The Real “Evildoers”

President Bush called the terrorist attacks “evil acts.”What is the cause of evil? Why does God allow it to exist? How can we eliminate the threat of evil?
From the November 2001 Trumpet Print Edition

Despite modern education’s attempt to convince us that man is innately good, it cannot be disputed that man is capable of appalling evil.

Some consider the terrorist attacks of September 11 to be the epitome of evil. Islamic extremists, on the other hand—who consider the suicide missions good—believe that America’s lifestyle is the highest form of evil.

It is highly evident that there is much evil in the heart of man. Though the human mind is able to achieve unbelievable technological and medical feats, it is inept at solving problems like war, crime, terrorism and immorality. Not only is the human mind unable to solve these problems, the human mind must be blamed for all these problems.

How could the world be filled with such evil? Many in America wonder about that since the terrorist attacks. Throughout history, even more grotesque displays of evil have been played out on the stage of planet Earth. Again, how could all this happen?

Yes, how could a good, loving God—if there is such a Being—allow such tremendous evil on this planet He created? Where was God on September 11? In fact, where has God been these thousands of years of man’s recorded history—when innocent civilians suffered as victims of war, crime and other forms of bloodshed? How can the world be full of such suffering?How could God—if He is a God of love, as the Bible states—just stand idly by and allow all these things to happen?

God reveals the answer in His Word, the Bible. The Bible tells what happened to the Earth to bring it to its present state of evil—all with God’s knowledge and permission. It also shows how man could become so incredibly evil—despite the existence of a great God.

The answer lies in the understanding that, along with the existence of God, there exists a vividly real, evil spirit world—headed by a deceitful and murderous devil.

Many relegate the existence of a devil to mere superstition—a comical subject for cartoons and sitcoms. If only those who wondered why God would allow such evil would look into His Word to see what He says about this devil, they would understand so clearly why the world is the way it is—why human nature is the way it is.

In the Beginning

God reveals that Satan the devil is the “god of this world” (ii Cor. 4:4). Many, even mainstream Christians, are ignorant of this fact. This world is not God’s world—it is under the control of Satan!

But how did Satan get hold of the reins of this planet?

The Bible shows that God created a magnificent, perfect archangel known as Lucifer (Ezek. 28:14-15). In Isaiah 14, God states, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (v. 12).

Verses 13-14 show how he fell: “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

God had placed Lucifer in an authority position on planet Earth, over a portion of the angels, to beautify and perfect the planet. Lucifer was given a throne, as the passage in Isaiah indicates.

Lucifer was not satisfied with his position, though, and attempted to kick God off His heavenly throne—warring to take universal control from the Creator. God thrust Lucifer back down to Earth.

From that point on in history, Lucifer was known as Satan, which means “adversary.” God did not remove Satan as leader of Earth. God, rather, decided to create humankind and give humans the chance to qualify to replace Satan as Earth’s ruler.

In the famous account of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve chose to reject God’s way. The Earth, therefore, remained under the control of the great adversary—man held captive under his sway.

Notice ii Corinthians 4:4 again: “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Not only is Satan the god of this world, he has blinded the minds of most of its inhabitants to God’s way.

God reveals this about Satan’s worldwide influence:”And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him”(Rev. 12:9).

The Master Broadcaster

Quickly after being expelled from the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve acquired Satan’s nature—that of self-centeredness, vanity, lust, greed, jealousy, envy, rebellion, violence and wars. This lifestyle continued on through their descendants—Satan broadcasting his nature into their minds from earliest infancy.

In fact, Satan is called the “the prince of the power of the air”(Eph. 2:2). To understand this, consider how a TV works: Sound and pictures are broadcast through the air, and when the TV is tuned to the right wavelength it makes these sounds and pictures audible and visible. Satan broadcasts not through sounds and pictures, but through attitudes and emotions. He surcharges the air with the moods reflective of his nature, and the whole world is tuned in to the master deceiver.

This is why “human” nature is the way it is. This is why, though the human mind is capable of amazing feats, it is also capable of mind-staggering evil—being heavily influenced by this powerful spirit being.

God’s Word shows that man’s nature, as swayed by Satan, is hostile toward God (Rom. 8:7). In the Old Testament, God tells Jeremiah that the human heart, despite what many believe today, is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked”(Jer. 17:9).

This should help explain why man is capable of such bloodshed.

