May someone please help me to understand "God using evil to do good?"

Hello all. If I am not mistaken, the Catechism states that “God allows evil in the world so that he can do good” or something along those lines. It could very well be my lack of religious education, but I feel that this justifies doing evil in the name of good. I guess it could be true that good can not exist without evil. But, from meditating on some of the teachings of the Catholic Faith, I found that good can exist without evil and it is evil that can not exist without good. After all, crime only exists because there are laws to break.

Please, educate me. Does God really allow evil in this world so it can give Him and all human beings the chance to do good? If so, does this not justify doing evil in the name of good? Am I just really inept at understanding all of this? I would appreciate it if someone were to clarify this for me. I thank you all in advance.

:popcorn:

CCC

312 In time we can discover that God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil, even a moral evil, caused by his creatures: “It was not you”, said Joseph to his brothers, "who sent me here, but God. . . You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive."178 From the greatest moral evil ever committed - the rejection and murder of God’s only Son, caused by the sins of all men - God, by his grace that “abounded all the more”,179 brought the greatest of goods: the glorification of Christ and our redemption. But for all that, evil never becomes a good.

313 "We know that in everything God works for good for those who love him."180 The constant witness of the saints confirms this truth:

St. Catherine of Siena said to “those who are scandalized and rebel against what happens to them”: "Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind."181
St. Thomas More, shortly before his martyrdom, consoled his daughter: "Nothing can come but that that God wills. And I make me very sure that whatsoever that be, seem it never so bad in sight, it shall indeed be the best."182

Dame Julian of Norwich: "Here I was taught by the grace of God that I should steadfastly keep me in the faith. . . and that at the same time I should take my stand on and earnestly believe in what our Lord shewed in this time - that ‘all manner [of] thing shall be well.’"183

314 We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God “face to face”,184 will we fully know the ways by which - even through the dramas of evil and sin - God has guided his creation to that definitive sabbath rest185 for which he created heaven and earth.

Peace

He allows evil so that He alone may bring good from it. Mankind can bring only further evil from evil. That is quite a difference. Nothing justifies evil - evil cannot be justified, as it is not of or from God. God is the definition of existence. He is all good. Evil could not exist until matter was created. And, matter itself is not evil, as matter is not free. It has no power of freedom to resist the Creator. Only man does. Evil existed only after creation, when free will (first of the angels, then of man) was used improperly to depart from God and embrace what is less than God - evil. Evil is not a plus; it is not a positive - it is the lack of good.

You seem to be struggling with this justification of evil. No such thing exists. I believe that you might be looking at it backward. God is the heavenly Lifeguard. He does not ruin our swimming pleasure by limiting us. Yet, He warns us of the potential cost of our mistakes. He saves us when we make stupid mistakes. He does not cause us to swim out too far, but He allows that mistake on our part so that His saving power is made present to us. The evil of swimming beyond our capacity causes our own drowning to arrive. That is against the life that God gave us, yet He allows it. His response is to pull us from the water and bring good from evil. Your parents did exactly the same thing when you were small.

God does not desire that anything be less than all good. Yet, He understands that we mis-use the gift of free will that He gave us, and He alone is able to save us when we are lost. He insists that we possess the ultimate: freedom - but choices that are freely made have costs and consequences.

Simply put, He allows evil because He allows man free will. Man has the free will to choose to do good or choose to do evil. This has been from the time of Adam and Eve in the garden. With this being said, out of evil God can bring good results. Sometime we can see it right away, and sometimes, we may see it down the road in our lives and those of others.

Just as an example. I found my room mate and friend of 30 years dead because of drugs. This got me to thinking that I wanted always remain in a state of grace. As a result, I continue to go to Mass each day and become involved with the Church more. I can’t help but think about the fact that when she arose on that Friday morning, she did not realize that would be her last day on earth. As a result of this evil of addition and the fact she did not want to do otherwise, it brings be closer to Jesus. Out of evil came good. Just some thoughts.

I don’t know if I can answer that question, but here are a few paragraphs of the Catechism:
312 In time we can discover that God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil, even a moral evil, caused by his creatures: “It was not you,” said Joseph to his brothers, “who sent me here, but God… You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive.” From the greatest moral evil ever committed—the rejection and murder of God’s only Son, caused by the sins of all men—God, by his grace that “abounded all the more,” brought the greatest of goods: the glorification of Christ and our redemption. But for all that, evil never becomes a good.

