One of the most startling Time magazine covers was the "Evil" cover. It featured a completely black page with the words superimposed as a ghosted image: "Evil. Does it exist or do bad things just happen?"
That's a good question.
We know that evil demonstrates itself through behavior which troubles us. We tend as a society to think of evil almost as a physical entity, as we think of a knife or gun. Our western culture portrays evil as a red-skinned satanic creature with two horns holding a pitchfork and waving a spiked tail. The concept is that this character compels us to destructive behavior, though most think of this creature as a cultural myth. Is something deeper revealed by the fact that even the thought of evil deeds sends shivers down our spine? Is our response merely cultural conditioning, or evidence of an unseen spiritual dimension?
Ravi Zacharias relates the story of a conversation he had with an atheist about the question of evil. The man was convinced that evil did not exist; that it was merely a tool society had created to control our culture. He was adamant that society had no right to impose standards on anyone. Ravi countered by asking him if a person should then be free to cut a tiny child into small pieces. The man claimed that while he wouldn't like it, he could find no compelling reason to say such behavior was wrong. Then Ravi drove home the contradiction: by his own admission, this man had felt inside himself a revulsion regarding such an act. Where did this revulsion come from?
In the animal kingdom there are very few examples of inherently evil behavior. Animals exist in relative peace compared to the turbulent societies of man. They kill for food or territory or mates, but only man is really capable of truly malicious premeditated carnage. Only man is able to understand the difference between wrong and right. In every society on earth we find rules of conduct designed to ward off behavior that can destroy the culture. Many of these societies do not believe in God as Judeo-Christian cultures do. Yet each society recognizes the problem of man's evil nature.