|Originally Broadcast Mar. 22 & May 24, 1997||
Last Revised Jan. 25, 2001
INFINITY #6: The Problem of Evil.
by Daniel H. Harris, Ph.D.
I. The Questions.
Is evil just as strong as good? Has
there always been evil? Where did
evil come from? Is there a way to
gain the ascendancy over evil? This
INFINITY will answer these important questions.
II. The New Age That Isn't New!
Everywhere you look these days, the media are promoting New Age ideas;
suggesting that all is God; that God is a built in aspect of the universe, a
force to tuned in on and exploited; and suggesting that both good and evil are
eternal and equally strong. Star
Wars characters tell us that there are two sides to the force; suggesting that
God is an impersonal force with two sides; that God is a hidden power for either
good or evil. The media promote
magic and the occult, with the psychic friends network, the X-files, and occult
filled science fiction.
These ideas are called New Age, but this thinking is not new at all. These are in reality forms of pantheism,
perhaps the oldest primitive religion; seen today in Wicca, Taoism, Shinto,
Buddhism, Hinduism, many modern sects, and in native religions around the world. The shamans and priests of these
religions have been promoting the impersonal God of forces for thousands of
years. Pantheists see God in all
things, so everything is a God, men, animals, forces of nature, even trees and
Pantheists say that the universe is eternal, [see INFINITY #2 to see that
the universe is not eternal]. They
say that God is an eternal aspect of that eternal universe, and that everything,
both good and evil, is a direct or indirect action of God. Since pantheists see God as an
impersonal force having both good and evil aspects, pantheists recognize no
Pantheists see God as an aspect of the universe, a force of nature,
present in nature, in animals, and in the earth itself; but having no
personality or consciousness. Pantheists
see all life as part of God, part of a universal progressive evolutionary force. And since God is in everything, and
everywhere, pantheists expect to see life everywhere in the universe.
Pantheism is being widely promoted as the religion of the "Age of
Aquarius," which will bring in an idyllic "New World Order." Many defenders of the environment have
already embraced pantheism, seeing nature as a god-force, and seeing mother
earth as living, the great mother
IV. The Scientists Align With the Pantheists.
A hundred years ago practitioners of the hard sciences avoided even the
slightest hint of the supernatural. But
these days many influential physicists [in agreement the astronomers and
cosmologists] advocate an idea not far from pantheism. These scientists suggest that human
consciousness and perceptions create a new reality from moment to moment, making
each human a god. [This supposedly
occurs when human consciousness and perceptions manifest random quantum events.]
[see INFINITY #5 for a discussion of Quantum Theory].
In the biosciences, some prominent supporters of evolution say [since
evolution is so fantastically improbable] that evolution must be guided, there
is an inevitability about evolution, that evolution must be carried forward by
some god-force principle, so they are agreeing with pantheism.
So the scientists are joining the chorus of the pantheists. And along the way philosophers, artists, politicians, even
some theologians, are moving toward pantheism.
The merging of these once divergent world views is well under way in the
media, in many technical publications, in journals and in many academic books. We seem to be nearing the time when the
pantheists will seek the ascendancy and declare the new world order.
V. An Eternal Struggle?
The symbol of pantheism is the Yin/Yang.
Surely you've seen it, it's a circle divide into a dark side, and a light
side, separated by an S shaped line. This
ancient symbol is the center of the Korean flag.
The Yin/Yang symbolizes the principle of eternal dualism, of balanced
contrary forces; of male and female, of sun and moon, hot and cold, wet and dry,
good and evil. In some forms of the Yin/Yang, on the dark side there is a
light dot and on the light side there is a dark dot. These dots are present to symbolize the
belief of pantheists that even in the light there is some darkness, and in the
darkness there is some light; the belief that good is not all good, and that the
evil is not all bad.
The Yin/Yang reminds us that pantheists believe that good and evil are
equal and balanced forces, that the universe is eternal, and that good
and evil have always struggled, and will always continue to struggle.
VI. Contrasting Good and Evil.
To find out if evil is just as strong as good, to find out if evil is
eternal, to find out where evil came from, we begin by contrasting good and
evil, based on experience and common sense.
1) We know that the good builds up, and evil tears down;
2) that good is sincere, forthcoming and truthful,
while evil is sneaky, secretive
3) that good is gentle and merciful,
while evil is vicious, and
4) that good promotes love and agreement,
while evil promotes hate and
5) that good brings oneness and peace,
while evil brings conflict and
6) that good is humble and seeks to serve,
while evil is prideful and seeks
7) that the good are generous, which tends toward abundance,
but the evil are selfish, tending
8) And we know that good is creative,
while evil is destructive.
