If God Created All Things “Good,” Why Does Evil Exist?

Joseph’s Interpretation of Dreams in Prison, Friedrich Wilhelm Schadow

 

In the biblical account of creation we read how God made everything and then “God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good” (Genesis 1:31). In the case of humanity, we read that “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). If Adam and Eve were “very good,” and made “in the image of God,” why is it that just two chapters later they disobey God, resulting in their expulsion from Paradise? If God created all things to be very good, why does evil exist at all?

Not only did God make everything good, but he loves everything that he has made, and by his will all things remain in existence. “For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for you would not fashion what you hate. How could a thing remain, unless you willed it; or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you? But you spare all things, because they are yours, O Ruler and Lover of souls” (Wisdom 11:24-26).

Why Create Free Creatures Capable of Evil?

“God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it” (See Catechism No. 311). Free will alone cannot explain the existence of evil. If free will is the cause of evil, why would God allow that? Wouldn’t it be better to not create the possibility of evil? But without free will it would also be impossible to love. “Man, enticed by the Evil One, abused his freedom at the very beginning of history” (Catechism No. 1707). But ultimately humanity’s freedom was meant for good. “By free will, he is capable of directing himself toward his true good. He finds his perfection ‘in seeking and loving what is true and good’ (Catechism No. 1704). Without free will, it would be impossible for us to love God and each other.

God Knows How to Derive Good from Evil

Genesis is bookended beautifully. At the beginning, we read of the creation and goodness of all things. Soon we find creation has become corrupted and evil has entered the world. Throughout the rest of the book, we see the fruits of this evil: murder, fratricide, genocide, rape, incest, adultery, deception, theft, etc. And in the case of Joseph, the son of Jacob, it must have seemed that all was lost and hopeless. His brothers sold him into slavery. His master’s wife wrongfully accused him of rape. He was thrown into a dungeon. And then everything changed. He was freed from his prison and made a ruler of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh.

Then, by the providence of God, he meets his brothers who had sold him into slavery. His brothers are terrified, and react in the way you might expect, “Suppose Joseph has been nursing a grudge against us and now most certainly will pay us back in full for all the wrong we did him” (Genesis 50:15). At this point, Joseph changes the tone of Genesis. He doesn’t pay their evil with evil. He has pity on them, and explains why, “Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve this present end, the survival of many people” (Gen 50:20). Joseph gets it. The evil he has experienced has shown him the value of love and forgiveness. He has placed his trust in God, knowing as St. Paul says, “that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

The Greatest Good from the Greatest Evil

We often think the Old Testament as having the most egregious accounts of evil. And while it does certainly contain a great deal of it, it does not compare to the greatest of evils ever committed. But God knows how to draw good even from this. “From the greatest moral evil ever committed, the rejection and murder of God’s only Son, caused by the sins of all men – God, by his grace that ‘abounded all the more,’ brought the greatest of goods: the glorification of Christ and our redemption” (Catechism No. 312).

Love and forgiveness are the cure to evil. How should we respond when someone does evil to us?

About the Author

John Harden

Before joining Ascension Press, John served as the marketing assistant for Current USA, in Colorado Springs. John received his bachelors in theology from Benedictine College in Atchison, KS, and his masters in theology from Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH. He enjoys reading the writings of the saints, and regularly volunteers with Habitat for Humanity. John is an active member of St. Michael the Archangel Byzantine Catholic Church in Phoenixville, PA as well as a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus. John, his wife, and their four children live in West Chester, PA.

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  • Nona Po

    Evil does not come from GOD and HE is LOVE and all that is GOOD.

    If a person has done evil to me, I would pray for that person hopeful that one day

    he/she would realize his /her mistakes and turn to the LORD for forgiveness

    and come to conversion.

    Because it is a great concern which I cannot do much at all,
    I would entrust this to the LORD, for HIM to take care of it.

    We are all answerable to GOD. I would rather focus on my spiritual growth.

    If he/she has done something evil to me, that is his/her responsibility.

    My responsibility is to proclaim GOD’s GOODNESS and LOVE.

    Forgiveness must begin in me if I am to live a life of freedom.

