Woe to those who say to evil, good; and to good, evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)
Evil/Good – What characterizes the ethics of the world more than this? “Evil is good, good is evil.” At some level, most of us sense the current reversal of common values. We are aghast at the upside-down ethics of a judicial system that protects the abuser more than the abused. We are numbed by a political culture that spends more time serving itself than the people it is supposed to represent. We weep over a morality that believes the only sin is getting caught. But Isaiah has more than this in mind. He and Jeremiah are on the same page. What is good? It was what the Lord calls tov. What is evil? It is what the Lord calls ra. To mix up these two is to commit the ultimate sin. To suggest that ra is tov and tov is ra is to assert that God is no longer in charge of His creation. This is blasphemy against the Spirit.
Yeshua must have reflected on this passage in Isaiah when He delivered His indictment against those Pharisees who claimed that His power to deliver men from demons was fueled by Satan (Matthew 12:31-32). The true character of those accusers came to light with such a claim. They fulfilled the words of Isaiah by calling what was good evil. Not only did it take a complete denial of the obvious (men were unchained from the grip of Satan) but it required that these accusers put themselves in the place of judgment over the coming of the Kingdom. They acted as if they were God, determining what was good and what was evil.
From Yeshua back to Isaiah, from Isaiah back to Havvah, the story of our world is found in this reversal of values. What does it mean to obtain the “knowledge of good and evil”? What Mankind discovered is that it ultimately means the loss of distinction, the collapse of ethical decision. Once we partake of this tree, all of our choices are clouded with self-interest. Thinking we would become wise, we became morally corrupt fools. We could no longer tell the difference between good and evil. Color blinded, the world became gray.
That tragic condition of the unforgiveable sin (blasphemy against the Holy Spirit) peeks out from behind the Tree. Given enough time and enough rejection of grace, men become animated corpses of denial, existing in a self-made hell where good and evil no longer reflect the Creator’s priorities. That road is wide and many travel it in ignorance and deceit. Thank God for His grace. He has shown us what is good. Now we have only to do it.
Topical Index: blasphemy, evil, good, ra, tov, Isaiah 5:20, Matthew 12:31-32