November 27, 2011 in Spirituality
I recently observed a rather heated discussion about God and good and evil. As each party defined God, the discussion became more and more convoluted. By the time it was done, each person walked away thinking the other person was really confused. It reminded me of the Epicurean quote.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then, he is not omnipotent. (all-powerful)
Is he able to prevent evil, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. (wicked, nasty, mean)
Is he both able, and willing, then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing, then why call him God?
To me, the quote is a riddle, a logical test.
I’m using this article to solve the riddle because I believe this is a critical issue for me on my Peace of Mind Journey. Moreover, it is a major issue for humanity, especially if we are to have and maintain a relationship with God.
Let’s look at our beliefs.
Through a lifetime of experience, I have discovered that those of us who believe in God, believe the following:
- God is good all the time.
- God is love.
- God has no needs.
- God made humanity in God’s image.
- God is all. All is God.
In addition, we believe that evil exists as an enemy, separate from God and separate from us.
The Epicurean riddle logically disrupts this belief system.
It tells us that God or evil does not exist in the manner in which we believe.
In fact, at least one of the following is true:
- God is evil.
- Evil is good.
- God does not exist.
- Evil does not exist
Which is it?
You will have to decide what it is for you. Here is what it is for me.
I believe the five statements about God. Therefore, I believe that evil does not exist as a separate entity. In addition, I believe that evil only exists as a necessary opposite so that we can more thoroughly understand good.
Yes, this means that evil is a part of God.
From my perspective, when we are uncomfortable with a part of God, we call that part “evil.”
In other words, evil is a matter of perspective.
Said another way, evil doesn’t exist.
It is a judgment we put upon a series of events. These series of events, when experienced in the present, feel evil. When we look back at them from the future, we see good in the form of a miracle that is part of the divine plan.
This message is consistent with the prayer left behind by a participant of the Holocaust.
Lord, when you come in Your glory, do not remember only the men of good, but remember too the men of evil. And on the Day of Judgment, do not remember only the acts of cruelty, inhumanity and violence that they carried out, but remember too the fruits that they produced in us because of what they did to us. Remember the patience, courage, brotherly love, humility, generosity of spirit and faithfulness that our executioners awoke in our souls.
And then, Lord, may those fruits be used to save the souls of those men of evil.
I invite you to leave your comments below.