Also, the Bible shows that Satan is the author of lies and murder (John 8:44). This is why evil men will conceive of such wicked plots as hijacking commercial airliners and steering them into populated skyscrapers.

This is also why those men believe they are actually doing good. From infancy, they have been taught that resorting to these means is the way to achieve ultimate righteousness—to be sent, immediately after their suicide mission, to a decadent paradise where every lust and desire they have will be fulfilled. These terrorists, along with the rest of mankind, were terribly deceived by the god of this world. Their minds were swayed by the prince of the power of the air—a being that has great hate for all humankind, regardless of color of skin or religion.

So where was God in all this? Again, how could He stand idly by as Satan wreaked havoc on the world? How could He stand to watch innocent people suffer at the hands of American-hating terrorists?

As stated earlier, Adam and Eve chose in the Garden of Eden a way of life that preferred God keep His hands off human civilization. God accepted their decision (Gen. 3:22-24), fully knowing, however, that it would mean much heartache and suffering for all of humanity throughout the years.

This heartache and suffering would serve a great purpose.

When God Will Finally Intervene

Humans, under Satan’s deception and influence, would become so evil that they would get to the point where they would erase all human life from the planet, were it not for God’s intervention at the last possible moment (Matt. 24:21-22). Mankind, by that point, will have truly experienced the fruits of going a way cut off from God. There is no other way human nature will genuinely learn this lesson except by brutal experience—the fruits of which, under Satan’s sway, we are bringing upon ourselves.

As those verses in Matthew 24 state, Jesus Christ will return to save mankind from self-annihilation.

Notice what God prophesies about what is to follow this fantastic event. “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season”(Rev. 20:1-3).

After Christ returns, Satan will be bound “that he should deceive the nations no more”for a thousand years. Imagine a world without this evil influence. For 1000 years, the air will not be saturated with Satan’s wavelength, producing evil, violent attitudes and moods. Because he is the real source of man’s violent nature, murder and crime will be utterly eradicated for this time period(Isa. 11:9).

This is how powerful Satan’s influence really is. Allow him rulership of the world, and he deceives, causes murder, lies, greed, etc. Take him away (with, of course, the rule of God in its place—Rev. 20:4) and these things begin to disappear, as the results of the devil’s influence on man’s mind are purged through proper education of God’s way.

Then, after 1000 years, the mighty deceiver will be loosed from this bottomless pit to deceive once again (Rev. 20:7-8). After 1000 years of peaceful, joyful, abundant, utopian living, many men—“the number of whom is as the sand of the sea”—will again fall prey to Satan’s deceptions. They will try to introduce violence to the calm world, attempting to battle against those dwelling in Jerusalem (vv. 8-9).

God will quickly put a stop to this and rid the world of Satan’s influence once and for all (v. 10). What a vivid description this is of the evil spirit world that is now powerfully at work on Earth. This is the real evil power behind the terrorist attacks of September 11.

Deliver Us From Evil

So what is the solution for this terrorism? Remember that the cause is wrapped up in the fact that what many call “human nature” is actually Satan’s nature. Human nature must be changed before we will see a solution to these problems.

How can that happen, though, if Satan’s worldwide influence still reigns supreme? After all, as we’ve just seen, will it not take man bringing himself to the point of total annihilation to finally change his own nature? Yes, for the most part—as the Bible prophesies—it won’t be until the majority of humanity, after living through a nuclear world war, comes to realize the depth of its evil nature, as influenced by Satan the devil.

Yet, consider what Jeremiah—who wrote the phrase quoted earlier, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked”—wrote a few verses later: “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise” (Jer. 17:14).

Understanding that Satan is responsible for the evil in man’s nature and the terrible sins man commits should not cause us to think man is blameless of evil—that all blame goes solely on Satan. Nor should we believe that, because of Satan being the source of it all, that man is helpless against being this way while Satan still sits as the god of this world.

We should cry out to God because of our “desperately wicked” nature—a way of thinking that has led us to such a despicable time in history. Even while Satan rules the Earth, God says we can turn to Him in heartfelt repentance and ask Him to heal us of this nature. With His power, we can combat Satan’s magnetic pull on our minds and rid ourselves of the deceitful nature he broadcasts—and replace it with God’s own nature!

Though God’s Word shows that many will not cry out to God, we can find hope in the knowledge that after all this evil climaxes in a Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21), the great God will return and take the reins of this Earth, make the world HIS world, free man from the evil influence and replace human nature with His loving, divine nature.