Is Evil Necessary for Good to Exist?

 

I posted something recently called The Opposite of Love, a little piece that explores the nature of opposites. That got me to thinking and I’d like to expand a bit on the idea.

There are a lot of opposites in our world. So many, in fact, that you could argue that we live in a dualistic universe, one in which everything has an opposite. Perhaps opposites are necessary for the existence of some, or all, things.

For example, in order for hot water to exist, cold water must also exist. Otherwise it would just be water. Hot water cannot be defined without the existence of cold water. Hot water is just water that has a higher temperature than some other water. Even the term ‘higher’ requires two temperatures, one hotter and one colder.

How about on and off? If there was no state of off, there could be no state of on. It is the possibility that a light could be off that makes real the possibility that it could be on. Otherwise it would just be a light.

Up and down, light and dark, positive and negative; the examples are numerous. What about good and evil? (My regular readers are groaning right now. “Oh, he’s not going to get back into the God thing is he?” Yep, I’m afraid so.)

Is evil necessary for good to exist? I’m thinking that maybe it is. That might explain the existence of evil in the first place, something that has bothered me for a long time because of one very simple question. If God created the universe and everything in it, where did evil come from?

I am not one to take the Bible literally, but I do believe it contains a lot of ideas worth considering. Take the story of how evil was introduced into the world. There was God, Adam, and Eve hanging out in the Garden. God is credited with creating Adam and then Eve, but wasn’t there another presence there too? Yes, I am referring to Satan, in the form of a serpent.

Did Satan just appear spontaneously, out of the control of God, or was he created for a purpose? Or perhaps Satan has always co-existed with God and the two are really just opposites that rely on one another for existence. God and Satan: The eternal yin and yang, light and dark, something and nothing.

I know this is an unorthodox idea but before anyone blows a religious fuse, remember that it is just an idea. I’m just throwing it out there, so stay with me. There really are only three explanations for the existence of evil (if it does exist). First, evil just happened by itself. That implies that God is not omnipotent. Second, God created evil. Even if evil is the result of a fallen angel, if God created everything, he must have created Satan knowing that he would fall, and therefore God created evil. Third, God is both good and evil. This is the possibility that makes the most sense to me.

The first case violates the whole concept of a created universe. Any creator powerful enough to create life and everything that is would have seen evil coming. I can’t see a creator god making such a big mistake, as in, “Oops, I didn’t see that coming.”

The second case, although more plausible, violates the concept of reason. Why would a creator god create its own nemesis? The only reason I can think of is that in order to give us free will, God had to create something besides good from which to choose. If there is only one choice, free will has no meaning. This has some validity, especially if you believe that the purpose of life is change.

The third case really only violates our traditional concepts of good and evil. We have labeled good “good” and evil “bad”, but what if these are man-made constructs that misrepresent the true nature of good and evil? Perhaps good and evil are just two sides of the same coin or just two movable points on a continuum?

In a world of “us against them” don’t we always consider “us” to be good and “them” to be evil? Don’t you realize that in “their” eyes, we are the evil “them”? Who is right? Doesn’t it depend on your point of view?

If you can see the truth that there really is no enemy, it may be that the third case is the only one that makes any sense at all.

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45 Responses to “Is Evil Necessary for Good to Exist?”

  1. trylobyte Says:

    I remember when I was a kid, I asked my religion class teacher (I’m a muslim btw) about why didn’t God/Allah just destroy the devil in the beginning rather than letting it loose. His answer was something along the line of your argument about evil being a neccessary component of free will. If there is no evil/sins, people won’t be driven to be devoted to their creator. If there isn’t any divine punishment, people will take the worldly creation for granted and don’t appreciate it. In other words, evil exist to serve as a reminder or a warning of ‘what not to do’ for God.

    Which brings us to another question. Are some people just meant to be irredeamable? Like some people are ‘meant’ to act sinful for the purpose of teaching others not to follow their sinful act.

    Get what I mean? Sorry, my english is not my first language Hehe. It’s kind of confusing, good and evil are interdependent or sometimes they’re just the same. God works in a mysterious way.

  2. loopyloo350 Says:

    Without adversity how would we grow? If what God wanted was just static he would never have introduce anything into the world that would cause us to question. I can never understand why anyone would say “A god who is good would never introduce evil into the world”! How could he not? Even plants grow stronger when they are challenged. That is also why I can not understand those that believe that God and evolution do not mix. To me they seem to be a perfect fit, but I admit, sometimes I seem to see things just a little different than many other people do. Whether that is good or bad, I don’t know, but it does make life interesting.