We know that good and evil are indeed opposites, even as the pantheists
say. But are they equal, and are
VII. The Pivotal Argument.
Now to answer these questions we will use some very basic logic.
Panic! Its not that hard. ----- Just follow along.
Some Very Basic Logic.
Central in our discussion will be the idea that the real world and the
world of logic are related. To
understand this, you need to understand just a little bit of basic logic. What is possible or impossible, in logic is determined by the
idea of contradiction. For example,
if we say that the universe exists, we can't say, at the same time, that the
universe doesn't exist, that would be a contradiction [considering the ordinary
meaning of the words]. To say that something both exists and doesn't at the same
time, is a contradiction, and impossible. It
must either exist, or not exist, it can't be both opposites at once.
Now that you understand the idea of contradiction, and the fact that
contradictions show us what is logically possible, and what is logically not
possible, we assert that, anything that is real and exists, must be logically
possible. And we assert that
those things that are logically impossible don't exist, since the existence
of the logically impossible would require the existence of a true contradiction.
Applying Basic Logic.
With this basic understanding of logic, let's examine the classic argument regarding the universe and God.
The argument goes like this:
1) Every event has a cause or causes; *
2) If we trace causes backwards in time, far enough,
we must come to a first cause. Even if
there were an infinite number of events in the event sequence, there would be a
first number in the sequence.
3) The first cause, is the cause those events following, and the
cause of all other following causes.
4) There can be only one first cause.
5) The first cause has no cause, because it is first.
6) The first cause is necessarily self-existent.
Since this first cause is not caused by anything else, this first cause
must necessarily be self-existent. Because,
nothing can cause itself, or exist before itself, there must be only one
self-existent first cause of everything. Any other conclusion would be logically impossible. Therefore, this argument must be true. There must be just one self-existent,
first cause of everything else.
* In INFINITY #5,
"The Future and Dr. Heisenberg," we demonstrated that it is
unreasonable to suppose that there are real chance events. And we showed that the idea of uncaused
events is by its very nature not testable and this proposition is therefore not
science. And we assert therefore,
that all events have causes and there can only be one first cause of everything
In INFINITY #2,
"Purpose and Order in the Universe," we showed that the law of
decreasing order in the universe proves that the universe must have had a
beginning. Therefore, we know
that the universe is not eternal, and the universe can't be the
eternal self-existent first cause of all things. In that program we also showed that the order in the universe
must have been put into the universe from outside. That is, order in the universe, must be due to a cause
outside of the universe, which existed before the universe. So the universe has caused properties.
The Universe Cannot be the First Cause!
There can only be one first cause, and the universe is not eternal, so
the universe can't be the self-existent first cause of all other things. There must be some other first cause,
which is the cause of everything, including the universe. And we assert that it is reasonable
(by the ordinary definition of the words) to call this first cause of all things
God. Therefore, there is a
God who/that made the universe.
VIII. The First Cause Must be a Good God.
There must be a first cause which was and is beyond the universe, and
who/which existed before the universe. This
first cause, of the universe, the contents of the universe and the properties of
the universe; we will call God. Since
creation is positive action and so is a good action, we can identify the
original creator as good and God; therefore the good God. So we have demonstrated that all things
in the universe, the properties of the universe and the universe itself, are the
result of the creative action of this good God.
Since there are no chance events [see INFINITY #5] the universe is not an
accident, and the universe must have been caused by God. This creative act is evidence of a
willful action, a choice. This
demonstrates that this good God is not just a force. This good God is an intelligence with
consciousness. And the incredible
orderliness of the universe shows the very high intelligence of this
consciousness which is the good God.
[The laws of nature are exactly what they need to be for there to be life
on planet Earth. This shows that
the good God knows how to take care of created beings.]
IX. Evil Must Have Arisen Out of Creation.
We know that evil, by its very nature, is destructive, always tearing
down what already is. And therefore
evil is by its very nature never creative.
So evil didn't create itself or anything else. And since the universe and all its
contents came to be by the action of the first cause, the good God; evil must
therefore be a result of some creative act of the good God.
X. Evil is Secondary, Not Original.
Since evil is destructive and stands against all creative action; if, at
any point, evil were as strong as good; then evil would have opposed the
creative action of God. If evil
were as strong as good, then and there would be no universe, the universe would
not have come to be, being resisted by evil. or if the universe came to be it
would have ceased to exist by the destructive action of evil. But the universe does exist, having been
sustained until this day. The
existence of the universe shows that creative good has always been stronger than
This demonstrates that evil is a weak secondary property
of the world, and not a primary property as the pantheists believe. This
also proves that evil is not eternal and not equal to good. So we have answered our first two
questions. Evil is not eternal and
evil not as strong as good.
So there are two questions remaining.
