Evil & God

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It is an undeniable fact that there is evil in the world. Opponents of belief in God would have us believe that this fact proves the non-existence of God, but they are wrong. To see why, let’s briefly examine the nature of both God and evil.

First God. He is Necessary Being Who is necessarily omnipotent. Nothing is hard or impossible to Him. He is the Creator of the entire universe and everything within them, and yet He cannot possibly be the author of evil. God can do anything, it is true, but He cannot create evil. To see why, let’s move on to evil.

Technically, evil is not a thing. It does not exist in this sense. There is no material object any of us can point to and say, “That is evil.” The proper definition of evil, then, is an absence of goodness. God created everything to be good–including man’s free will–but when man abuses his free will he leaves a void. Where God created good, man refuses to comply. This means that evil stems wholly from man.

But what about the idea that God cannot create evil–doesn’t that imply a limitation? Not at all, if we remember that evil is not an existing thing. Evil is a contradiction, much like a square circle, and it is no limitation to say that God cannot create a contradiction. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. To say that a perfect and omnipotent God cannot create a contradiction is to affirm His perfection.

To bring things full circle, it must be said that the existence of evil in the world actually proves the existence of God. For how can there be an absence of goodness unless there exists an original, perfect order? The fact that man can choose evil proves a perfect order must have been planned, and that plan requires a planner. And who can create a perfect plan but our perfect, omnipotent God?

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9 thoughts on “Evil & God

  1. blockquote, div.yahoo_quoted { margin-left: 0 !important; border-left:1px #715FFA solid !important; padding-left:1ex !important; background-color:white !important; } Why all of Heaven rejoices and loves when we pray the Hail Mary. (and why Hell hates it) Our Blessed Mother loves when we pray Her Rosary and address Her with the words of the Hail Mary, also known as “the Angelic Salutation” because it is made of the same words the Archangel Gabriel used at the annunciation. Those words were uttered by the messenger, Gabriel, but came from the very Heart of Almighty God to win the affection of the Blessed Virgin Mary and they so charmed our Dear Lady’s Immaculate Heart, that she immediately accepted the proposal! She then became the most completely perfect adorer of the Triune God. She was already the sinless daughter of God the Father, but in an instant, after hearing that magnificent Angelic Salutation, She became the Spouse of God the Holy Ghost, and the Mother of God the Son as well!Furthermore, the Angels rejoice when we pray the Hail Mary. It was by those words that they now have governing over them in Heaven that Loving, Virgin Queen. Every other being in Heaven rejoices when we pray the Hail Mary. The Saints, who received all the graces necessary for accomplishing the heroic deeds on earth that made them Saints in Heaven, received them from Her! She is the dispenser of all God’s graces. She is the Queen of ALL of Heaven – every Angel and Saint. She became so as a direct consequence of her reception of the “Angelic Salutation”!  All the reasons that make Heaven rejoice at the devout praying of the Hail Mary are the same that cause all of Hell to tremble and hate hearing it!Think about it. How many miracles did Almighty God perform through that Angelic Salutation? They are truly infinite. By the Angelic Salutation Almighty God became a man, a virgin became a mother, the souls of the Just were delivered from Limbo, the empty thrones of Heaven filled, all the prophecies of the Old Testament were fulfilled, the redemption took place, the Faith was created, sins can now be forgiven, Heaven was opened, the sick were healed, dead were brought back to life, the anger of the Most Blessed Trinity was appeased and men obtained eternal life! – just to name a few! It’s no wonder it is so powerful against the enemies of God, it destroyed them all the very first time it was ever pronounced, and it will continue to do so until the end of time!”Pray the Rosary devoutly every day and you are guaranteed Heaven.” – St. Dominic, Bl. Alan de la Roche, St. Louis De Montfort, St. Bernard, St. Bernadine, St. Ignatious, St. Alphonsus Padre Pio and every other true devotee of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

    In the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Mike Montesano 

    1. This is absolutely beautiful, Mike. I just recently had someone tell me that you are probably the most devout person they know, and I think your writing manifests that truth.