    These words taken from Proverbs 16:7 really speak volumes:

    “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, HE makes even
    his enemies live at peace with him.”

  • Kevin

    “Turn the other cheek” is not always easy to do and if someone steals from us, “give them your cloak too” does not make sense but if love and forgiveness are the cure to evil then we have to try!

  • Nona Po

    Kevin, you are very right for in the end revenge is not ours to take…we leave everything to GOD, WHO has the power to make a crooked line straight.

    I would like to share with you a quote given to us by our Spiritual director, Fr. Mariano Agruda III, OCD: “There will always be suffering. But we must not suffer over the suffering.” – Alan Watts…. To suffer is hard enough. To suffer because we suffer is double jeopardy!

    We make this quote (given by Fr. Mariano Agruda III, OCD) our prayer: “May we never forget what is worth remembering and may we stop recalling what is best forgotten.” May the virtue of HOPE bring us to focus rightly so memories may heal. Amen.

  • pnkyB4brain

    God gave us free will and wants us to recognize the difference between good and evil, right and wrong. Evil continues to exist. When we sin, we can feel the affect of evil. It is as if our psyche is off balance. After we utilize the Right of Reconciliation, we learn that God’s way of life is the only way to exist. Either you are for righteousness and God or you are against Him. There is no middle ground.
    “But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again. And as you wish that men would to you, do so to them. Luke 6: 27-31
    As Kevin said, we have to give it a try!
    I do say a prayer when confronted by someone that does not like me but my human side (or Satan’s whisperings) can cause havoc within me!
    Those two paths we must choose from, going with God or being against Our Eternal Father are constantly being dangled in front of me. That is when I rely on what I have been taught and how God, our Father and Jesus, the Son of God and the Holy Spirit are my Knights in shining armor! All the persons in One God are my heroes!

  • Maria

    ‘Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them.’ (Rm 12:14) 6 months before I took the redundancy, I have been trapped by management and removed to another location. I prayed and asked the Lord to help as I checked with all people who might be able to assist me but none can help me. God has another plan for me. I was able to visit the Church daily before work, and I was in such joy and welcome by all people in the new location. After I asked the Lord for direction, the above Word appeared to me when I opened the Bible. “Bless those who persecute you”, I asked for more specific to the Lord. Amazingly, I found a display with a character ‘Bless’ written on it while I was holiday overseas. I purchased it and gave it as a gift to the person who caused me to move to another location. Things changed very fast, my plan of retirement in another 2 years brought forward as this person offered me redundancy with a package too good to refused. Ever since I moved to another location, did I realised going to daily Mass and visit the Church more often is a joy to me.

    I believe the devil cannot beat us up because God’s power of good is far great than evil.

  • George Alexa

    I often think of the evil in our society today – abortion, murder, etc., and am looking for the good that comes out of these evils…

  • DMH

    What stood out for me in today’s lesson was the discussion of free-will. I’ve often wondered why God gave man free will and today I feel like I finally understand. Without free will we would not be free to love God or each other. The “Evil-One” tries to use our free-will against God by working to have bad things happen to us in hopes that when they do, we will become frustrated and think that God is not answering our prayers or become angry questioning “why God would let this happen to me or my loved one.” If, when something bad happens, we remember that it is the Devil working through someone it might be easier for us to not take things so personally. We can look “past” the individual or group or circumstance standing in front of us
    and see that the Evil-one is behind it all. It is much easier then to turn to God when we realize that we are not dealing with the person standing in front of us, but with the Devil who is using him. Thinking of it this way, I realize that I am no match for the devil and turning it all over to God is the ONLY way to go…

  • http://www.recoveredthroughchrist.com/ Christian 12 Steps

    As believers we must get this question right because I think it is the most widely used reason for some not to believe in God or His Son Jesus Christ. John has already given the best answers. And yes, free will does not create evil. And the question is, if God created everything and stated that everything He created is good as in Genesis 1, then what is going on? I believe this is a legitimate question and as I said one that must be answered by all of us who know that God is Love and God is good.

