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  #1  
Old Nov 17, '08, 9:08 am
Starwynd Starwynd is offline
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Default There Is No Such Thing As Evil

So one of the things I was taught growing up is that Satan cannot act without God's permission. This comes from the story of Job. So, I got to thinking about it and if Satan cannot act without God's permission, then that means that God is responsible for all evil.

Now, I'm also told that nothing God does is bad or evil and is always righteous, no matter what he does.

So logically, if nothing God does is evil, and Satan cannot act without God's permission, then that means that nothing is evil, even though technically the actions are done by Satan and his minions but of course it is impossible for him to do anything without God's permission.
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  #2  
Old Nov 17, '08, 9:57 am
Jefe_Wyatt Jefe_Wyatt is offline
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Default Re: There Is No Such Thing As Evil

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwynd View Post
So one of the things I was taught growing up is that Satan cannot act without God's permission. This comes from the story of Job. So, I got to thinking about it and if Satan cannot act without God's permission, then that means that God is responsible for all evil.

Now, I'm also told that nothing God does is bad or evil and is always righteous, no matter what he does.

So logically, if nothing God does is evil, and Satan cannot act without God's permission, then that means that nothing is evil, even though technically the actions are done by Satan and his minions but of course it is impossible for him to do anything without God's permission.
I agree with this very much. Logically you have to conclude one of two things: either that Satan can act without God's permission, meaning God is not omnipotent, or that God is not ultimately benevolent.

Actually, more options are available, here's one that most believers present: that the evil in the world is not truly evil, but part of a greater good. This greater good cannot be defined, and it is usually said that it is impossible for us to understand.

Another is that evil is not the result of God or Satan, it is a result of our own free will. God tries to lead us away from sin and Satan tries to lead us toward it, and it is our own decision that creates this evil. But the usual response to this argument is what about things such as disease, famine, and other natural disasters?
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  #3  
Old Nov 17, '08, 10:03 am
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Eucharisted Eucharisted is offline
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Default Re: There Is No Such Thing As Evil

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwynd View Post
So one of the things I was taught growing up is that Satan cannot act without God's permission. This comes from the story of Job. So, I got to thinking about it and if Satan cannot act without God's permission, then that means that God is responsible for all evil.

Now, I'm also told that nothing God does is bad or evil and is always righteous, no matter what he does.

So logically, if nothing God does is evil, and Satan cannot act without God's permission, then that means that nothing is evil, even though technically the actions are done by Satan and his minions but of course it is impossible for him to do anything without God's permission.
Satan cannot act without God's permission in that he cannot harm man without God's permission (possession, obsession, visions, etc.) God permits the devil to do these things in order to draw good out of them. Satan can certainly tempt man, since he has freedom of the will just like any other rational creature, but he cannot harm man without permission. Furthermore, his power is not unlimited; he is, after all, a creature. If it was otherwise, if Satan could whatever he liked, than God would not be omnipotent.

God is omniscient, so He has known since eternity everything that will happen; hence, he knows how and what Satan will do, and He permits it to draw forth a greater good. We human beings are not omniscient, so we can't know what will happen or why something happens, nor whether or not something should have been different (as we can't know what the fruit of any event will be). Therefore we must trust in God.

Satan hates God's goodness and tries to influence people to believe God is not good. Don't let doubts about God's goodness disturb you; they are from the devil and he is not to be trusted at all, being the father of all liars.
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  #4  
Old Nov 17, '08, 10:49 am
crowonsnow crowonsnow is offline
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Default Re: There Is No Such Thing As Evil

Good and evil are only philosophical labels. Perhaps someone who believes in good and evil can define the terms.for purposes of discussion, and also give examples.

Those who think gods are real pretty much define anything those gods do as “good,” unless one of those gods are “evil” by definition, like devils for example. So then what devils do is “evil.”

So in the end it’s just a big circle of question-begging.
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  #5  
Old Nov 17, '08, 10:50 am
wcknight wcknight is offline
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Default Re: There Is No Such Thing As Evil

All such arguments try to excuse folks from being responsible for their own behavior. We have free will to chose good or evil. It's not God's responsibility when we choose poorly.

Evil things may occur as a result of our free will but it is not God's choice for us to do evil. You can't blame God for giving us free will, he did not make robots. God allows Satan to tempt us because we have to choose good freely. Life is a test. We have a free choice to accept God and goodness, or reject God and commit evil.

The mere fact that we are free to choose does not make God responsible for our misdeeds. He knows we have human weaknesses and are prone to sin, so He sent us a means to compensate for our errors. Fortunately for all of us, Jesus came to make up for our mistakes. All we have to do is acknowledge our errors and try to do better. What a sweet deal !!
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  #6  
Old Nov 17, '08, 11:11 am
Tantum ergo Tantum ergo is offline
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Default Re: There Is No Such Thing As Evil

Starwynd, hon, you start out with incomplete premises and use them to make a false conclusion. Remember, Job is one book in the Bible--you havet to read it in context. You have to remember that while it is quite possibly absolutely 'literal' it is also in addition more than literal; this question, this scenario is not something which happens to Job alone, nor are the various evils limited only to loss of propery/children/health, etc. etc.

