Gnostic Doctrine

Friday, 19 July 2019

Star Wars Good vs Evil

Star Wars Good vs Evil

Star Wars, Episode One has been a great commercial success. Some critics were less than complimentary, especially in Science Fiction circles and Star Wars purists are quick to point out anomalies with the other Star Wars films. Yet despite all this, George Lucas had another hit on his hands and two further "prequels" followed.

What is the secret of this success? What is the formula? Well obviously the special effects played their part, and also the Characters. Yet the prime factor is likely to be that the film tells the age-old story of Good versus Evil. Evil is defeated and the world can breathe a sigh of relief.

This battle is one that every one can relate to, whatever culture they belong to; north, south, east, west, white, black, brown, yellow, rich or poor; we all understand this battle. When we watch the News or read the papers, the battle is there for us to see, yet identifying Good and Evil is not always clear-cut. In Westerns, the Baddies wore black hats and Goodies wore white. The difference was plain.

Of course, life is not that simple and in many ways, Star Wars reflects that. Han Solo, although a "Goodie", is not without his flaws (a little smuggling, for example). Darth Vader, came good at the end of his life, by saving his son, Luke from the evil emperor. We learn also that Anakin (as he once was) was intrinsically good, yet had a capacity to go either way (the Force or the Dark Side). Luke, being only good, was a much less believable character as a result.

There are no Good people or Bad people. All of us are a mixture or both. Some are more good than others, that is all. Those of us who wish to be better people then have a battle on our hands, the battle between Good and Evil going on in our hearts. This battle is described by someone called Paul (a real-life Obi Wan Kenobi, perhaps?):

Romans 7:19-25 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

There is a real-life battle between Good and Evil, not only going on inside us, but also in the World around us.

We cannot totally defeat evil within us, let alone in the World at large, but ultimately, Good will prevail. The only truly good man the world has ever seen will return to establish a state of peace that will last forever.

Many sects of Christendom, along with many other religions, believe that there is a being or monster called the Devil or Satan who is the originator of the problems which are in the world and in our own lives, and who is responsible for the sin which we commit. The Bible clearly teaches that God is all-powerful. We have seen in Study 1.4 that the Angels cannot sin. If we truly believe these things, then it is impossible that there is any supernatural being at work in this universe that is opposed to Almighty God. If we believe that such a being does exist, then surely we are questioning the supremacy of God Almighty. This issue is so important that the correct understanding of the devil and satan must be considered a vital doctrine. We are told in Heb.2:14 that Jesus destroyed the devil by his death; therefore unless we have a correct understanding of the devil, we cannot understand the work or nature of Jesus.

In the world generally, especially in the so-called 'Christian' world, there is the idea that the good things in life come from God and the bad things from the Devil or Satan. This is not a new idea; it is not even an idea only limited to apostate Christianity. The Babylonians, for example, believed there were two gods, a god of good and light, and a god of evil and darkness, and that those two were locked in mortal combat. Cyrus, the great King of Persia, believed just this. Therefore God told him, "I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me...I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil (N.I.V. "disaster"): I the Lord do all these things" (Is.45:5-7,22). God creates peace and He creates evil, or disaster. God is the author, the creator of "evil" in this sense. In this sense there is a difference between "evil" and sin, which is man's fault; it entered the world as a result of man, not God (Rom.5:12).
God tells Cyrus and the people of Babylon that "there is no (other) God beside me". The Hebrew word 'el' translated "God" fundamentally means 'strength, or source of power'. God is saying that there is no source of power in existence apart from Him. This is the reason why a true believer in God cannot accept the idea of a supernatural devil or demons.

God: The Creator Of Disaster
The Bible abounds with examples of God bringing "evil" into people's lives and into this world. Am.3:6 says that if there is evil in a city, God has done it. If, for example, there is an earthquake in a city, it is often felt that 'the devil' had designs on that city, and had brought about the calamity. But the true believer must understand that it is God who is responsible for this. Thus Mic.1:12 says that "evil came down from the Lord unto the gate of Jerusalem". In the book of Job we read how Job, a righteous man, lost the things which he had in this life. The book teaches that the experience of 'evil' in a person's life is not directly proportional to their obedience or disobedience to God. Job recognized that "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away" (Job 1:21). He does not say 'The Lord gave and Satan took away'.He commented to his wife: "Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not (also) receive evil?" (Job 2:10). At the end of the book, Job's friends comforted him over "all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him" (Job 42:11 cp. 19:21; 8:4). Thus God is the source of "evil" in the sense of being the ultimate permitter of the problems that we have in our lives.
"For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth...If ye endure chastening...afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby" (Heb.12:6-11), this shows that the trials which God gives us lead eventually to our spiritual growth. It is setting the word of God against itself to say that the devil is a being which forces us to sin and be unrighteous, whilst at the same time he supposedly brings problems into our lives which lead to our developing "the peaceable fruit of righteousness". The orthodox idea of the devil runs into serious problems here. Especially serious for it are passages which speak of delivering a man to satan "that the spirit may be saved", or "that he may learn not to blaspheme" (1 Cor.5:5; 1 Tim.1:20). If Satan is really a being bent on causing men to sin and having a negative spiritual effect upon people, why do these passages speak of 'Satan' in a positive light? The answer lies in the fact that an adversary, a "Satan" or difficulty in life, can often result in positive spiritual effects in a believer's life.
If we accept that evil comes from God, then we can pray to God to do something about the problems which we have, e.g. to take them away. If He doesn't, then we know that they are sent from God for our spiritual good. Now if we believe that there is some evil being called the devil or satan causing our problems, then there is no way of coming to terms with them. Disability, illness, sudden death or calamity have to be taken as just bad luck. If the devil is some powerful, sinful Angel, then he will be much more powerful than us, and we will have no choice but to suffer at his hand. By contrast, we are comforted that under God's control, "all things (in life) work together for good" to the believers (Rom.8:28). There is therefore no such thing as 'luck' in the life of a believer.

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