“Eradicate evil”? Then who’s left?

“And there is–there’s something evil in our society that we as Americans have to work to try and eradicate.”— MedStar Washington Hospital Center Chief Medical Officer Janis Orlowski, 9/16/13

First off, I have no doubt in my own sin-dazed mind that Dr. Orlowski is a competent—likely a superb—physician and administrator, and someone who by all societal standards would be rated a Good Person. Unfortunately, what I take away from her passionate plea to Americans to unite to “eradicate evil,” is nothing. Nothing, anyway that makes any sense.

The idea of effectually eradicating evil is the great aspiration of humanism, but it makes no sense to a Christian molded in the exquisite logic of the doctrines of grace. As the pastor of my church in my former location said so many wonderful and so many necessary times, “All things are disciplined by theology.”

The idea that we could eradicate evil is a logical impossibility because we are sinners ourselves. To say that I am less sinful in the eyes of God than a mass murderer is like saying that I am closer to the moon than my husband is right now, because I am standing on a chair.

Man blew it at the outset in the sinless world he was originally given, but God’s grace has nonetheless abided with us. Thirteen dead is a horror, but it wasn’t 23, and could as easily have been higher. The 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting left 32 dead.

We could all get T-shirts with SAS (Sinners Against Sin) printed on them. Then what? Fortunately for us, the eradication of evil is not part of the human agenda. If it were, there would be no difference between the bounty and the hunter, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 is both profound and basic at the same time.

Sin is, and will be until the end of time, as old as man. We can’t rid society of evil, because we can’t rid ourselves of evil. We can’t rid ourselves of evil, because, “the enemy is us.”


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