Once again, look at Genesis 6:5 as well as Genesis 6:11-12:
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. . . . Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
Clearly this is a bleak picture—we see the greatness of man’s wickedness not just in action, but also “the intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Wickedness. Evil. This passage captures the imagination, doesn’t it? What does this look like? Yes, the earth was “filled with violence” and “corrupt.” But the violence was simply a symptom of a greater cause, being “the intentions of the thoughts of his heart” being evil.
What is the essence of evil? I believe that Jesus helps inform us of the essence of the evil found here. In Luke 17:26-27.
Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
So what are we seeing here? Is the “evil” and “wickedness” simply heinous violent acts? No, but that is ultimately the result if left unchecked. Where did it stem? “They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark.” In other words, they were continuing on as if nothing would change. They lived life, even the mundane things of life, without God in the equation. Just as 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whatever you eat, whatever you drink, whatever you do, do to the glory of God.”
Darwin fell into this mindset when he listened to his mentor, Dr. Charles Lyell, who claimed like Sagan that everything would continue on as it always had with no change and, ultimately, no judgment or accountability for what you said, did, or thought. The essence of sin is living your life without God in the equation.
Many Christians are like this, but they add God onto it. They have their preferences about how their Christian life should be, how their church should be done, and elevate their preferences up to essentials and then believe God blesses those perceived “essentials.” Many believe that if they are Christians and they have certain convictions, they should be seen as necessities for everyone else–even what they are not expressly outlined in Scripture.
We must be careful not to live as Christian atheists — having Christ in name only, but living as if He did not exist.