Why Do We Spare a Thought for Evil?
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Satan has only lies and tricks to offer us. He has no lordship over anything in creation, for all things belong to God. Indeed, the only power Satan has is that which is given to him. So why do we spare even a thought for evil?
Since the garden of Eden, we have been suckers for self-interest. Listen to the words of the serpent to Eve: "Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?" Would God lie to us? How are we so easily fooled? I think the answer comes when the serpent offers Eve something that appears good for her: to be like God. "You certainly will not die!”
No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is evil." So, Eve begins to rationalize her choice to take the place of God for herself. She “saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.” We know, in hindsight, that this “wisdom” she gains is in fact folly. She already knew what was good because she was in direct relationship with Goodness Himself, God Almighty. The only thing she gained was the kind of knowledge of evil that comes from doing evil: shame.
Everything that Satan offered to Eve was a lie. He promised good things separated from God; we know there is no such thing. In doing so, Satan was taking the place of God in Eve’s life by promising her that same godhood. Yet he, who is not God, cannot make any such promise. And God, who is God, would never do so, because God knows that we were not made to live without Him.
When Satan tries to tempt Jesus, he again tries to turn Jesus away from the will of God with seemingly good things like food, safety, and earthly power. But this time, Satan is outmatched. Jesus reveals the truths from Sacred Scripture that disprove Satan’s lies. Jesus already has all the powers Satan pretends to offer, for Jesus truly is God and Lord of all. Jesus knows better than to allow Satan to usurp God’s place in His life, for He is God—the Son in perfect union with the Father and the Spirit. So Jesus rejects Satan’s lies and casts him away.
This Lenten season, let us follow Jesus’ example: stay close to the Father, get to know Christ in Sacred Scripture, and reject Satan’s lies.
Peace in Christ,
Father Matthew Kuhn