How did evil come to be? And,
is there a way to gain the ascendancy over evil?
XI. Creative Good Can't Be the Immediate Cause of Evil.
Since it is clear that creative good and destructive evil are opposites
and incompatible; creative good can not be the immediate cause of destructive
evil. There must be an intermediate
If the first cause of all things, the creative good God, at all times
maintains absolute control of every cause and every consequence, then there will be good
only and evil can never come to be. In
such a circumstance, everything in the universe is a pure reflection of the good
XII. A Universe of Totally Obedient Machines, Or....
Imagine yourself as creator. If
all created things, including living things, do exactly what you have designed
them to do, if every living thing serves you without question; then, as they
respond to you, all your experiences with them will be consequences of your own
originating actions, all resulting interactions will flow from your original
design decisions, like the response of programmed computer. The entire universe is then just an
extension of your own supernatural consciousness; and the universe then has no
independent consciousness. The
creator in relating to such totally obedient, programmed beings, would only be
relating to extensions of Himself.
Since the good creator God can by creative action do whatever is
pleasing, if God were self focused, then God would only create those things
and/or beings which would be convenient, which would never cause a problem,
which would always align with the overall plan.
But such a universe populated with totally obedient machines could never
be as stimulating as a universe populated by beings with independent
consciousness. There would always
be something missing if there were no independent consciousness.
XIII. The Key to Creation is Selfless Love.
Those with great wisdom and experience know that the ultimate in good is
selfless love, a willingness to give even when it hurts, to sacrifice self for
others. And since the good creator
God is very good, it is reasonable to suppose that the good creator God acts in
selfless love. But selfless love
can only be expressed between two sentient independent beings. No one can love a perfectly obedient machine.
Thus for God to act in selfless love there had to be another, there had
be at least one other independent consciousness. And if you create one, why not many?
Thus it appears that the good creator God, in order to take action in
selfless love, in order to have the fullness of creation, in order to fully
express the essence of love, the good creator God made independent
XIV. Independent Consciousness.
In order to go beyond the creation of space, time, matter, energy,
natural law, etc.; in order to create separate consciousness, the creator must
permit and enable independent thought, thought which is not just a reflection of
the creator's own thoughts, thought which is truly independent consciousness.
So, if the creator chooses to make truly independent beings with
independent consciousness, in so doing the good creator God opens the door to
error, conflict and evil. And we
can be sure that the good God did indeed create independent consciousness, human
beings are the evidence of that action.
The good God's choice to create independent consciousness certainly
follows from His essentially creative character, which cannot be fully expressed
without the creation of truly independent consciousness, consciousness which is
not just an extensions of His own consciousness.
The good God's creative character can only be fully and perfectly
expressed in the ultimate creative act, the creation of independent
XV. Independent Consciousness Did Foolishly.
We can say from our own common experience that there is evil in the
world, and that evil is always asserting the freedom to do evil without
restraint. Thus we see that
independent consciousness brought evil into the world by choosing to do
foolishly, by choosing the path of self-will, by overruling the selfless wisdom
of the good creator God. So we have
answered the third question. Evil
came to be by the choice of beings with independent consciousness, beings
created by the loving action of God.
XVI. Doesn't This Sound Familiar?
This demonstration of how evil came to be sounds oh so familiar, it
sounds very much like the events described in the Holy Bible in the book of
Genesis. Yes, everything we have
demonstrated is in perfect agreement with the account given in the Holy Bible.
There can be one and only one good creator God, and it is He who chose to
create beings with independent consciousness, that He might fully express His
love. And it was those beings,
beginning with the first evil one, who by the action of free will, introduced
evil into the world.
This good creator God is well described in the Holy Bible He gave us. And through this, His revelation, He has
shown us the way to overcome evil.
[If you need further evidence that the good creator God is the God of the
Holy Bible, then please see INFINITY #2, #4 & #8]
XVII. Victory Over Evil By ....
Since evil came about through the action of independent consciousness,
and continues, as beings choose to disregard God given truth and godly wisdom; the
pivotal issue upon which victory over evil rests, is the decision to trust in
God's revealed truth. God asks
us to believe the truth He has revealed to us in His word the Holy Bible, to
take Him at His Word, and to act on that belief.
This is commonly called active faith.
The Holy Bible makes clear in John 1 and many other places that the good
creator God is the person Jesus, known as the Christ. And this Jesus tells us in John 10:9,
"I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved."
So it is time for us all to align our thoughts with the thoughts of the
good creator God, Jesus, who knows the truth beyond our knowing; and to look
unto Him as our legitimate authority.
If you have not yet made Jesus, the creator, and the author of the Holy
Bible, your Lord and Savior, Now is the time!
[link to salvation page]