[PODCAST MANUSCRIPT] Hello everyone, and welcome to a brand-new season of Adventology. I’m your host, Travis Walker, in today’s episode we’re going to be exploring the origin of evil and answering the question why was sin permitted?
But before we do that, I just want to say it is good to be back. A lot has happened since our last episode for one, I have moved, I am currently now the pastor of the Fort Myers Seventh Adventist Church. I enjoyed my six years in Daytona Beach, and, as you can imagine, the transition has, been busy one. But we are now in a place where I can give this podcast the love and attention it deserves.
And to be truthful, I have missed it. I’ve missed making these episodes and I missed the feedback and the relationship I developed with all of you through the years that we were weekly producing episodes up until about 2021, I. However, in this new iteration of our podcast here, I want to include a little bit more about my own life and your life as well.
I would love to hear from you, get your feedback after each of our episodes, maybe even including some of your comments and questions in future podcast episodes. So even now as you prepare for this episode consider letting me know. Consider dropping me a line if I say something that strikes your mind in a certain way or creates a question in your mind.
You can reach me at Travis@adventology.com or you can follow me on Instagram at pastortwalk. You know, I was kind of resisting Instagram all these years, but over the last year, I have really. Come to embrace it, and I’d like to embrace it even more. So, whether you’re an audio person or a visual person, we hope to provide content in both of those settings.
So again, thanks again for joining us today. remember everything we do on this podcast is designed to help you. Be ready for Jesus. And so part of being ready for Jesus is walking with Jesus. Amen. And so my question for you today is how is your walk? How is God in your life right now? Are you closer to him than you were before?
Are you farther away? Do you find yourself drifting? The truth is, we don’t, we’re never in a neutral position with God. We either. Kind of moving toward him or moving away from him. But the good news, of course, is that Christ never moves away from us. The Holy Spirit is always chasing after us, and it’s his desire to draw us to himself through the love and truth found in the Word of God, and through the love of those in this world who have accepted Christ and their life and are living and breathing incarnations of Jesus in their day-to-day lives.
And so, the point that I’m trying to make here is that wherever you’re at right now, God loves you and I want you to know that he’s never far from you. He’s always there. If you would just kind of turn your head and look up to him, he’s right there. And so, this idea that God is love is so central, especially when we, look at the overarching theme of the Bible and the great controversy.
God is love really is the lens by which we need to study the Bible. If we look at the Bible with any other lens, we’re going to get a distorted view. And of course, there’s reasons why we question God’s love, and we’ll be getting into that more through this season. But one of the things that is a true reflection of God’s love, and his character is his law.
And really that’s where the whole great controversy begins with a question about whether God is truly love and whether his law is, just and right. and so, the reason that people question those things is because there’s this idea out there that maybe God is responsible for all the evil in the world today.
Maybe God and the devil are, are in cahoots together, maybe they’re not enemies so much as they are partners and others just accept that God is good and the devil is evil and, that they’re at odds with one another. But then they start asking themselves if God’s so much more powerful and greater than the devil, then why didn’t he just destroy him, at the beginning?
And so, we’re going to be answering some of those questions today. Not that I’m going to be able to totally answer those questions. cause there’s certain things about God that I don’t even understand. I mean, his foreknowledge is clear. The Bible says he knows the end from the beginning. And yet clearly if that was the case, then people would say, well, why did you even create Satan to begin with?
And you know what, I don’t know the answer to that question, but what we do know is that God is good. And so to really understand God, we have to begin by looking at Christ. I think because Christ is the manifestation of God. We can’t see the Father, the Spirit as well is invisible, but Jesus is the revelation of God to man.
And so if we turn in our Bibles, we look at John chapter one. And starting in verse one, it simply says this, “in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him. And without him, nothing was made. That was made.”
So right here we see that any question about the nature of Christ is answered right here in the beginning of this gospel. Jesus has always been with the Father, will always be with the Father, and he’s with the Father today. And that means that he was with the Father through the creation of everything that we see.
Everything that exists in the world was made through him. And so not only is Jesus then our Savior, right, but he’s also our creator. He is also our law giver, and this is where a lot of people struggle. They want to see Jesus as this loving savior, but they have a difficult time seeing him as the creator of the 10 commandments, right?
The giver of the law, and the one who set all things into motion from the beginning. But lest we forget, right? When we look at the prophecies of the Bible concerning Christ, the prophet Isaiah said this about Jesus. “Wonderful. Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”
And so, Christ has always been, will be and will continue to exist throughout eternity. There are other scriptures that reiterate this point even piggybacking on what John said in John chapter one, Colossians Apostle Paul said this in chapter one, verse 16 and 17.
“For by him all things were created and that are in heaven, that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers, all things were created through him and for him, and he’s before all things. And in him, all things consist.” So I think this is an important point cause every day we wake up, it’s a gift from Christ, right?
He not only made us, he not only saved us, but he also sustains us, right? He’s the one that makes the world spin around. He’s the one that allows the sun to shine. He’s the one that brings the rain. Christ is the great lover of our soul. Everything good that we experience in this world is a gift from Christ.
