It wasn't long ago. I was in college; a slew of us trekked out to quasi-camp and shoot 22s. After cards, we lay in the small cabin staring at the ceiling and talking about whatever it is that fills the minds of college boys.
On this night, it was a knife. Not just any knife. It was the knife that killed an innocent person.
The idea around this knife was the question that: is the knife evil or not? As the night went on the more perilous was the adventure that knife had - wielding in the hands of mad men and at the throats of innocents.
This has continued in my head up to today. And it is time to put this to rest.
The reason this is important is the somewhat "nostalgic" value people place on things. Would you wear Hitler's boots to your wedding or Stalin's hat to a job interview? No. These things are too sharply interconnected with the evils of the previous owner.
What is the best thing? Burn them.
Or is it? At last, I think it is time I answer the question instead of ask it. This is important because the hat, the knife, the boots - indeed the Nazi gas chambers and Christ's own cross were applied by man only after created by God.
First consider all the things in life you have made. Friendships? Enemies? Papers? Paintings?
The more the merrier, I say; I just don't have the work ethic necessary to pump out those types of results.
Anyway, consider now all the things you have created from nothing. Wood? Water? Metal? Air? Elements? Systems? Probably not.
The most hearty work ethic wont produce something from nothing - which is the very definition of creation.
Indeed what you made was neither the paint nor the canvas, just the application of things that already were.
In the same way are the Nazi gas chambers. How ghastly is it for me to use such an example? But I will go on.
The fact is this: God created, and, moreover, God created everything a long time ago in a timeframe of six periods.
He created everything in some given time period and that was it. Other than the recreation of the human heart and mind, God's business with creation ended when he "sat down" to rest on the seventh day.
This means something interesting. This means that the watch you have on right now - in some form, or some other application, existed on the seventh day. This is important because what actually *is* your watch is the metal, the quartz and the plastic.
God made it all, including the craftsman's own mind and in no small sense, God therefore "made" your watch.
Let's get to the point.
God looked at all things and they were good - good because He made it. Of course a perfect God would not make something and look at it noticing it to be bad. No. It could not be. He looked at it and it was good.
This is not good like your painting is good. This is good as perfect in being. More than a lack of sin, as we popularly think of perfection, this is a perfection of being what it is.
Then along comes the knife. Was God speaking about the knife or just the metal ore in the mountain's side?
I say neither. God was speaking about the physical world. That is what was new. It was not the miracle of metal. It was not the miracle of water. It was the miracle of a completely new reality. Our reality. And God looked on and saw that it was good.
This means a few things more than what I am going to say here.
One thing it means is the ore and the application of it. It means the trees and the sailboats that would someday be made of it. It was the food and the stews that would someday be put together. God looked down on creation and seeing it not only in its state of potential but also fruition, saw that it was good.
And so there is the knife.
The application of the knife is evil. Right? The Nazi gas chambers were an evil application of concrete - yet using concrete to stabilize buildings does not tempt our ethical standings. No, of course not.
Therefore the knife is not evil. After all, regardless of the use - just like that of the mind of man - God is the ultimate craftsman. Its goodness is inherent.
Can I make a knife evil by stabbing an innocent person? No, I cannot. My actions, however, can be evil. So can my intentions. And the results - they can be evil - although they can simultaneously be good. I cannot change, however, the goodness of creation.
So put to bed the evil knife.