314 We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God “face to face,” will we fully know the ways by which—even through the dramas of evil and sin—God has guided his creation to that definitive sabbath rest for which he created heaven and earth.

1789 Some rules apply in every case:

  • One may never do evil so that good may result from it;

  • the Golden Rule: "Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them."56

  • charity always proceeds by way of respect for one’s neighbor and his conscience: "Thus sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience . . . you sin against Christ."57 Therefore "it is right not to . . . do anything that makes your brother stumble

CCC

Providence and the scandal of evil.

309 If God the Father almighty, the Creator of the ordered and good world, cares for all his creatures, why does evil exist? To this question, as pressing as it is unavoidable and as painful as it is mysterious, no quick answer will suffice. Only Christian faith as a whole constitutes the answer to this question: the goodness of creation, the drama of sin and the patient love of God who comes to meet man by his covenants, the redemptive Incarnation of his Son, his gift of the Spirit, his gathering of the Church, the power of the sacraments and his call to a blessed life to which free creatures are invited to consent in advance, but from which, by a terrible mystery, they can also turn away in advance. There is not a single aspect of the Christian message that is not in part an answer to the question of evil.

310 But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create something better.174 But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world “in a state of journeying” towards its ultimate perfection. In God’s plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.175

Peace

I cannot quote the Catechism but I will point out a flaw in your logic.
God “allows” evil. This does not justify our “doing” evil - even in the name of some good.
To allow something is a passive term…“doing” something is quite active and there is a considerable difference.

I guess it could be true that good can not exist without evil.

There are those who say this, but I cannot fathom that it is true. In fact I would propose that - if there is truth in the concept - it is the opposite…Evil can only exist because of the presence of good. Evil cannot exist on it’s own for evil is the essence of disorder and destruction. If there is no good (no creativity order and love) then there is nothing for evil to disorder or destroy.
I suppose it’s going to depend some on how one wishes to define these things.

But, from meditating on some of the teachings of the Catholic Faith, I found that good can exist without evil and it is evil that can not exist without good. After all, crime only exists because there are laws to break.

Bingo - I see that you are ahead of me…

Please, educate me. Does God really allow evil in this world so it can give Him and all human beings the chance to do good? If so, does this not justify doing evil in the name of good? Am I just really inept at understanding all of this? I would appreciate it if someone were to clarify this for me. I thank you all in advance.

Let me share a passage from the Bible that might help.
John 9
1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him.
This may not address all conditions of evil…but it seems to speak pretty directly to your question.

Peace
James

Yes.

If so, does this not justify doing evil in the name of good?

No.

Matthew 5:37 played out. :thumbsup:

:slight_smile:

Sometimes, others just have a little homework to do…

:smiley:

Let me explain. God permits evil (moral evil and temporal evil) and makes good out of it, a greater good. He does not will that men sin (commit moral evil), so it can NOT be reasoned that God justifies moral evil (sin) in the name of good, for He does not will that we sin: and if He does not will sin, He would never justify sinful actions. A person could argue that He justifies temporal evil to bring about a greater good, for in Isaias xiv. 7 it says that He creates evil (meaning temporal evil, not moral evil) and God would ONLY create evil (temporal evil) to glorify Himself and do good with it, to fulfill His holy Will. There are other passages in the Bible I can quote that say the same thing as Isaias.

God only **makes use **of evil because He can bring about a greater good by means of it – He would never permit an evil from which He could not draw forth a greater good. Also, He would never will or justify moral evil (sin), He only wills that we suffer the effects of moral evil (sin). God bless you.

Oh, my comment was directed at the OP and others who could look this up in the catechism. :o

In essence, there is no evil too great for God to bring good from it. God is the very definition of existence, and of goodness. Evil, by definition is a lack, a void, an absence of goodness. It is a vacuum in which we will die unless the infinite God fills it with His inexhaustible breath of life. Existence is always greater than non-existence.

But, the entire question revolves around the concept of freedom, and that is where inquiring minds should seek the catechetical answer.