  2. Sister Lucia on the Holy Rosary and the prayers: Regarding what you said about the prayer of the Rosary, it is a pity because the prayer of the Rosary, or five decades of it, after the Sacred Liturgy of the Eucharist, is what most unites us with God by the richness of the prayers that compose it.
    All of them came from Heaven, dictated by the Father, by the Son and by the Holy Ghost.
    The Glory Be that we pray between the decades was dictated by the Father to the angels when He sent them to sing it near to His Word, the newborn Child. It is also a hymn to the Blessed Trinity.
    The Our Father was dictated by the Son, and it is a prayer directed to the Father.
    The Hail Mary is completely impregnated both with a Trinitarian and a Eucharistic sense. The first words were dictated by the Father to the Angel when He sent him to announce the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word: “Hail [Mary] full of grace, the Lord is with thee.” You are full of grace because in you dwells the fountain of grace, and also because of your union with the most Blessed Trinity.
    Moved by the Holy Ghost, St. Elizabeth said: “Blessed art thou among women, and Blessed is the Fruit of thy womb” [Jesus].
    The Church, also moved by the Holy Ghost, added, “Hail Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” This prayer is directed to God through the mediation of Mary. Because you are the Mother of God, pray for us.
    The Hail Mary is a Trinitarian prayer because Mary was the first living temple of the most Holy Trinity, evident from the words of the Angel: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee, and therefore the Holy One to be born shall be called the Son of God.”
    It is also Eucharistic. Mary is the first living Tabernacle wherein the Father enclosed His Son, the Word made flesh. Her Immaculate Heart is the first Monstrance to hold Him. Her breast and her arms were the first Altar on which the Father exposed His Son for adoration. There the Angels, the Shepherds and the Magi adored Him.
    Mary is the first…who held in her pure and immaculate hands the Son of God. It was she who took Him to the Temple to offer Him to the Father as a victim for the salvation of the world.
    If we give to the Hail Mary its full significance–all the beauty of these pious considerations–we see that it is indeed a Trinitarian and a Eucharistic prayer, even more than a Marian one. I do not know if we can find prayers more sublime or more appropriate to recite before the Blessed Sacrament.
    Moreover, after the Sacred Liturgy of the Eucharist, the prayer of the Rosary is what best fosters within our spirit the growth of the mysteries of Faith, Hope, and Charity. It is the spiritual bread of souls. The one who does not pray weakens and dies. It is in prayer that we meet with God, and in this encounter, He imparts to us Faith, Hope, and Charity. Without these virtues we cannot be saved.

  3. The proper definition of evil, then, is an absence of goodness.

    I think this definition is fundamentally flawed. Goodness is as nebulous as evil. It describes nothing. What we are ultimately talking about here is suffering, suffering is tangible, and as such, a superior definition of ‘evil’ is the ways and means by which suffering can be delivered and experienced. This is quantifiable, and we can use the same definition to measure goodness, where good decreases the ways the means by which suffering can delivered and experienced.

    With that as our starting point, have you ever considered that you might have simply mischaracterised the nature of the Creator, and His Creation?

    Why should the staggering amount of evil be source of enormous confusion for believers? Is there any legitimate argument to justify the confusion? Is there any plausible pretext or historically compelling observation to rationally feed and sustain the puzzlement? Is there any credible reason to even suspect that the world has somehow gone terribly, drastically, hopelessly wrong, as opposed to it simply performing precisely as desired by its Creator?

    God exists. Evil not only exists, but its capacity, variety and potency is increasing as God’s Creation faithfully fulfils its elemental instruction: to diversify and specialise, to migrate, to augment and to grow more complex over time.

    This world is a complexity machine. That is an established and irrefutable fact. By simple but persuasive design the old and the ordinary yield to the new and the exciting, and with the new comes more energetic and capable families of physiological, emotional, psychological and, more recently, economic and technological pain. Indeed, for organisms whose fitness depends only on their own sequence information, physical complexity (be it genetic, behavioural, cultural, technological or economic) must always increase, and as it does so too does that organism’s exposure to an ever more potent ecology of potential suffering; both real and, with the appropriate neurological capacity, imagined in a million busy little paranoia’s.

    Therefore, without layers of increasingly sophisticated excuses to buttress it against every flavour of inconsistency, it is preposterous to contend that this world is the product of a competent and benevolent designer; a good father who is sensitive to prosperity and has the very best interests of all living things forever in the fore. Could an impossibly good, monstrously skilled, prohibitively capable designer who is mindful of harmony, fond of laughter, pleased by joy, charmed by plenty and delighted by happiness convene a world where every guest is contracted by birth to prey upon the other in order to pirate the proteins and fats and sugars they need just to stay alive one more day in what amounts to a daily apocalypse of obliged bloodletting? Indeed, could a designer of extraordinary compassion and unlimited means oversee a world where the very mechanisms necessary to physically experience something beginning to resemble ‘happiness’ (enkephalin and opioid receptors) would not even exist in the world before some 3.5 billion years of terrestrial evolution had passed and untold billions of generations of living things had suffered enormously without as much as the hope of corporeal relief?

