10 Biblical Examples of Evil

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Have you ever wondered about the examples of evil found within the Bible? The ancient scriptural narratives hold profound insights into humanity’s moral struggles and the concept of divine justice. From the Fall of Man to the Wickedness of Humanity Pre-Flood, these stories challenge our understanding of good and evil, inviting us to reflect on the consequences of our actions.

Join us on this enlightening journey as we explore ten compelling instances of evil and their profound implications. Discover how these narratives continue to resonate with us today and challenge our beliefs about morality and the human condition.

Delve into the depths of biblical stories and uncover the impact of these moral struggles. From the treachery of Judas Iscariot to the ruthless massacre of the innocents by Herod, each account serves as a reminder of the complex interplay between good and evil in the world.

Are you ready to confront these challenging narratives and gain a deeper understanding of humanity’s struggles with morality? Let’s embark on a thought-provoking journey through biblical history and unravel the mysteries of divine justice.

The Fall of Man (Genesis 3)

In the book of Genesis, the fall of man marks the first act of evil in the Bible. This pivotal event revolves around Adam and Eve’s disobedience towards God’s command. He placed only one restriction on them: not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. However, Eve was tempted by the cunning serpent, who persuaded her that eating from the tree would grant them wisdom akin to God’s. She succumbed to the temptation and convinced Adam to do the same.

This act of disobedience, the first sin committed by humanity, resulted in drastic consequences for the entire world. Sin entered the world, forever changing the relationship between human beings and divine authority. Through their actions, Adam and Eve introduced a state of fallenness, where human nature became inherently flawed and prone to evil tendencies. This fall from God’s grace set the stage for the moral struggles and challenges faced by humanity throughout history.

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.'” (Genesis 2:16-17)

The repercussions of Adam and Eve’s disobedience extend beyond their immediate consequences. Their act of defiance opened the floodgates for sin to enter the world, tainting the purity and innocence of creation. The fall of man highlights the enduring struggle between good and evil, illustrating the fragility of human obedience and the dire consequences of straying from God’s commands.

It’s important to recognize that the fall of man presents a cautionary tale of the dangers associated with disregarding divine authority and succumbing to temptation. As the first act of evil depicted in the Bible, it serves as a foundation for understanding the complexities of moral decision-making and the ongoing battle against sin.

The Tree of Knowledge and the Consequences

The tree of knowledge of good and evil served as a testing ground for Adam and Eve’s obedience to God’s command. Its prohibition symbolized the boundary between humans and God’s complete knowledge, emphasizing the importance of trust and submission to divine authority.

The consequences of Adam and Eve’s transgression were multifaceted. Firstly, they were expelled from the Garden of Eden, their idyllic dwelling place, and forced to face the hardships and struggles of life outside its boundaries.

Additionally, their disobedience introduced shame, guilt, and a fractured relationship with God. The harmony and closeness they once shared with their Creator were disrupted, and a veil of separation descended between humanity and divinity.

Ultimately, the fall of man laid the foundation for the redemptive plan of God, which would later be fulfilled through Jesus Christ. Through His sacrifice, humanity would have the opportunity to be reconciled with God and find redemption from the sins that entered the world through the first act of evil.

Cain Murders Abel (Genesis 4:1-16)

Driven by jealousy and anger, Cain commits the first murder by killing his brother Abel. This tragic event serves as a powerful example of the severe consequences of unchecked sin and the importance of reconciling relationships.

When Cain’s offering is not accepted by God but Abel’s is, Cain is consumed by jealousy. Instead of addressing his feelings and seeking resolution, he allows his anger to consume him. In a fit of rage, Cain kills his brother, forever staining the world with the first act of fratricide.

“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ He said, ‘I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?’ And the Lord said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.'”

The consequences of Cain’s unchecked sin are severe. God curses Cain, making him a wanderer on the earth. He will no longer be able to cultivate the land, and anyone who finds him will have the authority to kill him. Cain’s act of murder reveals the depths that sin can lead us to and emphasizes the importance of recognizing and addressing our negative emotions before allowing them to overpower us.

