Is God BOTH Good and Evil?


#1

When something wonderful happens, a Christian might well be inclined to say “Praise the Lord” … “God is Good”. We attribute the quality “good” to God from whom all good things come.

OK.

But what if everything in one’s life has not been good? What if there’s been chronic un/under-employment? Or what if someone is in one’s family is blinded? Or a beloved pet is taken away?

Do we say “Praise the Lord” for the evil? Why do we attribute the bad things to Satan? Or blame ourselves? It’s as if God is psychotic and won’t accept repsonsiblity for the evil. Why can’t we attribute the bad that happens to God too. He, like a movie star or politician, is perfectly willing to accept credit for the good … why not the evil too?

So, if one thinks about it, should we say that God both good and evil?


#2

Without God there would be no evil.

Ecclesiasticus 11:14 Good things and evil, life and death, poverty and riches, are from God.

Jeremias 32:42 For thus saith the Lord: As I have brought upon this people all this great evil: so will I bring upon them all the good that I now speak to them.

But we must distinguish between the evil of penalty (from God) and the evil of fault (from corrupted nature).

The evil of fault is caused by natures that are good in themselves. An angel has a good nature, but some sinned and now only will to do evil. It did good in that it chose something it considered good, but the fault is that it chose to replace the highest good of God with some lesser good of creation.

Yet God turns all evil to good, so we can still praise Him in the midst of evil for what we anticipate He will bring out of it to His glory!

Do we not also take junk and make good use out of it at times?

hurst


#3

God cannot be both Good and evil because one exists only in the absense of the other. Evil is defined by contrasting it to Good. Evil is only the absense of Good.

Furthermore, the free will with which we have been created necessarily means evil has to have the potential to exist.

Could God have created a world in which no evil occurred…thereby escaping criticism for having allowed evil to occur? Well, I suppose He could, but not while allowing for Love to exist. Love necessarily requires free will.

Okay, so working backwards then, God is Love, so it would have been contrary to His nature to have created a world in which Love couldn’t exist…and love requires free will, which in turn necessarily requires the potential for evil.


#4

It is interesting you say “God is Love” as your starting point not “God is good”.

They are not the same, eh?

But I want to ask about the idea that God cannot be both. Consider the passage in scripture where it says you who are so evil do good to your children:

"Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10. "Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11. “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

There we have enities who are evil but do good i.e. good from evil ?? So it would seem that an entity, perhaps God too, can be both good and evil ??


#5

[quote=msgstephen] It is interesting you say “God is Love” as your starting point not “God is good”.
[/quote]

I’m confused why you would make the distinction? God is Love. God is Good. God is Truth. God is Perfect.

[quote=msgstephen] They are not the same, eh?
[/quote]

Huh? They are both of God, and both Good. Of course there is a distinction between defninition of Goodness and Love, otherwise we wouldn’t have two different words. I don’t understand what you are asking.

[quote=msgstephen] But I want to ask about the idea that God cannot be both. Consider the passage in scripture where it says you who are so evil do good to your children:

"Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10. "Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11. “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

There we have enities who are evil but do good i.e. good from evil ?? So it would seem that an entity, perhaps God too, can be both good and evil ??
[/quote]

No God can do no evil for, it would require Him to be void of Himself.

Can some other entity be evil and do good, or be good and do evil? Of course. It happens all the time. Other beings are not perfection. Some even do good with an evil intent.


#6

God is All Good, and as pointed out earlier, Evil is the absence of Good, and therefore God, being the very essence of ‘Good’ cannot be evil

ST. I.6.3

And to put it bluntly, there is Evil in the world because God allows it, not wishes it.

God allows His creatures to have Free Will, the ability to come to Him out of a true desire to be with Him.

In order for that choice to be real, we must be able to choose the opposite, to do or cause Evil.


#7

It is an interesting reply. But let’s say someone went blind.

A member of my family went blind when she was seven. Now one sits and ponders this. How can God be all good when He inflicts an unremovable unrelenting evil upon a little girl and denies her the flowers of the field, the smiles of her friends, the sight of a happy puppy ??

And while He might have taken her, instead she lives out a life, day after day blind month after month year after year in grinding blindness and feeling her way around and seeing nothing nothin nothing.

And you say God doesn’t include an evil aspect in His nature ??

I bet the best you can say is that “We can’t account for it”. But if you were honest, wouldn’t you say that God has a dark side? Or at least consider that that may be the case?? And if so, what then??

OK.

Let me ask a scripture question … does the Bible say anywhere that God is ONLY good ? That He can’t also have an evil nature ?


#8

Have you ever heard of a theodicy? A vindication of the justice of God in establishing a world in which suffering exists.

One of these is that suffering does not really exist, an idea formed by St. Augustine. He said that Suffering is the lack of goodness, Poverty the lack of wealth, and blindness the lack of sight.

Another theodicy is that suffering is our own fault - humans are responsible for their sufferings; as God gave us free will sometimes we make wrong choices which can cause suffering.

In addition to these two, there is the argument that suffering is ultimately good for you. It can make you learn for your mistakes, and can make you stronger, wiser, more optimistic, and more appreciative.