There is such a thing as evil but evil is not something which is independent.

Evil is basically 'spoiled good'. Every single evil action is based on taking something which is itself good and either misusing that good in an improper way, or suborning that good by 'stopping' it in an improper way.

Sex between husband and wife is good. . .but taking sex and using it between unmarried people, or in adultery, is evil. But the action of sex itself was created 'good'. . .it is the misuse of sex which makes it evil for those who use it for evil.

Life is good. For a person to choose to cut short someone's life (theirs or another's) improperly is evil . . .but the 'cutting short' could not exist unless the life (which is good) had been there in the first place.

So you see, God is responsible for the good. WE are responsible for taking something good and either twisting it to evil or stopping it to create evil. . .but that evil is only based on attempting to manipulate something GOOD to begin with. Evil never exists 'alone'. There is no action which is evil which is not a spoiling, cessation, or manipulation of something which is GOOD to begin with.
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  #7  
Old Nov 17, '08, 11:18 am
Jefe_Wyatt Jefe_Wyatt is offline
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Default Re: There Is No Such Thing As Evil

Quote:
Originally Posted by crowonsnow View Post
Good and evil are only philosophical labels. Perhaps someone who believes in good and evil can define the terms.for purposes of discussion, and also give examples.

Those who think gods are real pretty much define anything those gods do as “good,” unless one of those gods are “evil” by definition, like devils for example. So then what devils do is “evil.”

So in the end it’s just a big circle of question-begging.
Great point.

This is definitely true, and the task of defining them is terribly difficult.

My personal view is that suffering constitutes evil, but another may believe that suffering is a part of life and is not intrinsically evil. It is extremely hard for either of us to prove the other wrong, if not impossible. Evil isn't some big thing hanging out there that we can go to and consult and say "Hmmm, yes it appears you were correct."

And a further problem results if we cannot agree on the definitions. If you think that everything God does is good, and that is the accepted definition, my argument becomes absolutely and undeniably false.
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  #8  
Old Nov 17, '08, 11:20 am
Jefe_Wyatt Jefe_Wyatt is offline
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Default Re: There Is No Such Thing As Evil

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tantum ergo View Post
Evil is basically 'spoiled good'. Every single evil action is based on taking something which is itself good and either misusing that good in an improper way, or suborning that good by 'stopping' it in an improper way.
So would you define a natural disaster as not evil? Is it good? If neither, what is it then? A shade of grey? Why does it exist?
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  #9  
Old Nov 17, '08, 11:35 am
Tantum ergo Tantum ergo is offline
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Default Re: There Is No Such Thing As Evil

A natural disaster? Come on now. An avalanche occurring in an unpopulated area isn't 'evil'. . .it's the result of natural forces. An avalanche occurring in a populated area, in which some people die. . .is from the same cause of natural forces, but is perceived as evil because people die.

The world was created good but because humanity fell, the world became subject to that decay itself. But again. . .all the things and forces of the earth are for good. Floods come from rivers that normally supply food through fish and irrigation of crops. Tornadoes come from winds that develop shears and rotation. All of these things are naturally good but because they potentially can have a negative impact on people or property are looked on as evil.
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  #10  
Old Nov 17, '08, 12:16 pm
warpspeedpetey warpspeedpetey is offline
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Default Re: There Is No Such Thing As Evil

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwynd View Post
So one of the things I was taught growing up is that Satan cannot act without God's permission. This comes from the story of Job. So, I got to thinking about it and if Satan cannot act without God's permission, then that means that God is responsible for all evil.

Now, I'm also told that nothing God does is bad or evil and is always righteous, no matter what he does.

So logically, if nothing God does is evil, and Satan cannot act without God's permission, then that means that nothing is evil, even though technically the actions are done by Satan and his minions but of course it is impossible for him to do anything without God's permission.
lucifer like all the angels had free will, in fact he used his to rebel against G-d, obviously satan can act apart from G-d.

that was over quick
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  #11  
Old Nov 17, '08, 12:24 pm
mlchance mlchance is offline
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Default Re: There Is No Such Thing As Evil

There's no such thing as evil? Albert Fish's victims would beg to differ...if they could.

-- Mark L. Chance.
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  #12  
Old Nov 17, '08, 12:44 pm
warpspeedpetey warpspeedpetey is offline
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Default Re: There Is No Such Thing As Evil

[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jefe_Wyatt View Post
I agree with this very much. Logically you have to conclude one of two things: either that Satan can act without God's permission, meaning God is not omnipotent, or that God is not ultimately benevolent.
1. lucifer acted of his own free will in the heavenly rebellion, the temptation of Christ etc. that part is refuted


Quote:
Actually, more options are available, here's one that most believers present: that the evil in the world is not truly evil, but part of a greater good. This greater good cannot be defined, and it is usually said that it is impossible for us to understand.

we say that because that is a decent synopsis of our claims for 2 millennium.

and as i understand it we define the greater good as the Glory of G-d, thats not hard to understand