  3. Mish Lee Says:

    Following the belief that humankind is made in G-d’s image, than it makes sense that “G-d is both good and evil”. But it also suggests that the a creator god is just as fallible as humankind, thus “Oops!” Taking a look at Greek mythology in particular, all of the deities have their faults. Zeus seduced young maidens, which made bad tempered Hera jealous and vengeful.

    perhaps Satan has always co-existed with God and the two are really just opposites that rely on one another for existence. God and Satan: The eternal yin and yang, light and dark, something and nothing.

    I believe yin and yang is necessary, from the smallest level to the biggest.

    (I’m still in coffee mode)

  4. Roger Johnson Says:

    I agree, and have held all the views expressed above, and found that doing these arguments left me empty, hungry for something other than a logical truism.

    It is when a person experiences the God beyond God that these observations and arguments are transcended, they are true even as they become secondary: Abraham, Jesus, Mohammad all knew this eventually.

    It may be time that those who have had the experience speak up, overcome the shyness that comes from what has been experienced it is true and honest, just as it is frightening.

    Perhaps more on this tomorrow.

  5. Ariel Says:

    i thought this to be very interesting. I am doing this topic for my Sr. research project ‘ can good exist with out evil and visa versa’. This article has a matrix-y whim to it. quoted from yahoo. Can one exist with out the other?

    “No, but the two can be seperated from one another.

    The fact that we can even percieve of a world with no evil, when mankind has never experienced such a thing, tells me that there is indeed a God.”

    I find this to be interesting and true.

    but could you argue it toward the other side? yes.

    but perhaps God has a reason for that evil.

  6. Ariel Says:

    what I feel it comes down do id that perspective is relative.
    Perhaps we cant understand this because of our perspective, we are bound and have to accept this as a question that can never be answered except by a higher power. Beyond knoledge you gotta have a little faith. With out faith nothing would exist.

  7. imabbb Says:

    All of you, thanks for your comments. Why haven’t I commented until now? I dunno, but let me give it a go now.

    trylobyte, I think you may have misunderstood some of what I am trying to say, but you also made some good observations. You wrote:

    If there is no evil/sins, people won’t be driven to be devoted to their creator.

    Actually, what I am suggesting is that the entity we call God is actually both the Creator and the Destroyer in one. True, evil tends to drive people toward good, and in fact this may be one of the reasons for the existence of evil – very good observation.

    If there isn’t any divine punishment, people will take the worldly creation for granted and don’t appreciate it.

    I don’t believe in divine punishment in that way. Rather, I believe in Free Will. At its very core, the concept of Free Will does not allow for the threat of hell to exist.

    Did God create us within the safety of heaven only to put us in a place where we are sure to sin and become condemned to everlasting punishment? (Gee thanks, God.) And then, did that same God offer to save us – but only on certain terms? Is God saying, “Love me or else! And you have to do it MY way or I’ll burn you in hell. Muahahahaha.” (Does that sound like a benevolent creator or something else?)

    Let me suggest that there is no hell (other than the self-created ones too many people make for themselves). God does not punish us, EVER. Rather, we punish ourselves through the consequences of our decisions. Ok, too much for here. If you want more on this, see my previous article on the meaning of life (linked in this post, above).

    Are some people just meant to be irredeamable? Like some people are ‘meant’ to act sinful for the purpose of teaching others not to follow their sinful act.

    Actually, what I am saying is that there is no need for anyone to be redeemed. We are all here trying to grow spiritually, but there is no right or wrong path, just as there is no right or wrong answer to some questions. All paths eventually lead to God because God is everything and everywhere. (I could go on about this forever…)

    loopyloo, I couldn’t agree more. I especially like how you relate the challenges that are experienced by people with those experienced by Nature. Heh, many plants benefit from being “topped” by a knowing caretaker – from the point of a single “trauma” two shoots grow, increasing yield.

    Mish Lee, as usual, you amaze me. You wrote:

    … it also suggests that the creator god is just as fallible as humankind …

    Yes, I guess it does. If what I am saying is true, God must be fallible. Heavy.

    Roger, you wrote:

    It may be time that those who have had the experience speak up, overcome the shyness that comes from what has been experienced it is true and honest, just as it is frightening.

    Just yesterday, an old friend asked me if I was noticing anything odd going on in the undercurrents of life. He added that a lot of people were in pain right now – physical, emotional, spiritual discord.

    I told him that I have been feeling a subtle shift in the fabric of what we think of as good and evil. It is like there is a sort of spiritual polarization occuring: the good are becoming more enlightened and the evil are drawing closer to the darkness. A sifting of souls, the winnowing of the wheat and the chaff.

    I don’t know, it could be that or just indigestion.

    Ariel, hello. That sounds like an interesting project. Keep us updated on your progress. You might want to check out a few of my other posts for ideas.

    On the topic of good and evil you wrote:

    Can one exist with out the other? “No, but the two can be seperated from one another.” …

    Interesting. Yes, separate just like the yin and yang. “You know the day destroys the night, night divides the day…” (The words of Jim Morrison for you fledglings.)