    To suggest such a thing with a hint of even accidental sincerity is bravely ridiculous.

    The world has not gone spectacularly wrong. The evil which is amplifying through Creation is there for a purpose, and if it is there for a purpose, there by design, growing, then that evil exists because the architect of this world wants it to exist. And if the architect wants it to exist then that architect must not only draw some manner of critical pleasure from its existence, but more importantly, craves its augmentation over time.

    By no possible definition could such a being be called good. By no possible definition could such a being be even called scrupulously indifferent, aloof, or staggeringly apathetic. The natural tendency of Creation to move always towards increasing orders of evil precludes both possibilities, and if that being cannot be called good (or at the very least meticulously disinterested) then what remains by way of an explanation for this world must be some flavour of unrestricted malignancy.

    The alternative thesis—that God is maximally good but thoroughly incompetent and has lost total control of his creation—is a proposition simply too fantastic to entertain for any period longer than the time it takes to drink half a cup of tea. God, by definition, is maximally competent. God, by definition, is maximally efficient. There are no mistakes. There can be no mistakes, no missteps, no lapses or miscalculations. What exists, exists because it was arranged for by the Catalogue of Catalogues that is the mind of God. Evil exists because it is meant to exist, and to even suggest it is the result of some personal ineptitude or imbecilic blunder in the design is athletically—historically—preposterous.

    The question then exists: why is there something rather than nothing? What purpose does this world (an artificial scape) serve?

    1. Have you ever read St. Thomas’ Summa? You should-because it would throw a lot of light on the matter at hand. He addresses each and every one of your objections in tremedous detail. There’s also a book called a Tour of the Summa which is a much easier read. I really think you would enjoy St. Thomas’ treatment of these questions.

      1. Thanks Tom, but you don’t seem to have addressed a single word that was written….

        Why should the staggering amount of evil be source of enormous confusion for believers? Is there any legitimate argument to justify the confusion? Is there any plausible pretext or historically compelling observation to rationally feed and sustain the puzzlement? Is there any credible reason to even suspect that the world has somehow gone terribly, drastically, hopelessly wrong, as opposed to it simply performing precisely as desired by its Creator?

        Yes, I’ve read Aquinas. His apologia is almost childish, and on many matters, matters that count, he was demonstrably, emphatically, hopelessly wrong. With 13.82 billion years of cosmic evolution to survey and assess, it is clear that it was not goodness, as Aquinas contends, that spilled out into the world, shaping that which had no shape, bonum diffusivum sui, but a spectacular weave of perversion born of simple curiosity.

        That is what history informs us of, and it follows logically.

        Unable to die, powerless to be no more, incapable of even experiencing the thrill of the fear of approaching annihilation, and yet blessed with all the powers necessary to explore this fantastic anomaly, it was inevitable that a non-contingent aseitic being (that seminal consciousness: God) would come, eventually, to gather and focus His impossible powers to contrive artificial environments inside which He could cultivate all those things He, the Creator, could never directly experience in the actual world. Incapable however of even knowing the depth and scope of fear and terror and annihilation, such environments (tourable theme parks, in a manner of speaking) could never be built complete; not as some pre-packaged pits of despair inside which readymade sentient avatars could be released to suffer the full force of every ill imaginable.

        Such things would be unknowable, and being unknowable these artificial worlds could only ever be fashioned in such a way that they could self-experiment and freely evolve from some basal expression fixed between concepts He, the Creator, could never touch, but could impose on an artificial scape: a beginning, a middle, and an end.

        Inside these sealed-off worlds (these self-complicating petri dishes) profoundly ignorant avatars could be cultured and grown; evolving surrogates raised like experimental animals to probe and explore this extraordinary curiosity, and through these proxies He, the Creator, could taste the fear He alone could never experience, feel the suffering He alone could never know, and meet every pedigree of oblivion denied to Him by dying vicariously.

        Does this not explain the world is, has been, and will be far more efficiently than any theology which relies entirely on excuses (theodicies) just to be mildly believable, although thoroughly unconvincing?

      2. If St. Thomas’s arguments are childish, what could my own arguments hope to be? I have answers for your questions, but they would simply be paraphrases of St. Thomas’s answers. So I’m not sure it’d be worth my time or yours to reply. Anyone who thinks St. Thomas to be childish will appreciate nothing I have to say.

      3. Quite on the contrary, Tom. I’d be genuinely happy to hear what you say. Provided, of course, it actually addresses the content presented.

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