    The evidence supports the theory that God must have created some Angels that could rebel against Him just like we can sin and fall from grace. And it stands to reason that the author of sin and evil should be the one to know how to deceive and entice us into them. The OT seems not to have as much about this evil one as the NT. John gave the Genesis references, and some scholars debate about portions of Isaiah and Ezekiel.

    And the evidence supports a leader of the evil ones. In fact, Jesus states that He saw the evil one falling from heaven in Luke 10:18

    I enjoy exposing Satan, because he wants us think he does not exist so we can blame all the evil on each other, Christians, and God. He wants us to think of him as a cartoon character. I am not afraid of him nor his demons because shortly after my conversion in 1981 I was given a vision of this beast trying to get to me, he was trying with all of his power to get into my door to kill me and God would not allow him. I learned very quickly what is was like to be a King’s Kid, a Child of the Living God! God has protected me and saved my life many times.

    Here are some references that may be of help.Satan (used 50+ times) Adversary Matthew 4:10 Devil (used 30+ times) Slanderer Matthew 4:1 Beelzebub Lord of the flies, Ruler of demons Matthew 12:24 Wicked one (or evil one) Intrinsically evil Matthew 13:19

    (John 17:15) Enemy Opponent Matthew 13:39 Murderer Causes death John 8:44 Liar (Father of )Perverts truth John 8:44 Ruler of this world Power/influence in present world system John 12:31 God of this age Worshipped by many, philosophy followed II Cor. 4:4 Prince of the power of the air Control over unbelievers Ephesians 2:2 Tempter Solicits people to sin I Thess. 3:5 Roaring lion Brutal and powerfulI Peter 5:8 Angel of the bottomless pit Emphasizes control of other demons Revelation 9:11 Abaddon, Apollyon Destroyer Revelation 9:11 Dragon Powerful, destructive creature Revelation 12:7Accuser Opposes believers before God Revelation 12:10 Serpent Original deceiver Revelation 20:2

  • Walker2

    These lessons make me think far and wide. I have been reluctant to join this conversation because of it. Today I immediately thought of all the “evil” we face worldwide and if the story of Joseph.. is in the Quran/Koran?. If it is, how can we have all the evil? In the search, again, so many interpretations I am overwhelmed. The main lesson I obtained: When you fight over the “interpretations” (man’s will) as being correct you miss the initial message (God’s Will). I pray that message eventually leads to peace. It hasn’t in all these centuries but there is always Hope

  • http://www.recoveredthroughchrist.com/ Christian 12 Steps

    I have never seen the different Bible versions as “different interpretations” as if we are all reading some different book. I have always seen them as “different versions”, “different translations”. To me, they all are telling the same thing and I have studied most versions. The books left out by the Protestants of course is a no, no, and some Protestant versions have incorrectly changed a few words here and there that are not from the original Hebrew and Greek, but mostly, even their versions can seen as sources to help us in our study.

  • Nick

    How should we respond when someone does evil to us? We should respond with Love and “turn the other cheek“, not an easy thing to do.

  • Nick

    Nice Nona, lots of great thought to consider.

  • http://www.recoveredthroughchrist.com/ Christian 12 Steps

    Especially when it comes to my dog. I see myself as being his only protector (but God is protecting him too.), and I do get very angry when people on the outside are themselves mean to him or let their dog attack him.
    I have found your question to be the most difficult for me to practice in my “walk with the Lord”. I can spend hours in praise, worship, and Bible study and the moment I walk out the door its as if I leave it all behind. Practicing the presence of God and praying without ceasing I know is the answer but if I just didn’t have to go out that door! I tell everyone, I should have been a monk or a hermit. LOL

  • Nick

    God did create everything and he did look around and see that everything was good, even perfect. Then man/woman, through their own free will, decided to disobey God and that caused their downfall.

    Free will is necessary for love. How would you feel if someone told you they loved you and later you found out it was only because they were told to do that (love you). That’s not love at all. When someone loves you it has to be of their own free will not forced upon them.