This interview with an exorcist priest touches on the very subject:

regnumchristi.org/english/articulos/articulo.phtml?id=14318&se=364&ca=118&te=782

Yes, but I thought I’d help them out a little with their homework.:slight_smile: I read the exorcist’s comments, I disagree with him when he says that hell is only a state and not a place. The Church has traditionally taught that hell is both a place and a state of being. Anyway, thanks for the link – the article was interesting. God bless you.

Right now, before the resurrection, it may be a state, and thereafter, a state as well as a place. Will have to look that one up.

But even before the Resurrection hell was a place made for the fallen angels after their fall. Ven. Mary of Agreda in her book *Mystical City of God *, a book with the approbation of several popes, says that hell is located in the fiery core of the earth. I believe others (mystics, theologians, etc.) have said the same thing. God bless you.

That falls under private revelation and is not binding upon the faithful, correct? Nothing wrong with it, though. Just as Jesus went to prepare a place for us, the evil one also has his domain prepared. What I am thinking is that there are no human bodies there yet, as there are in heaven.

Saint John Paul II
Hell is the State of Those who Reject God
At the General Audience of Wednesday, 28 July 1999, the Holy Father reflected on hell as the definitive rejection of God. In his catechesis, the Pope said that care should be taken to interpret correctly the images of hell in Sacred Scripture, and explained that “hell is the ultimate consequence of sin itself… Rather than a place, hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy”.

  1. God is the infinitely good and merciful Father. But man, called to respond to him freely, can unfortunately choose to reject his love and forgiveness once and for all, thus separating himself for ever from joyful communion with him. It is precisely this tragic situation that Christian doctrine explains when it speaks of eternal damnation or hell. It is not a punishment imposed externally by God but a development of premises already set by people in this life. The very dimension of unhappiness which this obscure condition brings can in a certain way be sensed in the light of some of the terrible experiences we have suffered which, as is commonly said, make life “hell”.
    In a theological sense however, hell is something else: it is the ultimate consequence of sin itself, which turns against the person who committed it. It is the state of those who definitively reject the Father’s mercy, even at the last moment of their life.
    Hell is a state of eternal damnation
  2. To describe this reality Sacred Scripture uses a symbolical language which will gradually be explained. In the Old Testament the condition of the dead had not yet been fully disclosed by Revelation. Moreover it was thought that the dead were amassed in Sheol, a land of darkness (cf. Ez. 28:8; 31:14; Jb. 10:21f.; 38:17; Ps 30:10; 88:7, 13), a pit from which one cannot reascend (cf. Jb. 7:9), a place in which it is impossible to praise God (cf. Is 38:18; Ps 6:6).
    The New Testament sheds new light on the condition of the dead, proclaiming above all that Christ by his Resurrection conquered death and extended his liberating power to the kingdom of the dead.
    Redemption nevertheless remains an offer of salvation which it is up to people to accept freely. This is why they will all be judged “by what they [have done]” (Rv 20:13). By using images, the New Testament presents the place destined for evildoers as a fiery furnace, where people will “weep and gnash their teeth” (Mt 13:42; cf. 25:30, 41), or like Gehenna with its “unquenchable fire” (Mk 9:43). All this is narrated in the parable of the rich man, which explains that hell is a place of eternal suffering, with no possibility of return, nor of the alleviation of pain (cf. Lk. 16:19-3 1).
    The Book of Revelation also figuratively portrays in a “pool of fire” those who exclude themselves from the book of life, thus meeting with a “second death” (Rv. 20:13f.). Whoever continues to be closed to the Gospel is therefore preparing for 'eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might" (2 Thes 1:9).
  3. The images of hell that Sacred Scripture presents to us must be correctly interpreted. They show the complete frustration and emptiness of life without God. Rather* than a place, hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy. This is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes the truths of faith on this subject: “To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called ‘hell’” (n. 1033).
    “Eternal damnation”, therefore, is not attributed to God’s initiative because in his merciful love he can only desire the salvation of the beings he created. In reality, it is the creature who closes himself to his love. Damnation consists precisely in definitive separation from God, freely chosen by the human person and confirmed with death that seals his choice for ever. God’s judgement ratifies this state.

ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM#Hell

Peace

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