And of course there is the devil - a big cause of evil and suffering.


#9

God is not evil. In fact God can not possibly be evil. God is all-good…infinitly benevolent. the source of everything that is good and perfect. It is important to note that evil was our idea not His. God abhors evil, it is in contrast to His very nature. However, God permits evil for several reasons.

We were created to know God and His infinite goodness and love, and to love him in response. Thsi is our purpose, what we were designed for. However, in order to love God it is necesary to have free will. Our love has to flow from the desire of our hearts, it can not be forced from us or it would not be love. And as we know, it is not enough to just say we love God. For how much could we possibly love someone if we freely and deliberatly choose to do things that we know the person detests? So it is clear that our love has to manifest itself not only by our disposition but also by our deeds. Well this is the choice we have had since the beginning. To choose God and His ways, or choose things inferior to Him and the consequences that are inextricably connected. It is important to note at this point that God loves us so much, and wants what is very best for us, namley Him. When God commands us not to steal, or lie, or be lustful, etc. He is not telling us these things because He is a control freak, but rather because He wants what is best for us. In fact He is so much in control that He lets us do whatever we want knowing He is in control. The evil in the world in not natural. It is not the way God intended it. However, God being omnipotent and so wise saw fit for evil tor eign on the earth for a time. Why would God do this? Because God works all things for good!
Now this takes into account sin, and the natural and supernatural consequenses that are inextricably connected to it. However, there are constantly things happening in this world, as you mentioned like that girl who lost her sight, that seem unjust and evil. With the incarnation, life, suffering, and crucifixion of Christ, the God-man, creation was revolutionized. Just as Christ suffered, so must we too suffer. And in different ways. The truth is we all have our crosses to carry. This is inevitable in this world. We are urged to unite our sufferings with Christ for our salvation, and the salvation of the world. In 2 Corinthians 1 we are told that the more we suffer, the more we recieve God’s comfort. Suffering is like a fire that purfies us. It purifies us, and strengthens us.

If this world were all there were, then I can see how you could cry out injustice! However, as Saint Paul the Apostle states in Romans 8:17(NLT)

“Since we are God’s children, we will share His treasures-for everything God gives to His Son, Christ is ours too. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering.
What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who His children really are. Against it’s will, everything on earth was subjected to God;s curse. All creation anticipates the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as int he pains of childbirth right up too the present time.”

I like how Saint Paul uses the analogy of childbirth. It is clear that something has gone terribly wrong. And now for the present time creation is suffering, humans included. However, as a woman must suffer through the labor pains and delivery, so we too, united with Christ, under His yolk, must share in the pains, the injustices and so on of this world, but at the end of time, through Christ God will bring forth a New Creation, death and evil will be destroyed forever and ever. Christ will reign as King of Kings, and His perfect Kingdom, free of every evil, will stand for eternity.

Anyhoo, thats part of my speil. I am by no means any kind of authority. Just a fellow Brother in the Lord. I hope and pray that these words may help you to udnerstand God’s goodness and His great love for us, that they might strengthen you on your faith journey. I hope, nor do i think anything I have said in theologically unsound or in discord with what the Church teaches, however if it does, please correct me.

Peace ya’ll


#10

[quote=msgstephen] A member of my family went blind when she was seven…And while He might have taken her, instead she lives out a life, day after day blind month after month year after year in grinding blindness and feeling her way around and seeing nothing nothin nothing.

And you say God doesn’t include an evil aspect in His nature ???
[/quote]

That is exactly what I say. We need to realize that we a human, not divine. We do not have the same Wisdom as God (at least not to the extent God does). Therefore, we need to be careful not to judge God by our mere human reasoning.

When my first child died 40 minutes after being born, my wife and I cried to God “Why?”. It seemed a terrible suffering and hard to understand why God would allow such a thing. I still cannot answer for certain why God allows such things but I can speculate based on what I do know: I do know I had prayed often for the conversion of my wife. And I do know that this loss brought her to God, through anger, then depression, then a realization of dependency, and now a deeper love. I also know that I needed to learn to base my sense of peace on God, over family and friends and any other things of this world that pass away.

I would also say that the member of your family who is blind has the potential for a beautiful and rewarding life. Who knows what she will accomplish in her life? Who knows the good she will contribute, the lives she will affect, the love she may return to God who gave her life? We should not pretend to have more foresight than God.

I also recommend you avoid such phrases as “I bet the best you can do is…” for the sake of civility herein.

[quote=msgstephen] Let me ask a scripture question … does the Bible say anywhere that God is ONLY good ? That He can’t also have an evil nature ?
[/quote]

For that possibility to be true you need to be able to explain a definition of evil that does not depend on a comparison to Goodness. One is a lack of the other. God cannot be lacking in His own existence.


#11

[quote=msgstephen]… How can God be all good when He inflicts an unremovable unrelenting evil upon a little girl and denies her the flowers of the field, the smiles of her friends, the sight of a happy puppy ??

I bet the best you can say is that “We can’t account for it”.

