My latest Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) is a continuation of one that I wrote down nearly six months ago. The general theme of my thinking is The Christ Principle, and stains emanating from that one idea included Genesis 2-3 and its treatment of “What it means to be a human being.” The basic premise of Genesis is that humans are flawed but not immoral by nature (God can’t create evil).
Many scholars think four biblical sources wrote Genesis ( the J, the P, the Elohist, and the Yahwist). The writers of the two genesis accounts have two different creation accounts that give two archetypal accounts about humanity. (Yes, I know I used “accounts” several times.) If you are interested in reading more about this most fascinating of topics, look up the following site.
Click to access TX001002_1-content-The_JEPD_Theory.pdf
All of this speculating about Genesis brings up a problem with which I have had more than a casual interest. It is a problem “Where does evil come from?” Here are some quick thoughts in no particular order of importance.
- This must have been a preoccupation by those descendants of Abraham because they saw actions that were quite noble and yet from the same person acts that were despicable to the human conscience. It persists with humans as part of their nature. But, how can good nature be capable of such heinous acts as the Holocaust and even justify it in the name of anything?
- Evil must not be confused with our ability to choose freely what we want. It is invisible with no mass, no matter, and no properties of matter. Yet, when this is selected, it causes chaos, not resonance with our human nature.
- Evil has no home except the human heart. We have a reason for a reason, to be able to choose. It is what we choose that can be good or bad. Again reverting to the archetypal story of what it means to be human, good or bad, is tied to what will allow us to be what nature intends or wrong for us.
- Scriptures tell us that the wages of sin are death. What kind of death? Good dies when evil prevails. Evil prevails only when we choose it. This is why the individual person who lives their seventy or eighty years on earth is essential. I can choose what is good or bad for me based on my reasoning. I am the only one who can choose this or that activity as being good or bad. That comes from getting burned many times by those harmful consequences of sin.
- I am just beginning to appreciate the condition of original sin. If humans knew in advance of the consequences of their choices, no one would ever choose evil. We have needs and emotions inherited from our ancestors that are defaults for how we behave. The default is not evil but the allure that we choose what gives us pleasure. Make no mistake that this choice is not about denying human inclinations and needs, such as our sexual needs. It does mean that the Great Accuser, Lord of the kingdom of Original Sin, continuously beacons each individual to choose his Way, his Truth, and his Life. If we choose it, which is characterized by St. Paul as “The World,” we choose a false god.
- Sin causes a disruption in the resonance of my human nature. Sin causes spiritual depression because the mind and heart go against it, a natural consequence. “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee,” says St.Augustine. Hatred and Love are oil and water. Hatred kills the human spirit by the toxicity of the soul; Love is the purpose of the human consciousness and that for which we strive to attain.
- If your heart is a room (Matthew 6:5), then you can’t have both evil and good in the same room. The problem is that evil and the temptation to worship self and false gods roll over us each day, so we must start our struggle anew each day. Yesterday’s wins over Satan count nothing for today’s challenges to make The Christ Principle our center.
- It is essential to realize that the condition or environment of human nature’s existence is
- As a loving Father, God offers the extraordinary gift of adoption to those who die to themselves and have in them the mind of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5). This overshadowing of the Holy Spirit does not give us a free Monoply pass to heaven just because we are adopted, sons or daughters. That would be prideful and presumptuous on God’s mercy. We must work each day to take up our cross. When we drop our resolve and make bad choices, God has graciously given us the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a way to restore equilibrium and make all things new, with one exception. Like Christ’s admonition to the woman caught in adultery, Christ does not condemn us for being sinful but adds. “Go, and sin no more.”
- I have chosen the Lay Cistercian Way to refine my spiritual abilities to call Jesus “Rabonni” a teacher. It is the daily WAY I choose to have in me the mind of Christ Jesus as a Lay Cistercian. (Philippians 2:5); it is the daily TRUTH that I seek by realizing the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom (St. Benedict, Rule, Chapter 7, Step 1); it is the LIFE of the cross tempered by growing more and more in Christ each day while becoming less and less my false self (Dom Andre Louf, O.C.S.O., The Cistercian Way).
- The struggle is who determines what is good or bad? There are only two basic types of choices: I choose what is good or bad and give my important choice of good or bad to God as a gift. The most crucial prayer Christ taught us is the Lord’s Prayer. It says,” Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
- It might sound like all is lost for my growth in Christ and decreasing in my false self. It would be except that I have the opportunity to sit in the presence of Christ, both in from the Eucharist in Adoration and in the room in my heart (Matthew 2:5) and gain divine energy (as much as I can absorb, which is called capacitas dei). All it takes is for me to recognize that to gain the purpose of life and answer the six questions we need to become fully human is to die to my false self and rise with Christ to inherit the kingdom prepared for me before the beginning of whatever began.
- If I want love in my heart, I must put it there. If I want Christ in my heart, I must ask to be present through Lay Cistercian practices and charisms. If I choose what is evil, I can also put that in my heart.
- My choices are always the result of my DNA, the links in my past to human emotions, the selection of needs (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is an example), and my choice of what I make my center.
So, where does your evil come from, and can you win the cosmic struggle between corruptibility and incorruptibility to maintain your rightful inheritance as one who is fully human?