THE BIBLE ON EVIL AND SIN
There are three kinds of evil presented in the Bible:
- Physical evil.
- Moral evil.
- Mixed evil.
1. Physical evil
“I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe, I am the Lord, who do all these things.” Isa 45:7.
“Does evil befall a city, unless the Lord has done it?” Amos 3:6.
“Behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam...and will utterly consume the house of Jeroboam.” 3 Kings 14:10.
“When the angel stretched forth his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord repented of the evil, and said to the angel...’It is enough; now stay your hand.’” 2 Sam 24:16.
“No evil shall befall you.” Ps 91:10.
2. Moral evil
“The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.” Prov 8:13.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Rom 12:21.
“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings.” Isa 1:16.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matt 6:13.
“But the evil I do not want is what I do.” Rom 7:19.
“Let him turn away from evil and do right...the face of the Lord is against those that do evil.” 1 Peter 3:11-12.
3. Mixed evil
“And the Lord will take away from you all sickness; and none of the evil diseases of Egypt...will he inflict upon you.” Deut 7:15.
“For the love of money is the root of all evils.” 1 Tim 6:10.
“And God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem.” Judges 9:23.
“And on the morrow an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house.” 1 Sam 18:10. (Note: Today, we would diagnose Saul as being a manic-depressive. This also explains his suicide on Gilboa.)
“But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them.” Ex 9:12.
“Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had warned.”Judges 2:15.
(Note: The concept of evil is hazy through all of the Old Testament. About 100 B.C. it begins to clarify in some books of the Apocrypha, and was later linked up with sin and the atonement by Paul.)
The change in the doctrine of the origin of evil is shown in the episode of David taking a census of the Hebrew nation—see:
“The anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel and he incited David against them, saying, ‘Go number Israel and Judah.’” 2 Sam 24:1.
“Satan stood up against Israel, and incited David to number Israel.” 1 Chron 21:1.
“Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.” 1 John 3:4.
“Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Rom 14:23.
“If you show partiality, you commit sin.” Jas 2:9.
“All wrongdoing is sin.” 1 John 5:17.
2. Sin determined by enlightenment
“If anyone sins unwittingly...” Lev 4:2.
“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.”John 15:22.
3. Deliberate and knowing sin is fatal
“For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” Heb 10:26.
“There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that.” 1 John 5:16.
4. Besetting sins
“Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” Heb 12:1.
5. Original sin
“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Cor 15:22.
But Jesus did not recognize original guilt and sin. See:
“Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest.’” John 9:3.
Paul taught innate carnal sin.
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions.” Rom 6:12.
6. The atonement
“He who commits sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning.” 1 John 3:8.
1. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor 5:21.
“Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Heb 9:22.
7. The penalty of sin
“For the wages of sin is death.” Rom 6:23.
8. Forgiveness of sin
“I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jer 31:34.
“For thou, O Lord, art good and forgiving.” Ps 86:5.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.
Guilt is seldom mentioned in the Bible.
1. Having to do with the mores
“If anyone touches an unclean thing...he shall be guilty.” Lev 5:2.
2. Guilt from sins of ignorance
“If anyone sins...though he does not know it, yet he is guilty.” Lev 5:17.
“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.” Jas 2:10.
1. Taught in the Old Testament
“They gathered their brethren, and sanctified themselves.” 2 Chron 29:15.
2. God wills sanctification
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification.” 1 Thess 4:3.
3. Truth sanctifies
“Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth.” John 17:17.
“I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” Acts 20:32.
4. Sanctified in Jesus’ name
“But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor 6:11.
“Chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:2.
5. The sinless new birth
“No one born of God commits sin.” 1 John 3:9.
“Whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.” 1 Peter 4:1.
“I am writing this to you so that you may not sin.” 1 John 2:1.
6. Forgiveness and sanctification
“That they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith.” Acts 26:18.
Note: The Father has said: “Be you perfect.” Such bliss may be partially realized on worlds settled in light and life—and on Paradise.
THE URANTIA BOOK
I. DEFINITIONS OF EVIL AND SIN
1. Jesus’ definition of evil, sin, and iniquity
“‘Evil is the unconscious or unintended transgression of the divine law, the Father’s will. Evil is likewise the measure of the imperfectness of obedience to the Father’s will.
“‘Sin is the conscious, knowing, and deliberate transgression of the divine law, the Father’s will. Sin is the measure of unwillingness to be divinely led and spiritually directed.
“‘Iniquity is the willful, determined, and persistent transgression of the divine law, the Father’s will. Iniquity is the measure of the continued rejection of the Father’s loving plan of personality survival and the Sons’ merciful ministry of salvation.’” (1660.2) 148:4.3
2. Diverse concepts of sin
“There are many ways of looking at sin, but from the universe philosophic viewpoint sin is the attitude of a personality who is knowingly resisting cosmic reality. Error might be regarded as a misconception or distortion of reality. Evil is a partial realization of, or maladjustment to, universe realities. But sin is a purposeful resistance to divine reality—a conscious choosing to oppose spiritual progress—while iniquity consists in an open and persistent defiance of recognized reality and signifies such a degree of personality disintegration as to border on cosmic insanity.” (754.5) 67:1.4
3. How error and evil progress to sin and iniquity
“Error suggests lack of intellectual keenness; evil, deficiency of wisdom; sin, abject spiritual poverty; but iniquity is indicative of vanishing personality control.
“And when sin has so many times been chosen and so often been repeated, it may become habitual. Habitual sinners can easily become iniquitous, become wholehearted rebels against the universe and all of its divine realities. While all manner of sins may be forgiven, we doubt whether the established iniquiter would ever sincerely experience sorrow for his misdeeds or accept forgiveness for his sins.” (755.1) 67:1.5
4. Sin isolates from universe reality
“Every impulse of every electron, thought, or spirit is an acting unit in the whole universe. Only sin is isolated and evil gravity resisting on the mental and spiritual levels. The universe is a whole; no thing or being exists or lives in isolation. Self-realization is potentially evil if it is antisocial. It is literally true: ‘No man lives by himself.’ Cosmic socialization constitutes the highest from of personality unification. Said Jesus: ‘He who would be greatest among you, let him become server of all.’” (647.5) 56:10.14 Luke 22:26.
