The REAL root of all evil

The Bible does not say that “money is the root of all evil.” It actually says, in 1 Timothy 6:10, that “the love of money is the root of many evils.” Different versions offer slight variations in wording, but the actual text comports with the self-evident reality that some evils have nothing at all to do with money. Murder, for example, is statistically more likely to be motivated by jealousy, revenge or rage than love of money.

Make no mistake, the love of money is very high on list of things that cause evil results, as showcased in Ezekiel 28:11-16, which explains how Satan himself fell from grace. And to show just how insidious the love of money can be even in the church, consider that one of the reasons we have so many versions of the Bible with divergent wording is that copyright laws require a book to be substantially different from those already in print in order to claim an exclusive right to market it.

But there is a greater evil that even Satan is not guilty of (though he is the author of it among humankind): atheism, the personal, affirmative denial of God’s existence. Consider the implications of James 2:19: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe – and tremble!” So in the biblical context, it could be said that atheists are worse than demons – though not necessarily from the human perspective, which measures evil by conduct in human affairs. To resolve that conflict God offers a two-tiered standard for judgment, summed up by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

We humans tend to overemphasize the second-greatest commandment because it is more obvious and personal to us, but from God’s viewpoint, loving Him is paramount, meaning that denying He exists really is far worse than any human-on-human crime, even genocide.

But even atheism itself is not exactly “the root of ALL evil,” because, obviously, those who admit He exists – even the demons – also commit all manner of evil.

The one thing atheists and sinning theists (even those who love Him) have in common, which makes every evil act they commit possible, is disregard for the WILL of God. It all comes down to whose will prevails, which is why The Lord’s Prayer, which He taught to His disciples, centers on the phrase “thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” and why the Lord’s own prayer to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane ended with “thy will, not my will, be done.”

Of course, atheists don’t give a second thought to God’s will in anything that they want to do, but in fact either arrogate to themselves the right and responsibility for managing the things of the world (on the theory that Man is his own god), or just live as they please without any regard for questions of “responsibility” (because, to them, ultimately nothing really means anything, so why bother do anything but maximize personal satisfaction?). And theists, to the extent they are ignorant of the will of God or believe they have the right to ignore, modify or reinterpret His will, tend to be susceptible to all the worldly narratives and policies of the “humanists” (both “good” and bad) who seek to rule and reign according to their own will.

The ones least susceptible to evil (but never fully immune) are those who seek diligently to know and follow the will of God in all things – including uncompleted Jews, Muslims and other sincere theists (even if their source materials are flawed). I call these latter categories “the deceived unsaved” to distinguish them from “the intentionally wicked.” But among the sincere seekers, only those whose assurance of salvation is rooted in Jesus Christ are protected by His payment for their sins from its eternal consequences (though they are not necessarily exempted from natural and worldly consequences while on this mortal plane).

The key to understanding why the world is in its current degenerate state is to recognize that theories, strategies and solutions grounded in God-disregarding human will, regardless of whether they are motivated by benign or malign intent, are in every case fatally flawed because mankind does not have the knowledge or wisdom of the One who created all things for His own purposes. It is not enough to be able to “reverse-engineer” aspects of the created order through mathematics and scientific inquiry: the things the humans discover through these processes are always just a shadow of the larger reality. The limitations of every step of advancement is later proven, like the theory of “junk DNA,” to fall far short of the deeper truths – and that will always be true because of the infinite complexity of the mind/logos of God that sustains His creation.

In the polarized context of the culture war, we conservatives tend to attribute malign motives to the globalist elites, and in many cases that’s a well supported assumption, but in many other cases the motive (in the minds of the perpetrators) is benign, even when the results are not. I’ll never forget reading, in one sitting several years ago, the sequential introductions to the several re-publications of the Communist Manifesto, and being struck by the sincerity of the good intentions implicit in their contentions. That was the first step on my path to writing this article.

They didn’t recognize they were paving the road to Hell, seeing only the positives of their approach, of which there were several, including the end of child labor, more humane working conditions and the social shaming of greed-based commerce.

And on the capitalist flip-side, looking objectively at the “developed” world, from a broad-brush materialist perspective, there is quite obviously a benevolent intention behind the vastness of our collective material wealth and social progress relative to prior centuries. Let one example suffice to prove this: For the people of the world to be able to walk around with a “smartphone,” giving the poorest of the poor virtually unlimited access to the accumulated knowledge of humankind at the touch of a finger, is wealth beyond the wildest imagination of our most prosperous ancestors – and this is just one of many such luxuries we enjoy. It would be just as easy for the 1% and their militaries to keep us all naked and in chains eating dirt if they were all as malicious as our rhetoric implies. So give credit where due (but only to the limited extent that is due).

Yet what shall it profit mankind to have gained this world but lost its soul? Money is not evil in itself, nor is being “rich” a sin. But human “advancements” without honoring the God who made them possible always end badly. Marxist “liberation” becomes slavery. Technological marvels become police-state manacles. Egalitarian impulses become reverse-racism mandates. Puritanism-loosening cultural reform becomes civilization-defiling pan-sexual debauchery. Every human attempt to bless the world for our own glory spawns a parallel curse on humanity.

THAT is why we’re in this mess and will never get out of it without true repentance. The real root of all evil is Us without Him.

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