Wednesday, 18 October 2017 14:15

IV. The problem of evil in the world

Written by Gabriel Baicu
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    Evil didn’t enter into the world at a certain time; evil as much as good is inscribed in the nature of existence per se. Humankind has learned to discern between good and evil during its history and the process isn’t finished. Many things seemed to be good for many people but they proved, in the end, to be evil. The knowledge of good and evil didn’t come to human beings suddenly after they ate from a tree, and the entire human history is the evidence for that the myth of a tree of the knowledge of good and evil is generated by an authentic human concern. What is good and what is evil for humankind in a long-term perspective? Humankind had tried many possibilities in politics and economics only to discover what is good and what is evil for them, and sometimes paid a high price for this knowledge. The myth according to which by eating from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil one could have gained this discernment and become wise is an absurdity. The entire human experience aspires to find good and to identify evil. One persuasive proof that the story with the tree of knowledge is only a legend is the fact that humankind didn’t receive, from the moment of eating its fruit, the ability to discern between good and evil.

 

    If Adam and Eve had really become wise by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, so many historical errors of humankind would have been avoided, but this isn’t the case. Humankind never had this incredible experience of eating from such a tree and consequently didn’t become able to miraculously discern good from evil. If they had such an experience they would have known the difference between good and evil, but all the subsequent human history shows that the opposite is right.

 

    The world history is the proof that humankind never ate from the tree of the knowledge and never knew the difference between good and evil before experiencing it in practical situations in their lives. If humankind had discerned from the beginning of its civilization the difference between good and evil, it wouldn’t have had so many experiences which could have endangered its own existence. They would have behaved much more wisely, being able to always separate the good from the evil.

 

    As a matter of fact, so many wars and social experiences prove that humankind didn’t miraculously receive the ability to discern between good and evil and that the conclusions were drawn post factum. This isn’t about the evil nature of one political leader or another; this is about human nature in general which has displayed along the course of history an incredible penchant for evil.

   

    This has nothing to do with Adam and Eve but with the fight for existence.

 

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    Gulags, concentration camps, religious fanaticism, mass murders, ethnic cleansing, racism and so on could have been avoided if Adam and Eve had been real personages and if they had eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Knowing, in reality, the difference between good and evil would have permitted the avoidance of many evils in the world.

 

    The evil in the world cannot be explained by a so-called Fall of Adam and Eve because no-one can prove that in this world human nature was ever better than it is today. A so-called worsening of human nature in time cannot be identified in the human history. The ancient civilizations were as brutal as the modern ones and human nature was always the same. If real, Adam and Eve would have had a flawed nature and the proof is their disobedience to God. They yielded to an exterior temptation hence they had a sinful nature from the beginning of their existence. If human beings hadn’t had a sinful nature from the beginning of their creation they would have rejected the temptation of the serpent, but the inclination toward disobedience was innate in them. Placing all responsibility on the serpent for the temptation of human beings is one of the most absurd doctrines proposed by commentators, and even the texts of the Bible contradict such a possibility. According to the book of Genesis, human beings would have been punished for their disobedience, therefore, they would have been responsible for their Fall.

 

    If God is good why does He accept so much evil in the world? Either He accepts the evil and therefore He is not that good, or He doesn’t accept it but He cannot do anything against it, consequently He doesn’t have so much power as is usually thought. If God accepted the evil deliberately He wouldn’t be as generous and merciful as He is said to be. In the first case God’s character is put in question and in the second case, His power is in doubt. Which is the truth about the relation between God and evil? Does He accept human suffering or He cannot do anything against it? The explanation given by the book of Genesis is that the fault for the existence of evil in the world belongs to the serpent and to humankind and that God doesn’t have any fault because He is perfect. This interpretation exonerates God from any responsibility; He is good but humankind didn’t understand Him.

 

 

 

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