“And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”‘”

This story serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us of the devastating consequences that can arise when we allow jealousy and unchecked sin to take hold. It also highlights the need for reconciliation and the importance of nurturing relationships based on love and understanding.

Alt tag for the image: Cain murders Abel

Cain murders Abel

The Wickedness of Humanity Pre-Flood (Genesis 6:5-7)

In the book of Genesis, we encounter a grim depiction of the wickedness of humanity that provokes divine intervention. The narrative reveals a world tainted by corruption and evil, compelling God to take drastic measures for cleansing and renewal. The events that unfold center around Noah and his family, who are chosen to weather the impending catastrophe and bring forth a new beginning.

Genesis 6:5-7 presents a sobering account of the extent of human wickedness. “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” This staggering revelation showcases the depths to which humanity had fallen, consumed by depravity and moral decay.

Confronted with the wickedness of humanity, God reaches a decision. He resolves to cleanse the earth through a cataclysmic flood, an act of divine judgment and purging. In this act of reckoning, God orchestrates the construction of an ark, instructing Noah to gather his family and pairs of animals to be saved from the impending catastrophe.

As the floodwaters surge, Noah and his family find refuge in the ark, shielded from the devastating destruction that engulfs the wicked world. Their faithfulness and righteousness set them apart, positioning them as custodians of a purified existence, tasked with the responsibility of repopulating the earth and cultivating a renewed society.

“The wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” – Genesis 6:5

The narrative of the wickedness of humanity pre-flood serves as a cautionary tale, shedding light on the consequences of unrestrained evil and the imperative need for moral accountability. It reminds us of the fragility of our collective humanity and the profound impact our choices have on shaping the course of history.

Key Points:

  • The wickedness of humanity pre-flood was all-encompassing and deeply entrenched.
  • God’s decision to send a cleansing flood was an act of divine judgment.
  • Noah and his family were chosen to survive the flood and begin anew.
  • The narrative highlights the consequences of unrepentant evil and the significance of faithfulness and righteousness.

The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9)

Humanity’s pride leads them to build the Tower of Babel in an attempt to make a name for themselves. In response, God confuses their language and disperses them across the earth, reminding us of the consequences of arrogance and self-centeredness.

“Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves.” Genesis 11:4

This biblical account highlights the dangers of placing our own desires above divine authority. The people of Babel sought to build a tower that would elevate their status and consolidate their power, driven by their pride. However, their efforts were met with confusion as God intervened by scattering them and confusing their languages.

This divine intervention not only disrupted their plans but also initiated the dispersal of humanity across the earth. The Tower of Babel serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us of the destructive nature of pride and the consequences that follow when we prioritize our own ambitions above God’s will.

Tower of Babel
Key Lessons from the Tower of Babel
1. Pride can blind us to our own limitations and provoke divine intervention.
2. Language barriers serve as reminders of the importance of unity and understanding.
3. Arrogance and self-centeredness can lead to the downfall of complex undertakings.

Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19)

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah serves as a cautionary tale about the dire consequences of indulging in sinful behavior. These cities, known for their sexual immorality and lack of hospitality, faced divine destruction as a result of their great wickedness.

“Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven.”

The sequel follows Lot, a righteous man, who is warned by angels about the impending destruction of Sodom. Urged to flee with his family, Lot and his wife are instructed not to look back, but she disobeys and turns into a pillar of salt.

This biblical account highlights the consequences of sexual immorality and the importance of exhibiting hospitality towards others. It serves as a reminder that embracing sinful behavior can lead to divine judgment and destruction.


Sodom and Gomorrah image

Comparison of Sodom and Gomorrah

AspectSodomGomorrah
Sexual ImmoralityWidespreadWidespread
Lack of HospitalityEgregiousEgregious
Divine DestructionBy sulfur and fireBy sulfur and fire

Pharaoh’s Oppression of the Israelites (Exodus 1-14)

Pharaoh’s oppression of the Israelites in the book of Exodus is a chilling example of systemic evil and the unyielding hard-heartedness of those in positions of power. Under Pharaoh’s rule, the Israelites were subjected to harsh enslavement, forced labor, and the murder of their male infants in an attempt to suppress their growth and maintain control.

