Explaining the Fruit of the Tree (Right vs. Good; Wrong vs. Bad) Level: COLLEGE
2nd Corinthians 8:21
What is "right"? What is "wrong"? What is "good"? What is "bad"? These are questions that, on the surface level, seem quite easy to answer, especially with all of the laws and order of our time. Yet, when you gaze beyond the veil of flesh and bone; when you peer into the realm of spirituality and try to apply the essence of these questions, the answers are neither the same nor are they easy to express. To understand this, we must first understand what these terms mean and then apply those definitions to biblical principles.
Many may believe that "right" is synonymous to "good" and that “bad” is synonymous to “wrong”. However, while both right vs. wrong and good vs. bad represent the same sides of a pole (positivity vs. negativity), that could not be further from the case. What is commonly considered “good” (or that which is morally right) and “bad” (that which is morally wrong), are both exclusive constructs of morality, which is a “human” or “man-made” creation. This must be because morality by definition concerns discerning right or wrong behavior and good or bad human character, essentially stating that morality is the practice of judging human character and assigning a term to it. HOWEVER, the problem and, ultimately, the factor that proves morality as we use it to be a human construct, is found in this question:
WHO, exactly, is the judge?
Morality is only concerned with what another individual or group of individuals judge to be good or bad/right or wrong based on the construct of their personal or communal paradigm. That is why one group of people can conclude child sacrifice is a good thing (to “appease” their gods or because they believe a woman has a right to “control” her own body) and another group can simultaneously conclude that it is a bad thing. After that conclusion the assignment of what I will call in this blog “carnal rightness” or “carnal wrongness” is placed and we see a process similar to this take place:
Individual Paradigm Construct of
or --> mores, norms, and codes --> action/idea presented -->…
Community Paradigm (i.e. morality)
Reference back to “construct” Judgment and assignment
…--> for congruence with (good) or --> of “right” or “wrong”
incongruence with (bad) construct
Here’s a very stripped-down real world example for clarity purposes:
technical moral stance on equality is Women can’t vote
United States of America --> that all “men” are created equal --> because of sex -->…
series of legal hearings Judgment that discrimination
… --> placing the allegation against --> against women is not right in relation
established belief system what the United States stands for
The grave problem with this process is that the construct created from which good and bad and, ultimately, right and wrong, is pulled may or may not have the Creator (the ONLY One able to discern truth and righteousness, requirements for judging [Ref1]) in it, or, more contemporarily, may have part of His construct for us omitted to achieve comfort for the individual or society. Before moving forward, I need to express two conclusions that can be drawn out
God ALONE is the ONLY One who can define what is truly good and bad (and thus, right and wrong) because He is the only One who is righteous (defined as without sin; a perfectly and absolutely good system with NO measure of error in judgment) [Ref2]
“Carnal right” and “carnal wrong” can only be products of a paradigm construct and the congruence (good) or incongruence (bad) to it.
So, we are now left with a necessary question:
If all that manifests in this world from humanity’s construct and world views are “carnal rightness/wrongness” which varies as much as each individual and collective construct varies, what is TRUE rightness/wrongness unadulterated by the flawed conclusions of man?
This can only come from an Individual who is absolutely perfect from every point, unequivocally just on an eternally consistent basis and is incapable of changing any part of the above two statements. The ONLY being that fits that description is GOD Almighty.
True rightness, then, is extremely simple to define and is associated only with obedience to God, who is perfectly good, and wrongness is associated with disobedience (incongruence to) God. This DOES NOT mean that true right and wrong manifestations will ALWAYS be synonymous with the human ideology of right and wrong at any given time, for we are incapable of knowing as the Creator knows. Nor does this mean that ALL carnal conclusions of rightness or wrongness are incongruent with the TRUE right and wrong. This simply means that all four terms (right, wrong, good, and bad) have two possible points of origin yet only one of those points is absolutely founded in Truth. The other assumes truth based on the experiences and decisions of a finite and ever-changing collective. In layman’s terms, there is what God says is good, bad, right and wrong” and there is what man conceives to be good or bad and then concludes to be right or wrong.
I believe the latter was and is the fruit from the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” that the devil tempted man to partake of, because the false idea that one can know what is truly right and wrong is the path that leads to separation from God and things like the notion that He was only necessary to explain the unexplainable phenomena that “less evolved” man could not uncover through modern marvels such as science
Marinate and let me know what you’re cooking in your mind oven.
Ref 1: Psalms 14:2-3; Romans 3:10-18; John 14:6
Ref 2: Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18