Posts Tagged ‘good and evil’

What if God Was One of Us?

September 18, 2008

Circles are perfect. They have no beginning, no end – yet they are whole, lacking nothing. Circles are pure and simple – yet they wield the power to contain and define complex ideas. One example that comes to mind is the yin-yang symbol.

Dark and light interlocked in a balancing embrace. Together, light and dark are in harmony and yet that is not enough. Within the dark is found light and within the light is found darkness.

Each side contained by and containing the other – each by its opposite defined.

Could this be the nature of God? Good and evil, light and dark, creator and destroyer – together as one? Two sides of a single coin, spinning in eternity, never to be caught, both heads and tails and yet neither? Immortal brothers wrestling on the line between order and chaos?

Familiar strangers, unable to blend or to separate, neither able to win or to lose…

If people were created by such a being (one containing both good and evil), wouldn’t it follow that we would also contain both good and evil? And don’t we?

If an omnipotent and omniscient power of good pre-existed evil, then the power of good must have created the power of evil, or at least have watched it come into existence, allowed it to be. Perhaps God needed evil to exist and so he created the serpent, knowing that Adam and Eve would fall into temptation. Perhaps evil is a variable in some cosmic experiment, and we are the lab rats. Perhaps evil is necessary for us to grow spiritually.

But the more I think about it, the more I look at the yin-yang, the more I wonder. Isn’t it possible that good and evil have always existed together? That possibility gives God some humanity and makes him a little more accessible. Such a god would be keepin’ it real. Know what I mean?

Sort of like that song originally released by Joan Osborne, One of Us:

What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home

If God had a face what would it look like
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that you would have to believe
In things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints and all the prophets…

Is Evil Necessary for Good to Exist?

January 6, 2008

 

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.