Dear Editor:

Things start at home. My parents explained to me early that even "good"people have a SIN nature and showed me in the Bible that there is an eternal fork in the road of life dividing the heaven and hell bound. This was my introduction to evil 101. As a sinner myself in a world full of selfish short sighted people I grew up with such knowledge of consequences in the forefront of my mind. This topic concerning the depravity of man crystallized in my thinking and became the basis for my optimism and critical thinking skills

Man's sin nature manifesting in evil is a regulating part of all people and is a consistent problem for us all. Borrowing from the consistency of sin in every one's life can also be referred to as evil. This reality is a strength of an argument I am making about life in general. But we are not alone in the problems that sin causes or the responsibility we have just because we are born with this nature. God is managing the outcome. Sin's presence and real evil is here and now mixed into everything and is the basis for a reformed view of history in identifying the consistent repeating piece that humans may find predictable and therefore a basis to plan and use to interpret the future. This reformed principle seeks consistency in interpreting events and people to follow. Man dies and environments change but other realities like sin, gravity and oxygen are constant.

Huge evil was true In Bethlehem the very first Christmas with the king's soldiers killing little boys up to two years of age after Joseph escaped safely to Egypt with Jesus and Mary. Borrowing from the continuity of what all tend to acknowledge as objectively bad or good show repeated patterns in the recorded events over time and flow like water going somewhere by design. The following example illustrates God being involved with his creation in dealing with real evil and should encourage readers this holiday season to believe.

The English Philosopher Malcom Muggeridge said it well," Man's sin is the most clearly understood and the least documented." Let me be an exception to that in this essay regarding ancient Jews. The characters to follow have a common experience in that they all lost personally and achieved a great deal for others and all negotiated the sin of man in their respective cultures. By doing right they were advancing God's purposes.

This focus starts with a first century converted Jew known as NICODEMUS. The late night conversation that he had with Jesus is what makes him famous but not what makes him great as referenced in the New Testament John chapter three, KJV. He is an ancient example consistent with Judaism and of a man failing forward in purpose and effect in God's economy.

Nicodemus became great for losing an argument with his peers. He was the only person who defended Christ in any one of his six trials. He was available for his Creator to do what was right in the political order of his day. He used the intellect and will bestowed on him by his creator to speak about justice to judges. (Jesus had six trials; three religious from the Jews and three civil trials by Roman authorities.)

Nicodemus told the truth to local Jewish rulers known as the Sanhedrin. These men included a subculture of Pharisees who were lawyers of the Law of Moses. He advocated that the accused had the civil right to speak and to defend himself. After his suggestion he was immediately argued into silence by the rulers using corrupt reasoning protecting their sinful interests. Nicodemus did what was objectively good to defend the innocent by stating that the accused had a civil right based on biblical authority.

Jesus and Nicodemus lost but not in terms of influence and or legacy. Now any date or any court document in the history of the United States is referenced to a schedule based on the birth of this cornerstone figure who died a crucified man. He was charged publicly with being a king. His birth happened 2012 years ago –AD, Year of Our Lord. This is net progress for all those who believe and have salvation in being forgiven for their sins. But also good administration for those who don't submit to the terms of the gospel and who and share a calendar. "Blessed are the meek ..."

Robert Dages

Jim Thorpe