Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Working Definition of Evil


       I cannot accept that evil is an inevitable byproduct of creation, as the Alexandrians propose. I believe that free creatures make unnecessary choices for evil, which opinion I think Irenaeus would support. I agree with the Alexandrians that evil is lack – but not with their idea that creatureliness lacks something. A creature is less than its Creator, true, but this is good and not evil. Rather, it would be evil for a creature to strive vainly to be uncreated. (That may be the very sin of Satan). Evil is to strive against what is – or to strive to be what one is not. Goodness is to be what the Creator creates one to be. For the Creator, goodness is simply to be. Each creature is created good – without any evil at all. Freedom, which contains an inherent potential for evil, is itself good.
       Evil has no being. It is neither creature nor attribute of the Creator. Nonetheless, evil beings do evil things. Good creatures with freewill have the potential to strive vainly against goodness. Beings that strive against being are evil. All evil - both moral evil and all suffering and death – results from this vain striving, which is sin.

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