Religious Studies Good + Evil

Christian Beliefs About Good and Evil

Some Christians Believe:

God is perfect and the source of all goodness
Humans were created in God's likeness and have a responsibility to live in a way that is pleasing to him
The moral code given by God in the Bible is what Christians follow to live a good life
Evil is the result of not following God
Evil is personified in the character of the devil
The devil acts against God and wants to tempt humans to live in an evil way - e.g Adam and Eve

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Good and Evil

Christian Beliefs About Good and Evil

Some Christians Believe:

God is perfect and the source of all goodness
Humans were created in God's likeness and have a responsibility to live in a way that is pleasing to him
The moral code given by God in the Bible is what Christians follow to live a good life
Evil is the result of not following God
Evil is personified in the character of the devil
The devil acts against God and wants to tempt humans to live in an evil way - e.g Adam and Eve

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Good and Evil

Christian Beliefs About Good and Evil

Some Christians Believe:

God is perfect and the source of all goodness

Humans were created in God's likeness and have a responsibility to live in a way that is pleasing to him

The moral code given by God in the Bible is what Christians follow to live a good life

Evil is the result of not following God

Evil is personified in the character of the devil

The devil acts against God and wants to tempt humans to live in an evil way - e.g Adam and Eve

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Good and Evil

Other Christians Believe:

The devil is a symbolic way of showing how people often struggle to do what is right and that there is always the temptation to do things that are wrong
They believe the devil is an evil force not a real being
God created free will so people decide whether they are good or evil
The Two Types of Evil

Moral Evil - is when suffering is caused by the actions of human beings - e.g. 9/11 and Hitler killing 6 million Jews
Natural Evil - is suffering created through no direct fault of humans - e.g. tsunamis

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Good and Evil

The Devil

A fallen angel
Lives in Hell with his demons
Introduced sin
Tempted Eve
Works against God
Causes evil and suffering

The Devil in the Bible

"I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven"
"For Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light"
Takes away all of Job's possessions
Tempts Jesus in the desert
The Bible says the devil will be destroyed by being thrown into the lake of fire (Hell)

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Good and Evil

The Fall, Original Sin and Redemption

The Fall is the term Christians use to describe the move of humans from a perfect relationship with God to disobedience and a broken relationship
Many Christians believe that the Fall has effected the entire human race. Every person born since the Fall is affected by original sin . This means that all humans are born out of a relationship with God and in need of his salvation
Original sin means that without redemption a person has no hope of eternal life in Heaven with God
Original Sin is the first sin committed by Adam and Eve
The Fall is Adam and Eve's Fall from God's grace
Jesus saved mankind by dying on the cross therefore, removing original sin and forgiving that sin
By overcoming death by his resurrection, he opened the gates of Heaven
Redemption means humankind has been saved from punishment for sin
Roman Catholics are encouraged to go to confession

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Good and Evil

Christian teachings about evil:

 God gave people free will – the ability to choose between right and wrong for themselves.
 God showed people how they should live (e.g. the Ten Commandments, Jesus’ teachings) but it is their choice whether they follow his instructions or not.
 The Fall – humanity’s battle with good and evil is told in the story of Adam & Eve; they chose to disobey God.
 Original Sin – some Christians believe that as a result of Adam and Eve’s first sins, each human is born with a tendency towards evil.
 When Jesus came to Earth (the Incarnation), humans were given a chance to escape everlasting punishment after death by following the teachings of Jesus and asking God’s forgiveness for their sins.
 Jesus died on the cross (the Cruxifiction), and from this the relationship between God and humanity was restored. This is called the Atonement.
 Jesus rose from the dead three days after he had been crucified. (the Resurrection) From that time onwards, people who followed his teachings went to heaven.
 When Eucharist is celebrated by some Christians, they remember Jesus’ actions and the fact that because of his sacrifice they are forgiven by God.
 As well as a power for good (ultimately, God) there is also a power for evil. This is said to be Satan, one of the archangels who disobeyed God and was thrown out of heaven.

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Good and Evil

Most suffering is caused by people’s selfishness and wrongdoing – for example, there is enough food in our world to feed everyone – yet 1/3 of the population is hungry. We have all done things to make persecution, war, injustice, pollution and preventable disease worse.

Suffering is an old problem for religious people, particularly for those who believe that God is:

OMNIPOTENT =​​ OMNISCIENT = ​​OMNIBENEVOLENT =
all-powerful. ​​ ​ all-knowing​​​ all-loving

There are two types of evil:

 Natural Evil = suffering caused by events that have nothing to do with humans, and which are to do with the way the world is, e.g. natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions, floods and earthquakes.
 Moral Evil = suffering caused by humans acting in a way that is considered morally wrong, e.g. bullying, theft, murder, **** and terrorism.

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Good and Evil

The Nature of Evil

Personal Being:

 Most common references Satan & Devil
 Figures plotting against God
 Sometimes animal – serpent in Genesis

Impersonal Force
 Force which can lead people away from good intentions.
 Makes people want things purely for themselves.

Psychological Phenomenon
 Evil is created by human beings.
 Exists in our minds as a result of all negative things we do or think.
 Failure to show forgiveness, patience or understanding.
 Creates a personal misery or hell – something that human beings choose.

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“Anyone who does not pick up his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” – Matthew 10:38

“Greater love has no man than this, that he should lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13

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