He winks his eye to devise perverse things; He purses his lips and brings about evil (Proverbs 16:30, NKJV). When I was growing up, I remember learning that to wink with one of my eyes meant, to the person I was winking at, that I was only joking, not really trying to be deceptive. The Holy Spirit says here that the one who winks the eye is doing that which is (or was) evil. What are we to understand from this? In a rabbinic commentary I have, the idea is not winking, but shutting the eyes. In other words, he shuts his eyes to think of duplicity (or, he is a double-talker). Have you ever had a conversation with another when he or she closes the eyes in the midst of the conversation? It is likely you have. You may never have given thought to why, for it could just be a mannerism. In this Proverbs, at that time in history, those who did such things may also be exercising a mannerism, but the mannerism told the observant one that something evil was being brewed (cf. 6:13-14). The key to properly interpreting the “wink” in this proverb is the context in which the Holy Spirit includes it. In 16:27, the ungodly is mentioned, in 16:28, a perverse man is in view, in 16:29, a violent man and, here, a “winker” who does perverse things. Thus, while one may wink as a sort of “I am just joking,” some in the long ago did not have that approach at all. A word to the wise then is this: be honest and forthright; let your integrity shine forth the glory of God, never allowing your character to be questioned. RT
Some atheists like to accentuate what they perceived to be the problem of evil in society and its relationship to an omnipotent, omniscient and all-good God. To them, there is an incompatibility, even a contradiction. The incompatibility (contradiction) is not obvious to anyone, so the atheist has to make an extended argument on what they think is a contradiction. Wallace Matson did this in his debate with Tom Warren (1978). Matson did not do very well at explaining this perceived incompatibility, and Tom Warren exposed it mercilessly.
The incompatibility goes something like this: if God is all-good and all-powerful, then he will remove evil from existence because an all-good being will not be in the presence of evil, and neither will an all-good being allow evil to exist. If he is all-powerful, then it is within his capability to do so. Yet, evil exist. Thus, it is asserted, God must not be all-powerful or he must not be all-good.
There is no necessary incompatibility in the construct of this atheistic argument – it is merely asserted.
What atheists try to do, then, is form a moral standard of some sort where the formulator of that standard is in position to judge something else. They try to formulate what “good” is and what it does. This is nothing more than an “I think” approach based upon an opinion. One person might argue in “rocket-science” terms that it should be obvious as to why inflicting pain and suffering is wrong. Yet, no atheist can tell us why – they only assert it.
The best an atheist can do is to find some common features or qualities in humanity and then assert them as a collective in a moral code that others should follow. For instance, one atheist said with regard to a law that says it is acceptable to extinguish another human being based solely on their race/religion, “I personally would asses that law to be wrong because it involves pain and suffering.” That’s it? Yes, that is it. It is the only basis on which he can judge, and does judge. No atheist can do better at offering a reason.
Some atheists assert they know what “good” is and how it operates. In this assertion, it is nothing more than an “I think” approach based on subjectivity. There is no “I know” to it because atheists have no objective moral standard by which to judge.
There is nothing within atheism that warrants them to identify a moral wrong. When they assert that something is wrong in a moral context all they are really saying is “I think that is wrong, and you should to!” There is nothing more they can say. Thus, in the context of the Holocaust, the moral force of an atheist (agnostic, secularist) is strictly a subjective opinion. They cannot objectively sustain that Nazi Germany did anything morally wrong. This was brought out in Wallace Matson – Thomas Warren Debate on the existence of God (Tampa, 1978).
The tragedy of the Holocaust was recently, and vividly, brought out in the Monday issue of the paper (page A-7, 5.11.2015); in the story, we learned of a little boy’s struggle while in Europe during the Second World War. The heartache experienced and the moral outrage of evil deeds done by an evil people (Nazis) gets every thoughtful person to ponder why evil even exists. That it does is incontrovertible. Yet, while an atheist knows that it exist he (she) can’t tell anyone what evil really is, or why it exists. They can’t do this because they can’t identify a transcendent, objective good.
If atheists say that what Nazi Germany did was evil, be sure to ask them why they think it was evil. It is likely they will say something along this line: because it “harms” or “hurts” others. This is not a substantive answer because the necessary follow-up is: what makes “harm” or “hurting people” an evil? Ultimately, all an atheist (agnostic, secularist) will be able to say is because “I think it is.”
Evil can only be identified when it is placed alongside that which is good. Without a measuring standard of “good” all any one will be able to offer is a subjective opinion. With God, however, there is no subjective opinion belonging to man concerning what is good. That which Nazi Germany did was evil because the measuring standard of “good” (Matthew 22:34-40) shows it to be exactly that.
Submitted to JC-TC.com (5.11.2015)
The word “ethic” is defined as “the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation” (Merriam Webster, p. 625). This is a word used often, but though it is expected some will know the meaning and standard used to judge, it is not always the case that it is known. In this section of the bulletin we will be giving some consideration to the word from the Bible’s perspective. For instance, in Psalm 21, the NKJV used the word “evil” when speaking about the intentions of some people against the Lord’s way (Psalm 21:11). Though it is not explicitly stated, it is clear the standard used to determine exactly what is “evil” is the Lord’s standard of righteousness. In an ethical study or discussion there must be a standard accepted by which behavior is judged. Since the Lord’s standard of righteousness, as seen and revealed in God, is the ONLY standard that transcends man—it will be the Lord’s standard that is firmly in place to help us judge.