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What Do 'Good' & 'Evil' Mean?

F. Earle Fox

What is morality?  See Ethics Library

We are told that one should not use words such as 'evil' since that is not a nice thing to say about anyone.  The unniceness is not in the truthful accusing someone of it, but in the doing of it.  It is not wrong (evil) to correctly accuse someone.  People who forbid the use of moral language are violating their own principle by accusing someone of what they think is evil.

The first sign of evil and of spiritual warfare is the subversion of truth (see Romans 1:18 ff.).  And that means that our first and fundamental obligation is the seeking, preservation, and telling of truth.  Nothing else can go rightly without a foundation of truth. 

Truth is the common ground of reality, the only possible ground upon which any two persons can communicate.  So the preservation of truth - at any cost to ourselves - is the sine qua non of all rational discussion and all reasonable community. 

Having said that, all morality, all obligation is defined by the will of God.  No God, no morality.  (Again, see Ethics Library.) 

That suggests that the usual purpose of subversion of truth is going to be to avoid the obligation imposed by the will of God, our purpose for existence.  He who is perceived to hold the moral high ground will control the world.  So the subversion of truth must be a mainstay of any rebellion against God, the imposture of holding that moral high ground. 

'Evil' thus has two fundamental meanings -- (1) the subversion of truth, and, (2) rebellion against the will of God, i.e., the subversion of our reason for being, which, Jesus tells us (Matthew 22), is a community of love between God and ourselves.  

In the economy of God, truth and love are therefore absolutely and eternally wedded.  That is the good, the polar opposite of evil. 

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