I've always been intriqued by the battle between good and evil. When I was younger, the utilitarianism of collectivism appealed to me. Yet I instinctively knew that Communism had much evil in it, and I wanted to know what made Communism tick. It seemed so seductive for so many brilliant men and women, such as Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. Surely, as brilliant as they were, they should have seen through the evils in the Communist system- such as denial of personal freedoms, particularly religious freedom and freedom of expression.
I'm still curious about the great war between the forces of good and evil. and I'd like to put forth some ideas here for discussion. If anyone would like to comment or discuss, feel free to bring up your questions.
Why is there evil in the world, and why do bad things happen to supposedly good people?
In Peter Kreeft's book, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, he covers these points in a very credible way, IMO.The following points are taken from this book.
First, evil is not a being, thing, or entity. Things are not evil in themselves. For instance, a sword is not evil. Even the stroke of a sword that chops off your head is not evil in itself- in fact, unless it's a "good stroke" it will not chop your head off.
Where is the evil? It is in the will, the choice, the intent, the movement of the soul, which puts a wrong order into the physical world of things and acts: the order between the sword and an innocent's neck rather than a murderer's neck or an innocent's bonds.
Even the devil was good in his being. He is a good thing gone bad- in fact, a good thing gone very bad. If he had not had the greatest ontological goodness (goodness in his being) of a powerful mind and will, he could never have become as morally corrupt as he is. "Lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds." To be morally bad you must first be ontologically good.
St. Augustine defines evil as disordered love, disordered will. It is a wrong relationship, a noncomformity between our will and God's will. God did not make evil, we did. That is the obvious point of Genesis 1 and 3, the stories of God's good creation and humanity's evil fall.
The origin of sin is human free will. Because of the sin of Adam and Eve, our souls were alienated from God, and thus our bodies as well. Because of the original sin, spiritual death (sin) and physical death and suffering go together because our souls and bodies go together.
To the question of why bad things happen to good people, Socrates replies that they never do! Christianity disagrees. Its answer is that there are among us no "good people," that is, innocent people. We are involved in a physical world with our evil, which is like a stone tossed into the pond. The two great mysteries of solidarity, orginal sin (solidarity in sin) and vicarious atonement, (solidarity in salvation) mean that even the "innocents" among us, our small children, are involved in this double drama. (Kreeft, pp. 122-136)
If God is all-loving and all-powerful, then it would be a contradiction to say that God created evil. I think Kreeft's explanation of evil in the world answers many questions that we can have answered this side of eternity. Certainly, God allows evil, but that is far different from creating it.
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