5. The problem of sin
“The problem of sin is not self-existent in the finite world. The fact of finiteness is not evil or sinful. The finite world was made by an infinite Creator—it is the handiwork of his divine Sons—and therefore it must be good. It is the misuse, distortion, and perversion of the finite that gives origin to evil and sin.” (1222.2) 111:6.3
6. Sin as redefined
“Sin must be redefined as deliberate disloyalty to Deity. There are degrees of disloyalty: the partial loyalty of indecision; the divided loyalty of confliction; the dying loyalty of indifference; and the death of loyalty exhibited in devotion to godless ideals.” (984.5) 89:10.2
II. GOD’S ATTITUDE TOWARD SIN
1. God does not create evil
“‘It is not strange that you ask such questions seeing that you are beginning to know the Father as I know him, and not as the early Hebrew prophets so dimly saw him. You well know how our forefathers were disposed to see God in almost everything that happened. They looked for the hand of God in all natural occurrences and in every unusual episode of human experience. They connected God with both good and evil. They thought he softened the heart of Moses and hardened the heart of Pharaoh. When man had a strong urge to do something, good or evil, he was in the habit of accounting for these unusual emotions by remarking: “The Lord spoke to me saying, do thus and so, or go here and there.” Accordingly, since men so often and so violently ran into temptation, it became the habit of our forefathers to believe that God led them thither for testing, punishing, or strengthening. But you, indeed, now know better. You know that men are all too often led into temptation by the urge of their own selfishness and by the impulses of their animal natures. When you are in this way tempted, I admonish you that, while you recognize temptation honestly and sincerely for just what it is, you intelligently redirect the energies of spirit, mind, and body, which are seeking expression, into higher channels and toward more idealistic goals. In this way may you transform your temptations into the highest types of uplifting mortal ministry while you almost wholly avoid these wasteful and weakening conflicts between the animal and spiritual natures.’” (1738.3) 156:5.4
2. Origin of evil and sin
“The Gods neither create evil nor permit sin and rebellion. Potential evil is time-existent in a universe embracing differential levels of perfection meanings and values. Sin is potential in all realms where imperfect beings are endowed with the ability to choose between good and evil. The very conflicting presence of truth and untruth, fact and falsehood, constitutes the potentiality of error. The deliberate choice of evil constitutes sin; the willful rejection of truth is error; the persistent pursuit of sin and error is iniquity.” (613.2) 54:0.2
3. God loves the sinner—hates the sin
“God loves the sinner and hates the sin: such a statement is true philosophically, but God is a transcendent personality, and persons can only love and hate other persons. Sin is not a person. God loves the sinner because he is a personality reality (potentially eternal), while towards sin God strikes no personal attitude, for sin is not a spiritual reality; it is not personal; therefore does only the justice of God take cognizance of its existence. The love of God saves the sinner; the law of God destroys the sin. This attitude of the divine nature would apparently change if the sinner finally identified himself wholly with sin just as the same mortal mind may also fully identify itself with the indwelling spirit Adjuster. Such a sin-identified mortal would then become wholly unspiritual in nature (and therefore personally unreal) and would experience eventual extinction of being. Unreality, even incompleteness of creature nature, cannot exist forever in a progressingly real and increasingly spiritual universe.” (41.6) 2:6.8
4. Adjusters in relation to sin and evil
“No matter what the previous status of the inhabitants of a world, subsequent to the bestowal of a divine Son and after the bestowal of the Spirit of Truth upon all humans, the Adjusters flock to such a world to indwell the minds of all normal will creatures. Following the completion of the mission of a Paradise bestowal Son, these Monitors truly become the ‘kingdom of heaven within you.’ Through the bestowal of the divine gifts the Father makes the closest possible approach to sin and evil, for it is literally true that the Adjuster must coexist in the mortal mind even in the very midst of human unrighteousness. The indwelling Adjusters are particularly tormented by those thoughts which are purely sordid and selfish; they are distressed by irreverence for that which is beautiful and divine, and they are virtually thwarted in their work by many of man’s foolish animal fears and childish anxieties.” (1193.1) 108:6.2
5. How the Creator deals with sin
“In all their dealings with intelligent beings, both the Creator Son and his Paradise Father are love dominated. It is impossible to comprehend many phases of the attitude of the universe rulers toward rebels and rebellion—sin and sinners—unless it be remembered that God as a Father takes precedence over all other phases of Deity manifestation in all the dealings of divinity with humanity. It should also be recalled that the Paradise Creator Sons are all mercy motivated.” (618.5) 54:6.2
6. The universal mission of evil
“The infinite goodness of the Father is beyond the comprehension of the finite mind of time; hence must there always be afforded a contrast with comparative evil (not sin) for the effective exhibition of all phases of relative goodness. Perfection of divine goodness can be discerned by mortal imperfection of insight only because it stands in contrastive association with relative imperfection in the relationships of time and matter in the motions of space.” (58.4) 4:3.6
7. Returning good for evil
“Then asked Nathaniel: ‘Master, shall we give no place to justice? The law of Moses says, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” What shall we say?’ And Jesus answered: ‘You shall return good for evil. My messengers must not strive with men, but be gentle toward all. Measure for measure shall not be your rule. The rulers of men may have such laws, but not so in the kingdom; mercy always shall determine your judgments and love your conduct. And if these are hard sayings, you can even now turn back. If you find the requirements of apostleship too hard, you may return to the less rigorous pathway of discipleship.’” (1577.3) 140:6.9
III. OLDEN CONCEPTS OF EVIL AND SIN
1. Olden concepts of sin
“As the savage mind evolved to that point where it envisaged both good and bad spirits, and when the taboo received the solemn sanction of evolving religion, the stage was all set for the appearance of the new conception of sin. The idea of sin was universally established in the world before revealed religion ever made its entry. It was only by the concept of sin that natural death became logical to the primitive mind. Sin was the transgression of taboo, and death was the penalty of sin.” (975.6) 89:2.2
2. Sin was at first ritual, not rational
“Sin was ritual, not rational; an act, not a thought. And this entire concept of sin was fostered by the lingering traditions of Dilmun and the days of a little paradise on earth. The tradition of Adam and the Garden of Eden also lent substance to the dream of a onetime ‘golden age’ of the dawn of the races. And all this confirmed the ideas later expressed in the belief that man had his origin in a special creation, that he started his career in perfection, and that transgression of the taboos—sin—brought him down to his later sorry plight.” (975.7) 89:2.3
3. Olden concept of the blood sacrifice
“The Hebrews believed that ‘without the shedding of blood there could be no remission of sin.’ They had not found deliverance from the old and pagan idea that the Gods could not be appeased except by the sight of blood, though Moses did make a distinct advance when he forbade human sacrifices and substituted therefor, in the primitive minds of his childlike Bedouin followers, the ceremonial sacrifice of animals.” (60.4) 4:5.5 Matt 26:28. Heb 9:22.
