The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it. (Psalm 89:11)
My last post in this series, The Great Migration, was how a Christian’s treacherous and lifelong journey to reach the Promised Land is annually portrayed in the harmonious voyage of migrating birds, animals and fish who must cross land and sea against all odds to reach their own promised land. God has scattered Truth abroad for those who have eyes to see; has woven the Gospel message into the very fabric of life. And that is what this series is all about.
For example: Good triumphing over evil is the thread of gold in every epic story.
Think of each epic movie, TV series, and classic novel. What do they all have in common? A hero and a villain. Whether the antagonist is a person, place or thing, he/it must be stopped. Good must prevail at all costs. The hero or heroine is willing to give his very life for the cause. And there must be victory in the end or we won’t be satisfied with the story. If the hero won’t die for a good cause, he is no hero. He can have flaws, even major ones, he can have a horrible past (we forgive him now), he can break the rules, break the law in the name of good, but the one thing he must be, warts and all, is noble.
In real life we see evil acts go apparently unchecked every day and our spirits wail within us for justice. But in nearly every fictional story, our wail is both whetted and appeased. Justice is the baseline of nearly every plot. Wrong must be righted. A story without an antagonist, an enemy, or a major obstacle to be overcome, is no story at all.
Whatever heritage, creed or religion we come from, it is written on our hearts that there is good and there is evil, and good must triumph.
There is a universal moral code, a moral law, as real and natural as the law of gravity. Our stories all throughout the millenia prove this. But some of us have distorted views. In fact, so distorted that everything is turned upside down. Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” The mistake comes when we think good and evil are equal opposites, equal forces. This is known as dualism. But, if you think it through, you come to realize that evil is always a perversion of good, while good stands completely on its own.
One can’t even be evil for the sake of being evil.
Every motive is colored through and through with some element of good. Consider: Why is a tyrant cruel? Is it just for the sake of hurting people or is it because he is seeking the power, wealth, praise, or pleasure the cruelty can give him? Yet power, wealth and the like are all good things; in and of themselves. Consider the sadist or the rapist as well. What does he seek? Sexual pleasure. Is sexual pleasure itself evil? No, it is good. But the method he uses to procure that pleasure is corrupt and perverted. In other words, evil must constantly borrow from good. For a man or woman to even exist and be able to commit evil requires an intrinsic reliance on what is good: Life, air to breathe, eyes to see, food to eat, a working brain. All these good things are required for an evil person to go on doing terrible things.
So, evil is a leech then; a parasite. Good doesn’t need to borrow from evil to exist; it is self-sustaining.
An atheist recently told me that the opposite could be possible too; that good could just as easily be a perversion of evil. But that’s like saying dark could just as well be light or that light could just as well be dark (see Isaiah 5:20 above). It’s nonsense and we all know it. We each have an inherent standard, a conscience (Romans 2:15), by which we measure good; anything that falls short of that universal Standard, we recognize to be bad and evil. Those who have disabled and deadened consciences are the ones who commit evil acts. So then, good came first, and was corrupted. And this situation thus logically points us to some kind of original source of that good: an Absolute Good. As C.S. Lewis said, “Good Himself.”
Romans 5:6-8 says:
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
In every epic story we are presented with a hero/heroine who is willing to die for what is good in order to defeat a dreadful villain. And so it was with Christ, the Son of God. But unlike your run-of-the-mill hero, Jesus had no flaws, no dark history to atone for; no sins (Hebrews 4:15). We were in trouble, and rather than let us remain writhing and screaming in the clutches of the bloodthirsty Devil, He took our sins upon Himself and gave His very life on Calvary to pay our ransom; to set us free. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). He is Good Himself: the ultimate Hero who shines through the mainframe of every story.
Watch for Him next time you sit down with a book or a movie. He is hidden in plain sight.
Next Up: Pt.4 The Peach Comes With a Pit
What are some of your favorite movies and novels that deal with a hero overcoming evil with good?