Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dualism and the Problem and Necessity of Evil

One of the main characteristics of the universe is its dualism. Everything appears to come in twos, everything from binary numbers, to the Cartesian mind and body, heaven and hell as well as good and evil of the Christian religion. Even matter has its counterpart in the form of antimatter. It seems that after all, the yin and yang of Taoism applies to all creation in the universe.

We can say that evil is the opposite of good since the one cannot really exist without the other. But what is evil? Evil can be seen as that which creates disruption or disorder. When the universe is in balance and harmony, there is peace and quiet, but the moment something intrudes upon and shakes up the state of equilibrium, there is chaos.

From a Christian point of view, we can say that Eden was in harmony until the serpent interfered and made Adam and Eve revolt against the natural and divine order. Evil is that part that disrespects any given situation to enforce its own will and desire. In other words, the serpent wished to create havoc in times of peace.

Traditionally, the blame has been on Eve, which is rather unfair. Although we can say that she acted out of her own free will, we are underestimating the power of suggestion. The serpent sounded convincing and would have persuaded any other being as well. Some claim that the serpent used Eve as a messenger to get to Adam. But Adam was not much stronger nor wiser because he could have easily dismissed and refuted her arguments and not given in to temptation.

So evil existed or came about through the beguiling words of the serpent. But if paradise was in harmony, then how could or rather would such a being exist in the first place? Why would God allow evil to enter his very own kingdom? Who would willingly keep a snake in the garden where their children play?

It may lead us to the following question: Is such disruption always bad? Adam and Eve were chased out of paradise because of their actions and were cursed with death. But without the notion of original sin, there would have been no humanity. We would not have existed from a biblical point of view. And despite wrongdoing and undoing in the world, I do not think that humanity is inherently evil. Misguided maybe, but at the same time, there is a lot of good within each human being and even more potential.

Just like any other part of nature, we are also caught up in duality. We have a good and evil side and both are equally part of who we are. In fact, we owe our existence to it in a figurative way, as Adam and Eve demonstrate, as well as biologically, since without sex there would have been no procreation. The world is not merely a matter of black and white as actions deemed good may have negative consequences, the same way so-called negative acts may lead to positive results.

Because of duality, one thing differentiates itself from the other and in fact it needs and relies on the other to exist. Does the beautiful not exist because of the ugly? Does the righteous man or woman not exist because of the wicked person? Is the existence of death not necessary for the creation of life? Does harmony not exist because of its counterpoint chaos? And finally, does God not exist because of the Devil? In a world where there is no evil, would God's existence not be redundant?


Lavender Darwin said...

Only issue with duality is that: God is the omnipotent creator of the universe and satan is merely a created fallen angel. There are dualities of good and evil principles, sure, but in terms of divinity God is all powerful, and satan is merely part of fallen creation, destined for eventual destruction (see the book of Revelation)

FishHawk said...

This is truly awesome, my dear Arash! For it is full of questions that all of us should be seeking answers to.

The trouble is, however, that far too few have any expectation of every finding any answers while they are still a part of this world. Therefore, when something strikes a chord (so to speak) deep down in their very being, it is usually stifled before it can resonate.

When our Heavenly Father first started making Himself real to me, as opposed to just being a character in an ancient book that He had written about Himself, He personally revealed to me that what happened in the Garden of Eden was by design. For the reason why He created us was in order to give Himself opportunities to receive a very special kind of love from us, and it is for this reason the Satan was allowed to deceive Adam and Eve, which was the beginning of this world becoming as much of a mess that it truly is. For it is relatively easy to love someone who always treats you in a way that you consider to be very good, but it is an entirely different story when dealing with someone who rarely does.

Now, as far as evil having to exist in order for good to exist also, be assured that this is just not true, but it is true that our Heavenly Father has allowed evil to exist in order to help us better appreciate His goodness. Hence, the unfairness of this world, which makes it harder for us to want to give Him the full benefit of our considerable doubts, which is what He wants from us.

Oh how I hope you will publish more like this wonderful article on duality here. For you are helping to call into question things that far too many have wanted to ignore for far too long, and I am quite sure you can do this on a wide range of topics.

Arashmania said...

Thank you for the comments! It is true that there is a sharp difference between a God on "paper" and a really existing living God, as you have clearly outlined. It becomes a personal experience then that can shed light on many issues and that elevates faith.

I believe that everything serves a purpose and that hence evil cannot have been accident. It is indeed a necessary part, whether it is caused by our own undoing or not. (It mostly is.)

And perhaps by making it at times more difficult to love and understand God, that bond may become less common and more precious, as a result. However, playing the devil's advocate, it is equally possible that we are just fooling ourselves with fairy tale dust.

FishHawk said...

Be assured that I am confronted with the possibility that it really is just a bunch of fairy dust. For even despite actually hearing an audible voice on a few occasions (not to mention the almost constant stream of thoughts pertaining to things that I do not believe could be coming from me), I must conclude that it is entirely possible that all of that is just a figment of my own very fertile (my parents opinion--not mine) imagination.

On the other hand, whenever I have started leaning in that direction, it has been as if every fiber of my being would started screaming, "NO!," which has always brought me back to Him. Of course, is this not similar to what we hear of abused spouses when it has become clear to them that they should leave while they still could?

Therefore, it can be said that it all comes down to what someone wants to believe, but if what I have "heard" truly was of our Heavenly Father, I know that there is much more to it than that. For what I have been given goes far beyond mere faith, and since it has been personally revealed to me that no one will be able to honestly say that they did not fully understand everything that He wanted them to, come Judgment Day, everyone will be given enough to believe.

P.S.: As in regards to the amount of evil in this world, be assured that we do bring more hardships down upon ourselves than would be absolutely necessary to accomplish our Heavenly Father's purposes. Be also assured that I have an awful lot of personal experience with this, and now that I know more about His immeasurable grace than I ever did before, it grieves me more than it ever did before that I so often fail to do what is pleasing in His sight.

Arashmania said...

An excellent, honest and thoughtful response! Thank you!