    Clean lines separate yin from yang, but within the yin there is a spot of yang and within the yang there is a spot of yin. Perfectly formed. Separate yet integral.

    perspective is relative …

    Yes, and this is the answer to the question the next statement presents:

    Beyond knoledge you gotta have a little faith. With out faith nothing would exist

    The question that this presents: “What should I have faith in?” The answer, from above: “Perspective is relative.”

    My point is that in absence of definitive proof as to what “God” truly is, that the only valid faith is one that allows for an infinite number of possible answers to that question. Any religion that excludes non-believers or other-believers violates the “perspective is relative” rule. There is no real way to know for sure if your version of God is accurate, even if your religion says that it is! Acknowledging this is the first step to true spiritual awakening.

    In a war, some point East and say the enemy is “over there” but if you go over there, they point West and also claim that the enemy is “over there”. Neither is right – there actually is no enemy. What a person places faith into is a matter of personal choice, and if there is an enemy, that enemy is intolerance.

    Whew, that was a long comment.

  8. William Holden Says:

    Truth exists in the “forms” lying behind reality, we see only shadows of the forms, but have to infer their existence, beauty, and perfection from the lies we live. We are always searching for this meaning, trying to discover the essence of our lives. Humans alienate themselves from each other and their desire to be united with truth is likewise a desire to find love and communion

  9. William Holden Says:

    We as humans tend to combine images, symbols, and myths to form an
    understanding about the meaning of life and convert our perceptions into our own ideas

  10. imabbb Says:

    Thanks for your very interesting comments, Billy. (Kathy came in as I was pondering your words and she gave you away.)

    Anyway, as to the first comment, it occurs to me that we are separated from these forms by a veil that we might as well call reality. (I think the forms have been called “archtypes” by others but I’m not sure.) Each of us has a unique perspective from which to view the forms, and so each of us sees them differently. Its just like when you hold a cut crystal up to the light and turn it – the color you see depends on where you are and where you’re looking.

    It’s funny. We all demand the right to believe what we want and yet so many of us choose to be intolerant of the beliefs of others. (What did one facet say to the other facet? “If you could just see it from my perspective, you’d see that my color is the true color, the only true color.” Ha!)

    And yet we all do seek meaning, love and communion. Acceptance and tolerance and a healthy dose of open-mindedness go a long way to showing people that each of us is just an individual facet on some huge cosmic cut crystal… each of us seeing the Light from our own angle, seeing our own unique color in our own unique way. But I digress…

    As to the second comment, I agree. I guess that’s why each of us has a unique perspective of the truth – and that’s a beautiful thing.

  11. Shelly Says:

    There is a larger point you are raising which most people do not even begin to address. What do we really KNOW about this entity that may have been resposible for our existance? The beliefs concerning the nature of god are just that, beliefs. A lot has been written and many claims have beeen made, much of which is contrictory or doesn’t hold up to scrutiny of the scientific process. One only has to examine the myriad of religions to comprehend that there are numerous conflicting concepts of what god’s actual essence is. I personally believe it is a rather big jump in logic to go from the belief that we are created by an entity and that this entity is a all powerful perfect god. Anyone who is objective can look around and see a very imperfect world where injustice and suffering proliferte. In order to justify this incongruant reality to the belief of the goodness of our creator theologians have been “spinning” there own rational for the truth of our physical reality. There are only two answers to this conumdrum. The first is that god is truly perfect and we must “TRUST” in the fact that his plan is beyond our puny mental abiltities to comprehend. The second is that “god” is not god in the manner religious adherents imagine him (it/her) to be and that this creator is in no way perfect.

  12. imabbb Says:

    Thanks for your comment Shelly. There is a minority who use religion in an attempt to explain God’s mysteries, but more common motives for religion have been to build personal power and to manipulate the masses.

    It may be true that God is perfect and so far above us that we must blindly trust like mindless robots. It may also be true that God is not perfect and that imperfections in the world are the result. In this case we are victims. These are not the only two possibilities though. It may be that God set up the world and introduced imperfection for a reason. For instance, free will would be a joke if perfection was the only possibility. Failure IS an option and that’s the point. (Failure doesn’t mean burning in hell though, unless that is what you want.)

    As to your main point, I agree. Someone once asked, “Is it more likely that God created us in his image or that we created God in ours?”

