Finally a group of psychiatrists have developed an index of evil that judges will be able to use in determining the seriousness of crimes and appropriate penalties.

After reviewing the biographies of 500+ killers, psychiatrists have produced 22 levels of evil. Here is a sampling from 1 to 22:

1) Those who have killed in self defense and who do not show psychopathic tendencies.

5) Traumatized, desperate persons who have killed abusing relatives and others  (for example to support a drug habit) but who lack significant psychopathic traits and are genuinely remorseful.

11) Psychopathic killers of people who are in the way.

18) Torture-murderers with murder the primary motive.

22) Psychopathic torture murderers with torture their primary motive.

One of the researchers, Dr. Michael Welner (forensic psychiatrist and professor at New York University) also collected on a website,  the views of thousands of ordinary people who shared their understanding of evil.  (1)

There is no doubt that Dr. Welner’s “scale of depravity” and other such indices will be useful to the system of law here on earth. But there is another legal system transcending earth’s courts of law. It is called: God’s Court. Offences that injure fellow human are rated ‘serious’ by humans; but what about offences not against humans but against God?  Who worries about these crimes?  We wrongly dismiss such offences from our mind and even our conscience, but God does not dismiss them.

First, let’s be clear on this – all sin is against God.  But some things we jokingly dismiss as annoyances,  God considers a grave offence.  For example, human pride is a grave offense against God. Repeatedly throughout the Bible, God warns of the seriousness of the crime of pride.

Maybe you think God’s scale is extreme. Is it a matter of perspective? Every criminal can think of criminals worse than themselves. Every sinner can think of a sinner worse than themselves. But the Bible cuts out all the props from under our feet when it says categorically that the human heart is deceitful above everything else and desperately wicked. (Jeremiah 17:9)

We do the things we do because of who we are. Apple trees produce apples for one reason – they’re apple trees! Sinners produce sin because we are sinners. That’s all we are capable of producing.  The Bible is the great leveler. If we think we are a notch above other sinners or a bit more worthy of God’s favor – then we are wrong.

Romans 3:23: “For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Whether you are at a #1 or a #22 on a scale,  we all have one thing in common: not one of us meets God’s requirements. That is why Christ died for all. We all need to be saved.

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly.”   Romans 5:6

(1)  National Post, Feb.21, 2005, A3, 22 Levels of Evil, by Charles Laurence.

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