The origin of evil...

Had lunch with a resident orthodox biblical scholar and we had a discussion about evil. His contention was that God is not evil but is accountable for evil and responsible for evil. I disagreed with him (suprise). Anyway, we got into a discussion as to when evil originated. My contention:

Before there was anything but God, there was no evil, and no potential for evil. God cannot do that which is contrary to his moral nature, so there was never a "fear" of God doing something against his nature. Thus God's nature, being pure, good, and holy meant that there was nothing but goodness.

After God created the angels, who were lacking in omniscience, omnipotence etc. and were commanded by God to do specific tasks, you had the potential for evil. The ability for angels to not do what God commanded gave angels the ability to sin. Lucifer disobeyed God and he is the originator of evil. That is why he is called the Father of Lies. He is the originator of sin, the begetter of evil, the father of all that is untrue.

So, my conclusion was sin originated with satan and the potential for evil originated when God created free moral agents.

Now his argument was that since God made the angels and knew some would disobey, he created the potential for evil...

What's your thoughts...

Pretty good arguements. I kind of have to agree with the other guy. If God is all knowing, he should have known what would happen when he created the angels. To me, good cannot exist without evil. With no evil, what is good?

My personal opinion is that the definition of good and evil is that good is what you like and evil is what you don't like. Evil and good are only in the eye of the beholder. If someone is never taught that something is evil, is it considered evil in his eyes? Most of the crazy psychos in the world don't think that the things they did are evil so in their eyes, they haven't done anything wrong. So is what they did evil or good? It all falls into the eye of the beholder.

Just my two cents.

but if god made angels capable of & willing to do evil, he is still responsible.

poorboy is correct!

Edwards argues that evil is merely the absence of good, likened to darkness being the absence of light or cold being the absence of heat. This being the case, many are want to say that God cannot be the efficient cause of evil but, rather, it is a deficient cause in the creature.

Even if we were to agree that evil is merely the absence of good (which I think is the most likely position) it is God who is withholding the necessary component that He alone possesses. He is therefore creating the dilemma.

Let us take light for example: If you and I were in a pitch dark room and I had a flashlight one would say that the room was dark because of an active choice on my part. I would be responsible for it being dark. If there are such things as Deficient causes they still do not explain why God still withholds that which is necessary to prevent evil from happening.

Check out Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

Now I know that some try to sidestep this verse by saying that "ra' (the Hebrew word translated into the English as evil) may mean evil but it does not mean that kind of evil."

To those I ask; what does it mean in Genesis 2:9 where it is use to speak of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Or how about in Genesis 6:5 in reference to the evil that God wiped off the earth with the flood! Or perhaps you wish to say that it may be the evil in Sodom (Genesis 13:13) but that is not really that bad. (I think not!) It is used to say, "Depart from evil and do good" (Psalms 34:14), and to speak of the wrong of those who call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20), and of the sin of those whose "feet run to evil" (Isaiah 59:7; see also 47:10, 11; 56:2; 57:1; 59:15; 65:12; 66:4). Dozens of other times throughout the Old Testament it refers to moral evil or sin. The contrast with "peace" (shalôm) in the same phrase in Isaiah 45:7 might argue that only "calamity" is in view, but not necessarily so, for moral evil and wickedness is certainly also the opposite of the wholeness of God's "shalom" or peace.

Even if you are still trying to escape the force of the word ra' by claming that it does not mean "moral evil" it still means evil non-the-less!

(And another important thing is to note that bara' (the Hebrew word translated into the English as create) is the same word used in Gen. 1:1 and so it is a creating from nothing.)

-more-

Even if you are like the man that thought he was dead and was trying to be persuaded otherwise by some good intentioned doctors who showed him from all of their texts that the dead do not bleed and so when they pricked him and he did bleed he said "Wow! So dead men *DO* bleed!" Even if you are so stubborn as to twist every little thing to your liking how will you escape Proverbs 16:4 "The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble [...]"?

Also, even if we were to agree that man does have free will (a notion that I adamantly disagree with) the idea of God "permitting" evil does not solve the problem. For if a man could save a baby from a speeding train by simply picking the baby up off the tracks but instead allowed the baby to die, who would say that he was not responsible for the baby's death?

Job 1:21-22 [...]"'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.' In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong."

Pay close attention to verse 22. Job looks around him and sees the destruction and death, the pain of it all, and says "the LORD has taken away." Even though Satan was the instrumental cause Job points to God as the efficient cause. God is the one who has done this to him. And what does the inspired writer of Job say about this statement? "In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong."