  13. Shelly Says:

    Your “third” possibility is one of many possibilities which can fall into my first statement of gods possible essence. As the plan plays out we may comprehend aspects of it but can never know the mind of this trascendent being. Many religious leaders and prophets have given explanations of how and why god has put man and women on this earth and believe they have the answers. I contend that only the director of this cosmic game really knows what the purpose of our existance is all about and our true relationship to him. We all have parts to play and challenges to partake of, this is where free will comes to the fore. Even Moses after seeing the burning bush and making a deal with god to free the jews, had second thoughts and his wife intereceded to allow him to build up his courage and continue on his quest. It is my belief that we will soon meet up with this being and many will be very suprised as what our existance was all about and who each of us truly are.

  14. imabbb Says:

    Yes! There is not much we can know for certain concerning the nature of God. In fact, my religion, if you can call it that, centers on two very important points:

    1. I don’t know what God is or what she wants from me.
    2. Nobody else does either.

    This is the only reasonable religion for me. God’s existence cannot be empirically proven or disproven, so it is unreasonable to say that God surely exists or that he surely does not. Likewise, it cannot be proven or disproven that God has ever communicated her will to mankind, so it is unreasonable to say that any text or religious tradition professes the “true” truth of God and mankind.

    However, I often find nuggets of truth buried in the ancient texts and traditions.

    For example, in the Christian Bible, Jesus is reported to have said that after the arrival of the new covenant, mankind was no longer under the law, but that the law was forevermore written on our hearts. I have always interpreted that to mean that mankind had finally matured to the point where we developed a reliable conscience and no longer needed to be told what was right or wrong; with the benefit of a direct link to God we could now guide ourselves through life without the need for an intermediary holy man.

    We each have our own link to God, and each of us experiences God from a different perspective. If there are 6.8 billion people on Earth, then there are at least 6.8 billion paths to God. In fact, if it is true that God is infinitely transcendant, then ALL paths lead to God.

    Because of this, I strongly encourage tolerance. We are all blind, and we all see.

  15. William Says:

    I’m still in the process of replying to your response a while back. I have just been very busy with classes and work. But I didn’t forget…I’ll be back…ha!

  16. imabbb Says:

    Actually (and I say this with a big old grin) you just did reply. Up there, one entry above this one. Yep, I’m a smartass and proud of it.

    Your response reminds me of a something. It is a fundamental concept in writing that has been termed “writing down the bones”. The idea is that you write down what comes to you in the moment. You don’t control it, cling to it, try to understand it, none of that.

    What you do is write down this pure stream of consciousness from your deeper muse before your conscious mind knows what is happening. In this way you avoid contaminating pure, unfettered thought with doubt and the chains of logic and structure.

    Is this word spelled right? Who cares? Just get the idea down before it fades.

    Wait, let me erase that and fix it. No, just keep on going, you’re on a roll.

    Is what I’m writing stupid? Maybe, but now is not the time to worry about it. Just keep writing as fast as possible!

    Once the right side of your brain is done regurgitating onto the paper the pure essence of what you are trying to say, then and only then let your left brain at it. Save the original and edit a copy. Edit, rewrite, check spelling and grammar.

    Don’t know why I wrote this except that I was writing down the bones. Was it worth reading? Maybe.

    So, the next time you take the time to read all this crap, just let your thoughts out. Nothing else matters. Have no fear, I only laugh at you when you’re not around.

  17. Chris Says:

    Actually, you made a mistake. God did not create the “garden of eden”. If you read what the bible says, it clearly states that a being called “the lord god” created the garden. Most people mistakenly believe that they are the same being, but they aren’t. If you also read in the beginning where it says man was created, it clearly says that God created BOTH MAN AND WOMAN…. at the same time.. and called them (both together) MAN. The bible later on says that the being called “the lord god” came (after God rested) and created (his version) of man from the dust of the earth and took out a rib from that man and created woman.

    If you don’t believe me, just go thru the rest of the bible and you will clearly see a pattern that God and “the lord god” entity are two separate entities. Also, if you read the parts with Moses, you will see stuff like this: “And God said unto Moses…..Then ‘the lord god’ said… ect.. Once again, people think it was just God and Moses… but if you open your eyes, you will clearly see that THREE BEINGS ARE TALKING, not two.

  18. imabbb Says:

    Interesting. I have never heard this before. I must confess that I don’t believe in a literal garden and that I use the Bible only for illustration, so it is ok if I made a mistake. The message is still valid.

    Could you tell me a little more about the difference between God and the lord god? What do you believe their roles are? Who are they? Don’t worry, I won’t flame you. I am genuinely interested.

    I did check both the KJ and NIV versions and at first glance it seems to be as you say. If you read carefully, however, the names ‘God’ and ‘the lord god’ appear to refer to the same entity. In Genesis 1 it says that God did this and that for six days as he went about creating the earth and the heavens. Then in Genesis 2 it says “When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens…”, apparently referring to the same God as in chapter 1.

    Still, I hope you will reply. It is also written in Genesis that God said “Let us create man in OUR image.” Our? It sounds like more than one entity was there at the time of man’s creation. Perhaps this lends credence to your point.