This narrative unfolds as a struggle between oppression and liberation, with Pharaoh’s oppressive regime embodying the forces of evil, while Moses, through divine intervention, serves as the instrument of deliverance for the Israelites.

“But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly.” – Exodus 1:12

The story of Pharaoh’s oppression highlights the capacity for power to corrupt and the devastating impact it can have on the lives of the marginalized. It serves as a reminder of the importance of empathy and justice in the face of systemic evil.

The Ten Plagues and Pharaoh’s Hard-Heartedness

As Moses and Aaron confront Pharaoh, demanding the release of the Israelites, a series of ten plagues is unleashed upon the land of Egypt. These plagues, often interpreted as divine retribution for Pharaoh’s refusal to free the Israelites, serve to demonstrate the consequences of his hard-heartedness.

Each plague escalates in intensity, with devastating impacts on the Egyptian people and their resources. From water turning to blood to widespread pestilence, these supernatural events not only bring suffering upon Egypt but also serve as a testimony to Pharaoh’s obstinacy and resistance to divine authority.

  • Water turns to blood
  • Frogs infest the land
  • Gnats and flies swarm
  • Livestock fall victim to disease
  • Boils afflict both humans and animals
  • Hail and fire rain down from the sky
  • Locusts devour crops
  • Darkness envelopes the land
  • The death of the firstborn
  • The parting of the Red Sea

The ten plagues serve as a catalyst for the liberation of the Israelites and a powerful demonstration of God’s sovereignty over Pharaoh and his kingdom.

Pharaoh's Oppression

Jezebel’s Idolatry and Persecution of Prophets (1 Kings 16:31; 18:4; 19:1-2)

In the annals of biblical history, Queen Jezebel stands as an iconic figure of idolatry and persecution. Through her influence, the worship of Baal permeated the land of Israel, luring many away from their devotion to God. Jezebel’s devotion to the false god led to a widespread embrace of idolatry, with the people turning their backs on the divine teachings.

This descent into idolatry had grave consequences, not only for the spiritual well-being of the nation but also for the prophets who faithfully served God. Jezebel’s intolerance towards those who spoke against Baal resulted in a wave of persecution aimed at silencing the prophetic voices. Prophets like Elijah faced the fury of the queen’s wrath, enduring hardships and threats to their lives.

“I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they seek to take my life.” – Elijah (1 Kings 19:14)

This dark chapter in Israel’s history serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us of the dangers of embracing false gods and forsaking the true path. Jezebel’s idolatry and persecution of prophets stand as a stark reminder of the destructive consequences that can arise when we turn away from God’s guidance.

As believers, we are called to remain steadfast in our faith, resisting the allure of the Jezebels of our time. Just as Elijah stood firm in the face of persecution, we too must not waver, but instead preserve our devotion to God and His teachings.

The Worship of Baal

The introduction of the worship of Baal by Queen Jezebel had a profound impact on the spiritual landscape of Israel. Baal was a Canaanite god associated with fertility and rain, often depicted as a bull. Under Jezebel’s influence, the worship of Baal became widespread, with many succumbing to the seductive rituals and practices associated with this false god.

The allure of Baal worship lay in its promises of material prosperity and abundance. The ceremonies involved rituals such as fertility rites and sacrifices, believed to ensure the fertility of the land and the multiplication of livestock. However, these practices deviated from the true worship of God, leading to a degradation of moral values and a loss of spiritual connection.

Persecution of Prophets

Jezebel’s zeal for Baal led to systematic persecution and violence against the prophets of God. She sought to eliminate any opposition to the false god’s worship, leading to the execution of many prophets who remained faithful to the teachings of the true God.

One notable example is Elijah, who challenged the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel in a dramatic confrontation. Despite his victory and the evidence of God’s power, Jezebel remained unrepentant and vowed to kill Elijah.