Every piece of bread we eat, every glass of water we drink is a gift from Jesus. He sustains our life. He sustains our bodies, and so this is the great truth of the Christian religion, right? Everything centers on Christ. And you know, sometimes it can become a little cliche, but that’s only because we have lost some of the awe and wonder that would come if we spent more time really contemplating the nature of God through Jesus as revealed to us in Jesus. Because that’s truly the only way we can understand love. You know, God doesn’t force, and this is one of the big themes that we’re going to be talking about today. He doesn’t force, he draws, right?
He wants us to appreciate him for who he is and his character. And so Christ is the manifestation of that character of God. It’s through Christ that we understand even what love is because that is the principle and the foundation of God’s throne. And yet a lot of times we kind of have a shallow approach to love.
We see it more in a sentimental way. Rather than the principle that it truly is. Because if you think about love, right? Love is something that requires choice. And, and this is kind of where the rubber meets the road with this conversation about the origin of evil, right? Because the idea of God being love then means that he would create beings both capable of receiving and giving that same love.
But with that capability, there is even a greater core principle than love that is required. And that’s, and that’s free will, right? Because we can’t love without choosing to love, otherwise it’s not love otherwise we’re just programmed to be behave in a certain, and although you may create a perfect world, a perfect environment, if you pre-program everything to do exactly what you want it to do in the end it’s just a program, right? It’s like a computer program. You know, you can make it perfect in that environment, but at the end of the day, you know, it’s just doing what you programmed it to do. And God didn’t want that. That’s not according to who he is, and that’s not how he made the universe.
So therefore, God had to give us, the freedom to choose. He had to give all his intelligent beings the freedom to choose. Because what is love without choice? Right? If you force love, it becomes slavery, right? Or worse, you know, just being a robotic existence. If you buy love like the Beatles famously sang, you can’t buy me love, right?
You can’t, because if you do, it’s just flattery, right? It’s just a way to get people, to manipulate them to do what you want them to do, but at the end of the day, it’s not coming from the heart. And so either way, unless love is given freely, love ceases to exist. Thus, in order for God to be true to himself, he had to create us with that same reflection, and the created beings they had to both have the ability to receive and accept love, but that also meant they had the ability to reject and distort it.
Now, it’s really impossible for us to understand how long creation existed. We don’t know how old the universe is, scientists estimate 5 billion, 10 billion years.
I have no idea if that’s true, but the reality is that however long creation had existed before Earth came into existence is really not the point. The point is, at some point right before Earth was created, evil entered into the universe, right? And while Star Wars and other Eastern Buddhist type philosophies will teach that good and evil depend on one another to exist. The Bible doesn’t say that.
The Bible says that there was a time when there was only good and no evil, and there will be a time in the future when that will be the case again. And so just as darkness is the absence of light, so evil is the absence of love.
So where then did this evil come from? Again, the Bible doesn’t really explain it. The Bible just says it’s the mystery of iniquity. In other words, if evil could be explained, it could be justified, but since there’s no justification for evil, then there can be no explanation for it as well. And yet we do know where it came from, right?
We do know where it took root, I should say. It took root in the highest, most beautiful of all God’s created beings, an angel named Lucifer. Thus, God said, in the, in the book Ezekiel concerning Lucifer, he said, “you were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom, and. Perfect in beauty, you were in Eden, the garden of God. Every precious stone was your covering. You were the anointed chair of who covers. I established you. You were on the holy mountain of God. You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created until iniquity was found in you. Ezekiel 28, 12 through 15.
Again, we see here the Bible gives no excuse for Lucifer’s rebellion. He had it all. He had power, he had beauty, he had influence, but the only thing he didn’t have was control. He was not satisfied being the first among angels. He wanted to be God himself. And once that root of pride took root in his heart, it just wouldn’t let go.
Later we find in Isaiah another description of the fall of Lucifer in chapter 14, starting in verse 12, it says here, “how you are fallen from heaven. Oh Lucifer, son of the morning, how you’re cut down to the ground. You who weakened the nations for you have set in your heart. I will ascend into heaven. I’ll exalt my throne above the stars of God and I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the most high.”
And that was truly his desire, right? That’s what pride had planted in his heart. This desire to be God, this desire to control rather than to be controlled.
At least that was how he felt. And although he had been given everything that one could ever ask, it wasn’t enough. He wanted more. And soon those gifts of beauty, power, and influence that he had used for who knows how long up to this point to serve God, were turned against God and became a weapon that even God couldn’t fight with. Right. And that weapon was deception.
Because at the heart of his deception was this idea that angels would be happier, right? If they weren’t restricted by God’s law. And so what he began to say and began to believe in his own life was that the law of God was a weapon of control, a weapon of manipulation.
And he failed to see it as it truly was, which was a manifestation of God’s character. Right? And even though over and over again, God proved himself to Lucifer, showing who he truly was with his patience and love toward him, and trying to turn him back from the road of perdition that he was walking. Lucifer began to become even more stubborn in his belief, right?
