Is it logically possible?


#1

I am certain that the First Cause is not evil for nothing good would arise from evil source. If the First Cause is Evil, then everything that it makes to exist is evil.

But my question is:

Is it logically possible that the First Cause is EVIL? Are there logical impediments that prohibit the existence of an evil First Cause?


#2

Define evil.


#3

If you are certain that the first cause is not evil then why ask the question?


#4

I am asking whether it is LOGICALLY possible to have an EVIL First Cause. Are there logical impediments for an EVIL First Cause?


#5

Sorry but I still don’t get it. Why ask the question if as you say you are “certain” it is not evil.


#6

It’s certainly possible. The Cosmological Argument says nothing about the nature of the Prime Mover, only that it exists (and the original argument is far from watertight itself, but let’s not go there). Given the Problem of Evil, an evil or malevolent Prime Mover makes just as much sense, if not more, than a good and benevolent one.

The Gnostics, in fact, believed that the Creator, who they called the Demiurge, was evil. Of course, the Demiurge was not really God; it only pretended to be truly divine until the ministry of Jesus.


#7

What “Cosmological Argument” is this? One of the deeply flawed early modern or modern ones? The Thomistic argument certainly would make no sense with an evil First Cause, because evil is a privation, not a thing in itself. To say that evil has an ultimate source is to talk nonsense from a traditional Christian point of view. Evil is simply a falling short of being.

Edwin


#8

Yep. Evil, as a lack of being, is manifested as causing a lack of being in those existing things it affects. So evil wouldn’t be a First Cause of being, but a cause of being’s lack.

Mirdath and I recently talked about this regarding Satan. I’d argue that Satan, as a non-corporeal intelligence, is about as close as possible to not existing as it is possible for a being to be and still exist. Pure evil would be manifested as a pure lack of being. So Satan can’t be PURELY evil. I know this sounds heretical, but as Aquinas argued, all things that exist are at least good insofar as they possess existence, since existence itself is good. Satan at least possesses the good of existence, but nothing else. His power is deception, not any type of real active power, as God has.

Anyway, to get back to the OP, the First Cause, therefore, could not be evil.


#9

Aquinas’ fourth argument might help you in finding an answer:

The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. But “more” and “less” are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in Metaph. ii. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.

Summa


#10

I’m ignoring the Thomistic definition of Evil for the sake of simplicity. You and cpayne are quite correct that Aquinas’ concept of Evil and the Prime Mover are mutually exclusive; but although I find much to agree with on the subject of Aquinian Evil, one must keep in mind that it is not the only such concept to come down the pike. Other ideas of Evil could easily allow for a Demiurge or worse.


#11

[quote=w_stewart]Is it logically possible that the First Cause is EVIL? Are there logical impediments that prohibit the existence of an evil First Cause?
[/quote]

The question makes no sense. It’s flawed.

It presuposses we are able to define the nature of “the First Cause”, by application of our reason, given to us just to distinct good from evil:

[quote=Mirdath]The Cosmological Argument says nothing about the nature of the Prime Mover, only that it exists (and the original argument is far from watertight itself, but let’s not go there). Given the Problem of Evil, an evil or malevolent Prime Mover makes just as much sense, if not more, than a good and benevolent one.
[/quote]

which at least us, Orthodox Christians, don’t do. It would be prying into the mistery of God.

[quote=Contarini]The Thomistic argument certainly would make no sense with an evil First Cause, because evil is a privation, not a thing in itself.
[/quote]

Once the angel had fallen, and that was due to his own free will to sin, the evil did become a thing in itself.

Since the reason is gifted to us to distinct good from evil, it’s simply a tool that is useless in answering the question. So, there could be no logical answer to such an non-logical question.


#12

“Evil is not a living animated essence; it is the condition of the soul opposed to virtue, developed in the careless on account of their falling away from good.(3)
5. Do not then go beyond yourself to seek for evil, and imagine that there is an original nature of wickedness. Each of us, let us acknowledge it, is the first author of his own vice…But reason asks, was darkness created with the world? Is it older than light? Why in spite of its inferiority has it preceded it? Darkness, we reply, did not exist in essence; it is a condition produced in the air by the withdrawal of light.” St. Basil, in his Hexamiron.

St. Basil, a Doctor of the Church, made it quite simple 800 years before St. Thomas Aquinas made it difficult. Albert Einstein once quoted St Basil (unkowingly) when using pure mathematical reasoning to define Evil during a classroom discussion. Based upon this I say it is not logically possible for the “First Cause” to be evil in nature.


#13

w_stewart: I am certain that the First Cause is not evil for nothing good would arise from evil source. If the First Cause is Evil, then everything that it makes to exist is evil.

But my question is:

Is it logically possible that the First Cause is EVIL? Are there logical impediments that prohibit the existence of an evil First Cause?

The Catholic Dictionary defines Evil as: A condition resulting from some imperfection

If you mean by “Evil” that something is Bad then logically speaking; if something is “Bad”, that is a description of a good thing that is not doing what it’s supposed to do. i.e. a banana that has gone “bad” means that it is inedible, and therefore does not fulfil it’s purpose; or a young boy who is disobedient to his parents is refered to as having “bad” behaviour. An angel that was created to Worship God, but chooses not to would also be defined as “bad”. All of these examples, and any others that I can think of, presumes that all things were created good.


#14

What is a first cause? Correct me if i’m wrong, but I’ve always understood God to be an uncaused cause, and every thing else to be a caused cause.


#15

God is the beginning of everything - & not evil.

What does “First cause” mean? It sounds like a man-made term that attempts to put God in a very limited, man-made bubble…

Which isn’t logical at all.


#16

Yes; it’s “first” not in the sense of earliest in time, but in the sense of “primary” or “foundational.”


#17

Just as darkness is not a substance that creeps in the windows when you turn out the lights. Darkness is just the absence of light.

Also evil is not an entity in itself, (contrary to popular belief), but is in fact just the absence of “Good” or “Love” to a greater or lesser extent. The more an action, thought or word is devoid of “Love” the more “Evil” it becomes.


#18

What ideas of evil? And are they coherent?

Problematic as the Thomistic view is (it’s hard to discuss something like the Holocaust in Thomistic terms), I find more Manichean views far more problematic.

Edwin


#19

This is wonderful music for an Orthodox ear to hear it from a Catholic.

But:

Based upon this I say it is not logically possible for the “First Cause” to be evil in nature.

supports what I’ve already said above:

The question makes no sense. It’s flawed.

Since “the First Cause” for Christians is actually God Father, the question tries to make the opposition between the omnipotence of God and goodness of God.

It supposes we should even allow possibility of God being evil, or agree it wouldn’t be possible for Him.

The question is a trap.


#20

Do not know what “First cause” means, but if it is referring to God, then it’s not referring to evil. His CREATIONS can CHOOSE to do evil, as we’re not programmed robots, but have free will.


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