Evil is a such a simple, flat, two dimensional thing, so easy to portray. All in good fun here, but evil can pretty much be summed up as, “Shut up! I know what I’m doing!”
And this is why we are now in week six of a Twitter-logian debate over whether or not slavery was Biblical, and therefore Godly. Yep, you read that right! I could attempt to spin excuses for that, try to help people understand that while racism certainly permeates much of this discussion, there are also a handful of people who genuinely seem to believe the inerrancy of the Bible hangs on their ability to demonstrate that slavery is lawful…..
With all good humor, let us return to the definition of evil, “Shut up, I know what I’m doing!”
By the way, if you’d like to know the ring leader, the instigator of this “slavery is Biblical” concept, the Big Kahuna of, “Shut up, I know what I’m doing,” that would be Pastor Doug Wilson of Moscow Idaho fame.
It occurs to me that evil is so dang simple, so transparent, so, well, boring really. Now goodness, light, love, righteousness, whatever is lovely, pure, Holy, now that is all incredibly complex, deep, profound, really, really, hard to describe. CS Lewis wrote the Screwtape Letters from the perspective of evil, because that is well, easy-peasy.
To attempt to describe what is Holy and good is just downright grievous. Seriously, you wind up in prison having a dark night of the soul and cutting off your left ear in sheer frustration because you realize the mediums we use to convey ideas and communicate with one another here on earth are just so woefully inadequate they cannot ever do the Lord justice! That chasm, that vast gap between where we are right now, and the heaven we see right beyond our vision, is so not for the faint of heart. It will absolutely crush you. We are so, so close and yet so very far away.
You may laugh at my melodrama, but it is very true. Far better people than I have driven themselves half mad just trying to paint or sing or somehow convey just one tiny little peek, one solitary drop of the goodness of God.
I need to affirm, reiterate, and intercede on behalf of some very foolish people. First of all, you “slavery is Biblical” guys are totally disrespecting and disregarding the feelings and experiences of those whose lives have been impacted by slavery. Your Christian brothers and sisters. You are trying to imply that God endorsed, approved of, and supported the greatest atrocity they can imagine. You are basically trying to argue that God is not good. You are attempting to shape God into nothing more than a bigger version of dysfunctional YOU.
Ick. That’s not nice to do to the Lord.
Second of all, He came to set the captives free. The Bible is so clear and concise about that, in the rare event American slaves were allowed to have Bibles back in the day, it had to be edited least anybody catch wind of that fact. Sheesh, a good chunk of it is about Israel in chains, slaves to Pharoah, and God parting the Red Sea to lead them to freedom.
But the Bible does not just tell us the tale of literal slavery, but also slavery of all sorts! Slaves to fear, slaves to idols, slaves to lust, slaves to despair, slaves to every imaginable thing but God. To attempt to argue that the Bible is about the virtues of slavery is to miss the entire message of the gospel. He came to set the captives free. And the truth shall set you free….
Freedom is about having the freedom to make good choices. You know who does not have freedom? Slaves. In Christ however, the prison walls have come down, the cell doors are open, and the captives have been led into the promised land. Jesus came some 2000 years ago and set us all free of our slavery.
Alas, that also means we have the freedom to act like a dang fool.