Does Evil Exist?

sinfest-good-and-evil-angel-devil.png

cartoon credit Sinfest.net

As Baha’is, we believe that evil doesn’t really exist; that it is simply the absence of good. Or a lack of good. Here is the Master’s words from Some Answered Questions:

In creation there is no evil, all is good. Certain qualities and natures innate in some men and apparently blameworthy are not so in reality. For example, from the beginning of his life you can see in a nursing child the signs of greed, of anger, and of temper. Then, it may be said, good and evil are innate in the reality of man, and this is contrary to the pure goodness of nature and creation. The answer to this is that greed, which is to ask for something more, is a praiseworthy quality provided that it is used suitably. So, if a man is greedy to acquire science and knowledge, or to become compassionate, generous, and just, it is most praiseworthy. If he exercises his anger and wrath against the bloodthirsty tyrants who are like ferocious beasts, it is very praiseworthy; but if he does not use these qualities in a right way, they are blameworthy…. It is the same with all the natural qualities of man, which constitute the capital of life; if they be used and displayed in an unlawful way, they become blameworthy. Therefore, it is clear that creation is purely good.

But it is sooo easy to fall back into the ‘old world’ way of thinking (and simply substitute one ‘evil’ for another). I’ve seen fellow Baha’is totally freak out at the mention of Covenant breakers or the possibility that one was living nearby. Or the fact that a local library had a book written by a Covenant breaker.

Maybe they should take a look at this.

  • Greenbomb101

    First, to be fair, I have no affiliation with Baha’i. I stumbled into this site via a Google search.

    As for “evil” I will add my two cents to this thought.

    Evil/corruption are just another word for “rot”. Something breaking down, something dis-integrating, something failing.

    Entropy.

    Therefore there first must be something solid, something definite, something already firmly established as a standard before we can make the determinatioin that something is “breaking down”.

    If we say 2 + 2 = 4 in the decimal system then we can be sure that 2 + 2 = 3 or 2 + 2 = 5 is in error. It’s WRONG. Not a politically correct word to use I’m sure. And I have no problem with anyone who disagrees, but I certainly won’t let that person design my house or count my money. I can say with all certainty the result won’t come out right.

    Another way of putting it. Love. Agape’ in the Greek. The word in English is severly lacking these days use in sentences from “I love you” to a dear spouse all the way to “I love babseball”.

    The best we know of is unselfish, selfless love. Not that ishy squishy huggy-you-can-have-anything-you-want my little darling while you doormat me kind of mess, which isn’t love but rather capitulation and can well be dangerous for all parties involved.

    No, I’m talking about the action (love is a VERB) that takes all factors into account and then does what is in the very best interest for the object of one’s love. It requires an intimate knowledge of the object of this love and requires TIME and INTEREST. This is LOVE.

    True love isn’t a whim or “puppy love”. It isn’t “infatuation”, and it certainly isn’t out to get it’s own way at the expense of the object of love. Sex doesn’t equal love.

    Junior may well rant and cry that he wants to go across the street but to give him carte blanch and just let the little tyke go isn’t necessarily love. If there is a good reason for Junior to be across the street, and if it’s safe for Junior to be across the street, then we might well take a moment to take him by the hand, make sure the traffic is clear and then escort him safely across. Once left in capable hands we may then return, or if necessary stay with him until he’s finished with whatever was so important and then once again escort him safely back.

    Then again it may well be in his best interest to forbid Junior from being across the street, to the extent that we may have to take great pains, or do as much as is humanly and humanely possible to prevent him from doing so. He doesn’t get his “selfish” way but his best interest has been served, and that’s true unconditional love.

    That said, “evil” is the corruption of true love. It’s rotting love, corrupted love, selfishness. When Junior’s cries become overwhelming to the extent we tell him to just get out of the house and do what he damned well wants to, we’ve sacrificed Junior for our peace of mind. The emphasis has turned from Junior’s well-being to our personal desire and that’s where it breaks down.

