Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Did God create evil?

In the Bible, it says that God created everything and that everything he created was good. So what about evil? Did God create evil? We would say that anyone who creates evil is a sinner, so has God sinned?

A simple syllogism is presented:

1) God created all things
2) Evil is a real thing
3) God created evil.

It seems inescapable. So we are faced with a dilemma. Fortunately, there is a solution.

St. Augustine, one of the most important Christian figures, wrestled with this idea for a long time. He once belonged to the Manicheans who believed there were two Gods or two forces, one Good God of the New Testament and one Bad God of the Old Testament. But orthodox Christians affirmed that God is one and there is but one God. So more thought was necessary.

The solution to the question is that Evil is not a thing. It is a privation of good. Is it possible to take a number of things which are all good and by using them against God's will, we deprive them of their good.

A good analogy I read tonight is that evil is like blindness. Blindness is not a thing, sight is. Blindness is the absence of sight, but that does not make it any less real. It is the absence of something good. Another example is light. The absence of light is darkness, so in that sense darkness is not a thing, but an absence of something. If you could remove dark, there would simply be more dark.

Another interesting point is that it's the misuse of something good that renders it evil. A knife is good, a hand is good, people are good, even movement including thrusts are good, but if a man thrusts a knife into another man, the action is evil. As we can see, there is no thing in this scene that is evil. Only the choice is evil.

We have free will. Otherwise, we would be automatons. Some believe that God has absolute control over our every action. If that were the case, how could we justify the existence of hell? Without free will, what choice did they have? I believe this hypothesis is absurd.

God is good and from him only good comes. I heard a story about a nun who said when she took her final vows, she was marrying Jesus. She said it wasn't like a normal marriage because she always knew that if something was wrong, it was her fault.

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