Though evil permeates our world, we look forward in hope—to a future day when evil will be gone at last!
Today’s world is totally entrenched in evil! A suffocating shroud of evils—some known and others unknown—surrounds us. Some we’ve experienced personally. Others we take in through the kaleidoscope of screens—smartphones, tablets, computers and TVs—enveloping our increasingly chaotic lives.
But imagine if these evils did not exist. What would the world look like? It may be a difficult concept to grasp against the murk of this present age, yet a time is coming when evil will no longer permeate our planet. But how will that happen?
Understanding good and evil
To understand how evil will ultimately be removed, we need to understand what evil is. People often think it’s subjective, based on one’s own desires and experiences. But evil can never be ended with that as the framework. Rather, an abundant life free from evil requires allowing the Creator God to define good and evil.
Evil is a concept introduced to humankind when first created in the Garden of Eden—the roots going back even further to a rebellious angel who became known as Satan.
The first human beings Adam and Eve had the opportunity to live eternally without the consequences of evil, but they had to make a choice. They could accept the ways God taught them and partake of the tree of life, or they could take from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, effectively defining good and evil for themselves. With the deceitful and cunning enticement of Satan as the serpent in the garden, our first human parents took from the latter, placing their own judgment ahead of their Creator’s (Genesis 2:15-17; 3:4-7).
Despite this disastrous early attempt at man-made morality, God’s Word is clear about good and evil. In 1 Timothy 1:8 and Romans 7:12, God inspired the apostle Paul to state that the law of God is good. At the heart of this law is love—outgoing concern toward others (Romans 13:10; 1 John 5:3). On the other hand, lawlessness, or acting contrary to God’s law—exalting self above God and others—is synonymous with evil.
Furthermore, “lawlessness” is the definition of “sin” (1 John 3:4). Thus, evil is synonymous with sin. And Paul explains that the penalty for sin is death, the opposite of God’s gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23).
We can see the choice between these two ways and their outcomes in Deuteronomy 30:15-20, where God encourages us to choose life. The blessings of this result come through obeying God’s commandments. Conversely, disobeying God is defined as choosing evil and death, the penalty for sin or lawlessness.
Evil, then, is the choice of following our own version of morality contrary to God’s law, with the consequences of curses and death (see Proverbs 14:12; 16:25).
The instigator of evil ruling this world
If evil is to be ended, it is also necessary to identify and eliminate its promotion. Of course, we know that it was the serpent who originally persuaded humankind to take an evil path. Satan became “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4). He’s called the evil one, and the whole world lies within his power (1 John 5:18-19, Moffatt Translation).
He’s further called “the tempter” (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5). He promotes and broadcasts his version of selfish morality or evil to hearts and minds, being known as “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). So it’s no wonder we are now surrounded by evil on every side.
For evil to be ended, its promoter and instigator must be stopped—so that his impact on people and society can be turned around.
Something is obviously wrong with our society. In a recent survey on the “problem of evil,” 69 percent of adults surveyed indicated they believed that “suffering is mostly a result of the way society is structured” (Pew Research Center, Nov. 23, 2021). Society is certainly distorted, but why?
Many see people as inherently good with societal factors leading to problems. But the rot in human society begins in the human heart, which is deceitful and wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), all having been corrupted by Satan—with the problems magnified through his misleading of society as the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).
The dawning of a new age
Ultimately, to remove evil, the evil ruler of this world must be cast out, and that is exactly what Jesus Christ tells us will happen (John 12:31). We are assured of a future in which “the great dragon . . . that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world” will be cast out along with his angels, the demons (Revelation 12:9).
We are further informed that we can overcome the penalty for following him and his ways now by the “blood of the Lamb,” a reference to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ who gave His life to reconcile us to God, and then living by the truth and total commitment (verse 11). As the story continues, we see Satan at last locked away for 1,000 years so he can “deceive the nations no more” (Revelation 20:1-3). This will come at the return of Jesus Christ to rule the world.
Those from throughout time who have rejected Satan’s customs, opting instead to accept the sacrifice of Jesus while striving to follow God’s law with the aid of God’s Spirit, will be resurrected to join the returning Christ (1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 11:15). These will take part in the wedding supper mentioned in Revelation 19 and will be at Christ’s side as a new world is constructed to replace the evil society built by Satan (Revelation 20:4-6).
The new era will flourish with blessings and life. This will happen because God “will teach us His ways” and His “law shall go forth” from Jerusalem (Micah 4:1-2). Suffering from evil will cease, and an almost unimaginable utopian world absent the familiar ferocity of wickedness will emerge as the earth becomes “full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:6-9).
Christ and His resurrected followers will work with humanity for 1,000 years, fashioning the society broken by Satan into a paradise free from the clutches of evil. Those obedient to God’s law will have access to the power of His Holy Spirit to help overcome evil and will gain the potential to become members of God’s very family (John 14:26; Acts 5:32; Romans 8:9-19). This internal change of heart and mind is needed to bring peace and happiness to society. Humanity will finally have an opportunity to see God’s way of life at work.
Yet, as did Adam and Eve, we all must choose whether to follow God or turn to evil. At the end of the 1,000-year period or Millennium, Satan will be released for a final time (Revelation 20:7). Sadly, even though people will have witnessed a glorious, evil-free age, the devil will once again goad some to fallacy and rebellion.
Some of those who will have never experienced the dreadful and unforeseen consequences of evil will be tempted by the intoxicating delusion that they can choose what is right and wrong better than their Creator (verses 8-9). Fire will consume these enemies. And all who ultimately persist in rejecting God, choosing evil, will be removed at the final judgment, cast into a burning lake of fire (verses 9-15; and see our free study guide Heaven and Hell: What Does the Bible Really Teach?).
Evil will finally be ended! Satan and his troublemaking demons will be gone for good. The incorrigibly wicked who follow in their ways and will not cease from evil will be incinerated, becoming ashes under the feet of those who choose good (Malachi 4:1-3). At last, there will be no more evil, no more evildoers and no more promotion of evil.
The world will be so different from its present corrupted state that it’s hard to envision. But it will be wonderful, filled with joy and everlasting peace. Finally, all those who sought to do God’s commandments, living in resistance to evil, will have access to the tree of life (Revelation 22:14). Evil will be no more, and God will look over His liberated and renewed creation and see that it is good!