    Granted, we can’t always be 100% in this life. There may come a time when Junior is 19 years old and a “legal adult” that he will cross that street at the expense of his own life and all we can do is stand by and watch him go to his doom. So be it. We are not omnipotent.

    C’est la vie.

    So that said, “evil” is good gone bad. It’s not pointy tails and red horns. It’s not boiling cauldrons and pentagrams drawn on the floor. It’s not long fangs and howling wolves. It’s selfishness rather than selflessness. From there it all breaks down into political scandals, religious wars, economic crisis as the rich get richer and the poor struggle for existence.

    Evil is the downward spiral to self-destruction at the expense of others. Evil is not external to people, it can come from within.

  • Greenbomb101

    First, to be fair, I have no affiliation with Baha’i. I stumbled into this site via a Google search.

    As for “evil” I will add my two cents to this thought.

    Evil/corruption are just another word for “rot”. Something breaking down, something dis-integrating, something failing.

    Entropy.

    Therefore there first must be something solid, something definite, something already firmly established as a standard before we can make the determinatioin that something is “breaking down”.

    If we say 2 + 2 = 4 in the decimal system then we can be sure that 2 + 2 = 3 or 2 + 2 = 5 is in error. It’s WRONG. Not a politically correct word to use I’m sure. And I have no problem with anyone who disagrees, but I certainly won’t let that person design my house or count my money. I can say with all certainty the result won’t come out right.

    Another way of putting it. Love. Agape’ in the Greek. The word in English is severly lacking these days use in sentences from “I love you” to a dear spouse all the way to “I love babseball”.

    The best we know of is unselfish, selfless love. Not that ishy squishy huggy-you-can-have-anything-you-want my little darling while you doormat me kind of mess, which isn’t love but rather capitulation and can well be dangerous for all parties involved.

    No, I’m talking about the action (love is a VERB) that takes all factors into account and then does what is in the very best interest for the object of one’s love. It requires an intimate knowledge of the object of this love and requires TIME and INTEREST. This is LOVE.

    True love isn’t a whim or “puppy love”. It isn’t “infatuation”, and it certainly isn’t out to get it’s own way at the expense of the object of love. Sex doesn’t equal love.

    Junior may well rant and cry that he wants to go across the street but to give him carte blanch and just let the little tyke go isn’t necessarily love. If there is a good reason for Junior to be across the street, and if it’s safe for Junior to be across the street, then we might well take a moment to take him by the hand, make sure the traffic is clear and then escort him safely across. Once left in capable hands we may then return, or if necessary stay with him until he’s finished with whatever was so important and then once again escort him safely back.

    Then again it may well be in his best interest to forbid Junior from being across the street, to the extent that we may have to take great pains, or do as much as is humanly and humanely possible to prevent him from doing so. He doesn’t get his “selfish” way but his best interest has been served, and that’s true unconditional love.

    That said, “evil” is the corruption of true love. It’s rotting love, corrupted love, selfishness. When Junior’s cries become overwhelming to the extent we tell him to just get out of the house and do what he damned well wants to, we’ve sacrificed Junior for our peace of mind. The emphasis has turned from Junior’s well-being to our personal desire and that’s where it breaks down.

    Granted, we can’t always be 100% in this life. There may come a time when Junior is 19 years old and a “legal adult” that he will cross that street at the expense of his own life and all we can do is stand by and watch him go to his doom. So be it. We are not omnipotent.

    C’est la vie.

    So that said, “evil” is good gone bad. It’s not pointy tails and red horns. It’s not boiling cauldrons and pentagrams drawn on the floor. It’s not long fangs and howling wolves. It’s selfishness rather than selflessness. From there it all breaks down into political scandals, religious wars, economic crisis as the rich get richer and the poor struggle for existence.

