One of the major differences between the Bible and modern society is that the Bible takes evil seriously. Biblical faith sees evil as an independent force in conflict with the interests of God. It makes its appearance in Genesis and continues through to the book of Revelation. A low point in Jesus’ ministry occurs with this Sunday’s gospel reading, when his opponents accused him of being an instrument of Satan. Their reason probably rested on his willingness to bypass Jewish law on many occasions in the interests of his mission. It is clear from Jesus’ speech, as well as that of his enemies, that evil was so real that one stood on one side or the other, with Christ or with the evil one. There is room for discussion about the nature of evil. But to say that it is simply a human construct flies in the face of biblical teaching.
Evil is yet to be finally vanquished. What Christ accomplished is still to be actualized in our lives. Evil is overcome by those who are brothers and sisters of Jesus, those who take his word to heart and live it. Evil exists. Its emergence in modern times in the form of the holocaust and Rwanda massacres, and Isis atrocities , among others, speaks for itself. But it comes in many lesser forms. To do battle with evil is to live the Christian message each day. Conversions are just as real as is evil. Christ is still binding the strong man. A good beginning is to acknowledge evil, then take issue with it. The battle lines are clearly drawn, but the resources are there as well. It is the force of good that overcomes evil.