Evil Proceeds From the Folly of Mankind

The definition of evil is that which opposes good. Because God uses evil actions to bring about good it does not remove the moral abhorrence of evil itself, it only demonstrates the supremacy of God’s creativity and power. The root of evil is something that has been pondered on by many people; “why is there evil?” But that quickly brings us to the question of “where does evil come from?” Now, I would like to begin this reflection with a quote from the revered St. Augustine of Hippo; a quote which directly addresses this exact question.

Who was it that set and ingrafted in me this root of bitterness, since I was wholly made by my most loving God? If the devil is the author, where does the devil come from? And if by his own perverse will he was turned from a good angel into a devil, what was the origin in him of the perverse will by which he became a devil, since by the all-good Creator he was made wholly angel?” – St. Augustine, Confessions, page 121.

The Catholic and Hebrew faiths have frequently attributed evil to free will. Man has brought onto himself the evil by which he suffers, by transgressing the law of God; to which our obedience is due for our eternal happiness. So that brings us to this: why does God allow this transgression of his law? I will now have to quote St. Agustine, once more.

God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to suffer no evil to exist.” – St. Augustine, Enchirid, xxvii.

Evil proceeds from the folly of mankind, not from the Divine will, and is overruled by it to a good end. Evil is in fact one of the contributing factors to the perfection of the universe; it is allowed for the purpose of bringing out the greater good. And, yes, sometimes, it is pure evil and injustice when something terrible befalls us, but we have to be privy to the truth; which is we will never be aware of the divine purposes or the greater goods that the evils are allowed to serve.




2 thoughts on “Evil Proceeds From the Folly of Mankind

  1. I hadn’t thought of evil like that before, but I think you’ve got a point there. I had always thought of evil as being the absence of love, like how dark is the absence of light. Perhaps I was being too narrow-minded with my original thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is a matter of perspective, and funnily enough, my thoughts before reading the Confessions were exactly the same as yours. And I think they are not entirely wrong either. What you have there is merely the beginning of the “train track of though.”

      It’d be interesting to see what people from different religions think of the nature of evil.

      Thanks for your comment, Jared!


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