    Evil is the downward spiral to self-destruction at the expense of others. Evil is not external to people, it can come from within.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Thanks for dropping by and for your thoughtful comment.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Thanks for dropping by and for your thoughtful comment.

  • Craig Parke

    Thanks for stopping by and for your very thoughtful and fine post.

    I have observed, however, that human evil is rather commonplace to handle and people gain a lot of practical experience in dealing with it as they move through life day by day in the journey of their lives.

    I have found, however, that human stupidity is much more difficult to deal with. Human stupidity is actually a GROWTH INDUSTRY at this point in time on Earth. Go and see the film “Idiocracy”. It was great social commentary on the present time in which we are living. Smart screenwriters in Hollywood are getting to have all the fun these days!

    You wrote that in an evil world “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” But I say mere evil is child’s play! In the present Era of massive codified levels of human stupidity “BOTH the smart get dumber AND the dumb get dumber.” It’s a LOSE-LOSE situation.

    At least in simple, everyday, evil there is always a big winner.

    Thank God I personally once met Kurt Vonnegut face to face back in 1983. It is the only thing that keeps me going now. What a fine human being.

    As he basically said in his own way “By the conduct of the people on this planet there is no indication WHATSOEVER that there is a God. But we can always remain hopeful.”

    I think that is about the best we will ever be able to do on this little outcast water planet so far from the Galactic center. I think EVERY soul sent here (including my own and including the souls of our so called “Divine Teachers”) committed some HORRIBLE CRIME in some other Universe and was sent here as some kind of spiritual or karmic punishment. How else can you explain the incredibly hapless performance of the human race century after century? It just keeps getting more and more absurd as an expression of inmates running an asylum. “Organized religion” being one of the very worst performances EVER in any human creation.

    On March 11, 2004 the Spirit rover on Mars took the first picture of Earth ever made from the surface of another planet:

    http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpegMod/PIA05547_modest.jpg

    We are this tiny dot.

    Maybe we are now connecting up to something higher. Maybe there is a newly born World Age

    But I feel that transition is individual to every soul. It is NOT a
    group thing at all.

    Maybe this is where we are now all going as individual souls in our individual consciousness on the inner planes.

    http://www.solstation.com/x-objects/and2disk.jpg

  • Craig Parke

    Thanks for stopping by and for your very thoughtful and fine post.

    I have observed, however, that human evil is rather commonplace to handle and people gain a lot of practical experience in dealing with it as they move through life day by day in the journey of their lives.

    I have found, however, that human stupidity is much more difficult to deal with. Human stupidity is actually a GROWTH INDUSTRY at this point in time on Earth. Go and see the film “Idiocracy”. It was great social commentary on the present time in which we are living. Smart screenwriters in Hollywood are getting to have all the fun these days!

    You wrote that in an evil world “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” But I say mere evil is child’s play! In the present Era of massive codified levels of human stupidity “BOTH the smart get dumber AND the dumb get dumber.” It’s a LOSE-LOSE situation.

    At least in simple, everyday, evil there is always a big winner.

    Thank God I personally once met Kurt Vonnegut face to face back in 1983. It is the only thing that keeps me going now. What a fine human being.

    As he basically said in his own way “By the conduct of the people on this planet there is no indication WHATSOEVER that there is a God. But we can always remain hopeful.”

    I think that is about the best we will ever be able to do on this little outcast water planet so far from the Galactic center. I think EVERY soul sent here (including my own and including the souls of our so called “Divine Teachers”) committed some HORRIBLE CRIME in some other Universe and was sent here as some kind of spiritual or karmic punishment. How else can you explain the incredibly hapless performance of the human race century after century? It just keeps getting more and more absurd as an expression of inmates running an asylum. “Organized religion” being one of the very worst performances EVER in any human creation.

    On March 11, 2004 the Spirit rover on Mars took the first picture of Earth ever made from the surface of another planet:

    http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpegMod/PIA05547_modest.jpg

    We are this tiny dot.