4. Evolution of vice, crime, and sin
“The habitual violation of a taboo became a vice; primitive law made vice a crime; religion made it a sin. Among the early tribes the violation of a taboo was a combined crime and sin. Community calamity was always regarded as punishment for tribal sin. To those who believed that prosperity and righteousness went together, the apparent prosperity of the wicked occasioned so much worry that it was necessary to invent hells for the punishment of taboo violators; the numbers of these places of future punishment have varied from one to five.” (976.1) 89:2.4
5. Sacrifice, sin, and atonement
“The earliest idea of the sacrifice was that of a neutrality assessment levied by ancestral spirits; only later did the idea of atonement develop. As man got away from the notion of the evolutionary origin of the race, as the traditions of the days of the Planetary Prince and the sojourn of Adam filtered down through time, the concept of sin and of original sin became widespread, so that sacrifice for accidental and personal sin evolved into the doctrine of sacrifice for the atonement of racial sin. The atonement of the sacrifice was a blanket insurance device which covered even the resentment and jealousy of an unknown god.” (978.2) 89:4.5
IV. MAN MUST BE FALLIBLE IF FREE
1. Only perfect beings are both sinless and free
“Throughout the universe, every unit is regarded as a part of the whole. Survival of the part is dependent on co-operation with the plan and purpose of the whole, the wholehearted desire and perfect willingness to do the Father’s divine will. The only evolutionary world without error (the possibility of unwise judgment) would be a world without free intelligence. In the Havona universe there are a billion perfect worlds with their perfect inhabitants, but evolving man must be fallible if he is to be free. Free and inexperienced intelligence cannot possibly at first be uniformly wise. The possibility of mistaken judgment (evil) becomes sin only when the human will consciously endorses and knowingly embraces a deliberate immoral judgment.” (52.1) 3:5.15
2. Error in relation to spiritual concepts
“The element of error present in human religious experience is directly proportional to the content of materialism which contaminates the spiritual concept of the Universal Father. Man’s prespirit progression in the universe consists in the experience of divesting himself of these erroneous ideas of the nature of God and of the reality of pure and true spirit. Deity is more than spirit, but the spiritual approach is the only one possible to ascending man.” (1123.4) 102:4.4
3. Source of evil tendencies
“‘Many times, when you have done evil, you have thought to charge up your acts to the influence of the evil one when in reality you have but been led astray by your own natural tendencies. Did not the Prophet Jeremiah long ago tell you that the human heart is deceitful above all things and sometimes even desperately wicked? How easy for you to become self-deceived and thereby fall into foolish fears, divers lusts, enslaving pleasures, malice, envy, and even vengeful hatred!’” (1609.6) 143:2.5 Jer 17:9.
4. The mischief of our “besetting sins"
“Almost every human being has some one thing which is held on to as a pet evil, and which the entrance into the kingdom of heaven requires as a part of the price of admission. If Matadormus had parted with his wealth, it probably would have been put right back into his hands for administration as treasurer of the seventy. For later on, after the establishment of the church at Jerusalem, he did obey the Master’s injunction, although it was then too late to enjoy membership in the seventy, and he became the treasurer of the Jerusalem church, of which James the Lord’s brother in the flesh was the head.” (1802.3) 163:2.7
5. The default of Adam and Eve
“And as the Material Son and Daughter thus communed in the moonlit Garden, ‘the voice in the Garden’ reproved them for disobedience. And that voice was none other than my own announcement to the Edenic pair that they had transgressed the Garden covenant; that they had disobeyed the instructions of the Melchizedeks; that they had defaulted in the execution of their oaths of trust to the sovereign of the universe.
“Eve had consented to participate in the practice of good and evil. Good is the carrying out of the divine plans; sin is a deliberate transgression of the divine will; evil is the misadaptation of plans and the maladjustment of techniques resulting in universe disharmony and planetary confusion.” (842.4) 75:4.2
V. NATURE’S IMPERFECTIONS
1. Sin mars the face of nature
“And nature is marred, her beautiful face is scarred, her features are seared, by the rebellion, the misconduct, the misthinking of the myriads of creatures who are a part of nature, but who have contributed to her disfigurement in time. No, nature is not God. Nature is not an object of worship.” (57.5) 4:2.8
2. Nature is perfection divided by incompletion
“Nature is the perfection of Paradise divided by the incompletion, evil, and sin of the unfinished universes. This quotient is thus expressive of both the perfect and the partial, of both the eternal and the temporal. Continuing evolution modifies nature by augmenting the content of Paradise perfection and by diminishing the content of the evil, error, and disharmony of relative reality.” (57.1) 4:2.4
3. Nature is not a true portrayal of God
“God is not personally present in nature or in any of the forces of nature, for the phenomenon of nature is the superimposition of the imperfections of progressive evolution and, sometimes, the consequences of insurrectionary rebellion, upon the Paradise foundations of God’s universal law. As it appears on such a world as Urantia, nature can never be the adequate expression, the true representation, the faithful portrayal, of an all-wise and infinite God.” (57.2) 4:2.5
VI. REBELLION—THE PENALTY OF SIN
1. The beginnings of sin
“Lucifer is now the fallen and deposed Sovereign of Satania. Self-contemplation is most disastrous, even to the exalted personalities of the celestial world. Of Lucifer it was said: ‘Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom because of your brightness.’ Your olden prophet saw his sad estate when he wrote: ‘How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are you cast down, you who dared to confuse the worlds!’” (601.5) 53:1.3 Eze 28:17. Isa 14:12.
