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Good and Evil: A Rethink

June 22, 2010

Dr. Cornelis van der Waal says that “good” and “evil” are covenant terms and not primarily ethical. He writes:

“Good” and “evil” are adjectives which must be seen in a covenant context. This clearly appears from 1 Sam. 24. There David says that there is no wrong or treason in his hand (vs. 11). He has not sinned, that is to say: he has not violated the covenant. He then appeals to the LORD as Judge, to avenge him of Saul (vs. 12).

Saul, being lord, to a certain extent acknowledges his disloyalty and says: “You are more righteous than I; for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil” (vs. 17).

So “good” and “evil” here do not in general refer to something which may or may not be ethically in order, but they typify honouring or dishonouring a covenant.



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