    Maybe we are now connecting up to something higher. Maybe there is a newly born World Age

    But I feel that transition is individual to every soul. It is NOT a
    group thing at all.

    Maybe this is where we are now all going as individual souls in our individual consciousness on the inner planes.

    http://www.solstation.com/x-objects/and2disk.jpg

  • joe

    Evil is as Evil does.

  • http://none joe

    Evil is as Evil does.

  • http://www.MySpace.Com/CasMichelGerarrd Cas

    =OoO=

    In creation there is IMMORALITY and no Moral Law, all is as it is….BRUTISH, Animalistic, Beastly.
    Natures Law is that of survival of the fittest…..not one of Loving ones neighbor, of kindness, of caring for the weak. Certain qualities & natures innate in men & apparently blameworthy or not are not so in Natures reality. For example, from the beginning of life you can see in a nursing child the signs of greed, of anger, & of ego-centric temper…..indeed the out-cropping of ones TRUE NATURE…. Then, it may be said, good & evil are innate in the reality of man, …& that one, with sentient KNOWLEDGE (For the entrance of Wisdom & Knowledge is the Beginning of Salvation) embarks one upon the Jihad AGAISNT ONES OWN SELFISH EGO-CENTRIC NATURE (Of which SIN is merely a Symptom rather than the Dis-Ease) to elevate & ennoble it according to a HIGHER LAW than that of *Nature*….& this is contrary to the pure goodness of nature and creation (For the SPIRIT Wrestles against the Flesh & Vice Versa & the two are CONTRARY One to the other). The answer to this is that greed, which is to ask for something more, is a praiseworthy quality provided that it is used suitably (Self Sacrificially). As according to Gordon Gekko of Wall-street Movie Fame…..Greed is GOOD. So, if a man is greedy to acquire science & knowledge, or to become compassionate, generous, & just, it is most praiseworthy ONLY if such Greed is Used as controlled by that HIGHER LAW that is outside of Man, Outside of Nature, & truely Contrary to any authorship by or of Man. If he exercises his anger & wrath against the bloodthirsty tyrants who are like ferocious beasts, it is very praiseworthy; but if he does not use these qualities in a right way, they are blameworthy…. It is the same with all the natural qualities of man, which constitute the capital of life; if they be used and displayed in an unlawful way, they become blameworthy. Therefore, it is clear that creation is purely good as AUTHORED by the CREATOR but not Naturally So Nor bereft of needing to be brought under control & subject to the HIGHER LAW & thus Trained & constrained towards that ennobling prospect……only THEN as the BEAST & BRUTISH Powers & tendencies are brought into subjection to a LAW outside of Nature & against our Natural tendencies can nature be found to find its ultimate fulfillment & purpose…The Garden Attendants were instructed (By that HIGHER LAW) to Preserve, Train, & bring under control the NATURE of the Garden.

    Greed, like anything in *Life*…merely portrays & exposes that which is often times hidden from true-HD-View….that is all.

    Neither Good or evil..it is a Mirror to the source of Good & Evil only.

    IN all things that one does, do ALL to the Glory of the CREATOR & in accordance to THAT LAW….that is contrary to the law of man, of Nature & oddly enough of all of subsequent creation.

    There is no good apart form The CREATOR. There is no Life apart from the CREATOR. ALL GOOD Originates with the author & sustainer of that Good. There is not any good in a Human Being. The Total Depravity of the human soul (Nephesh….& The CREATOR Breathed into the Nostrils the Breath of Life & Man became a LIVING NEPHESH or SOUL…so it is utterly entwined in the encasement of the person & not some separate entity that is STUFFED into the Clay Form) MUST be considered fro any true redemptive need & therefore resultant salvation to be effectual….anything other than this & all *we* need is merely a Vacational Break from this disarray, &^ some HD White-Out for the Bump-in-the-road Soul-Blight.

    I'm not buying this BaHai, Sorry….