2. Internal origins of sin
“There were no peculiar or special conditions in the system of Satania which suggested or favored rebellion. It is our belief that the idea took origin and form in Lucifer’s mind, and that he might have instigated such a rebellion no matter where he might have been stationed. Lucifer first announced his plans to Satan, but it required several months to corrupt the mind of his able and brilliant associate. However, when once converted to the rebel theories, he became a bold and earnest advocate of ‘self-assertion and liberty.’”(602.5) 53:2.2
3. Obscure causes of rebellion
“It is very difficult to point out the exact cause or causes which finally culminated in the Lucifer rebellion. We are certain of only one thing, and that is: Whatever these first beginnings were, they had their origin in Lucifer’s mind. There must have been a pride of self that nourished itself to the point of self-deception, so that Lucifer for a time really persuaded himself that his contemplation of rebellion was actually for the good of the system, if not of the universe. By the time his plans had developed to the point of disillusionment, no doubt he had gone too far for his original and mischief-making pride to permit him to stop. At some point in this experience he became insincere, and evil evolved into deliberate and willful sin. That this happened is proved by the subsequent conduct of this brilliant executive. He was long offered opportunity for repentance, but only some of his subordinates ever accepted the proffered mercy. The Faithful of Days of Edentia, on the request of the Constellation Fathers, in person presented the plan of Michael for the saving of these flagrant rebels, but always was the mercy of the Creator Son rejected and rejected with increasing contempt and disdain.” (603.1) 53:2.5
4. The evil of disturbing cosmic timing
“Lucifer similarly sought to disrupt the time governor operating in restraint of the premature attainment of certain liberties in the local system. A local system settled in light and life has experientially achieved those viewpoints and insights which make feasible the operation of many techniques that would be disruptive and destructive in the pre-settled eras of that very realm.” (1302.6) 118:8.9
5. Fate of identification with sin
“When this sentence is finally confirmed, the sin-identified being instantly becomes as though he had not been. There is no resurrection from such a fate; it is everlasting and eternal. The living energy factors of identity are resolved by the transformations of time and the metamorphoses of space into the cosmic potentials whence they once emerged. As for the personality of the iniquitous one, it is deprived of a continuing life vehicle by the creature’s failure to make those choices and final decisions which would have assured eternal life. When the continued embrace of sin by the associated mind culminates in complete self-identification with iniquity, then upon the cessation of life, upon cosmic dissolution, such an isolated personality is absorbed into the oversoul of creation, becoming a part of the evolving experience of the Supreme Being. Never again does it appear as a personality; its identity becomes as though it had never been. In the case of an Adjuster-indwelt personality, the experiential spirit values survive in the reality of the continuing Adjuster.” (37.2) 2:3.4
6. Willful sin is automatically suicidal
“In any universe contest between actual levels of reality, the personality of the higher level will ultimately triumph over the personality of the lower level. This inevitable outcome of universe controversy is inherent in the fact that divinity of quality equals the degree of reality or actuality of any will creature. Undiluted evil, complete error, willful sin, and unmitigated iniquity are inherently and automatically suicidal. Such attitudes of cosmic unreality can survive in the universe only because of transient mercy-tolerance pending the action of the justice-determining and fairness-finding mechanisms of the universe tribunals of righteous adjudication.”(37.3) 2:3.5
7. The ever-loyal Amadonites
“These Amadonites were derived from the group of 144 loyal Andonites to which Amadon belonged, and who have become known by his name. This group comprised thirty-nine men and one hundred and five women. Fifty-six of this number were of immortality status, and all (except Amadon) were translated along with the loyal members of the staff. The remainder of this noble band continued on earth to the end of their mortal days under the leadership of Van and Amadon. They were the biologic leaven which multiplied and continued to furnish leadership for the world down through the long dark ages of the postrebellion era.” (759.6) 67:6.3
8. The hero of the Lucifer rebellion
“The Lucifer rebellion was withstood by many courageous beings on the various worlds of Satania; but the records of Salvington portray Amadon as the outstanding character of the entire system in his glorious rejection of the flood tides of sedition and in his unswerving devotion to Van—they stood together unmoved in their loyalty to the supremacy of the invisible Father and his Son Michael.” (761.8) 67:8.1
“Amadon is the outstanding human hero of the Lucifer rebellion. This male descendant of Andon and Fonta was one of the one hundred who contributed life plasm to the Prince’s staff, and ever since that event he had been attached to Van as his associate and human assistant. Amadon elected to stand with his chief throughout the long and trying struggle. And it was an inspiring sight to behold this child of the evolutionary races standing unmoved by the sophistries of Daligastia while throughout the seven-year struggle he and his loyal associates resisted with unyielding fortitude all of the deceptive teachings of the brilliant Caligastia.”(757.1) 67:3.8
“From Edentia up through Salvington and even on to Uversa, for seven long years the first inquiry of all subordinate celestial life regarding the Satania rebellion, ever and always, was: ‘What of Amadon of Urantia, does he still stand unmoved?’” (762.2) 67:8.3
9. Michael terminates Lucifer rebellion
“The bestowal of Michael terminated the Lucifer rebellion in all Satania aside from the planets of the apostate Planetary Princes. And this was the significance of Jesus’ personal experience, just before his death in the flesh, when he one day exclaimed to his disciples, ‘And I beheld Satan fall as lightning from heaven.’ He had come with Lucifer to Urantia for the last crucial struggle.” (609.6) 53:8.3 Luke 10:18.
10. Relation of evil and sin
“Since the triumph of Christ, all Norlatiadek is being cleansed of sin and rebels. Sometime before Michael’s death in the flesh the fallen Lucifer’s associate, Satan, sought to attend such an Edentia conclave, but the solidification of sentiment against the archrebels had reached the point where the doors of sympathy were so well-nigh universally closed that there could be found no standing ground for the Satania adversaries. When there exists no open door for the reception of evil, there exists no opportunity for the entertainment of sin. The doors of the hearts of all Edentia closed against Satan; he was unanimously rejected by the assembled System Sovereigns, and it was at this time that the Son of Man ‘beheld Satan fall as lightning from heaven.’”(490.4) 43:4.9
VII. REMOTE REPERCUSSIONS OF SIN
1. Impersonal consequences of sin may be collective
“The personal (centripetal) consequences of the creature’s willful and persistent rejection of light are both inevitable and individual and are of concern only to Deity and to that personal creature. Such a soul-destroying harvest of iniquity is the inner reaping of the iniquitous will creature.