  19. maji6 Says:

    There is Good in Evil.

    If Evil didn’t exist how else would we show the opposing force of Good?

    For the Bulb to Light it takes both the Positive and Negative Current.

    Hence for our faith to light we need both forces.. we need to oppose the evil and Do the Good.

  20. imabbb Says:

    I don’t think we need to “do the good” or “oppose the evil” because good and evil are not fixed values. One man’s good is another man’s evil. For example, Americans think the our country is good and the Muslim extremists are evil. The ones we call terrorists think that America is evil and that they are fighting for the good. Who is right? Doesn’t it depend on your perspective?

    Maybe both sides are wrong. Maybe there is no enemy at all!

    In your analogy, the bulb needs both forces, the positive and the negative current. A circuit is nothing more than a circle, with energy flowing from positive to negative. In reality, the bulb requires both poles to light up, and life is no different.

  21. Quakeboy Says:

    The term necessary evil came when writing comments for an C++ application I developed…

    Then I wanted to blog on the concept, so made a search if anyone has already written about this…

    Your article is beautiful… I love the third point – God is both good and evil.. I am blogging over this concept.. you will soon get a link back

  22. imabbb Says:

    Quakeboy – LOL, inserting comments into your code is a necessary evil in a way. Thank you for your kind words.

  23. Alexander Says:

    i disagree with some of u because the fact is that the reason evil exists is BECAUSE of the devil without it we would live in a harmonising world but if the lord destroys the devil he would have to produce armageddon and he is still tring to rally as many ppl as he can to fight him satan in armageddon, the devil exists in each and everyone of us it is the basis on wether or not our willpower is strong enough to control it. the devil isnt a mediator to keep us in line, if so in this “satan fearing” world how come our prisons are full and wicked ppl are out there the DEVIL is the thought to make u think differently he is around everywhere he is described in the bible to be a beast with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns upon his head spreading slander and blaspheming gods name. ill finish this off later i am busy atm

    • imabbb Says:

      Alexander – You make a couple of good points. I agree that “the devil exists in each and everyone of us”. Light and darkness will always coexist. The biblical references made me think that your comment was just Christian dogma until I read your words, “the devil isn’t a mediator to keep us in line”.

      If this is not the devil’s role, then what is? If you read this post, you must know that I agree the devil (if it exists) does not exist to keep us in line. I have tried to clearly express what I believe the devil’s role to be. What do you think about this?

  24. Totic Says:

    I’ve learned from one of the great person in the world:

    Cold doesn’t exists, well, according to the law of physics, cold is in reality the absence of heat like darkness don’t really exists, it is also the absence of light, thus, light can be studied but not darkness and a single light from a match stick in a big dark room can conquer darkness and give light on the room, just like little “alitaptap” or firefly that shines on the evening. So, what I’ve learned, like cold and darkness, Evil doesn’t exists, it is the result of when man does not have God’s love present in their heart.

    Let God and Love conquer us, let small “alitaptap” shine on us when light is not present.

    • imabbb Says:

      Totic – If darkness doesn’t exist, how will I know when light is not present? It is the contrast of darkness that allows us to see the light of the firefly. It is the contrast between the light and the dark that defines each. And, just so you know, the greatest evil is often present in the hearts of those who have God in their hearts (or at least claim to). I watched a documentary about a sting operation in Georgia in which the police were after online pedophiles who prey on underage girls in chat rooms. They caught a dozen or so and guess what? Four or five of them were pastors or youth group leaders. There was even a rabbi! Evil and Good are not mutually exclusive. If Evil does not exist, then why did Jesus die? Is sin not considered evil to the Christians?

      If cold and darkness do not exist, then why do I shiver and run into things when I go out at night without a coat and a flashlight?

      If darkness did not exist, then there would only be light. Everywhere. All the time. There would be no shadows or any variation. Only 100% light. But yet I see shadows and degrees of luminosity in the world and in the actions of people. If there was no darkness to “dilute” the light (or visa-versa) these variations could not occur. Without the contrast of darkness, light would cease to have any meaning at all.

      If there were no opposing force of evil, then why do you think God and Love have any need to “conquer” us? What exactly are God and Love overcoming?

  25. Joshua Sommer Says:

    Good and evil should be together. We need to stop fussin’ and fightin’, we should be together yo. Instead we treat each other like dirt. We should be united. Good and evil should join together to make something completely different and new, what that is… I’m still waiting anxiously to find out.

  26. White Shores Says:

    Reading this, I’ve had a thought that maybe one of the flaw that makes us human is that we need opposites to understand. With God, he has no opposite because He is the unity of hot and cold, man and woman, light and dark, good and evil, everything. I think it’s quite possible that the universe is God, considering both encompass all, known and unknown.

