What is the definition of Evil?
The world’s view of good and evil can vary from culture to culture. There are some that deny evil is in our world. But reality and circumstances shows it exists.
According to the Bible evil becomes a reality in the very beginning with the first couple. Sin produces evil. Gen 2:9 The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
God instructed Adam to eat of the tree of life and nearby it was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that he was to avoid eating from or would receive death. Gen 3:5”For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
We find when Eve and Adam ate from the tree and God said they had become as one of us – “knowing good and evil. God would have eventually instructed them on evil but now they learned of it by experience, something God did not intend.
Later we see God comment on the spread of sin which resulted in wickedness in action and evil in thought. Gen 6:5 “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
God had to judge the earth because of this pandemic of evil from sin. After the flood immediately offers up a sacrifice which is pleasing to the Lord “And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done” (Gen. 8:21)
What does God consider evil?
Deut. 30:15: “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil”
God warns of death that accompanies evil, that we are to choose what is good to have life.
Idols that represent God are called evil - Exod 32:22-23 So Aaron said, “Do not let the anger of my lord become hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. “For they said to me, ‘Make us gods that shall go before us…”
Deut 4:25 “When you beget children and grandchildren and have grown old in the land, act corruptly and make a carved image in the form of anything, and do evil in the sight of the LORD your God to provoke Him to anger.”
Following false gods is called evil - Judges 2:11-12 “Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals; and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, … they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the LORD to anger.”
Judges 3:7 So the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God, and served the Baals and Asherahs.”
Speaking trivially on doing wrong and caring not for good can be considered evil. Lev. 5:4 ‘Or if a person swears, speaking thoughtlessly with his lips to do evil or to do good, whatever it is that a man may pronounce by an oath, and he is unaware of it—when he realizes it, then he shall be guilty in any of these matters.”
Complaining against God is called evil - Num 14:27: “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who murmur against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel murmur against Me.”
Being found among the assembly and seeing miracles and not producing faith is called evil – Num. 32:13 “So the LORD’S anger was aroused against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD was gone.” (Deut 1:39
False prophets that know they misleading the people from God’s word into their own words are called evil – Deut. 13:5: “But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.”
Treating the poor contemptuously is considered evil – Deut. 15:9: “Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand,’ and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the LORD against you, and it become sin among you.”
Deut. 19:18-19: “And the judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother, “then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you.”
1 Sam 24:16-18 So it was, when David had finished speaking these words to Saul, that Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. Then he said to David: “You are more righteous than I; for you have rewarded me with good, whereas I have rewarded you with evil. “And you have shown this day how you have dealt well with me; for when the LORD delivered me into your hand, you did not kill me.”
1 Sam. 25:21 Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have protected all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belongs to him. And he has repaid me evil for good.”
Saul Going after David to remove him was called evil because it was in disobedience to God and its intent was to shed blood.
2 Pet. 3:17-18 “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;” allowing yourself to be influenced by error often comes from those who are wicked.