[/quote]

This reminds me of the following passage:

John 9:1 And Jesus passing by, saw a man, who was blind from his birth: 2 And his disciples asked him: Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind? 3 Jesus answered: Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

For one thing, we do not have the right to exist. We exist because it pleases God to create us. We do not have the right to have sight, or limb, or a nice appearance. Have you ever complained that you weren’t an angel? Or a bird? We didn’t make ourselves, and thus it is not up to us to complain about how we are. But we witness to the power of God Who made us.

Here is another example:

Tobias 2:11 And as he was sleeping, hot dung out of a swallow’s nest fell upon his eyes, and he was made blind. 12 Now this trial the Lord therefore permitted to happen to him, that an example might be given to posterity of his patience, as also of holy Job. 13 For whereas he had always feared God from his infancy, and kept his commandments, he repined not against God because the evil of blindness had befallen him, 14 But continued immoveable in the fear of God, giving thanks to God all the days of his life. 15 For as the kings insulted over holy Job: so his relations and kinsmen mocked at his life, saying: 16 Where is thy hope, for which thou gavest alms, and buriedst the dead? 17 But Tobias rebuked them, saying: Speak not so: 18 For we are the children of the saints, and look for that life which God will give to those that never change their faith from him.

hurst


#12

[quote=msgstephen]A member of my family went blind when she was seven. Now one sits and ponders this. How can God be all good when He inflicts an unremovable unrelenting evil upon a little girl and denies her the flowers of the field, the smiles of her friends, the sight of a happy puppy ??
[/quote]

I am bothered by your use of the word inflict. It is quite an assumption (and one contrary to Scripture) that God inflicts punishment on us. I direct you to 1 Cor 10:13 “No trial has come to you but what is human.” I’m not going to deny that God allowed that evil to take place, but keep in mind that God promises to provide us the strength for us to overcome our trials (stated biblically later in the same verse).


#13

Evil is that which lacks good. God being all good and the source of good cannot do something that lacks good. If God did it, no matter how evil it may seem to us, it is good because God did it. In certain passages in the OT the author expresses a concept that translators have attached the word evil too. For instance the passage often citeds that describes God as the creator of both good and evil. The concept being expressed by the author isn’t evil in the sense that God creates what lacks good, but rather God brings about disaster and calamities. Weh our human experience is good it is God’s creation we are enjoying, when our experience is unpleasant it is God’s creation as well that we are experiencing.

look at the profound evil and injustice suffered by Jesus. Yet in the measure it was evil it was turned to good and more. Because, even though the perpetrators intended evil God intended good. The cross demonstrates that God is not only not evil but when evil is intended for God, God is so absolutely good that evil turns to good


#14

Traditionally, it has been unacceptable for Christian theologians or Philosophers either to say evil is an attribute of the divine nature or essence, or that evil is a creation of God. Some religions or mystical forms of religion (such as some of the more extravagant forms of Kabbalah or Eastern Religions) seem to teach there is a flaw in the Godhead, or a catastrophe in the realm of the Absolute which caused the flawed material cosmos and its evils to come into existence. This was one of the central beliefs amoung the Gnostics, who Orthodox Church Fathers vigorously opposed.

The alternative explanation is either evil is part of the cosmic pattern or whole, or it results from the misuse of the gift of free will by God’s creatures.


#15

First we must define EVIL.

It has been said that evil is the absence of God, that’s ok, but there is more to it.

You presented the example of a blind child, in the same line of thought you could also say things like hurricanes, earthquakes, diseases and other natural disasters. Since it wasn’t something done by A HUMAN, it can’t be considered evil. Why not? Think of these 3 examples:

Is a wasp evil because it stings you?
Is a lion evil for eating a zebra… or you?
Is a freaking rock evil for making a person fall from a cliff?

No, the things of nature are not good or evil, they simply are. For the child to become blinded is not an evil or good thing in itself. Only if someone has blinded the child on purpose would be an evil act, and then it would be a human’s fault, not God’s.
So clearly you can’t blame God of such occurrences.

The root of your question was in why praise God only for the good things, well you really don’t have to :D. And for the bad ones you can’t, since He plays no part on them.

But God knows that being blind causes suffering, just as a hurricane or an earthquake… then WHY allowing something not human to have the capability to produce suffering? A bloody hurricane has no free will, WHY, why then allow it to cause suffering?
Then we need to define if suffering is equal to evil. We know is not. If my mother dies I suffer deeply, is her death evil? No, because death is not an evil by it self, in fact many people would say is actually a good thing if you are in peace with God. The evil of death only exist if (once again) human causes it, for life is only for God to take. Your suffering is caused by the departure, the separation of your loved one, not because something really evil happened. Really pious people shed tears, but confident on the temporality of the separation they take the death of love ones better than others.

Does God owns us then? Bluntly said: Yes, like it or not, He owns our sorry buts in the full extension of the meaning of the word OWN.

The real question should be: Why God created this automatic setting world for humans to live in. That question, my friend, I have no answer for. Do you? :stuck_out_tongue:


#16

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