Evil connotes immorality, wickedness, iniquity. It’s a morally objectionable behaviour. It represents that which causes harm or destruction or misfortune. (WordNet 2.1). To say there’s too much evil in our society is an understatement. Evil came into the world shortly after creation, has remained with us and will remain until the end of time. The Scripture says: “The heart of man is deceitful above all and desperately wicked, who can know it.”
However, a closer look at God’s Word reveals that He has already made a way for us to deal with the overwhelming influence of evil. “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good”, the Scripture says. Evidently, we can’t fight evil with evil. The only way to overcome evil is with good. Any other way is a waste of time. I believe God made the playing field uneven to the advantage of whoever chooses to do what’s good. The Scripture is replete with statements that “One of you shall put to flight 1,000 and two of you shall put to flight 10,000.” By extension, three of us shall put to flight 100,000. I’ve depicted this awe-inspiring statement in a linear equation as indicated below:
G = a + bE
‘G’ is the amount of good deeds
‘a’ is a constant
‘b’ is the gradient of the slope if we plot the amount of evil deeds(E) against good deeds (G).
‘E’ is amount evil deeds
The structure of the equation shows that the amount of good deeds is dependent on the amount of evil deeds. In effect, as the amount of evil deeds increase in the society, our response should be to step up our good deeds to counteract the insidious effect of evil. It’s not to complain or engage in the blame game; these responses are evil in themselves. A more favourable approach, however, is to continue to saturate our society with good deeds even when there is no threat of evil. By so doing, we push evil into a smaller corner.
The relationship of the values of G and E to be used for the above linear equation is as follow:
G = 1000E = 103E
2G = 10,000E = 104E
3G = 100,000E = 105E
4G = 1,000,000E = 106E
5G = 10,000,000E = 107E
6G = 100,000,000E = 108E
7G = 1,000,000,000E = 109E
8G = 10,000,000,000E = 1010E
The geometric increase in evil is counteracted by an arithmetic increase in good. From the above presentation, it would take eight (8) good deeds, as it were, to overcome ten billion evil deeds!
In the graphical illustration of the linear equation, the values of G are determined as follows:
G = a + Be
We then substitute for ‘a’ and ‘b’ based on the value of E at every level of G.
G = 0.1E + 0.9E
G = 0.1(1000E) + 0.9(1000E) = 100E + 900E
G = 100E + 900E
2G = 1,000E + 9,000E
3G = 10,000E + 90,000E
4G = 100,000E + 900,000E
5G = 1,000,000E + 9,000,000E
6G = 10,000,000E + 90,000,000E
7G = 100,000,000E + 900,000,000E
8G = 1,000,000,000E + 9,000,000,000E
Since one good deed ‘G’ overcomes one thousand evil deeds (1,000E, 103E), it is reasonable to presume that zero good deed will overcome one hundred evil deeds (just step the power down by 1 to give 102E, 100E).
Based on the above equations, one can infer the following:
- The existence of the constant ‘a’ means that without any good deeds on our part, there’s a certain level of evil that God has restrained. The scripture says: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This means that Jesus’ death prevents some level of evil from befalling us. This is the work of grace. “If God considers iniquity, no man shall stand.” The grace of God prevents a certain level of evil from befalling humanity even when we have no good to show for it. However, the caveat is that we cannot refrain from doing any good deeds because of the grace that we enjoy. The scripture says: “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
- For every incremental value of good deed, the value of the constant ‘a’ also increases. This is unlike any typical linear equation where the constant is expected to be constant (that’s how the name constant came about). God uses our good deeds to do exceedingly and abundantly above what we can ever ask or imagine on evil. He requires only a small amount of good deeds from us to overcome innumerable evil deeds. There’s so much that we can do if only we would tap into the grace that has been made available. We are not fighting evil from ground zero! There’s a constant. Little wonder Jesus said: “In the world ye shall have tribulation but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” He was referring to the accomplished work of Calvary – The Constant factor of salvation.
Why Are Things The Way They Are?
If it takes eight (8) good deeds to overcome 10,000,000,000 evil deeds, why is it that there is preponderance of evil? These are the possibilities:
- More people engage in evil deeds;
- Even when the number of people perpetrating evil is fairly stable, the evildoers creatively multiply their evil deeds;
- Those doing good have become weary and are now lukewarm. Rather than do good, they talk about evildoers.
- Those doing good have abandoned duties and joined evildoers.
Is There Any Hope?
In Nigeria, there is an aspect of our lives in which we make efforts to combat evil. We only need to imbibe this attitude in dealing with other forms of evil. I am talking about the evil of power failure. There is no contesting the fact that darkness is evil. Interestingly, everybody, rich or poor, in Nigeria tries to combat this evil. As a matter of fact, the reason the Nigerian economy has not collapsed as previously predicted is largely because everyone is doing something about the evil of power failure.
While the national grid generates about 4,000 MW (the highest ever), the private sector (companies and individuals) is estimated to generate between 30,000 – 40,000 MW.
Depending on their income level, the Nigerian people combat the evil of power failure using one or a combination of these options: kerosene lanterns, candles, telephone lights, torch lights, power inverters and power generators of varying capacity.
Whenever there is a power failure, people in all the income groups revert to their back-up power arrangement without complaining. In fact, when there has been power from the public utility for an unusual length of time, most people get worried. They begin to expect power failure and, usually, they are not disappointed.
When we have the same orientation of doing the good we can possibly do, we would succeed in substantially reducing the prevalence of evil in our society. Until then, we stand no chance against the overwhelming influence of evil.