Why is there evil in this world – a comment on Jill Meagher case

The Jill Meagher rape and murder by Adrian Bayley shocked everyone in the community and rightly brought the focus on our legal system, low sentencing of violent offenders and the failure of the Parole system. But there is an unsettling, unanswered question that has been asked but not properly answered … where did this evil come from? We have read and heard all about the past and upbringing of the offender and environment always has a part to play in the shaping of a man. But as a society we need to consider that nature of mankind and its inate capacity to commit evil. This then is a discussion about the philosophy of the origins of good and evil.

Jesus made this important observation:

(Mat 15:17-19 NIV) “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? {18} But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ {19} For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

There is no doubt that Adrian Bayley had a heart full of evil thoughts: murder, adultery, sexual immorality … the question is again … how did this evil get into his heart?

Christian theology is based on some basic premises about sin and evil.

1. We all fall short.  (Rom 3:23 NIV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We didn’t grow up and then suddenly fall short. We fall short at birth … even as an innocent. We are born with sin. Modern pyschology wants us to believe that we are born innocent. I would suggest that there is an inate tendency to do wrong that our socialisation tries to train out and control. Sometimes that works. Let’s read on.

2. The eyes are the window of the heart. (Mat 6:22-23 NIV) “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. {23} But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Let me translate, what we look at, what we see will fill our body … either with light (good things) or darkness (bad things). Some examples of evil that is available to see in a modern society:

  • Women demeaning videos
    • Rape
    • Pornography
  • Violent videos
    • Mass murder
    • Sadism
  • Terrorism glorifying websites

You get the picture.

3. People only see what they want to see. (Mat 13:15-16 NIV) For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ {16} But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. This about what we tolerate as a society. Calling good evil and evil good. People justify and excuse bad behaviour.

 4. What we think (focus on) controls our thinking.  Now we come to the root of the cause of evil. (Mat 15:19-20 NIV) For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. {20} These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.'”

5. Men become slaves to their sins. (Rom 6:16 NIV) Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

So does this mean that men are just robots, can’t control their passions? No, not at all. But it means that where people continually fill their eyes, thoughts and minds with all kinds of evil, they will become slaves to that sin. So it was with Adrian Bayley.

6. The Enemy looks for people to devour. (1 Pet 5:8-9 NIV) Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. {9} Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

If this was the end of the article we might wonder, are we all without hope. Not at all.(Rom 6:22 NIV) But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

(John 10:10 NIV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Adrian Bayley must now pay for his evil. As Christians, we can only respond as preachers of hope, of life, of another way of living.

Neil Stott








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