Quote:
Another is that evil is not the result of God or Satan, it is a result of our own free will. God tries to lead us away from sin and Satan tries to lead us toward it, and it is our own decision that creates this evil. But the usual response to this argument is what about things such as disease, famine, and other natural disasters?
natural disasters are no different, they too are for the greater Glory of God. some are because of free will, some are not.

in fact he drowned almost all of humanity in the great flood. they practiced free will until it killed them.

what better way for the Gory of G-d to be manifest?

you may not like these answers, but that is most
likely due to an improper understanding of Suffering

most people take suffering as something evil, or bad because it is uncomfortable, or causes distress.

but really, i cannot point out a time when i truly suffered in my life. every moment of it really led me closer to G-d, it let me see how weak i was, how much i needed Him, suffering drew the lines in the sand between me and G-d, it let me know where i really stood with him, it let me know what the proper relationship with him is, if you really want to know why these things happen i encourage you to read the last few chapters of Job, most people think we have some relationship with G-d to benefit themselves, no your relationship with G-d is to benefit Him. they get it backwards. they assume total love and sacrifice with a lack of pain and suffering, indeed suffering is the tool by which you can become useful to G-d

the real suffering is when you throw that away, when you pity yourself, when you fail to see G-ds hand pushing you to your destination. that is when you really suffer
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  #13  
Old Nov 17, '08, 1:26 pm
Jefe_Wyatt Jefe_Wyatt is offline
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Default Re: There Is No Such Thing As Evil

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tantum ergo View Post
A natural disaster? Come on now. An avalanche occurring in an unpopulated area isn't 'evil'. . .it's the result of natural forces. An avalanche occurring in a populated area, in which some people die. . .is from the same cause of natural forces, but is perceived as evil because people die.

The world was created good but because humanity fell, the world became subject to that decay itself. But again. . .all the things and forces of the earth are for good. Floods come from rivers that normally supply food through fish and irrigation of crops. Tornadoes come from winds that develop shears and rotation. All of these things are naturally good but because they potentially can have a negative impact on people or property are looked on as evil.
This goes back to crowonsnow's previous point. I only wished to clarify your beliefs. I believe that the death and suffering caused by a natural disaster is inherently evil, so that is my problem with your argument.

Quote:
Originally Posted by warpspeedpetey View Post
1. lucifer acted of his own free will in the heavenly rebellion, the temptation of Christ etc. that part is refuted
Please forgive and correct me if I am wrong, but I think you're saying saying that God is still omnipotent -- that is he had the power to prevent Lucifer's defection but did not out of concern for Lucifer's free will. This is a valid point, and I concede it. But suffering and evil still exist that are not a part of free will, such as disease.

Quote:
and as i understand it we define the greater good as the Glory of G-d, thats not hard to understand
But what is the Glory of God, and how does suffering fit into it? that is what I don't understand.

Quote:
in fact he drowned almost all of humanity in the great flood. they practiced free will until it killed them.
If I take your first statement as true, then their free will didn't kill them, God killed them. You just said so yourself -- God drowned them.

Quote:
most people take suffering as something evil, or bad because it is uncomfortable, or causes distress.
Again, as crowonsnow said, this is a point of definition where we differ which makes it hard for us to find a common ground.
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  #14  
Old Nov 17, '08, 1:53 pm
wcknight wcknight is offline
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Default Re: There Is No Such Thing As Evil

I think you are missing the whole point of the flood story. It was man's disobedience that killed them. They had become evil and their evil bought disaster upon themselves. Noah warned them about God's impending judgement but they would not listen.

Natural disasters are neither good nor evil. they happen. If anything they give folks the opportunity for other folks to perform great acts of mercy. Of course they are tragic when folks suffer or die, but natural disasters are neither good nor evil.

IF you choose to live in a high flood area or under a huge snow drift, whose fault is that ?? Do you really expect God to hold back the laws of nature indefinitely until you decide to move to a safer area ?

This is earth, NOT Heaven, bad things happen and seemingly at random. I think, God sets in motion a bunch of natural laws to control the planet. Some may think that God controls every little aspect of life on earth, maybe He does. Or maybe He just puts in place natural laws that create weather or various conditions that make life possible. Or maybe somewhere in between controlling everything or just controlling things once in a while is the way things work.

Sometimes, I think God just wants us to take notice once in while that we need Him or simply that He is there. I bet there there are a whole lot more folks praying to Him when there is a natural disaster coming, than when there is a clear sunny day.
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  #15  
Old Nov 17, '08, 1:57 pm
Jefe_Wyatt Jefe_Wyatt is offline
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Default Re: There Is No Such Thing As Evil

Quote:
Originally Posted by wcknight View Post
I think you are missing the whole point of the flood story. It was man's disobedience that killed them. They had become evil and their evil bought disaster upon themselves. Noah warned them about God's impending judgement but they would not listen.
But God did eventually bring the flood waters that killed them, did he not? Man disobeyed, and would have continued on disobeying without causing their own deaths without the flood. So it was not disobedience that killed man, but the act of God.

Quote:
Natural disasters are neither good nor evil. they happen. If anything they give folks the opportunity for other folks to perform great acts of mercy. Of course they are tragic when folks suffer or die, but natural disasters are neither good nor evil.
We'll have to agree to disagree on that.
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