  • John Kelly

    God (and we) can draw good from evil occurences. However, that fact should not be contorted to say that God allows evil SO THAT He can draw good from it. He hates evil and never causes it – for any purpose. Human history is rife with evils; today’s are no better or worse than yesterday’s. Our response must not be a resigned acceptance in favor of some greater good that may come out of evil. Our response must always be opposition.

  • Marianne

    You guys (and gals) are bringing up all excellent points! We are definitely in the midst of spiritual warfare. I had a conversation with a deacon about this recently and was told that (surprisingly) there are a lot of priests who don’t even believe in the presence of Satan. How can we believe in God and not in Satan? He is the deceiver; he wants us to doubt and not have trust in God.

    I have seen the deceiver up close and personal… it is not a pretty sight. Even to the point of my “God bless our home”
    plaque falling on the floor and breaking into pieces. I realized that my home was NOT blessed and I had to get out of there!

    What is our greatest weapon? Prayer. Studying and meditating on the Scriptures (lectio divina). I was weak, but fortunately with the grace of God I grew stronger and was able to endure and survive.

  • Nick

    I feel that same way. I love all of God’s creations and am just awed at the beauty all around us but when it comes to people, I have such a hard time loving everyone and turning the other cheek. I constantly pray for understanding and the ability to overlook, what I think, are others flaws. I know I’m wrong to be so critical, but always backslide into that judgmental stage. Help me Lord to see your image in all who I meet, Amen.

  • Nona Po

    That’s why our spiritual assistant says it is not good to “dialogue” with temptations because we will end up as losers or we end up with “more questions than answers.” Look what happened to our first parents, Adam and Eve…Satan started with a half-truth and then they were hooked…pride and rebellion set in….”they wanted to be equal with GOD.”..”they did not trust in GOD’s words and love” for them…they misused their freedom.

    In the same way, we should not “dialogue” with our bad Memories. Once we have looked at them in the light of prayer, we move on. We focus on Christ…the Christ Who loves us.

  • Nick

    I don’t know what good, if any, will ever come from abortion, murder, etc. But I try to tell myself that it’s somehow all part of God’s plan, which we cannot possibly understand. We can however pray for those who convey evil and bring about such things.

  • Nona Po

    Thanks, Nick…it is good to know how to handle suffering as we all go through it in every stage of our life.

  • Nona Po

    HAPPY FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION TO EVERYONE! Heavenly FATHER, clothe us with CHRIST’S radiance and love so that we may radiate the same to others. In the powerful name of JESUS, WHO lives and reigns with YOU and the HOLY SPIRIT. Amen.

    Thank you so much for this series. Truly the past questions were really difficult ones to answer.

  • Walker2

    I was not referring to “different Bible versions” I was referring to the information I found in the story of Joseph in the Quran/Koran. In the definition I saw there is a difference within the islam religion on the interpretation. It appeared to me they were fighting over who’s interpretation was correct. All I could think of was human weakness and missing out on the lesson.

  • http://www.recoveredthroughchrist.com/ Christian 12 Steps

    Look what good came from the murder of Jesus.

  • http://www.recoveredthroughchrist.com/ Christian 12 Steps

    Good point. We should never accept evil. The point is more that God is in control over everything and that He can even bring about good from evil. Sometimes I do not see the good right away, sometimes it takes years and in retrospect. But God has turned every single evil thing that has ever happened to me into good. My problem is knowing He will do this during the evil situation or subsequent trauma.

  • John Kelly

    I don’t think evil is part of God’s plan.

  • http://www.recoveredthroughchrist.com/ Christian 12 Steps

    There are many who believe evil does not exist. I do not even want to venture into the rationale because most of it has to do with other beliefs other than those taught to us in the Bible and the Church. But there are many people who are confused (Satan does a good job). For example; one of our Presidents was criticized vehemently for just using the word “evil”.
    Pretending something does not exist does not make it go away!

  • Carole

    Very well written. My children have asked me “why does God allow evil to happen to me?” My answer to them is that God doesn’t cause the evil. It is because people have free will that they choose evil ways, and sometimes we are caught in it.

  • Maria

    Nice comment Nick ‘God did create everything and he did not look around and see that everything was good, even perfect.’ That reminds me of my marriage was on the rock years back. I saw the evil within us! Remember he was a good person when I married him, so I turn around myself to avoid the evil within me. Thank God for His saving power, my husband has gradually turn back to the good man I once know. Now we go to Mass together on Sunday.

  • D Landry

    You know sometimes you just have to wait on God. His perfect timing. Just yesterday my husband asked: If God is good then why does he allow killing? I will print this for him and let him read for himself. Let the Holy Spirit move him in ways that I cannot. Thank You Lord

  • Marianne

    That IS perfect! Your husband initiated the conversation you will have with him and now you can share with him the message of God’s love. You have become the instrument of the Holy Spirit. I pray for God’s blessing on you both.

  • Marianne

    May the Holy Spirit transform each one of us into the likeness of Jesus. May the skin of our own faces shine like Moses’ did whenever he conversed with the Lord (Exodus 34:29).

    Have a blessed day, all!

  • Michael J

    But all this begs the question. What about Satan? What made him fall from being the angel of light (Lucifer)? The catechism tells us that that Satan’s fall was because of envy, but doesn’t say envy of what. I came across a wonderful interpretation / suggestion – in his more perfect knowledge as an angel Satan knew that man would share in Christ’s divinity and so be raised higher than the angels, and this made him envious and so tempted man.

    But to answer the question – how should we respond when someone does evil to us? There is a wonderful account of how Blessed Mother Teresa responded to an insult. Mother Teresa went to a local bakery to ask for bread for the children in the orphanage. The baker spat in her face and refused. Mother Teresa
    calmly took out her handkerchief, wiped the spit from her face and said to the baker, “Okay, that was for me. Now what about the bread for the orphans?” The baker gave her the bread she wanted.

    It is easy to respond to a retalation of violence with more violence, but respond in love, and with the grace of God, that person may respond also in love, as that baker did.

  • Nona Po

    Amen.

  • Shae

    This essay does a good job of dealing with evil on earth but does not address the very existence of evil or the devil. Lucifer was created by God, we don’t have a history of evil before Lucifer–did Lucifer “create” evil? Did God “create” evil via Lucifer? This is the tough question.

  • kristyv8

    DMH, what a wonderful way to expain how the devil work through others. This makes perfect sense and will help me through many different circumstances. I will gain perpective and stand strong against evil works of this world & not take things so personal. A great example is dealing with a person with an addiction. You cant seem to understand why your loved one would behave in such ways. Then you realize the devil is having his way with your loved one. It’s not your loved one’s actions but the devil enticing them and “prEying” on their weaknesses…so we need to keep “prAying” harder! Thank you for helping me gain perpective.

  • Marianne

    Amen, Nona Po! Forgiving is one of the hardest things to do, but once you do it, it really is as if a weight is lifted off your shoulders. Because if you hold a grudge against someone, it poisons YOU inside, not the other person. It’s true what they say, “you can’t have a one-sided argument”. There are many times where I was determined not to take the bait and argue back. When someone says or speaks evil, you can reply with calmness and kindness. Or a “God bless you”.

  • Nona Po

    As our spiritual assistant would say, “You have beautiful eyes!” Indeed you do, Marianne! Thank you. :)

  • Marianne

    Oh, thank you! As do you, Nona Po… I feel so blessed (I’m sure you do too) that the Holy Spirit has opened my eyes to the Scriptures. It is such an adventure to delve into God’s Word! One of my favorite phrases when I see a friend who has been hurt by someone is “don’t let them steal your joy”. We can do it, if we keep our eyes focused on the Lord.

  • Nona Po

    Good reminder, Marianne! I”ll remember that: “Don’t let them steal your joy!” Thanks. :)

  • Shae

    I’m still hoping for some kind of response here…

  • Michael J

    I think this has been partly answered in other responses, including mine 7 days ago. So maybe I can expand.

    God creates out of love, for love. But we need to think deeply about love and exactly what it really is. A crucial question is:- Can you be forced to love someone? The answer is no – you can refuse. So true love HAS to be freely given. So free will is an essential element of our ability to love. If free will is removed we can no longer truly love – we become robots.

    The angels were also created out of love – lucifer means angel of light. But angels had to respond to God’s love also – and they also must have free will to respond in love see (CCC 391-395). Satan and the other angels decided to refuse that love. God has not revealed the exact nature of that refusal, but the Catechism does tell us that Satan’s fall was because of envy, but doesn’t say envy of what. I came across a wonderful interpretation /
    suggestion – in his more perfect knowledge as an angel Satan knew that man would share in Christ’s divinity and so be raised higher than the angels, and this made him envious and so tempted man

    CCC 412 explains why God did not prevent the first man sinning..

    Hope that helps

  • Shae

    I’m having trouble connecting the dots of what you’re saying. The topic was why does evil exist. So are you saying that evil has always existed for eternity like God and was always a choice for all of God’s creation? Wouldn’t that mean that something other than God existed for all eternity? If instead, all things were created by God, how would the concept of evil be excluded from this creation?

  • Shae

    By the way, I’m a new Catholic and am looking for a way to adequately explain this to atheists. I’m not trying to be combative–I want to understand.

  • Marianne

    Shae, that’s a really great question and I know I can’t do it justice. I think Michael did a good job of explaining.
    But here’s my two cents. God created the angels out of love, because God IS Love. God wanted to foster relationships of mutual love. That is, He wanted to be loved back by His creation (in this case, the angels, including Lucifer). God created beings that could “think for
    themselves” and therefore were not “forced” to bow down and worship Him. Somewhere along the line, Lucifer envied God’s power and his personality “evolved”. I don’t think evil was in the original plan of God. I may be wrong, but as I said, God IS Love.

    Any scholars out there who can shed some light on this?

    But I think that the important thing for you to remember, as a new Catholic, is that you are not expected to have all the answers. Get yourself a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) that Michael refers to, and start reading it. You can also look up topics by subject. The atheists are not going to be swayed by your answer to this question. They will be swayed by the love of Christ that they see in YOU. They will want to understand why your love for Christ has made you so happy. Perhaps that is a place where you can begin the conversation.

  • Shae

    I think I understand you to say that anything inconsistent with God’s desire/mandate is by definition evil? The very act of choosing anything contrary to God’s will is evil. From that perspective it’s not good vs evil in the sense of two great powers (most people think like this), it’s with God vs against God. Evil would then be the definition of ‘against God’ and wouldn’t have to ‘be created’ at all. Is that what you mean?

  • Michael J

    Thanks for that crucial bit of info – you are a new Catholic. There is reason and faith. Pope John Paul II said Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth. Faith helps our understanding and in turn our understanding helps our faith. We grow in both. As a new Catholic there will be many areas of incomplete understanding, and even confusion. Relax – you will grow in faith and understanding. I am a cradle Catholic, but over the years have struggled with questions – then suddenly (by faith) I come to understand. I may not be able to explain it to another, but in my heart ‘I have got it – I now understand’. Pope Paul VI said “modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if
    he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” Atheists are rarely persuaded by ‘logical’ arguments, but will be won over by the witness of love. Don’t worry at this stage trying to get an argument to persuade an atheist – I am not sure there is one. Grow in faith and love, and suddenly some issues that you have struggled with will no longer seem a problem. Marianne is right.
    It may sound like a ‘cop out’, but God is infinite and we are finite, and we cant fully understand everything, but through love we will get great peace.

  • Marianne

    What do you mean by “anything”? I think “anything” is too broad, Shae.

    Is envy evil? Or pride? Is turning others away from God evil? I think yes. It goes beyond merely disagreeing with God. I think it’s the resulting actions that make something evil. What it does to a person’s heart and soul that makes it evil. It is how we treat others that will be either good or evil. Satan is the tempter and the deceiver. He doesn’t want us to be happy with God.

    Not choosing to follow the will of God is not in and of itself evil, but the path we choose instead can lead us to evil.

    Again, just a layperson’s opinion, but I agree with Michael. Don’t overthink it. Pray for wisdom. Pray for faith. “Lord, I do believe! Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

    As you walk with God more closely, studying the Scriptures and praying often, He will open your eyes. It doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t get completed in a year. It is an ongoing, lifelong journey. Just like any relationship.

