Why there is evil?


#1

I was just wondering. I was reading this book I was given for R.C.I.A. Class and it was talking about “Why does god allow evil?”, it spoke about of it making us better people and that being “Part of the answer” and started rabling on and I didn’t catch the other Part(s) of the answer and I was wondering if someone could tell me what the other “Parts” were.


#2

Part of the answer is that God is order and perfection. In our state as sinful beings, we choose (and chose through our archetype parents Adam and Eve) to move away from Him, and the only direction away from perfect order is toward dis-order. Some of the evil we encounter is the direct result of the decisions of people and some of it is the simple environment of a world that, to some degree, is seperated from the great cohesiveness of God.

Another thing to consider is that, if God were to not allow evil, then He would have to remove our free will. Without this, there would be no opportunity to freely choose Him, and this is what He desires most of all: a people who love him by choice. Unfortunately, by allowing that freewill, it is consequential that some will choose to reject God and embrace evil and this evil will affect us all.

I don’t know if this is what your book would have said, but its what I had off the top of my head.


#3

But, I would figure that one could still have free will though, like what to eat for dinner, Chicken or brussel sprots. Neither are evil but, we can still chose.
I know you are proboly saying something else but, I am just trying to get you to make it clearer.


#4

Inside us evil is at work suggesting unworthy inclinations. However, it is not in us in the same way as, to take as an example, water mixes with wine. Evil is in us without being mixed with good. We are a field in which wheat and weeds are growing separately. We are a house in which there is a thief, but also the owner. We are a spring which rises from the middle of the mud, but pours out pure water. All the same, it is enough to stir up the mud and the spring is fouled. It is the same with the soul. If the evil is spread, it forms a unity with the soul and makes it dirty. With our consent, evil is united with the soul; they become accomplices. Yet there comes a moment when the soul can free itself and remain separate again: in repentance, contrition, prayer, recourse to God. The soul could not benefit from these habits if it were always sunk in evil. It is like a marriage. A woman is united with a man and they become one flesh. But when one of them dies, the other is left alone. But union with the Holy Spirit is complete. So, let us become a single spirit with Him. Let us be wholly absorbed by grace.

St. Macarius the Great


#5

I’ve kind of always thought of evil as a requirement. I mean you couldn’t really understand what good was if you didn’t have evil. The same way you couldn’t understand heat w/o cold, light w/o dark, or any other combination of opposites.


#6

Montie, I think that God allows us to be free creatures because He loves us, no matter what we do or chose to do. I think, and this is just my opinion, that it is the ultimate expression of the Creators love for His creatures to love them even if they chose to do evil. What I think is the real mystery of God is that out of evil there always - always - comes great good. There has NEVER been an evil act out of which some sort of great good has not come forth. We may not see it, or may not be aware of it, but it is there.

Father John Corapi always points at the Crucifix when he makes this point…here is the ultimate evil. Creatures murdering the Creator. The Word Incarnate, God Himself being murdered by His Creatures. What could be more evil than that act? And yet, from that great evil came my redemption, your redemption, the establishment of the Holy Mother Church, the institution of the 7 Sacraments, He gave us the Eucharist…such incredible good from such evil.

I know that sometimes we cannot see the good. That is the mystery and where our faith must come into play…we must accept and we must believe, and we must pray for God to give us the grace to accept this truth into our hearts.


#7

[quote=LSK]Montie, I think that God allows us to be free creatures because He loves us, no matter what we do or chose to do. I think, and this is just my opinion, that it is the ultimate expression of the Creators love for His creatures to love them even if they chose to do evil. What I think is the real mystery of God is that out of evil there always - always - comes great good. There has NEVER been an evil act out of which some sort of great good has not come forth. We may not see it, or may not be aware of it, but it is there.

Father John Corapi always points at the Crucifix when he makes this point…here is the ultimate evil. Creatures murdering the Creator. The Word Incarnate, God Himself being murdered by His Creatures. What could be more evil than that act? And yet, from that great evil came my redemption, your redemption, the establishment of the Holy Mother Church, the institution of the 7 Sacraments, He gave us the Eucharist…such incredible good from such evil.

I know that sometimes we cannot see the good. That is the mystery and where our faith must come into play…we must accept and we must believe, and we must pray for God to give us the grace to accept this truth into our hearts.
[/quote]

Great post Leslie! :thumbsup:
God can do anything, except force us to love Him.


#8

[quote=Montie Claunch]But, I would figure that one could still have free will though, like what to eat for dinner, Chicken or brussel sprots. Neither are evil but, we can still chose.
I know you are proboly saying something else but, I am just trying to get you to make it clearer.
[/quote]

