Thursday, September 13, 2007


We had a nice discussion on the origin, nature, and end of evil today (Declamation in Lordship), and I have come to slightly modify my view.

The end of evil is nothingness, which I have held for a long time. The nature of evil is always progressing towards its end, the only variation being the rate: amble downhill or swan dive off a cliff?

The origin is somewhat new. I hadn't considered it until I hit the later portions of City of God, in which Augustin(e) discusses it to some rather considerable length. He was still obfuscating "round about a meaning" a hundred pages after my attention span had begun dwelling upon exactly what our carpet might taste like (rather dry; needs vacuuming).

It's somewhat of a chicken or the egg quandary, so let me try out a few axioms, a la Euclid, though it will probably work as well as a la Descartes: "cogito, ergo sum. Cogito? Cogito cogito, cogito? Ita. Cogito, ergo cogito. Cogito. Cogito? Sed..." This is why Descartes started using heroin.

1). God freely and unalterably ordained whatsoever comes to pass.
2). Evil came to pass.
3). "aardvark" is one of the great words of the English language.
4). Creation was "all very good".

And here is one that I would propose, but may or may not fly with all of you. If you can disprove it, I'll think of something amusing to do when I feel like it.

5). All that exists is for the glory of God.

So, we know that God is responsible for evil, and we know that He is not the author of it.

We also know that it came to pass sometime between the initial creatio ex nihilo of Genesis 1:2 and the 2nd chapter of Genesis.

If we accept axim #5, and we go by Isaiah 14, then this is what we can say so far as Satan is concerned: He was created to glorify the infinite God, and chose, in the perfect plan and will of God, to glorify his finite self.

He failed.

The chicken or the egg (obviously the chicken) is here: God created Satan, and all of God's creation was all very good. Evil comes from evil desires (namely pride), but where do the evil desires come from? A shift of focus from God to self. Is that not evil in itself? Then where did it come from? Evil desires. And so on and on it goes. At this point, I'd like to mention that my brain is full, and Satan sinned, so tace, and we'll move on.

The movement of evil from infinite good to the absolute negation that it ends up with is not surprising, considering what the first movement of evil is: a decision to glorify the finite self over the infinite God.

This is all I feel like writing at the moment; interesting things to dwell upon are the distinctions between different types of evil: "natural" disasters, evil objects, evil actions, and evil desires.



Ben said...
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Ben said...

We must except that God is sovereign; in which case, he allowed evil to occur and ordained the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. I believe God allowed evil to happen so that he could show his amazing grace to us by making the ultimate sacrifice for his creation. God did not create evil because he is a righteous God and that would go against his divine nature. The question immediately comes to my mind, “Why did God create evil and thus damn some of his creation to hell?” I think Romans 9:14-24 does a good job explaining why God does what he does. There are probably better passages out there that illustrate this, but I couldn’t think of them off the top of my head.

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Jesse Broussard said...

Fully agreed. This post is more "what evil is" than "why did God cause it".

Ben said...

"What evil is" That's not something that I want to stretch my brain around right now. However, I know for certain that I (by myself) am most definitely evil and God is most definitely good.

Wodehousian Fun