Sin and the Fallenness of CreationSin and the Fallenness of Creation
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By Frank L. Hoffman - 18 December 1998

I found Michael Shaw's commentary on Sin and the Fallenness of Creation very scholarly and interesting, but I disagree with some of his conclusions.  Being both a scientist and a theologian, I look at things a little differently.  Michael Shaw views evil as a created "thing".  I don't believe that it is, any more than darkness or cold are created things.

We will begin this comparison by examining heat.  Heat is caused by the excitation of atomic and molecular particles.  The faster they move about, the "hotter" that substance becomes.  The absence of any movement or heat is what we scientifically call absolute zero.  Ice feels "cold" to the touch because it draws heat from the skin.  When we stand in the wind, the moisture on our skin evaporates quickly and we feel colder than the actual temperature indicates.  We call this effect "wind-chill".  God created the atomic particles and combined them into atoms and molecules.  He also set them in motion (Genesis 1:2).  It is interesting that even though we can get very close to absolute zero, we have never been able to completely achieve it.  We can slow down what God has created, but we cannot stop it.

In the beginning, God created light (Genesis 1:3).  Darkness is the absence of light, not a separate substance or thing.  Even though the Bible refers to "darkness" as a noun, in context it is only being used for comparative purposes to show contrast with "light".  Light, as a physical substance of either energy or photon particles, is the light by which we read.  Light, in the Bible, is also referred to as the knowledge and wisdom of God.  The lack of such light within us is referred to as being in "darkness". 

The same concept, or relationship, holds true about that which is without the wisdom or knowledge of God's created good intent.  This "created good intent" was even considered to be "very good" (Genesis 1:31).  Such a state of being is either innocent or evil, depending upon the circumstances.  To have no knowledge of either good or evil is innocent.  To be told to do something by God and then disobey that command is evil.   To know the truth and deny it is evil.  To choose to do the opposite of God's created intent is evil.  Thus, that which is evil is not "created" except though our own actions, those actions which eliminate the good.  To me, this is also an example of free-will.

Even though Michael Shaw considers it against God's desire to abuse and kill people and animals, by following Michael's logic, we could come to the conclusion that God created some of His beings to be tortured and killed as we do with billions of animals each year.  I don't believe this is true.  I believe that God never intended humans or animals to eat flesh or each other.  I believe that God took a "risk" in creating us with a free-will, the risk that we would not obey Him.   Thus, as part of His creation, He also had to create the method of fixing or healing the problems that would arise.  He did not create the evil, but only the methods of healing it.

We choose to live in the darkness.  We choose to live in the light.  We choose to do evil.  We choose to do good.  We choose to listen to God.  We choose to disobey God.  If we're honest with ourselves, we will admit it, for it makes common sense.

Frank

Go on to comments: By Alex Chartrand - 18 December 1998
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