Sorry it took so long to respond - this thread looks like it might have moved on, but for what it’s worth, I’ll point out that the problem might lie with your analogy. By free will, we mean the option to love God or reject him, and God wants us to have the freedom to choose to love him when we could choose to reject him - otherwise it is not truly love, but puppeteering. In your analogy, you present freewill as a choice between two foods. While I’ll admit that brussel sprouts is the less desireable of the two, they are both somewhat equal in substance. God has no equal. In addition, God is all love and the only source of love. Let’s say, then, that the chicken represents God. What do the brussel sprouts represent? There is no acceptable “other” God on the menu, so to use freewill to reject God is to say I am going with option 2. Unfortunately, since God is the only source of love, then option 2, whatever it may be (lust, greed, envy, anger, etc.) is the absence of love. The definition of evil is an act that is absent of love. The more appropriate analogy is that in free will we are given the choice between chicken and standing up and walking away hungry. Choose option B too often and the body deteriorates and gets sick, hence the evil in the world.
So, back to my original post. God gives us the freewill to choose him, the source of love. If we, through our freewill chose something else, the mere vacuum of love is evil. There is no chicken/brussel sprouts option about it. Both of those carry inherent value, through nutrients and nurishment. In Christian theology, God is the only source of spiritual nurishment. Anything else on the menu - if he isn’t the main ingredient - is empty and poisonous.


#9

[quote=Mickey]Great post Leslie! :thumbsup:
God can do anything, except force us to love Him.
[/quote]

In fact, He can do that too!! But He doesn’t, because of His great love for us.


#10

I love Peter Kreeft and I would suggest listening to these three lectures about evil on his website: Making Sense Out of Suffering, Til We Have Faces, and 10 Uncommon Insights Into Evil from Lord of the Rings. Here’s the link:

peterkreeft.com/audio.htm


#11

Greetings Montie Claunch

Montie Claunch
But, I would figure that one could still have free will though, like what to eat for dinner, Chicken or brussel sprots. Neither are evil but, we can still chose.

You can choose either the chicken or sprouts, or you can choose them both, and it is not a problem as long as they both belong to you.

The problem of evil starts when you choose to have the chicken or sprouts that belong to your neighbour.

We are commanded to love God and love our neighbour as our self; and these commandments cannot be separated. We may say we love God but when we choose to take our neighbours chicken we are not showing love for our neighbour or God.

peace

Eric


#12

[quote=Montie Claunch]But, I would figure that one could still have free will though, like what to eat for dinner, Chicken or brussel sprots. Neither are evil but, we can still chose.
[/quote]

to eat chicken would be evil on Fridays when Catholics do not eat flesh. Anyway, chicken or brussel sprots is not a moral choice. In other words, it is a morally neutral choice, neither good nor evil.
Still, Evil remains a Mystery, beyond all our answers the same question comes out: Why anyone would choose Evil, Self Destruction and Hell? I know, because of free will… Free will at its purest state was lucifer’s will. He became the Enemy. So it is impossible to refer to “the mistery of evil” without refering to the Enemy. Or refering only to man’s free will. The fall of Adam and Eve, the original sin, is not only a matter of free will. The Enemy played a great role that day. God’s answer, the Crucifixion of the Son, is not even a religious or philosophical answer; is a fact. Christ crucified. The question is not how could be “evil”, but how could be “good”. The mystery of good is greater than the mystery ov evil…


#13

God does not make us do good things. Evil is the absence of good. So evil exists when man using his gift of free will chooses not to do good.


#14

[quote=Montie Claunch]I was just wondering. I was reading this book I was given for R.C.I.A. Class and it was talking about “Why does god allow evil?”, it spoke about of it making us better people and that being “Part of the answer” and started rabling on and I didn’t catch the other Part(s) of the answer and I was wondering if someone could tell me what the other “Parts” were.
[/quote]

Hi, Montie,

There is also the question of physical evil and why innocent people suffer. I have a reflection that helps with that question on my blog here. Basically, it says that even though suffering came to us because of our own sins, God has created the possibility, through Christ, to turn the suffering of the innocent into an opportunity to love others and help save them to a greater degree than would have been possible if we had never fallen. In other words, God draws a “greater good” from our suffering than if He never allowed it in the first place.
(you may wish to skip the first three large paragraphs there, as it is not directly relevant.:slight_smile: )
GB,
scott


#15

[quote=martino]God does not make us do good things. Evil is the absence of good. So evil exists when man using his gift of free will chooses not to do good.
[/quote]

This post reminds me of an email I once recieved. It’s pretty nifty despite the fact that the ending isn’t true (according to some website I saw). Here it is:

Does evil exist?

The university professor challenged his students with this question. Did God create everything that exists? A student bravely replied, “Yes, he did!”

"God created everything? The professor asked.

“Yes sir”, the student replied.

The professor answered, “If God created everything, then God created evil since evil exists, and according to the principal that our works define who we are then God is evil”. The student became quiet before such an answer. The professor was quite pleased with himself and boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth.

Another student raised his hand and said, “Can I ask you a question professor?”

“Of course”, replied the professor.

The student stood up and asked, “Professor, does cold exist?”

“What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?” The students snickered at the young man’s question.

The young man replied, “In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-460 degrees F) is the total absence of heat; all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat.”

The student continued, “Professor, does darkness exist?”

The professor responded, “Of course it does.”

The student replied, “Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact we can use Newton’s prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn’t this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present.”

Finally the young man asked the professor, “Sir, does evil exist?”

Now uncertain, the professor responded, “Of course as I have already said. We see it every day. It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.”

To this the student replied, “Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is not like faith, or love that exist just as does light and heat. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.”

The professor sat down.

The young man’s name — Albert Einstein.


#16

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