The uttermost good, or the supreme good, consists in happiness; and happiness is in contentment, victory, joy, good fortune, wellbeing, and in personal satisfaction. There is, though, a perfect good and an imperfect good. The perfect good, or the supreme good, is everything that is good according to the moral precepts, for people follow their own inclinations and impulses, which not always fit the moral precepts. There are people who are happy only when they are doing evil. In the book of Proverbs of Solomon we read: “Don’t enter into the path of the wicked. Don’t walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, and don’t pass by it. Turn from it, and pass on. For they don’t sleep, unless they do evil. Their sleep is taken away, unless they make someone fall” (Prov. 4:14-16). “Like a madman who shoots torches, arrows, and death, is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, ‘Am I not joking?’” (Prov. 26:18-19). “A wise son listens to his father’s instruction, but a scoffer doesn’t listen to rebuke” (Prov. 13:1). “One who plots to do evil will be called a schemer” (Prov. 24:8). “Mockers stir up a city, but wise men turn away anger” (Prov. 29:8). “The unfaithful will be repaid for his own ways; likewise a good man will be rewarded for his ways” (Prov. 14:14). And Jesus said: “But the things which proceed out of the mouth come out of the heart, and they defile the man. For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual sins, thefts, false testimony, and blasphemies” (Matt. 15:18-19). And Jesus further said: “But the things which proceed out of the mouth come out of the heart, and they defile the man. For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual sins, thefts, false testimony, and blasphemies” (Matt. 12:35). For this reason, we said above that there are two kinds of good: the perfect and the imperfect. The imperfect good is that which happens through cleverness, deceit, fraud, exploit of the unawares, in the abuses, vices, impurity, bad habits, drunkenness and gluttony, dishonesty, etc.
Good, according to reason and virtue, is everything that edifies, that brings peace and justice, which fruit is the general wellbeing.
Everything we do with our interest in view only can be an evil, for the maxim says: “Common good is more sublime than individual good.” Selfishness is always an evil, for it considers only the subject; selflessness is a good that benefits everyone.
And what about evil? It is everything that is contrary to good. It is what damages and hurts; it is everything contrary to order, justice, and virtue. There are two types of evils: the physical and the moral evil. A physical deficiency is an evil; sickness is an evil; feebleness is an irremediable evil. The moral evil is a character flaw, a personality distortion. The moral evils are numerous: hatred, envy, laziness, arrogance, presumption, impurity, and others. A person with the evil of anger hurts the other person in a hatred fit, inflicting on him a physical evil.
There are evils caused by Jehovah, the god of anger and of unjust vengeances. Jehovah declared to Moses: “Jehovah said to him, ‘Who made man’s mouth? Or who makes one mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Isn’t it I, Jehovah?’” (Ex. 4:11). Jehovah declared about the plague of leprosy: “When you have come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put a spreading mildew in a house in the land of your possession, then he who owns the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, ‘There seems to me to be some sort of plague in the house’ (Lev. 14:34-35). Evil is evident in the crippled, lame, hunchbacked, persons affected with Down’s, syphilitics, aidetics, and hundreds of other deficiencies, physical and spiritual. And Jehovah declares that there is no other entity under the sun that is able to produce such evils. He, Jehovah, is the author of them all: “Can a bird fall in a trap on the earth, where no snare is set for him? Does a snare spring up from the ground, when there is nothing to catch? Does the trumpet alarm sound in a city, without the people being afraid? Does evil happen to a city, and Jehovah hasn’t done it?” (Amos 3:5-6). To Jehovah, the highest perfection is to send plagues. He considers this wonderful, and expresses himself in this manner: “If you will not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and fearful name, Jehovah YOUR GOD; then Jehovah will make your plagues wonderful, and the plagues of your seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and severe sicknesses, and of long continuance” (Deut. 28:58-59). Speaking to his people delivered from Egypt, Jehovah said: “All those men who have seen my glory, and my signs, which I worked in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have tempted me these ten times, and have not listened to my voice; surely they shall not see the land which I swore to their fathers” (Num. 14:22-23). Did Jehovah declare that his glory has been manifested through the plagues and the pestilences? The glory of Jehovah is so dark, destructive and assassin that he causes the hardest of men to tremble.
The glory of God the Father was manifested through the love of Christ, crucified to save all men. Paul said: “But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). James said: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow” (James 1:17).
The striking difference between Jehovah and Jesus can be confirmed in two episodes: Moses asked Jehovah: “Please show me your glory. He said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of Jehovah before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.’ He said, ‘You cannot see my face, for man may not see me and live’” (Ex. 33:18-20). This is the glory that kills; that is to say, the glory of the ministry of the law of death spoken by Paul (2 Cor. 3:6-7). Whoever sees Jesus and his glory lives, for he said: “This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40). And Jesus said more: “This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ” (John 17:3). And Jesus closes: “I glorified you on the earth. I have accomplished the work which you have given me to do. Now, Father, glorify me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world existed” (John 17:4-5).
The glory that Jesus had with the Father was to give eternal life to all those who see the Son and know the Father. GLORY BE TO GOD.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira