Evil can be understood and discussed in a vast amount of ways with many different understandings. Evil is a very complex subject that many consider unpleasant, however, evidence shows that evil does exist; and has existed since the beginning of time. When thinking about evil it can be dark and out of which no good can come. According to the text ‘evil signifies that which is morally bad or harmful (Thorsen, 2008) Many different things can be seen as evil such as money and ignorance. In addition to thinking of all that is harmful and bad when we think about it from a theology stand point, we think of the devil that is personified as Satan. More importantly, how do we view evil? Do we relate to evil as a person, the act of what a person does, or simply just as a thought? What I also found interesting is that our text did not look to evil as being a person, but a “privation of good.” Basically, the way I understood this is evil is an action or wrong doing of anything that God would not see as good or act so in a way that God would be pleased with. ‘Professional philosophers tend to think of the problem of evil as a question to be tackled within the philosophy of religion as a distinct domain of reflection and not primarily in moral or political philosophy. It is not absent from the latter domains, but standardly philosophers in the Western tradition have defined the problem of evil in connection with the belief in God’s absolute goodness and power, and their compatibility with the given fact of evil.’ (Desmond, 2015) If God is known as being good, then why is there evil? Maybe even more importantly we ask ourselves why does God let so many bad things happen, or why is this happening to me? How then does one say God exists if God created all, but in turn did not create evil?
Understanding free will plays a large role in what makes evil exist or possible. This is not to be confused with the idea that God had created evil or encourages evil, but rather he has given all creation the opposition to exert free will. ‘When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. (James 1:13-14) It is the person who chooses to oppose God’s wishes when we act in sinful nature. ‘There is what is sometimes called the free-will theodicy. In this case, our power to affirm well or negate it, indeed revolt against given good, is central. The enigma of the mysterious letting of freedom, by the endowing God, is central. Our free allowance to refuse well is not itself refused by the goodness of the endowing God.’ (Desmond, 2015)
Now that we further understand what evil is, what exactly are the problems with evil? More so if God is all powerful, all loving, and evil still exists why does God not step in? Theodicy gives us a touch into understanding God’s power. It is defined as ‘the defense or justification of God’s power and goodness in a world in which evil exists’ (Thorsen, 2008)) When we seem to find one answer it seems to only arise more and more questions. Some say God simply does not have the power to stop the evil, some say his power is persuasive but cannot prevent the evil from happening. Or in some cases, this is where people lose faith or science tries to disprove the pure existence of God at all. “Some philosophers have argued that the presence of evil disproves the existence of God. The objection usually runs something like this: evil is something; God is the creator of everything (other than himself); therefore, God created evil. Because a good God would not create evil, the critic argues, God does not exist.” (Siniscalchi, 2015)
After all omitting to evil or even helping to fight evil does not always have to do with the means of money. Could they simply share a message with those to truly make a difference since they have so many followers? However, God should be seen as having the most followers and you should not need a Hollywood role model to convince you in the good and bad to life. I think when it comes to Theology, in general, there is always more to the story. For every thought I think we have, there are a deeper picture and a deeper meaning. There is not just one piece that fits into the puzzle. That is how I feel would be the easiest to resemble understanding and processing the idea of evil. An important correlation of evil is that it can potentially pose one of the greatest threats to God his existence.
The problem does not always arise just with the fact people question God’s existence, but there evil is deeper than just actions and words. With Evil is there are two different types of evil, moral and physical. The moral is what would be easiest to relate to what pertains to our free will. Opposing to moral evil there is physical, and physical also described as natural evil in the text are things such as earthquakes and natural disasters. Again we ask ourselves why God would do this. We have come to accept the fact we are by nature sinful and go against the way God wishes us to utilize free will, but why natural disaster? God is all- powerful, all-loving, and with that, we need to accept that evil itself does exist. ‘Throughout most of church history, Christians have believed that natural evil is best accounted for by the hum a fall into sin. This view is still predominant in various Christian circles today. ‘ (Ortlund, 2015)
First and foremost the consensus of church history is that “God indeed is the Creator of all that there is and that God continues to care about the world in preserving, guiding, and cooperating with it. Although there are various understandings of God’s providential work, Christians seek to learn more and more about how to mature in their relationship to the divine, and how their lives and the world might be transformed as a result.” (Thorsen, 2008) It is important to understand and to accept that God did not create the evil that we have within the world today, but that there may be no intervening that can be done by God. By acknowledging the transformations we need to make ourselves we can help to live a life of less evil and in a more divine fashion. Evil within us as in we are by nature sinful has been recognized since biblical times. So if we are born by nature sinful, how do we enter the world with a fair chance to manage our sin? The easiest way to recognize this would be one of the sacraments. The sacrament of baptism is seen as a blessing to us. Although there are multiple sacraments we are blessed with it is clear to define a sacrament as “a religious rite ordained by Jesus Christ and believed to be a formal means of receiving God’s grace.’ (Thorsen, 2008)
There are the specific powers: ‘Satan;’ ‘Sin.’ and ‘Death that is are well dispersed throughout the New Testament, with this we can say that evil is recognized and still there is a God. Throughout all of this, we need to seek God and do all that we can to live our holiest possible life. After all the blessings we receive from God it seems that is the least that we can do, and that is our best to live a life that God asks from us. “Deliver me from the hands of evil spirits who have dominion over the thoughts of men’s hearts, and let them not lead me astray from thee, my- God’ Job. 12:20)”There are the specific powers: ‘Satan;’ ‘Sin.’ and ‘Death that is are well dispersed throughout the New Testament, with this we can say that evil is recognized and still there is a God.
It is important to recognize that it is in The Old Testament discusses the creation of Heaven and Earth and miracles, but it is the New Testament that teaches us about evil and first talks about the eternal damnation and Hell. The problem of evil also gives way to the notion that if hell exists then would we be able to then say is God evil for sending anyone there to be condemned for a punishment in eternity.
When we think of Heaven and Hell do we think how ones may get there? Do we think about what really causes us to be evil? Can we believe that other may be eviler or have more opportunity to be evil? I think this is one of the harder things to discuss seeing as it feels evil to judge others based on their actions when we know that we can be judged for the same recourse. In researching for this paper I found an interesting controversy on does glamour come with higher principals of evil? After all, those who live in the spotlight seem to have the most means and recognition that they would truly have the opportunity to do some good. Consider many celebrities my question is whether we would want to spend time as close friends with those concerned first with maintaining their image. You would think with fame that it would make it easier for people to be better, to be kinder, and more compassionate with those who are less fortunate. However, on the contrary, is it fair to expect more out of those who are more fortunate? A Bible verse that most closely relates to this idea is from the book of Psalm 141 verse 4 ‘Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies.’ Although not relating to eating their delicacies, it can be those of us falsely idolizing those whom we should not.
What would be important to take away from understanding about evil is that God is, in fact, omnipotent and omnipresent while being aware of the evil. More plainly said omnipotent tells us that God is all power, and that omnipresent is God is all knowing. God does not just let evil occur, but it is most relatable to one of the gifts God has bestowed upon us as humans, that is the gift for free will. All though omnipotent and
Omnipresent God is also wholly immanent. By understanding immanence, this is telling us that God is aware and present of the suffering that we are incurring. Many may take it as an evil act on God’s behalf to not step in or to allow for the suffering, however, there is more than just the fact that evil is in existence. This leads us to our faith, we need to let our faith be stronger and ask for the Lord’s forgiveness. We have control over asking for God’s forgiveness as well as the opportunity to act upon what needs to be done. Without placing blame into God’s hands we need to realize that yes God permits evil to be in the world, however, he did send his one and only son to save us. A selfless gift given to us should be seen as that much greater than the despair and suffering that we may see every day or those we may face ourselves. “Do not be afraid,” Samuel replied. “You have done all this evil, yet do not turn away from the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart.’ (1SAMUEL 12:20) God is a loving God and that is where I think we find the most trouble with the topic of evil. We must know in our hearts and the strength of our faith to be able to not waiver when it comes to evil being such a dark subject in looking into it further.