The Origin of Evil-Here and Now
Although it is interesting to read about Satan and how his downfall began, the real question is how does his downfall affect us here and now.
One thing we do know is that if Satan is the sworn enemy of God, he is also the sworn enemy of the human race. In scripture he is called the accuser of the brethren (Rev.12:10) and characterized as one who comes to steal, and destroy (John 10:10). This is seen at Calvary when the head of our race, Jesus Christ God incarnate, is tortured and killed at Satan’s instigation. To this day Satan continues his activity, thwarting and usurping the life of the son of God within humans.
One principle we practice, when working with folks who come to the Total Living Center for help, is recognizing that they themselves are not the problem. They are fearfully and wonderfully made to express perfectly the life of Jesus Christ within them (if they are Christians).
We know if the person of Jesus Christ is not coming forth from them, the problem is a Satan block. In reading the teacher’s training article on the origin of evil, I see three principles operating in Satan that fixed him as the evil one. These three principles are: dissatisfaction (resentment), self-deception (denial), and pride.
These same three principles operate in those whose Christ life is being choked off by Satan. Perhaps if we examine Satan’s rebellion we might understand how it works in ourselves. Satan’s downfall began because he was not satisfied with his position and stature. Tom Prewitt once told me that dissatisfaction is at root rebellion (strong words). The Bible says rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (Is. 15:23). Satan was not content to be what he was, a vessel who would contain and manifest God. He wanted to be the light. He took this attitude and moved into full scale rebellion. He "would" be like the most high.
The big book of AA says the heart of all spiritual disease is resentment of people, institutions, or principles, "for when harboring such feelings (resentments), we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit (page 66)". These resentments are at bottom dissatisfaction about how we are being treated, conditions we have to live under, and the principles the universe operates under. The root of these resentments is independence, because we as the creature vessel are deciding how "we" should be, and how people should treat "us." Remember our function is simply to express the person of Jesus Christ in whatever possible situation we might be in.
The second principle operating in Satan was self-deception. He lied to himself that he, the vessel or light bearer, was independent and self-powered. A creature by definition can never be that. So it was a monstrous lie Satan told himself.
We often see willful self-deception in the folks we deal with. I am very conscious of this self-deception and can recognize it because I practiced denial (another word for self-deception) faithfully my spiritual disease of addiction. I lied to myself for 10 years that I was really a good person who just had not found a way to stop sinning. I lied to myself in the face of constant failure and visible damage to my loved ones by my actions.
We see this denial constantly in the people we work with and behind it is the whisper of the one who has lied to himself from the beginning. The way out of this denial is to take someone else’s view of yourself.
In my early days in a 12-step program my fellow members were very frank with me regarding my motives, my actions, and what I had done to myself. As painful as these things were to hear, it was my listening to them that saved my life. I decided to face the pain and quit lying to myself. The great question is, "why do those of us who are in denial continue to deceive ourselves, as Satan deceives himself?" The answer is pride. Satan seduces human beings with the same self love he seduced himself with. Satan fell in love with himself as the container. Instead of being content with his container status, he fell in love with the false view that somehow "he" was the light. He was the "HE". Human beings will rarely lie so boldly, but our lives are at root the same: "I" am a good parent, "I" am a good teacher, "I" really do try hard. We believe that we are really expressing our own qualities rather than those of another. Or conversely "I" am so bad, "I" am so prone to evil, "I" am such an overeater. "We" are really no
t the evil either. We simply express the characteristics of the one who lives our life.
Many will not give up even these negative views of themselves. If they are miserable, at least it is "their" misery. They are a self (an independent self) with a problem. Somehow it is easier for them to be a miserable independent self than to be only the satisfied vessel of Christ. This attitude might be characterized as insane, to love our misery more than the truth.
The second step of Alcoholics Anonymous says a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. Let’s see how the pioneer of our Salvation, Jesus Christ, handled those temptations to rebellion (dissatisfaction and resentment), self-deception and pride. Perhaps then we can find a way out.
The Scripture says we can have this same mind in us that Christ had operating in Him (Phi1.2:5). What was Christ’s specific attitude when confronted with people and situations which were antagonistic to Him? Did Christ rebel and become dissatisfied and resentful when Pilate told Him he had the power to crucify Him or to let Him go?
Jesus said to Pilate, he could have no power at all over Him unless it was given to him from above (John 19:11). So Jesus, instead of resenting and hating Pilate, looked through Pilate to His loving Father who was controlling all the events that were coming to Jesus.
We can make this same internal choice (that’s what it all boils down to-an internal choice) to see through people, events and situations that hurt us, to our Father who is perfectly orchestrating what is coming to us.
How did Jesus deal with the temptation to self-deception, powered by pride that Satan offers all men? He refused to ever see Himself as more than a vessel or agent for His Father. As the unique incarnate, eternal begotten Son of God, Jesus could have been tempted to see Himself as more than a vessel. Certainly He could lay claim to having some goodness or power of His own.
But what does He say about His goodness? "Do not call me good, none is good but God alone" (Matthew 19:17). And what does He say about His own independent power and ability to act? "The Son can do nothing of Himself" (John 5:19).
We too can take this same radical attitude towards ourselves that Jesus had towards Himself. We can refuse to ever see ourselves again as independently good at anything, be it parenthood, our profession, or even something as silly as driving. We are always expressing the qualities of another.
Conversely we can never take credit for the negative, saying "I" am a depressive, or "I" am an overeater. Again we are only expressing the qualities of a Deity, either Satan in our unbelief or Christ in right believing.
So the great choice is ours. Do we go the way of rebellion, self deception, and pride as Lucifer did, or the way of humility and obedience of faith as Jesus Christ Himself did, even to the Cross?
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 9 No 2
- The Origin of Evil-Here and Now
- Forward Ever, Backward Never
- The Origin of Evil
- The Mind
- A Life That Works
- Questions? & Answers!
- Birth of the News
- Moments with Meryl
- A Lawyer Tells It Like It Is
- FAITH SWALLOWS UP DOUBT
- FREEDOM FROM SELF
- INDWELT BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD
- THE MAILBOX: PRAISES SUNG
- An Easter Message
- Mini Fellowship Weekend
- Powerless Over Alcohol & Life: Steps 6 and 7
- Annual Business Meeting
- No Independent Self, Part One