“Let me die, for I am no better than my fathers! But I am done with them!” – Elijah (1 Kings 19:4)

Elijah’s escape into the wilderness and subsequent encounter with God demonstrated the resilience of the prophetic spirit in the face of persecution. Jezebel’s attempts to eradicate the faith in the one true God were ultimately futile, as the faithful remnant endured and continued to proclaim God’s truth.

Jezebel’s idolatry and persecution of prophets serve as enduring lessons for us today. We must remain vigilant against the seduction of false gods and stand firm in our devotion to the teachings of the true God, even in the face of adversity.

Jezebel's Idolatry and Persecution of Prophets
CharacterActions
Queen JezebelIntroduced the worship of Baal to Israel, leading to widespread idolatry
Prophets of GodFaithfully served God and spoke out against the worship of Baal, facing persecution and threats to their lives
ElijahChallenged the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, experienced persecution from Jezebel, but remained steadfast in his faith

Judas Iscariot Betrays Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16; 27:3-5)

Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus for thirty pieces of silver is a poignant example of evil in the New Testament. This act of treachery serves as a stark reminder of the struggle between good and evil, showcasing the depths to which humanity can sink.

“What will you give me if I betray him to you?” they asked. And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.” – Matthew 26:15-16

In one of the most tragic moments in human history, Judas, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, agrees to betray him to the religious authorities for a mere thirty pieces of silver. This act of greed and betrayal ultimately leads to Jesus’ crucifixion.

The story of Judas’s betrayal provides a poignant example of the complexities of human nature and the destructive power of greed. It also highlights the challenges faced by those who strive to live a life of righteousness, as even the most devoted followers are susceptible to temptation and can succumb to the allure of personal gain.

Throughout the New Testament, the narrative of Judas’s betrayal serves as a cautionary tale, reminding readers of the importance of moral integrity and the consequences that can arise from betraying one’s principles.

Judas's betrayal

From Friend to Betrayer

Judas Iscariot’s transformation from a trusted disciple to a betrayer is a sobering reminder of the human capacity for evil. His actions also raise questions about the complexities of loyalty, trust, and the true motivations of individuals.

Lessons from Judas’s Betrayal

Judas’s betrayal of Jesus offers several lessons for reflection:

  • Material gain should never come at the expense of personal integrity and loyalty.
  • The allure of greed can blind individuals to the consequences of their actions.
  • The struggle between good and evil is ever-present and requires constant vigilance.

As we examine this tragic episode in the New Testament, we are reminded of the importance of choosing wisely, considering the impact our decisions can have on both ourselves and those around us.

Key Lessons from Judas’s BetrayalRelevance
The dangers of greed and material gainTo highlight the destructive power of selfish desires
The complexities of human nature and loyaltyTo provoke introspection on the motivations behind one’s actions
The struggle between good and evilTo emphasize the need for constant moral vigilance

Can Evil Examples from Scripture Also Convey Wisdom?

Yes, evil examples from scripture can also convey wisdom. Although scriptures often highlight positive examples of wisdom from scripture, the negative examples of wisdom from scripture also serve as important cautionary tales and provide valuable lessons about the consequences of making unwise choices.

Herod’s Massacre of the Innocents (Matthew 2:16-18)

King Herod, driven by ruthless evil and desperate to maintain his power, orders the heinous massacre of the innocents in Bethlehem. This unspeakable act of violence involves the killing of all male infants in an attempt to eliminate the perceived threat posed by the newborn Jesus.

Herod’s actions demonstrate the depths some individuals are willing to sink to maintain their control and authority. The loss of innocent lives serves as a stark reminder of the tragic consequences that can result from the unchecked pursuit of power.

This chilling event serves as a haunting example of the ruthless evil that can dwell within even the highest positions of authority. It highlights the desperate measures some individuals will resort to in their relentless quest to preserve their dominion and suppress any perceived threats to their reign.

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Allan Wilson is the creator of the Scriptural Thinking Affirmations Package. Featuring over 200 minutes of mp3 audio Bible affirmations complete with background music. The package comes with the original affirmations PDF ebook and many bonus affirmation Bible studies as well. The affirmations are designed to help you call to remembrance all of the wonderful benefits of being in Christ and the marvelous privilege of being a child of God.