“But not so with the external repercussions of sin: The impersonal (centrifugal) consequences of embraced sin are both inevitable and collective, being of concern to every creature functioning within the affect-range of such events.” (760.6) 67:7.1
2. Effects of rebellion on Urantia’s state
“By fifty thousand years after the collapse of the planetary administration, earthly affairs were so disorganized and retarded that the human race had gained very little over the general evolutionary status existing at the time of Caligastia’s arrival three hundred and fifty thousand years previously. In certain respects progress had been made; in other directions much ground had been lost.” (761.2) 67:7.3
3. Spiritual and physical results of sin
“Sin is never purely local in its effects. The administrative sectors of the universes are organismal; the plight of one personality must to a certain extent be shared by all. Sin, being an attitude of the person toward reality, is destined to exhibit its inherent negativistic harvest upon any and all related levels of universe values. But the full consequences of erroneous thinking, evil-doing, or sinful planning are experienced only on the level of actual performance. The transgression of universe law may be fatal in the physical realm without seriously involving the mind or impairing the spiritual experience. Sin is fraught with fatal consequences to personality survival only when it is the attitude of the whole being, when it stands for the choosing of the mind and the willing of the soul.” (761.3) 67:7.4
4. Sin of another cannot rob you of survival
“Evil and sin visit their consequences in material and social realms and may sometimes even retard spiritual progress on certain levels of universe reality, but never does the sin of any being rob another of the realization of the divine right of personality survival. Eternal survival can be jeopardized only by the decisions of the mind and the choice of the soul of the individual himself.” (761.4) 67:7.5
5. What sin does and does not do
“Sin on Urantia did very little to delay biologic evolution, but it did operate to deprive the mortal races of the full benefit of the Adamic inheritance. Sin enormously retards intellectual development, moral growth, social progress, and mass spiritual attainment. But it does not prevent the highest spiritual achievement by any individual who chooses to know God and sincerely do his divine will.” (761.5) 67:7.6
6. Warnings against sin
“But for ages the seven prison worlds of spiritual darkness in Satania have constituted a solemn warning to all Nebadon, eloquently and effectively proclaiming the great truth ‘that the way of the transgressor is hard’; ‘that within every sin is concealed the seed of its own destruction’; that ‘the wages of sin is death.’” (611.7) 53:9.8 Prov 13:15. Rom 6:23.
VIII. LIBERTY—TRUE AND FALSE
1. Foundations of true and false liberty
“Of all the perplexing problems growing out of the Lucifer rebellion, none has occasioned more difficulty than the failure of immature evolutionary mortals to distinguish between true and false liberty.
“True liberty is the quest of the ages and the reward of evolutionary progress. False liberty is the subtle deception of the error of time and the evil of space. Enduring liberty is predicated on the reality of justice—intelligence, maturity, fraternity, and equity.” (613.3) 54:1.1
2. Cosmic results of true and false liberty
“Liberty is a self-destroying technique of cosmic existence when its motivation is unintelligent, unconditioned, and uncontrolled. True liberty is progressively related to reality and is ever regardful of social equity, cosmic fairness, universe fraternity, and divine obligations.
“Liberty is suicidal when divorced from material justice, intellectual fairness, social forbearance, moral duty, and spiritual value. Liberty is nonexistent apart from cosmic reality, and all personality reality is proportional to its divinity relationships.” (613.5) 54:1.3
3. Self-motivated license equals bondage
“Unbridled self-will and unregulated self-expression equal unmitigated selfishness, the acme of ungodliness. Liberty without the associated and ever-increasing conquest of self is a figment of egoistic mortal imagination. Self-motivated liberty is a conceptual illusion, a cruel deception. License masquerading in the garments of liberty is the forerunner of abject bondage.” (613.7) 54:1.5
4. The fallacy of false liberty
“The Caligastia scheme for the immediate reconstruction of human society in accordance with his ideas of individual freedom and group liberties, proved a swift and more or less complete failure. Society quickly sank back to its old biologic level, and the forward struggle began all over, starting not very far in advance of where it was at the beginning of the Caligastia regime, this upheaval having left the world in confusion worse confounded.” (759.1) 67:5.3
5. Liberty without license
“Someday man should learn how to enjoy liberty without license, nourishment without gluttony, and pleasure without debauchery. Self-control is a better human policy of behavior regulation than is extreme self-denial. Nor did Jesus ever teach these unreasonable views to his followers.” (977.2) 89:3.7
IX. GUILT—SECURITY AGAINST SIN
1. The nature of the guilt feeling
“The sense of guilt (not the consciousness of sin) comes either from interrupted spiritual communion or from the lowering of one’s moral ideals. Deliverance from such a predicament can only come through the realization that one’s highest moral ideals are not necessarily synonymous with the will of God. Man cannot hope to live up to his highest ideals, but he can be true to his purpose of finding God and becoming more and more like him.” (1133.3) 103:4.3
2. Jesus destroyed the basis of guilt
“Jesus swept away all of the ceremonials of sacrifice and atonement. He destroyed the basis of all this fictitious guilt and sense of isolation in the universe by declaring that man is a child of God; the creature-Creator relationship was placed on a child-parent basis. God becomes a loving Father to his mortal sons and daughters. All ceremonials not a legitimate part of such an intimate family relationship are forever abrogated.”(1133.4) 103:4.4
3. Human mind secure against Satanic invasion
“But even so, no fallen spirit ever did have the power to invade the minds or to harass the souls of the children of God. Neither Satan nor Caligastia could ever touch or approach the faith sons of God; faith is an effective armor against sin and iniquity. It is true: ‘He who is born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one touches him not.’” (610.4) 53:8.8 l John 5:18.
4. Ascendant experience security against sin
“It was over two years of system time from the beginning of the ‘war in heaven’ until the installation of Lucifer’s successor. But at last the new Sovereign came, landing on the sea of glass with his staff. I was among the reserves mobilized on Edentia by Gabriel, and I well remember the first message of Lanaforge to the Constellation Father of Norlatiadek. It read: ‘Not a single Jerusem citizen was lost. Every ascendant mortal survived the fiery trial and emerged from the crucial test triumphant and altogether victorious.’ And on to Salvington, Uversa, and Paradise went this message of assurance that the survival experience of mortal ascension is the greatest security against rebellion and the surest safeguard against sin. This noble Jerusem band of faithful mortals numbered just 187,432,811.” (608.8) 53:7.12
5. Origin and nature of guilt feelings
“The sense or feeling of guilt is the consciousness of the violation of the mores; it is not necessarily sin. There is no real sin in the absence of conscious disloyalty to Deity.