  27. imabbb Says:

    Joshua – I’m waiting to find out too.

    White – Your first sentence is something to consider. I think you may be right because if we didn’t need opposites to understand, we wouldn’t really have the option of choices. Opposites and choices are kind of interlinked, so opposites might be needed for the choices that make up free will to exist. Interesting.

    As far as the rest of your post, you’re preaching to the choir. Keep spreading the word – and that goes for Joshua too!

  28. Rob Says:

    Thanks a ton for this post. I was contemplating the topic and did a web search to find you.

    This to me is the most intriguing possibility and it basically has been on my mind constantly for a week, running in the background when not at the fore:

    “God is both good and evil. This is the possibility that makes the most sense to me.”

    I feel aspects of this duality in every day life. Especially sexually. I’m thinking of the French “la petite mort” (the little death). Even in orgasm we sometimes experience a strange dual sensation of total joy and pain. Think of the act of sex (procreation specifically) like the act of creation. The release is both beautiful and terrible. These qualities are sometimes inseparable though maybe tilted more towards one or the other depending on the person or circumstances. Am I just foaming or am I onto something?

    Then I think of ‘god’ in the act of creating the universe, assuming this is true for a moment. God experiences both the sublime and awful at the same moment b/c there is a realization that all creation must encompass this duality in order for there to be a difference between what is good and what is bad.

    I’m sorry I feel like I’m not expressing this well, but I’m trying.

  29. madeline Says:

    i think before God created everything He is not the only one existing, satan was already exist at that time, because as you said to your article there must been a counterpart of a something to make it balance.
    in the beginning or the book of genesis the first version (Gen. 1 or the Elohim account) God created everything to be good, so therefore He did not created the evil, and it does not mean that if god created human and humans are sinful, God wants us to be sinned, its just that we are the one who thinks evilness not God, remember that God given us freedom, intelligence and freewill, he cannot dictate all the things he want, bec. of the freewill.
    As a human we must use our intelligence to weigh things

  30. imabbb Says:

    Rob – I think you’re onto something. In the material world, everything – including emotion – has an opposite. What ‘is’ can only exist as it relates to what ‘is not’. The point of experience moves between the two extremes along a line, or is tilted as you said, depending on the person and the circumstance. Thanks for your post.

    Madeline – I think that God is both good and evil. We know that evil exists and if God created everything, that means one of two things. Either God has always been both good and evil, or she created evil. In the first case, good and evil have always existed. In the second case, good existed first and then evil came along later. It is the first case that makes the best sense to me.

    Every one of us has always existed in the physical world with both good and evil within. If we were created in God’s image, I think it most likely that God has also always existed as both good and evil, but I concede that your position may be more accurate.

    Anyone have any thoughts on this?

  31. marwah Says:

    i agree that god created satan as a way to give us free will beacuse if all humman chose to be good or evil there would have been no point in the creation of heaven nor hell or even the creation of “us” in general. at the same time i belive that god is “good” beacuse we were not created to be perfect everyone has the ability to be good or evil i enjoyed reading your other ideas on the same subject i had never thought of the “ying and yang” possibility.

  32. Jefe Says:

    I’m very encouraged in mankind to see most of the posts I see here. Maybe it’s just the nature of the site or subject, but rational thought seems to prevail despite the HUGE potential for “drama.” Anyway, I approached an element of this subject in a final thesis while taking a philosophy class as a freshman in college. My lab teacher/TA was a staunch atheist that wanted me to explain good vs. evil in God while considering the Paradox of Omnipotence. Basically, the foundation of what this article says…(and says much more concise than I did twenty years ago, good job.) There is no good without evil and vice versa. However, what seemed to win over my lab TA was very simple. I argued that, in the spirit of Einstein, we don’t use our intillect to its full potential. Therefore, God may operate on a plane unknown, yet potentially possible for us as humans to operate. There may be a rationale that can easily explain why God can be omnibenevolent and let babies die, why God can be omnicient and seemingly not hear prayers. Most of all, omnipotent, why can’t God create a rock so heavy even He can’t lift it? I would imagine it’s all a part of the complexities of beig perfect…omnicient, omnibenevolent and omnipotent. I went on to say that those of us that do believe in God could possibly conceive of the idea that God operates on a plane well beyond human potential or understanding, and thus, we shouldn’t be able to explain His “perfection” in the first place.

    • imabbb Says:

      Thanks for your comments. I too am encouraged by many of the posts here and in other threads on this blog. Your thoughts, and the thoughts of rational people everywhere, are the reason I started this blog in the first place. I knew I couldn’t be the only one who wondered about all this stuff with an open mind.