Saying "God only allowed Satan to strike Job" does not absolve God of responsibility. If you are holding to the concept of free will simply because you think it absolves God of the responsibility of evil it does not, so abandon it.

Before anyone at this point tries to say that I am claming that God does actually commit evil I quote Jonathon Edwards to alleviate this charge: "The sun brings about light and warmth by its essential nature, but brings about dark and cold by dropping below the horizon. If the sun were the proper cause of cold and darkness, it would be the fountain of these things, as it is the fountain of light and heat. Then something might be argued from the nature of cold and darkness, to a likeness of nature in the sun.

In other words, sin is not the fruit of any positive agency or influence of the most High, but on the contrary, arises from the withholding of his action and energy, and under certain circumstances, necessarily follows on the want of his influence."

I say God allows evil for His glories sake and you say God allows evil for true loves sake (for that is the supposed end of this "Free Will" you propose). *But why God allows evil is beside the point*, for *both* of us *have* to admit that God *does*, in fact, *allow evil*. You have only answered why God allows evil, you have never answered how it is that He remains Good having allowed evil!

-Tom Bombadil

good post tom.

I will post when exams are over. For those of you who remember my older posts, my arguements would be

1- the yetzer tov, yetzer ra in human creation coming from G-d

2- G-d being silent when Adam accuses Him of begin set up.

EvilJedi is absolutely 100% correct!!!

Yes, evil Jedi is right...evil is explained through evolution. the subsequent application of evolutionary thought is ...evil.

My line of thinking is very much the same as Tom's.
my post would have looked like his, only not as good.

Evil Jedi, first of all, you don't even believe in the term "evil" so why participate in a thread about concepts, terms and principles you don't believe in. Second of all, one could argue that totalitarian statism is a function of evolution. In fact, Hitler's Uberman was to be the pinnacle of evolution...a perfect man. Any less then perfect man (non nordic non physically healthy individual) WAS KILLED. Go evolution!

tom, would it be fair to then argue the extreme, that is if God is responsible for evil and created evil, He is evil? ( I don't believe that, but why can't that be then argued?)

First, what is evil? Evil is sin, sin is evil; they are both one and the same.

Sin (and therefore evil) is any want of conformity to God's commands. God's commands are for man (and Jesus as man) and not for God. Therefore God cannot sin. (Even if Jesus could sin as man, He did not and so if one wants to see what the Father would have done in any given situation all one has to do is examine the Son's life on earth as a man.)

I understand that this sounds like a lot of word games but it is not. It is simply a clarification of terms. You, wisely, disallow EvilJediJ because he has no clear definition of evil (and therefore sin). And so whether God does or does not commit evil is a question that cannot be answered apart from the antecedent question being first addressed; namely what is evil?

Second, what does it mean to be responsible? To be held accountable is what it means to be responsible. Who is it that holds God's feet to the fire? To whom does God give an accounting? Will the thing formed say to Him that formed him "What have you done?" No, for to be formed is to be responsible, accountable, liable, and answerable not the other way around! God is simply not responsible for evil in that sense.

Now again I anticipate the charge of semantics; "Well that is only one definition of responsible!" Well yes that is true but that other definition was already dealt with: responsible also means 'in charge' and if what you are asserting is that God is responsible for evil in that sense then yes I agree. He certainly and inescapably is responsible for He is responsible for everything that was, is, and will be that is what comes of having created from nothing!

-Tom Bombadil

yes bludhall, but where did humans come from, & who gave us the capacity, even the desire, to do evil?

i think god is both good & evil.

i think i understand what you're saying. but who put us in the world?

eviljedij, you realize that religion & evolution aren't mutually exclusive, don't you?

religion in general. fundamentalist christians don't usually believe in evolution, but there are plenty of open minded christian folk out there.

mind if i ask where you're from?

Good post EvilJedi. I think that people definately use Hitler to further their own agendas. He's definately given us a concrete example of an evil man.

ummm...Hitler was for the destruction of Jews as they were imperfect humans. His aryan race was based on evolutionary racism. Heck for that matter, the dirty little secret is that Darwin was a rascist.

the rooster: Even though you are correct I really think it would be wise to stop with the Hitler stuff. It is obviously a hot button for some and it really does not further your argument in the least. Besides, it has been said that if we stop calling him a model evolutionist they will stop calling him a model Christian. Fair enough, no?

-Tom Bombadil

Tom, you said "even though you are correct...it will not further your argument"?!?!