“The possibility of the recognition of the sense of guilt is a badge of transcendent distinction for mankind. It does not mark man as mean but rather sets him apart as a creature of potential greatness and ever-ascending glory. Such a sense of unworthiness is the initial stimulus that should lead quickly and surely to those faith conquests which translate the mortal mind to the superb levels of moral nobility, cosmic insight, and spiritual living; thus are all the meanings of human existence changed from the temporal to the eternal, and all values are elevated from the human to the divine.” (984.6) 89:10.3
X. FORGIVENESS OF SIN
1. Ancient man gained peace by sacrifice
“Ancient man only attained consciousness of favor with God through sacrifice. Modern man must develop new techniques of achieving the self-consciousness of salvation. The consciousness of sin persists in the mortal mind, but the thought patterns of salvation therefrom have become outworn and antiquated. The reality of the spiritual need persists, but intellectual progress has destroyed the olden ways of securing peace and consolation for mind and soul.” (984.4) 89:10.1
2. The confession of sin
“The confession of sin is a manful repudiation of disloyalty, but it in no wise mitigates the time-space consequences of such disloyalty. But confession—sincere recognition of the nature of sin—is essential to religious growth and spiritual progress.” (984.8) 89:10.5
3. About receiving forgiveness
“The forgiveness of sin by Deity is the renewal of loyalty relations following a period of the human consciousness of the lapse of such relations as the consequence of conscious rebellion. The forgiveness does not have to be sought, only received as the consciousness of re-establishment of loyalty relations between the creature and the Creator. And all the loyal sons of God are happy, service-loving, and ever-progressive in the Paradise ascent.” (985.1) 89:10.6
4. Evil, guilt, and forgiveness
“Said Jesus: ‘My disciples must not only cease to do evil but learn to do well; you must not only be cleansed from all conscious sin, but you must refuse to harbor even the feelings of guilt. If you confess your sins, they are forgiven; therefore must you maintain a conscience void of offense.’”(1736.4) 156:2.7 1 Peter 3:11. Rom 12:21.
5. Unforgivable sins
“‘Say what you will about the Son of Man, and it shall be forgiven you; but he who presumes to blaspheme against God shall hardly find forgiveness. When men go so far as knowingly to ascribe the doings of God to the forces of evil, such deliberate rebels will hardly seek forgiveness for their sins.’”(1820.5) 165:3.6 Matt 12:31.
6. Sin of blasphemy against God
“Then said Jesus: ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand; if a house be divided against itself, it is soon brought to desolation. Can a city withstand a siege if it is not united? If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand? But you should know that no one can enter into the house of a strong man and despoil his goods except he first overpower and bind that strong man. And so, if I by the power of Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore shall they be your judges. But if I, by the spirit of God, cast out devils, then has the kingdom of God truly come upon you. If you were not blinded by prejudice and misled by fear and pride, you would easily perceive that one who is greater than devils stands in your midst. You compel me to declare that he who is not with me is against me, while he who gathers not with me scatters abroad. Let me utter a solemn warning to you who would presume, with your eyes open and with premeditated malice, knowingly to ascribe the works of God to the doings of devils! Verily, verily, I say to you, all your sins shall be forgiven, even all of your blasphemies, but whosoever shall blaspheme against God with deliberation and wicked intention shall never obtain forgiveness. Since such persistent workers of iniquity will never seek nor receive forgiveness, they are guilty of the sin of eternally rejecting divine forgiveness.’”(1714.2) 153:4.3 Luke 11:17-18.
XI. INTERVAL BETWEEN SIN AND THE PENALTY
1. Saving interval between sin and penalty
“Although conscious and wholehearted identification with evil (sin) is the equivalent of nonexistence (annihilation), there must always intervene between the time of such personal identification with sin and the execution of the penalty—the automatic result of such a willful embrace of evil—a period of time of sufficient length to allow for such an adjudication of such an individual’s universe status as will prove entirely satisfactory to all related universe personalities, and which will be so fair and just as to win the approval of the sinner himself.” (615.4) 54:3.2
2. The wisdom of delay
“Of the many reasons known to me as to why Lucifer and his confederates were not sooner interned or adjudicated, I am permitted to recite the following:
“1. Mercy requires that every wrongdoer have sufficient time in which to formulate a deliberate and fully chosen attitude regarding his evil thoughts and sinful acts.
“2. Supreme justice is dominated by a Father’s love; therefore will justice never destroy that which mercy can save. Time to accept salvation is vouchsafed every evildoer.
“3. No affectionate father is ever precipitate in visiting punishment upon an erring member of his family. Patience cannot function independently of time.
“4. While wrongdoing is always deleterious to a family, wisdom and love admonish the upright children to bear with an erring brother during the time granted by the affectionate father in which the sinner may see the error of his way and embrace salvation.
“5. Regardless of Michael’s attitude toward Lucifer, notwithstanding his being Lucifer’s Creator-father, it was not in the province of the Creator Son to exercise summary jurisdiction over the apostate System Sovereign because he had not then completed his bestowal career, thereby attaining unqualified sovereignty of Nebadon.
“6. The Ancients of Days could have immediately annihilated these rebels, but they seldom execute wrongdoers without a full hearing. In this instance they refused to overrule the Michael decisions.
“7. It is evident that Immanuel counseled Michael to remain aloof from the rebels and allow rebellion to pursue a natural course of self-obliteration. And the wisdom of the Union of Days is the time reflection of the united wisdom of the Paradise Trinity.
“8. The Faithful of Days on Edentia advised the Constellation Fathers to allow the rebels free course to the end that all sympathy for these evildoers should be the sooner uprooted in the hearts of every present and future citizen of Norlatiadek—every mortal, morontia, or spirit creature.
“9. On Jerusem the personal representative of the Supreme Executive of Orvonton counseled Gabriel to foster full opportunity for every living creature to mature a deliberate choice in those matters involved in the Lucifer Declaration of Liberty. The issues of rebellion having been raised, the Paradise emergency adviser of Gabriel portrayed that, if such full and free opportunity were not given all Norlatiadek creatures, then would the Paradise quarantine against all such possible halfhearted or doubt-stricken creatures be extended in self-protection against the entire constellation. To keep open the Paradise doors of ascension to the beings of Norlatiadek, it was necessary to provide for the full development of rebellion and to insure the complete determination of attitude on the part of all beings in any way concerned therewith.
“10. The Divine Minister of Salvington issued as her third independent proclamation a mandate directing that nothing be done to half cure, cowardly suppress, or otherwise hide the hideous visage of rebels and rebellion. The angelic hosts were directed to work for full disclosure and unlimited opportunity for sin-expression as the quickest technique of achieving the perfect and final cure of the plague of evil and sin.
