We possess free will. With this endowment comes responsibility and the potential for error, evil, sin and iniquity. Though we are the final arbiters of our own destiny; pre-destination and fore-ordination are reality factors with which we must contend. To put it another way, each child of destiny has the power to accept or reject the divine plan. Whether we achieve our first, best destiny is entirely up to us.
Within our wide range of choices are perfection and imperfection, the mature and the immature, the complete and the incomplete. Between life and death stand the committed and the uncommitted. To every person across a far-flung universe of universes, Our Creator’s message is consistent; “I set before you life and death, therefore choose life.”
The first point of law is life. We are, first and foremost, commanded to live. Evil is more than just a reverse spelling. It runs contrary to survival. Now we often have problems thrust upon us or difficulty letting go of certain things, attitudes, and patterns of thought that tend to eclipse or impair a full and fruitful life. Figuring out what’s good and what’s evil is part of the growth process, right? Is experience a necessary part of life? Yes! Is there the potential for error? Yes! Are you responsible for your decisions? Of course! Are you unjustly held accountable for the sins of your forebears or everything that goes wrong in your life? Hardly!
Our ultimate survival is not so much about the things beyond our control or programmed responses, as it is about gaining control through our free will choices. You’ve heard or read that all have sinned. You’ve also learned that the wages of sin is death. So why aren’t we all dead? If justice reigned supreme throughout this universe, we probably would be. Fortunately, for all of us, true justice is tempered with mercy, and divine justice will not destroy what God’s mercy can save. Mercy takes into account the fact of our weaknesses as growing, imperfect beings.
Our Father did not create evil, although he did create the gift of free will. In so doing he created the potential for evil. At our stage of growth, learning to prove all things and adhering to that which is good is an essential part of life. There will undoubtedly be errors, bad habits and perhaps even compulsion to overcome. But once we’ve identified actual or potential evil and continue to choose it, or refuse to let go of it, well, that is what we call sin.
Where the term ‘sin’ traces its roots to archery and missing the mark, iniquity is wholehearted rebellion against the Divine will. It is not something we mistakenly choose, stumble into, get goaded into, or lured into. It’s not something we reluctantly choose or are forced to accept in a time of weakness or out of ignorance. It is not an attempt at choosing the lesser of two evils. Iniquity is willful defiance. It is when evil or sin is deliberate, because it is contrary to Divine law.
Iniquity is a direct assault on the organizing principle of the universes, an attack on the unifying and coordinating qualities we’ve come to know as truth, beauty and goodness. Our rightful inheritance is family unity. Jesus told us: “I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” Where Our Father sows love, our enemies sow hatred. Where we would reap love, the forces of evil would advance chaos and have us fully immersed in ill will.
Some believe that unity is obtained through uniformity. Others hold that unity is only achieved at the expense of honest deliberation. And so, I put these questions to you in light of these historical considerations: Was the Lucifer Rebellion quashed? No! Was any effort made to suppress? No! From the start of the Lucifer rebellion each individual was left free in his or her choice.
The rebellion was permitted to run its full course. Or, as John wrote in the Book of Revelations, “The dragon was loosed for awhile.”
Why is that? It is precisely because we are a family. And Our Father is dealing with a universe full of free-willed individuals who must be afforded every opportunity to make an informed, deliberate, wholehearted and final choice. There is no enduring value in corralling individuals into a superficial allegiance through fear and intimidation, through the hellfire and brimstone imagery of ages past. Those who simply go along to get along are not likely to exude the quality of loyalty when tested.
We must each get to that place in our own spiritual journey where we can, with depth of conviction and in all sincerely, pray to God saying; “It is my will that your will be done.” For after all is said and done, Our Father desires only the devotion that is voluntary and sophistry proof.