And so cunning and making himself the victim, pointing to God as the tyrant, and eventually began influencing the other angels. The Bible says he convinced a third of the angels in heaven to follow him and turn their back on God. Thus Lucifer, the light bearer became Satan, the great adversary. And of course, the inevitable result was war, right?
Not a physical war, right? I mean, that’s something that we can understand. We’re not always fighting wars with swords and guns, right? Sometimes we are fighting wars with words and ideas, and this is clearly the case of what was happening in heaven. Otherwise, all the evil angels and Lucifer himself would’ve been wiped off the face of existence.
But instead, revelation 12 describes it this way, “and war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven. Any longer.”
So eventually the patience of God ran out. Eventually everyone had to make a decision. There was a D-day. Everyone had to take a side. And once everyone had made that choice the results and the consequence were that a third of the angels, including the devil, no longer could stay in heaven. Now, we asked this question earlier, but let’s go back to it.
Why didn’t God just destroy the devil right then? Right? Why not? Just be rid of him. And even if you were going to let the devil continue and manifest his character in heaven, why not after a third of the angels had chosen their side, did God just not wipe them all out of existence at the same time?
But this is a human idea, right? This idea that the moment we come into some difficulty, we just want to get rid of the problem right away. But God is much wiser than that. Right. His character, like we said, is love and since all of his relationships with his created beings must be based on that same principle, what do you think would’ve happened if he had just zapped Lucifer for the moment he began to question God’s character or if he had done the same thing with the angels who had taken the side of the devil and his complaint against God. What about those that were left behind? You see, the seed of doubt would’ve still existed. Some of their minds, right? Some would’ve served God out of fear rather than love, and that root of sin would not have been completely wiped out.
You see, the devil was so artful and so cunning that not everyone could see truly what he was up to. And we all have been around people like that, right. I mean, so many of us have been around deceivers and manipulators. We know that they rarely truly show who they are. They rarely show their true character right away.
And they’re very good at making themselves the victim, making themselves look like they’re the ones in the right, even though they’re opposing authority and truth. And so, it takes time for people to reveal their character, and then you can see who they truly are. It’s the same thing. This is a principle for all created beings.
The devil was no different. You know, he was even better at disguising his true nature to many. And so, God in his eternal wisdom had to let the true nature of sin manifest itself so that all could see its terrible results and before destroying it. He had to allow it to mature so that everyone could see God is just, that God is good. That everything God does is in the best interest of his creation.
And so this is not necessarily comforting to those of us who are in the midst of this great conflict here on earth. Many of us wish we could just say, God, why didn’t you just destroy the devil? Why did we have to be brought into this great conflict?
And we’re going to be talking more about the human interaction and the human intervention into this great conflict in our next episode. But before we go there, I just want to remind you of a text found in Romans chapter eight, where it says, “and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, and to those who are called according to his purpose.”
And so, God will make a way, right? We know that in the end, we’re not going to question God’s wisdom. We may not understand how he’s getting to that point, but I promise as you continue to walk with me through this season you’ll begin to understand it better for yourself and hopefully trust God as he leads you on this pathway of life.
Right? Because we have such a short amount of time here on the earth and we really don’t have a lot of time to make a choice, but we do have a choice to make. And we can either choose to believe that God is good, that God is love, and that ultimately God has our best interest in mind. Or we can believe the lie that that God is a manipulator, that his law is restrictive, that he’s just out to, to take and steal our fun.
And I’m here to answer those questions the best I can. You know, if you have questions about the character of God, if you have questions about the origin of evil, again, my email is Travis@adventology.com. I’d love to hear from you, and in the meantime, I want to encourage you to pick up the book Patriarchs and Prophets. It’s for free. You can get it online, or you can just order a hard copy of your own by typing patriarchs and Prophets into Google. But we’re going to be using this book as a supplementary guide this season. All the chapters in the book will be episode titles, so it’ll be easy to follow along and know where we’re at.
Obviously, I’m not going to be reading from the book, but if you want to get greater insight into what we’re going to be discussing here on the podcast, then you can do so by reading those chapters. And in the end, we’re going to end up walking through the entire Bible together in this season. So if you are blessed by this episode, let me encourage you to follow us here on Adventology.
If you can rate and review us, especially if you’re on Google or Spotify or Apple, a five-star review is much appreciated. That will help others discover what you have here on Adventology. And of course, the whole purpose of Adventology is to help you be ready for Jesus.
So how did what we talk about today help you be ready for Jesus? Well, let me just recap with this.
Remember, whoever controls the past controls the future. So what you believe about the history of God and humanity affects how you live your life today and ultimately affects your destiny. And so the devil has been calling God a tyrant since the great controversy began.
He continues to do so today, and so his main objective is to discredit God through discrediting his law. And why is that important? Because this will and will continue to be the great dividing line that will become more obvious as we near closer to the end between those who follow God and those who do not.
So, as we finish the episode today, let me just remind you to be ready for Jesus. Speak life, live love. Until next time, Maranatha.