The Problem of Evil

For those interested in that sort of thing here are some thoughts that arose from an online conversation I had and an interesting Christian video I saw dealing with the ‘Problem of Evil’. It’s not essential to watch the video to get my comments and it doesn’t matter whether the video is watched before or after as they are only tangentally related.

The ‘Problem of Evil’ is a problem not just for those who conceive of a perfectly Good God and ask how such a God could permit evil. It is also a problem for those who conceive of humanity as an essential unity and see ourselves in the other.

Rape, racism, child abuse, genocide, torture are instances of intentional evil that call into question the centrality of Love and the notion of a spiritual connection between God and Humanity and between human and human. A fundemental cause of intential evils may be a Will to Power, not necessarily negative in itself, that has been perverted and become corrupted into a demonic elevating self above all else.

Prior to the Will to Power is The Will to Be, the sense that I am, that I exist. The sense of Being in the world is inseparable from the sense of being separate from the world even though part of it and existing in relation to it.

In this separation is a sense of existential aloneness. The Will to Love (Union) and the Will to Power (Dominance) are responses to aloneness. These wills may be seen as, respectively ‘Christic’ or ‘Satanic’.

Choosing Power, we actively defy/deny ‘God’ in us and others. Chosing Love we assert and realise God in us and others. Each path is willed.

God wills that I will freely; so my choice, whatever that is, is a consequence of God’s Will. But, however conditioned, it is still my choice, and any choice to create suffering for others is, by definition, intentional evil.

Forgiveness always exists in our essential ‘Beingness’ when we return to it. Love must always offer forgiveness. But do some go too far to return? Having gained an illusion of dominance in an illusory world but having lost their Beingness (Soul)? Is there perhaps a more obdurate love and forgiveness that does not merely wait with open arms for the repentant but seeks out even the most Satanically unrepentant? Surely such Obdurate Love must be intrinsic to our understanding of God but is it a possibility for humans? It is if we understand that as all manifestations are part of the substance of God and therefore at bottom, Love so all ‘others’ are ultimately ourselves. Buddhists speak of the Bodhisattva vow to ‘save all sentient beings’. Perhaps modern psychology might see this as an expression of a ‘messiah complex’ but this is a misapprehension of the meaning of the vow and the intention to forgive and save others. Obdurate love arises from the understanding that the other is always ourself and it is possible because loving/saving/forgiving the other is loving/saving/forgiving ourself.

“It does not mean that I, Hui-neng am going to deliver them. And who are these sentient beings, potential within our minds? They are the delusive mind, the deceitful mind, the evil mind, and such like — all these are sentient beings. Each of them has to be delivered by one-self by means of one’s own Essence of Mind [Original Mind]; only by one’s own deliverance, is it genuine.” Hui-neng – the sixth Zen patriarch.