“11. An emergency council of ex-mortals consisting of Mighty Messengers, glorified mortals who had had personal experience with like situations, together with their colleagues, was organized on Jerusem. They advised Gabriel that at least three times the number of beings would be led astray if arbitrary or summary methods of suppression were attempted. The entire Uversa corps of counselors concurred in advising Gabriel to permit the rebellion to take its full and natural course; even if it should require a million years to wind up the consequences.
“12. Time, even in a universe of time, is relative: If a Urantia mortal of average length of life should commit a crime which precipitated world-wide pandemonium, and if he were apprehended, tried, and executed within two or three days of the commission of the crime, would it seem a long time to you? And yet that would be nearer a comparison with the length of Lucifer’s life even if his adjudication, now begun, should not be completed for a hundred thousand Urantia years. The relative lapse of time from the viewpoint of Uversa, where the litigation is pending, could be indicated by saying that the crime of Lucifer was being brought to trial within two and a half seconds of its commission. From the Paradise viewpoint the adjudication is simultaneous with the enactment.” (617.1) 54:5.1
XII. ORIGINAL SIN
1. Original sin—racial guilt
“Primitive man regarded himself as being in debt to the spirits, as standing in need of redemption. As the savages looked at it, in justice the spirits might have visited much more bad luck upon them. As time passed, this concept developed into the doctrine of sin and salvation. The soul was looked upon as coming into the world under forfeit—original sin. The soul must be ransomed; a scapegoat must be provided. The head-hunter, in addition to practicing the cult of skull worship, was able to provide a substitute for his own life, a scapeman.” (974.1) 89:0.1
2. Doctrine of total depravity
“The doctrine of the total depravity of man destroyed much of the potential of religion for effecting social repercussions of an uplifting nature and of inspirational value. Jesus sought to restore man’s dignity when he declared that all men are the children of God.” (1091.4) 99:5.5
3. Personal and racial concepts of sin
“Sin—punishment for taboo violation. In comparatively recent times it has been believed that sickness is a punishment for sin, personal or racial. Among peoples traversing this level of evolution the prevailing theory is that one cannot be afflicted unless one has violated a taboo. To regard sickness and suffering as ‘arrows of the Almighty within them’ is typical of such beliefs. The Chinese and Mesopotamians long regarded disease as the result of the action of evil demons, although the Chaldeans also looked upon the stars as the cause of suffering. This theory of disease as a consequence of divine wrath is still prevalent among many reputedly civilized groups of Urantians.” (990.3) 90:3.8
4. Personal and group sins
“‘No more should you fear that God will punish a nation for the sin of an individual; neither will the Father in heaven punish one of his believing children for the sins of a nation, albeit the individual member of any family must often suffer the material consequences of family mistakes and group transgressions. Do you not realize that the hope of a better nation—or a better world—is bound up in the progress and enlightenment of the individual?’” (1630.4) 145:2.8
5. Salvation not jeopardized by another’s sin
“But one thing should be made clear: If you are made to suffer the evil consequences of the sin of some member of your family, some fellow citizen or fellow mortal, even rebellion in the system or elsewhere—no matter what you may have to endure because of the wrongdoing of your associates, fellows, or superiors—you may rest secure in the eternal assurance that such tribulations are transient afflictions. None of these fraternal consequences of misbehavior in the group can ever jeopardize your eternal prospects or in the least degree deprive you of your divine right of Paradise ascension and God attainment.” (619.1) 54:6.4
II. JESUS TALKS ABOUT GOOD AND EVIL
1. Answering Gadiah’s question about good and evil
“Jesus’ last visit with Gadiah had to do with a discussion of good and evil. This young Philistine was much troubled by a feeling of injustice because of the presence of evil in the world alongside the good. He said: ‘How can God, if he is infinitely good, permit us to suffer the sorrows of evil; after all, who creates evil?’ It was still believed by many in those days that God creates both good and evil, but Jesus never taught such error. In answering this question, Jesus said: ‘My brother, God is love; therefore he must be good, and his goodness is so great and real that it cannot contain the small and unreal things of evil. God is so positively good that there is absolutely no place in him for negative evil. Evil is the immature choosing and the unthinking misstep of those who are resistant to goodness, rejectful of beauty, and disloyal to truth. Evil is only the misadaptation of immaturity or the disruptive and distorting influence of ignorance. Evil is the inevitable darkness which follows upon the heels of the unwise rejection of light. Evil is that which is dark and untrue, and which, when consciously embraced and willfully endorsed, becomes sin.
“‘Your Father in heaven, by endowing you with the power to choose between truth and error, created the potential negative of the positive way of light and life; but such errors of evil are really nonexistent until such a time as an intelligent creature wills their existence by mischoosing the way of life. And then are such evils later exalted into sin by the knowing and deliberate circuits of such a willful and rebellious creature. This is why our Father in heaven permits the good and the evil to go along together until the end of life, just as nature allows the wheat and the tares to grow side by side until the harvest.’ Gadiah was fully satisfied with Jesus’ answer to his question after their subsequent discussion had made clear to his mind the real meaning of these momentous statements.” (1429.1) 130:1.5 Matt 13:30.
2. Jesus talks about error and evil
“Error (evil) is the penalty of imperfection. The qualities of imperfection or facts of misadaptation are disclosed on the material level by critical observation and by scientific analysis; on the moral level, by human experience. The presence of evil constitutes proof of the inaccuracies of mind and the immaturity of the evolving self. Evil is, therefore, also a measure of imperfection in universe interpretation. The possibility of making mistakes is inherent in the acquisition of wisdom, the scheme of progressing from the partial and temporal to the complete and eternal, from the relative and imperfect to the final and perfected. Error is the shadow of relative imcompleteness which must of necessity fall across man’s ascending universe path to Paradise perfection. Error (evil) is not an actual universe quality; it is simply the observation of a relativity in the relatedness of the imperfection of the incomplete finite to the ascending levels of the Supreme and Ultimate.
“Although Jesus told all this to the lad in language best suited to his comprehension, at the end of the discussion Ganid was heavy of eye and was soon lost in slumber. They rose early the next morning to go aboard the boat bound for Lasea on the Island of Crete. But before they embarked, the lad had still further questions to ask about evil, to which Jesus replied:
“Evil is a relativity concept. It arises out of the observation of the imperfections which appear in the shadow cast by a finite universe of things and beings as such a cosmos obscures the living light of the universal expression of the eternal realities of the Infinite One.
