Friday, January 20, 2012

Evil Is Not Self-Existent

Evil is real but not self-existent. It isn't an eternal verity, it is only a passing thing, here for time, but not for eternity. If it were not so, God could not be God as presented in the Bible. Instead, god would have to be of a dualistic conception, light and dark at once.

Evil can only exist consequently. Consequent of something God did? Well, yes, but not directly. God did not breath evil into existence, did not cogitate it and then induce it. Evil does not arise from the heart of God, though evil has most certainly arisen.

Evil is not a creation of God, but a creation of creations. Evil bursts into existence when a creation created with the capacity to itself freely create, creates against the will of God. That creation can be an attitude, an action, an aim, or whatever, but to be evil it must be at odds with God--that's what makes it evil. God's response to such is corrective and terminal.

Given God's omni characteristics, if evil were allowed to continue, it would be as if he harbored evil within himself. That would be schizophrenic and impossible, for a house divided against itself cannot stand. Because God is everywhere always, evil cannot be. Therefore, God has circumscribed evil within time for a time until he deals with it eternally.

From the perspective outside of time, evil has not even been a hiccup. For us in time it seems as if evil has been around forever (and always will be), but that is only an illusion we experience from our perspective within time. Outside of time, this realm of time is not so much as even a flash. God who is always the same is there "already" at the beginning and end, whereas evil is not.

Evil is not self-existent, not eternal, and not therefore truly something. Although here and now it is real and has far-reaching consequences, in the eternal scheme of things it is as nothing. Evil is consequent (and therefore dependent) upon creatures taking free actions which are in opposition of God. Where there is no will in opposition to God, there is no evil.


Pumice said...

Excellent points, well said and short enough for my limited attention span.

Grace and peace.

SLW said...

I do like things short if they can be made so.

bethyada said...

CS Lewis said something along the lines that evil is a distortion of the good. Evil is parasitic on something else.

Not certain where to go with the evil duration is short on an eternity scale. Granted, the duration is finite! Though the duration of an event is not the same as the importance of it. The death and resurrection lasted 3 days but was of greater significance than the duration of the Roman empire. Better the direction Paul takes: the glories that await us far exceed the momentary afflictions (2Co 4).

SLW said...

I agree with Lewis that evil isn't a thing of itself. It can be seen as a distortion, but I think it can also be seen as an absence. Parasitic, I'm not so sure about.

I wasn't really trying to communicate a short duration. Any duration is time, not eternity. There is no real sense of duration for one outside of time.

bethyada said...

On time, yes your previous posts make your position clear.

By parasitic I mean you can't have evil without good, evil needs good to even exist. Good can exist without evil.

SLW said...

I see your point, actually a very good one. Thanks Bethyada.

James Goetz said...

Hi SLW, I like the sentence, "Evil is real but not self-existent." But I think this needs clarification. For example, something that is not self-existent such as the children of God could continue to exist forever.

SLW said...

The only thing truly self-existent is God; however, that quality can impress its permanence on things that are God-like, that are made of his breath.