    The Bhagavad Gita. made more sense to me comparatively speaking Myself of Strict Roman Catholic Idol Worshiping, Matriarchal Praying, Messiach still hanging on that dastardly Cross every SUN-Worship-DAY (Rather than True 7th day Sabbath day) Up-Bringing.)…at least the Krishnas Don't Mindlessly KILL Their Fellow Nephesh Brothers & Sisters (Yes, the *WORD* Uses the SAME Word for THEM as it does for Human Beings) for *FOOD* (Read: Gluttony & Selfish Appetite obeisance) when it is absolutely not the least bit necessary….I'm still a Vegan & healthy for 25 years of my now 50….tho' no longer a member of that belief.

    Yeah…critical thinking & much discussion & intelligent debate is needed, I'm thinking….

  • Randy

    #97 – What is Evil (Part 1)
    Evil, where did it come from? Why is it in the world? This question is often directed at the Christian, but it should really be thrown upon the world. It is a difficult question to answer and seldom is it answered correctly. Dr. Tackett examines this question in Focus on the Family’s Truth Project No. 3). Responses that he received from people for the question ?what is evil? included: ?a bad feeling?; ?evil is creepy?; ?doing something bad and feeling good about it?; ?what causes harm?; ?what is morally wrong?; ?a hungry child, not the child but why he is hungry?; ?those who make fun of good?; ?mass killings?; ?men like Hitler, Stalin, and Saddam Hussein?; ?what is not seen as good by other people?; ?people who sin?; ?doing that which is natural to our nature?; and finally ?Satan’s way which is the wrong way.? These are all interesting answers to a difficult question. Most everyone acknowledges that evil exists. The devil is very smart for he has made that which is evil very exciting. Some say it is necessary. Its ultimate origin is puzzling. The Christian has been given the answer to ?why there is evil,? but the more fundamental question is, ?Why is there evil at all??
    Who is Man? – To help answer the question, ?Why is there evil at all,? Dr. Tackett looks to anthropology to first answer the question, ?Who is man?? The next question that follows is, ?Who is God?? From this we can understand our world view and the world view of everyone else. Remember the quote from Carl Sagan, ?the cosmos is all there is, or was or ever will be.? This is his world view, and therefore everything must be answered within his cosmic cube world view idea. In Sagan’s view, there is no room for God or anything spiritual and does not address the battle that rages on within us. Sagan’s world view is very limited what we clearly know exists. Who is man with this moral conscience who hungers for relationships, yet is capable of unspeakable evil? Of all knowledge that we can obtain, the knowledge of ourselves and of God are the most important. Galatians 5:16-17 summarizes the cosmic battle within man:
    16 ?So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.?(Gal. 5:16-17)
    The sinful nature and the Spirit within man are the two things identified here that are in conflict with each other. The sinful nature exists so that you do not do what you want. You desire to do good, but your sinful nature prevents you from doing it. Your battle is not with those around you, but is the struggle within yourself and with the spiritual forces of darkness (Eph. 6:12). Do you believe this? Ask yourself, ?Do you do what you do not want to do? At best, you must answer at least, ?sometimes? with the rest answering more times than I care to remember. Verse 17 above confirms, ?You do not do what you want,? or said another way, ?You do not do what the Spirit wants.? Ask yourself, ?What do you do most of the time?? The answer, ?What you want to do.? Paul stated, ?So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me? (Rom. 7:21).
    If you are either for God or against Him, you are either following the Spirit or following your own way (Phil. 3:2). If the Bible is reality and defines what is true (Ps. 51:6; 86:11), then we understand the conflict within us. It is a battle that goes on between truth and lies. The truth is reality and the lie is an illusion.
    Man’s Moral State – So what is the real essence of man? What is man’s moral state and his need? The states or modes of man are real, sort of like the different modes of a computer – active, standby or off. There are three states that we can identify clearly: (1) state of innocence; (2) fallen state; and (3) redeemed state.
    1. State of Innocence – God created man in His image, in a state of innocence. God also gave man a woman and they were united as one. This first union was a sacred institution. God’s only instruction was to be fruitful and multiply, and not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17).