“Potential evil is inherent in the necessary incompleteness of the revelation of God as a time-space limited expression of infinity and eternity. The fact of the partial in the presence of the complete constitutes relativity of reality, creates necessity for intellectual choosing, and establishes value levels of spirit recognition and response. The incomplete and finite concept of the infinite which is held by the temporal and limited creature mind is, in and of itself, potential evil. But the augmenting error of unjustified deficiency in reasonable spiritual rectification of these originally inherent intellectual disharmonies and spiritual insufficiencies, is equivalent to the realization of actual evil.
“All static, dead, concepts are potentially evil. The finite shadow of relative and living truth is continually moving. Static concepts invariably retard science, politics, society, and religion. Static concepts may represent a certain knowledge, but they are deficient in wisdom and devoid of truth. But do not permit the concept of relativity so to mislead you that you fail to recognize the co-ordination of the universe under the guidance of the cosmic mind, and its stabilized control by the energy and spirit of the Supreme.” (1435.3) 130:4.11
3. Jesus talks to Mardus about good and evil
“Mardus was the acknowledged leader of the Cynics of Rome, and he became a great friend of the scribe of Damascus. Day after day he conversed with Jesus, and night upon night he listened to his supernal teaching. Among the more important discussions with Mardus was the one designed to answer this sincere Cynic’s question about good and evil. In substance, and in twentieth-century phraseology, Jesus said:
“My brother, good and evil are merely words symbolizing relative levels of human comprehension of the observable universe. If you are ethically lazy and socially indifferent, you can take as your standard of good the current social usages. If you are spiritually indolent and morally unprogressive, you may take as your standards of good the religious practices and traditions of your contemporaries. But the soul that survives time and emerges into eternity must make a living and personal choice between good and evil as they are determined by the true values of the spiritual standards established by the divine spirit which the Father in heaven has sent to dwell within the heart of man. This indwelling spirit is the standard of personality survival.
“Goodness, like truth, is always relative and unfailingly evil-contrasted. It is the perception of these qualities of goodness and truth that enables the evolving souls of men to make those personal decisions of choice which are essential to eternal survival.” (1457.4) 132:2.1
“As you ascend the universe scale of creature development, you will find increasing goodness and diminishing evil in perfect accordance with your capacity for goodness-experience and truth-discernment. The ability to entertain error or experience evil will not be fully lost until the ascending human soul achieves final spirit levels.” (1458.3) 132:2.6
“Until you attain Paradise levels, goodness will always be more of a quest than a possession, more of a goal than an experience of attainment. But even as you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you experience increasing satisfaction in the partial attainment of goodness. The presence of goodness and evil in the world is in itself positive proof of the existence and reality of man’s moral will, the personality, which thus identifies these values and is also able to choose between them.” (1458.5) 132:2.8
“The possibility of evil is necessary to moral choosing, but not the actuality thereof. A shadow is only relatively real. Actual evil is not necessary as a personal experience. Potential evil acts equally well as a decision stimulus in the realms of moral progress on the lower levels of spiritual development. Evil becomes a reality of personal experience only when a moral mind makes evil its choice.” (1458.7) 132:2.10
4. Jesus talks to Thomas about evil and sin
“Do not make the mistake of confusing evil with the evil one, more correctly the iniquitous one. He whom you call the evil one is the son of self-love, the high administrator who knowingly went into deliberate rebellion against the rule of my Father and his loyal Sons. But I have already vanquished these sinful rebels. Make clear in your mind these different attitudes toward the Father and his universe. Never forget these laws of relation to the Father’s will:
“‘Evil is the unconscious or unintended transgression of the divine law, the Father’s will. Evil is likewise the measure of the imperfectness of obedience to the Father’s will.
“‘Sin is the conscious, knowing, and deliberate transgression of the divine law, the Father’s will. Sin is the measure of unwillingness to be divinely led and spiritually directed.
“‘Iniquity is the willful, determined, and persistent transgression of the divine law, the Father’s will. Iniquity is the measure of the continued rejection of the Father’s loving plan of personality survival and the Sons’ merciful ministry of salvation.
“‘By nature, before the rebirth of the spirit, mortal man is subject to inherent evil tendencies, but such natural imperfections of behavior are neither sin nor iniquity. Mortal man is just beginning his long ascent to the perfection of the Father in Paradise. To be imperfect or partial in natural endowment is not sinful. Man is indeed subject to evil, but he is in no sense the child of the evil one unless he has knowingly and deliberately chosen the paths of sin and the life of iniquity. Evil is inherent in the natural order of this world, but sin is an attitude of conscious rebellion which was brought to this world by those who fell from spiritual light into gross darkness.
“‘You are confused, Thomas, by the doctrines of the Greeks and the errors of the Persians. You do not understand the relationships of evil and sin because you view mankind as beginning on earth with a perfect Adam and rapidly degenerating, through sin, to man’s present deplorable estate. But why do you refuse to comprehend the meaning of the record which discloses how Cain, the son of Adam, went over into the land of Nod and there got himself a wife? And why do you refuse to interpret the meaning of the record which portrays the sons of God finding wives for themselves among the daughters of men?
“‘Men are, indeed, by nature evil, but not necessarily sinful. The new birth—the baptism of the spirit—is essential to deliverance from evil and necessary for entrance into the kingdom of heaven, but none of this detracts from the fact that man is the son of God. Neither does this inherent presence of potential evil mean that man is in some mysterious way estranged from the Father in heaven so that, as an alien, foreigner, or stepchild, he must in some manner seek for legal adoption by the Father. All such notions are born, first, of your misunderstanding of the Father and, second, of your ignorance of the origin, nature, and destiny of man.’” (1660.1) 148:4.2
“‘Thomas, have you not read about this in the Scriptures, where it is written: “You are the children of the Lord your God.” “I will be his Father and he shall be my son.” “I have chosen him to be my son—I will be his Father.” “Bring my sons from far and my daughters from the ends of the earth; even every one who is called by my name, for I have created them for my glory.” “You are the sons of the living God.” “They who have the spirit of God are indeed the sons of God.” While there is a material part of the human father in the natural child, there is a spiritual part of the heavenly Father in every faith son of the kingdom.’” (1661.1) 148:4.10 Gen 4:16. 1 Chron 28:6. 1 Chron 17:13. Isa 43:6-7. Hosea 1:10. Rom 8:14.