by Frank Muller
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One of the great philosophical questions is why does evil exist?
Let us probe that query for a while and see if there are any insights, we may be able to draw out from this important question.
Are animals’ evil?
When a lion kills a giraffe, is that evil? One answer to that question may be no. The reason for that consideration is that one animal kills another out of instinct. There is no intention to do “evil” but simply to do what it needs to do in order to survive. These evolutionary instincts possess neither “good” or “evil” classifications for one very important reason.
Intentions. An animal does not for even one second stop and consider any aspect of morality, ethics, philosophy, religion or any other form of reasoning. The animal simply acts of instinct in order to preserve its’s life and perpetuate its’s species.
When a human slaughters a cow for meat, is that evil? The answer to this question may be no as well. The reason for that consideration is that like the animal a human acts in a primal instinct in order to preserve its’s life and perpetuate its’ species just like an animal does.
So, why then do we think there is a difference? This is because we all feel some sense of morality and decency as to how the animal is treated and dispatched. This exists alone within the confines of humanity. We know suffering. We know cruelty. Animals experience these things; they do not know these things.
Thus, humans know that our intentions must be correct and that there is a “good” that should be adhered to. In the context of slaughtering an animal for food, we correctly view that the method should be just and humane and with some degree of dignity.
So, back to the question of evil? If both animals and humans possess the innate right to preserve thier lives and perpetuate their species as a common good, then what is evil?
Humans have a fully conscious and reasoning mind. That is, we can transcend above base instincts and choose our actions or behaviors unlike animals. This is the basic notion that love exists in humans and from that love flows a whole host of morals and virtues that exist outside of instinctual utility.
Love is the expression of freely choosing the good. Animals can neither freely choose nor cognitively understand the good. It is this two-part nature of love – that we are free and that we can choose the good – that define us as humans and reveals the nature of our Creator.
Those are the only two options that separate us from the animals. We are given the ability to be free to learn and know the good and then choose to do the good. Therefore, there is only love and from that love flows freedom and it is when we freely choose the good that we become ordered to the Love that creates.
Thus, an argument can be made that evil does not exist. Evil is simply the absence of good. Any thought, word, or deed that is not freely chosen towards the good is a separation from the good. Evil is separation from the good and thus powerless against the good. It is our own choices to choose evil (or our own personal definition of the good) that disorders us.
This is why in every human being, no matter the gravity of the evil they may have committed, one can still find aspects of the good. Adolph Hitler was known to be wonderful and kind to children that he met. Osama Bin Landen was considered to be a doting and loving father. Ted Bundy was thought to be friendly and brilliant. Clearly, each of these men could and did commit great evil but within their lives there could still be times when they loved, they sacrificed, and they worked for their definition of love.
Think of it this way, in a simple illustration – if every single human fully and freely chooses to live the identical interpretation of the Ten Commandments then no evil could exist here. Further, if every single human being fully and freely chooses to love the Creator and His created more than themselves, there would be no evil.
This is why no form of government; no amount of legislation can ever solve the sin problem in the world because choosing the good must be free and must be personal. It must also become obedient to what good is and not try to assert false goods.
What is a good? It is an absolute and objective thing. There are no exceptions. This is how we know the good. Think about it, if one should not bear false witness then all half-truths are full lies. Truth is absolute and those that trade in half-truths trade in full lies. This is the great tell of evil. It can only exist by cloaking itself in an apparent good.
Without that cloak of apparent good, it would be rejected in every instance. Thus, we can rationalize great or small evils by the thin veneer of half-truth. Word parsing, omissions of uncomfortable facts, relying on strict legal language in order to avoid seeking the good of another are all forms of dysfunction.
The positive and joyful knowledge though that we can come to know what the good actually is and to freely choose to become obedient to it is what it means to be truly alive. To live is to know the Truth and that Truth will set us free to love.
So, fear not the question of evil for it is powerless and it is empty. Fear only the absence of good in ourselves and in others. Work to come to understand the good and true and then become obedient to it. Share the good news with others to so that all can come to know and freely choose the good.
No matter what occurs in our lives, this transcendent aspect of our being, is free to love and to be loved. This is the eternal, this is the good, this is the Love we are all seeking.
May Peace be with us all.