    2. Fallen State – when man did not follow God’s instruction, his soul was quickened as he fell from grace and entered into spiritual death through disobedience. He was no longer innocent. Satan’s statement to Eve became fulfilled that if she ate of the fruit, her eyes would be opened and she would know good and evil.? (Gen. 3:5). Though disobedience sin entered the world and man transferred into a different self-serving mode referred to as the fallen state: …?sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned? (Rom. 5:12).
    The fallen state had become so predominant during Noah’s time: ?The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time? (Gen. 6:5).
    Man in his fallen state could not go back in time, and as a result all future generations would be born into original sin. How many times have we done something we wish we could take back? Man was now changed permanently, and not for the better for he now carried with him the sinful nature. But, despite his fallen state he still bore the image of God. However, the consequences of mans fallen nature included descriptions such as: wicked, evil , dead, blind, deaf, lost, rebellious, without hope, haters of God, desperately wicked, children of the devil.
    Regarding human nature Charles Spurgeon once said, ?You cannot slander human nature, it is worse than you can paint it.? The point is that man was ejected from the Garden of Eden and a close relationship from God as a result of his sinful nature. Without restoration he is now destined to eternal torment in hell. To believe anything else is to be deceived just as Adam and Eve were (2 Cor. 11:3). Ultimately, your name must be in the Book of life to enter the kingdom:
    ?If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire? (Rev. 20:15).
    Remember, eternal life is a free gift that is your choice as to where you will spend it. You can blame no one else for your choice, or lack thereof: ?… man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.? (Hebr. 9:27). This is directly in contradiction to returning again and again until you get it right.
    3. Redeemed State – the third state of man is the redeemed state. Beyond the fallen state there are only two things that can occur: death and transformation from the fallen state to the redeemed state. The ancient meaning of the word comes from the thought of preserving property (Lev. 25:25-26; Ruth 4:4). When property was lost, it was the responsibility of the closest of kin to buy the property back to keep it in the family. The word ?redemption? came into existence as a result and meant a sense of deliverance. God is the Redeemer of Israel in the sense He is the Deliverer of Israel (Deut. 9:26; 2 Sam. 7:23; Is. 52:3). He delivered them from Egypt to the land during the Exodus; He protected them in their land, and brought it back to their land in 1948.
    The full revelation of this transformation to a redeemed state was ultimately made available through the blood sacrifice of God’s Son. The debt for our sins was purchased and paid in full at Calvary:
    ?…with Your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation (Rev. 5:9).
    The new man in the redeemed state would be referred to as: saint, priest, children of God, sons of God, beloved, those wearing white robes and those born from above. This is an incredible contrast to fallen man. What a glorious contrast to the old man (2 Cor. 5:17). To those who are redeemed God places his seal and His Spirit (Gal. 5:16-17). This does not say that you always do what you do not want; it means there is a great conflict within, bearing the make or Adam.
    Application: So what does this mean to you? Is it obvious that there is good and evil in this world? You do know what you are capable of, and therefore understand you nature or mode, and the need to be transformed. Are you ready to hang your hat on the opinion that you have done enough good deeds, more than many others, and therefore are deserving of entrance to heaven having access to God for all eternity? Is that all that transformation is? Do you have any idea who God is and how great He is? Do you believe you need Him?
    Prayer: Father, help us to be transformed by the ?renewing of our mind? that we would know the things of God and your plan for us. We realize how often we have been taken captive and how many times we have fallen short. We look around and see unspeakable evils and also know what we are capable of. May you fill us with compassion for one another and that we would not turn our ear away from you. Give us strength to believe the things we do not understand, and to lift up the name of Jesus this Christmas season. Amen