The battle between good and evil has been humanities eternal struggle. This conflict is often labeled as dualism.
I bring up this topic today because it was raised in response to one of my posts yesterday. One misguided participant suggested that the church needed to mature and evolve beyond dualism. She also parroted other modernist thinking, stating that in not doing so, many in the Church are simply motivated by hate.
In fact, during a homily at the Amazon Synod, one German cardinal echoed this sentiment, in asking: “if Jesus were alive today, would he preach the same message?” My response is a resounding “YES.” The battle between good and evil is still ongoing. Nothing has changed except the players.
We Christians see a glimpse of the origins of this struggle in the Garden of Eden where Satan, in the guise of a serpent convinces Eve and then Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. This event is understood in biblical speak, as the fall of man from Grace. This is the actual or metaphorical point in time when “sin” entered into the world. Then, of course, we each perpetuate sin in our own lives, by our own choices and actions, contrary to natural law and divine revelation.
In this example, sin became the description of doing something displeasing to God, or something contrary to things God has commanded us to avoid.
In classical philosophy, this battle of good versus evil has been called “Dualism.” This philosophical construct has become one of the most confusing topics ever devised by the human mind. You see, the more complicated the subject is, the easier it may be to brush aside as irrelevant. In this the lie of the evil one, Satan is free to work his deception on yet more and more generations of gullible men.
Since before the Christian Era, philosophers and religious minds have been constructing complicated ideologies, attempting to mitigate man’s responsibilities for his own actions.
One such philosophy etched itself to Christianity very early on under the name of Gnosticism. In Gnostic theology, things of the created, physical order were evil and things in the spiritual realm were good. In their understanding, nothing you do, or no action you take can have an impact on your spiritual self.
The early church spent a great deal of time confronting and debunking gnostic heresy. The reason for this is that if the effects of what we do in this life have no eternal spiritual consequences, then, there is no need for a savior. In the gnostic paradigm, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ becomes meaningless. This, my friends then becomes the ultimate deception.
Why bring up ancient heresy? Why is it an important topic to discuss? Simply put, this error from antiquity has never fully been vanquished. In fact, we see it rearing it’s ugly head today in many areas of our lives today. We see this most obviously of course in the secular world with the rapidly changing Ideologies of sexual morality. However, these abhorrent teachings are forcing their way into the Church.
One subtle proponent is Bishop Robert Barron, with his statements that “we have a reasonable hope that he’ll may be empty.” After all, in his theological approach, the effects of our sins of the flesh don’t have eternal consequences on our spiritual destiny.
Modernism in our day embraces the false idea of man’s ultimate goodness. In this ideology, they give themselves the liberty of ignoring virtually every aspect of moral teachings found in Judeo-Christian teachings.
This is why Pope Francis can say “who am I to judge,” or tell a boy that he will see his unrepentant Atheist father in heaven. It is also why this Pope has no inhibition about appointing pro-homosexual clergy to positions in the Vatican or worshipping Mother Earth alongside pagans at the Amazon Synod.
For Jesus and the early church, sin and eternal punishment were a reality. What has changed over the past two thousand years to change that understanding?
Jesus told us that He is the only means of salvation. He continued that thought by saying that there will be very few who make it to eternity in a state of Grace. Is there anything in scripture or orthodox Christian teachings from the ancient church that suggest we have the liberty to change these understandings? No. Quite the contrary actually. We are presented with many warnings against false teachers and strange doctrine.
The battle that we are engaged in is for the salvation of souls. As Jesus commanded us we are to take this message to the ends of the earth, preaching to every nation and peoples. The good news is that Christ came to save us from our sins – in denying our sinfulness we deny our need for redemption and salvation.
This dualistic battle remains a reality. The good news is that Christ has won the battle over sin and death on the cross, and whosoever chooses to follow Him, in Spirit and in Truth, will enjoy eternal joy in His presence. Those who reject Jesus and his teachings will not be so fortunate. They will spend eternity in the place created for Satan had his fallen angles, separated from God.
Don’t let the philosophical arguments or modern rhetoric fool you. Understanding the distinction between good and evil, right and wrong beliefs are still valid Catholic Christian concepts.
Orthodoxy is not against change in particular, we are opponents of sin. We are also proponents of biblical truth, which, out of love we MUST continue to proclaim until our final breath.