, why do evil and death still exist?’ Finding an answer to that question can help banish the second cause for evil—man’s ignorance of God’s purposes.
Goodness Thrives on Accurate Knowledge
Gaining accurate knowledge of what Jehovah and Jesus are now doing to eliminate evil may prevent a sincere person from unwittingly condoning evil acts, or worse, becoming a fighter “actually against God.” (Acts 5:38, 39) Jehovah God is willing to overlook past wrongs that were committed in ignorance. Speaking in Athens, the apostle Paul said: “God has overlooked the times of such ignorance, yet now he is telling mankind that they should all everywhere repent. Because he has set a day in which he purposes to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and he has furnished a guarantee to all men in that he has resurrected him from the dead.”—Acts 17:30, 31.
Paul knew firsthand that Jesus had been raised from the dead, for the resurrected Jesus himself spoke to Paul and stopped him from persecuting the early Christians. (Acts 9:3-7) Once Paul received accurate knowledge of God’s purposes, he changed and became a genuinely good person in imitation of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1; Colossians 3:9, 10) In addition, Paul zealously preached “this good news of the kingdom.” (Matthew 24:14) During the almost 2,000 years since Jesus’ death and resurrection, Christ has selected from among mankind those who, like Paul, will rule with him in his Kingdom.—Revelation 5:9, 10.
Throughout the past century and up until now, Jehovah’s Witnesses have zealously fulfilled Jesus’ commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19, 20) Those who respond to this message have the prospect of living forever on earth under Christ’s heavenly government. Jesus said: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Helping someone to gain this knowledge is the greatest good one person can do for another.
Those who embrace this Kingdom good news display such qualities as “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control,” despite all the evil that surrounds them. (Galatians 5:22, 23) In imitation of Jesus, they “return evil for evil to no one.” (Romans 12:17) On a personal level, they endeavor to “keep conquering the evil with the good.”—Romans 12:21; Matthew 5:44.
The Ultimate Conquest of Evil
By themselves, humans will never be able to conquer the ultimate sponsor of evil, Satan the Devil. Soon, though, Jehovah will use Jesus to crush Satan’s head. (Genesis 3:15; Romans 16:20) Jehovah will also direct Christ Jesus to “crush and put an end” to all political systems, many of which have perpetrated so much evil throughout history. (Daniel 2:44; Ecclesiastes 8:9) During this coming day of judgment, all those who “do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus . . . will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction.”—2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9; Zephaniah 1:14-18.
Once Satan and those who support him are removed, from heaven Jesus will help the survivors to restore the earth to its original condition. Christ will also resurrect all those worthy of the opportunity to live on the restored earth. (Luke 23:32, 39-43; John 5:26-29) In so doing, he will nullify some of the effects of the evil suffered by humanity.
Jehovah will not force people to obey the good news about Jesus. However, he is giving people the opportunity to take in the knowledge that leads to life. It is vital that you take advantage of this opportunity now! (Zephaniah 2:2, 3) If you do so, you will learn how to cope with any evil that now blights your life. You will also see how Christ will lead the ultimate conquest of evil.—Revelation 19:11-16; 20:1-3, 10; 21:3, 4.
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Saul condoned evil acts because he lacked accurate knowledge
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Helping someone take in accurate knowledge of God is the greatest good one person can do for another