      I’m glad your TA was at least willing to consider the existence of some form of creator. Atheists often hate to consider that their staunch commitment to the idea that there is no God is as dogmatic as a religious fundamentalist’s staunch commitment to the idea that there is a God. In fact, if you think about it, Atheism is a religion. That is, if you define religion as a personal belief in something you cannot prove. Faith is faith, no?

  33. Andy Whiddon Says:

    I am writing an essay about Adam (Genesis 2-3) and stopped to ponder your comments about good and evil. I congratulate all for trying to make sense out of a very difficult subject. For those that are trying to decide if Genesis 1 is believable, please review another essay I wrote entitled “Is Genesis 1 Believable?” URL address is: http://www.aboutgenesis.com/index.html. You will be able to find the essay about Adam from the same website when I finish it a few weeks from now. Thanks – hopefully some new ideas expressed will be meaningful and inspiring to you. I look forward to reviewing more of your blogs as the spirit moves you. PS – the Lord God in Genesis is Christ. He was from the beginning (see John 1:1-5)

  34. wolfgang Says:

    God said “let us make man in our image” according to our likeness.

    The word image may not mean what humans relate to when viewing
    themself. This word image when it was spoken may mean God’s
    thinking (concept) of what – God cared to create with power, his/her/it’s imagination. I think, I do, for I am.

    Image has to do with thought and imagination but does not imply
    that God appeared as we appear. We humans see this in reverse
    believing that we are an image (physical) when hearing these words. We are not image, we are a reality of the thought image of God,without implying he/it/she/is the same. Much belief exists around the issue that the word US – in let us make man in our image
    may be that God had a dialogue with angels. No mention is made
    that a Jesus created us along with a God.

    The word likeness could apply to what God and the angels liked
    and agreed upon in this creation story. Not meaning likeness in the
    sense that your coat looks like mine, as an example.

    Then it says “let them”. If he/she/it were alone in this creation, there
    would not be reason to follow with “let them”. Persons make their
    words according to circumstances and the circumstances do not
    say ” I will” it says let them, as it says “let us” instead of implying a let me (as in a solo creation) conotation.

    Many things are interpreted in our own understanding, as in mine.
    Yet I suggest that if one uses God to accept ones life as a starting
    point, then one should try to understand God from his/her/it’s
    point of view-Image creation. As angels were created lower than
    God so are we.

    Reason may be logic, and conscience is of God. Let your conscience be your daily guide to wherever you find or experience
    joy in this world.Logic cannot prove all things, but your conscience
    will guide you to understanding. As jesus said: “Get to thyself understanding” by the renewing of your mind.

    • imabbb Says:

      Fascinating. I have never thought that much about Gen 1:26. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

      Another possibility is that the writer of the text referred to God in the plural, in the way that monarchs often refer to themselves: “We are not amused.”

  35. Lil Miss Kris Says:

    And a few years later she commented…
    In doing a bible study over Genisis this morning I was struck with a thought of “checks and balances” this eventually lead me to your blog post.
    It occurred to me that if you look at the math alone in how the Lord created the world you will see a systematic outlining of “checks and balances”. We have darkness, we have light. The tides only go so far before its dry land etc. For me it confirms that sin would have to have a counteractive balance to it. For me that is Jesus. How can one understand the true goodness of God unless you understand the opposite of Him? I believe God allowed evil. I believe that because we are made to be inquisitive that to full love God we have to see what it is like to hate God. I didn’t understand this until my brother commit suicide. When you see the teeter totter of life with Him verses life without Him then the checks and balances start to make sense. I believe satan is nessassary for us to come to God or else He wouldn’t have allowed it. He could have created us void of thoughts and emotions to just worship Him without thought but He didn’t.

    Just my two cents.

    • imabbb Says:

      I am truly sorry to hear about your brother. Free will is a two-edged sword I think. Your idea of checks and balances sounds a lot like my ideas about duality. You should check out some of my other posts and see what you think.

      Thanks for commenting! I think you get what I am saying. 🙂

  36. Zan Says:

    I’ve always wondered about the whole evil thing,why God allowed it when He could literally crush it in a wink of an eye, but it does make sense for God create and allow evil for the good of those who will later on be called His children, to set them apart from those that don’t believe. So the second case it what I feel is true except for one thing..the fallen angel part. Think about it, why would God introduce evil in that way? Why not just create an evil being from the get go whose evil in every sense of the word. The bible does not say Satan was at one point an angel. Infact, in every verse he is referred to as the Devil, Satan, the dragon or a the serpent. There was no angel called Lucifer. If you look up that word, it’s Latin for morning star and not all bible versions have this word, yes word not name. The bible verse where(I’m not that good a bible reader that I can reference every verse)this word lucifer is used is actually talking about a human king. I think its in Ezekiel. Satan is very good at what he does. Think about this, if you were a killer who prays on children how would you get them to come inside your house for you to kill them? You’d disguise yourself as a good person, harmless, wouldn’t ya? This is the same principle Satan uses, he wants is to believe he’s just a poor old angel who did a little and was thrown out of heaven and now he’s a little not so harmful red man with a pitch fork. Well, he’s not, he’s pure evil, he’s a murderer who knows he’s going down and wants to takes as many of us down with him as he can.

