Man’s love of life is the root of all evil and the basis of every sin.
Is it good to go to school; get a good job; build your own house and have lots of money? Not according to Jesus. These things are highly valued by men. But Jesus teaches that: “What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” (Luke 16:15).
Therefore, it is not surprising that Jesus had none of these accomplishments as a man. In his doctrine, they are the preoccupation of Satan and men. Therefore, they are offensive to God. Jesus told Peter that the things of men are the things of Satan and not of God. He said to him: “Get behind me, Satan! You are an offense to me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23).
What then is good? Jesus says: “No one is good but One, that is, God.” (Matthew 19:17). Therefore, anything that is of God is good. Jesus considers only the things pertaining to the kingdom of God to be good. Everything pertaining to this world is evil. Schooling, jobs, housing and money pertain to this world and, as such, are evil and not of God.
Everything earthly is a human alternative to the will of God in heaven. Continued devotion to the things of this world militates against our desire to be with the Father in heaven and is therefore absolutely evil.
Jesus says to his disciples: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13). This indicates he sees men as evil. In order to be good, men, who Jesus also categorises as “the sons of this world,” have to become “the sons of light;” another word for sons of God. Jesus says: “The sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.” (Luke 16:8).
This means all our affinities to men and to this world must be relinquished in favour of God and the kingdom of heaven. These include allegiances to fatherland, to family and relatives; and to race, sex and creed. Jesus says: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26). He says furthermore: “Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33).
Relative and absolute evil
Men are consumed by the love of life, leading us to regard anything that threatens our life as evil. This makes us define evil erroneously in relative terms. If the enemy kills us, he is evil; but if we kill him, we are good. However, God sees evil in absolute terms.
Jesus regards as absolutely evil anything that undermines God’s will. This makes man’s life the greatest evil of all. The love of life, expressed in our determination to enhance, promote and safeguard our temporal condition, commands our allegiance even above the first and greatest commandment; which is to love God with all our heart. Therefore, Jesus regards man’s love of life as the root of all evil and the basis of every sin.
Indeed, we steal, cheat, fight, kill and commit adultery in order to save our lives. We only overcome sin by hating our lives.
Jesus’ re-definition of evil
Jesus reveals that the love of life makes men enemies of God. He tells us that God has made the hatred of life in this world the primary prerequisite for the attainment of eternal life. Jesus says: “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25).
Thereby, Jesus redefines evil using the kingdom dynamic whereby what is highly esteemed among men is abominable in the sight of God. (Luke 16:15). Since men esteem their life highest of all, Jesus defines everything that diminishes our love of life in this world as good. Therefore, in his doctrine, poverty becomes a blessing. He says: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 6:20).
He also categorises facing adversities in life as a blessing: “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” (Luke 6:21). Indeed, Jesus says: “Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.” (Luke 6:22).
Correspondingly, Jesus tells us not to bother to resist evil anymore: “I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:39). He insists we must love our enemies: “I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44).
Moreover, Jesus says we should not fear death: “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.” (Luke 12:4). Death becomes something good because it leads to our reunification with the Father in heaven: “If you loved me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father.’” (John 14:28). But life is evil because it keeps us away from God.
The problem with the love of life is that men are totally unaware of its sinfulness. The love of life blinds men to the truth about good and evil. Indeed, we define our righteousness by the extent to which we love and promote life; the very thing that God hates. Therefore, to understand good and evil from God’s perspective, we must first break free from the bondage of the love of life.
The love of life prompts us to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and to make “evil things” like the atom bomb and the machine-gun; as well as “good things” like the aeroplane and the aspirin. But both our “good” and “bad” products are evil in God’s sight because they are of the world and not of God.
Accordingly, John counsels: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does- comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:15-16).
Therefore, it is wrong for Paul to say: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.” (2 Corinthians 5:19). God will never reconcile himself to anything, least of all this absolutely evil world. It is also erroneous to say we become righteous by being washed in the blood of Jesus. We can only become righteous by following Jesus’ example of laying down our lives for others.
Jesus says: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13).