  • JOHN

    The belief in physicaL DEATH creates the belief that bad things are “allowed” to occur. There is no “mystery” here.

    The crucifixion was a “teaching lesson” that ” no living thing” dies.

    There is no “Sin” only “Error”.

    Thinking or acting in a “wrong minded” manner induces suffering and guilt.

    Error is part of free will and is ESSENTIAL to learning.

    Error “can be” corrected by changing ones thoughts and actions.

    Hence, free will.

    Peace and Happiness is what we all search for.

    Salvation is found in peace.

    Hence, think and act in a “right minded” manner as it creates peace and no one can be happy unless they are at peace.

    The “World” is where we learn and undo our illusions through trial and error, the lesson of undoing our “illlusions”, our wrong mindedness.

    God does not allow real death, it has no meaning as life has no opposite. No “real” harm is allowed to ocurr. PERIOD. No death, therefore no guilt no harm, only love and peace.

    There are no “victims” as no “real” harm is allowed to happen because real death does not occur. Everything is a learning lesson, everything.

  • Greedav

    My point of confusion is this. God has free will. God is good. God does only good. Humans have free will. Humans are good. Why, then, do we commit evil? Is it possible for God to have created a being that is weak enough to give in to temptation? Even though humanity has free will, we are God’s creation. Doesn’t that mean that we should be capable of resisting evil?

    Also, if we look to the very beginning of Genesis, humanity was created in a state of innocence and ignorance. God intended for us to be forever ignorant of the existence of both good and evil. If we did not know evil, how could we have sinned? The Serpent claims that God knows good and evil, yet he is the father of all lies. Could it be possible that good and evil do not exist? That when the serpent opened our eyes, he was deceiving us? Of course, if this were true, why did Christ come to save us? From what did we need saving?

  • Michael J

    The essence of our understanding of free will is to understand the nature of true love. True love is freely giving of yourself. The important word is FREELY. If you are foreced to do something, it is not love. The logical consequence is that it you have to freely say ‘yes’, then you can also say ‘No’.
    The test Adam faced, responding to the temptation of Satan, was whether to choose death for the sake of his bride Eve, or the immediate ‘gratification’ of accepting the devil’s lie that he would not die. In essence it is chosing the created thing, rather than the creator. At its deepest analysis all sin falls into this understanding – immediate gratification from the ‘goods’ of this earth (but usually used in an improper way) [Dont forget temptation always looks attractive] or to choose God, whose overflowing abundant gifts which we will receive in fullness in heaven, though God does give us gifts in this life also.
    We can resist evil – but only with the help of God’s grace.
    Your question about what we need saving from is answered by God in Genesis. Dont forget there are two types of death, physical and spiritual. Adam did not physically die the instant he ate of the fruit (Gen 5:5 he lived 936 yrs), but he did instantly die spiritually by being separated from God. We were expelled from the garden of Eden lest we reach out and eat from the tree of life, and so live for ever (Gen 3:22-23) and live for ever separated from God. And that is what we needed saving from, and importantly saved FOR heaven, which Jesus Christ then did by reversing what Adam did. In the Garden (now Gethsemane) he did NOT fall to the temptation to have ‘the chalice pass from me’ (Matt 26:39) but instead accepted his Father’s will ‘But thy will be done’ and so went to the Tree of Life (which all the Church Fathers interpreted as the Cross). The Tree of LIfe is mentioned again at the end of the Book of Revelation (Rev 22:2) from which we shall be fed.
    Hope that helps

  • casey anderson

    My son and I have been discussing this for weeks now, we are both struggling with our faith, so the one burning question my son has and I have no answer for is this.
    If god is only good how could he do evil things. See Job. Was it not evil to cast out adam and eve? Was it not evil to let the devil mess with Job? Secondary question, if those things aren’t evil why not?

  • Maria Furnando

    Free will is stupid and humans r just plain dumb and evil and what kind of free will do the poor farm animals who are a trillion times better then any human