    • Rob Falgiano Says:

      Hi Zan, please forgive the blatant promo, but I write about the ‘necessity of evil’ in my book “God Laughs at Dirty Jokes.” Here’s an excerpt from the chapter that you may find useful:

      FOURTEEN: IS EVIL NECESSARY? PLUS, GOD’S ORGASM

      Is god by necessity both good and evil? Again, assuming the existence of an omniscient designer, when I consider god creating the universe I wonder if he/she/it/they experienced both ecstasy and anguish at the moment of conception. Being pretty smart, god surely realized that the universe would embody an uncomfortable duality, a mutually-dependent relationship between opposites: light and darkness; hope and despair; success and failure; love and hate. These extremes are necessary for us to be able to distinguish between what’s desirable and what’s not, and to give us the opportunity to choose our path when every option is available.

      We couldn’t comprehend great beauty unless we also had great ugliness, and all gradations in between. Love requires the existence of hate to distinguish itself as the better choice. If god created everything that exists, then god is a contradictory being encompassing everything desirable and undesirable simultaneously. Perhaps god shattered itself into an infinite number of pieces to create the universe, and created its dark doppelganger in the devil.

      Since love requires the counterbalance of hate for contrast, then good requires evil, making evil necessary, and the depths and heights of each must be unlimited, or god would be imposing artificial boundaries on conduct. It’s hard to accept, but it means we need the most loving, angelic beings and the purely destructive in the same world. Life can’t be any other way than we know it. This doesn’t excuse depravity, but perhaps puts it in some context?

      Evil is restless, always trying to mine new awful depths, to shock us and wear down our will and hope in other people, and to get us to believe that sorrow, suffering, and decay dominate life. Evil works hard to recruit you. But love is always at work, too, though often with more subtlety. There are miracles of generosity and beauty every day, and people so pure of intention that their example is an inspiration reminding us how good we can be, and how nice that feels. When you’re able to absorb some of the harshness of life, but retain optimism, you’re acting as a filter, helping to cleanse the world. It’s noble and hard, but rewarding, though no one can do it all the time.

      Life’s duality, with good and bad hand-in-hand, is mirrored in sex and reproduction. The classic French literary description for an orgasm is “la petite mort,” meaning “the little death.” I think you’ll agree an orgasm is an intense release. Your body shakes with the incapacitating loss of control and rush of neurochemicals to the brain. The physical intensity is often matched emotionally. The feelings you’ve been carrying for several days, weeks, or longer, are tied in, but condensed and amplified. You may feel acutely realized, and taste bitter sweetness, like truth. It’s an act of simultaneous creation and death. You are the contradiction. You are the birth of the universe. You are everything and nothing for a fleeting moment. You know what god felt at the moment of creation.

      For males, there’s also the singular sensation of millions of mini-mes departing the body at 28 miles an hour, coincidentally the maximum speed of the fastest human alive, Usain Bolt. There’s gratification that you finally got to fulfill your biological mission, and maybe some embarrassment at being reduced to a happy animal who got his rocks off. (Bolt could give his own sperm a run for the money.)

      The release/Big Bang/orgasm is both beautiful and terrible because creation always leads to the same result: new life which will inevitably experience extreme joy and sorrow over the course of its existence. The qualities are inseparable.

      When god created all of this and us, it surely knew that mortal beings would have to contend with both the most amazing, life-affirming moments and periods of such total despair we might wonder why we were born. God’s orgasm unleashes the best and worst of everything. God too felt great joy and sorrow, rolled together like yin and yang, at the moment of conception, and there was no other way it could be.

  37. John Says:

    Finally, a place where I can exchange with people that hold dear their fate in a Creator but can also think for themselves instead of taking everything from the leaders of various denominations without questions. I will soon post my opinions on the site but for now I do not have the quality time required. Remember, Jesus warned us to examine what is being fed to us.

  38. White Unicorn Says:

    Idk about evil but i know that people are fascinating about it. Even the good folks . Thats scares me a lot

    • imabbb Says:

      My message is one of hope. To me, evil is like a shadow. If everything was light, light would cease to have meaning. Shadow defines light, just as light does shadow. (Light is a place with relatively less shadow, just as shadow is a place with relatively less light.)

      There is no need to fear the other side of the coin or the dark side of the moon. There is no need to fear “evil”. It is only the shadow that allows us to see the light.

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