Mystery of Evil
I believe that God created neither death nor
suffering nor evil. Evil has no hypostasis or existence as such. Evil is the absence
of good; death is the absence of life. Evil is the alienation of the created being
who has estranged himself from God; it is the degeneration of an essence which
was created good. The sinner dies, not because God slays him in punishment so
that He might revenge Himself on him -- for man cannot offend God, nor does God
experience any satisfaction at the death of a man -- the sinner dies because he
has alienated himself from the Source of Life. God is not responsible for evil,
nor is He its cause. Neither is God blameworthy because He created man's nature
with the possibility of alienating itself. If He had created human nature without
free will, by this imposed condition He would have rendered the created intelligent
being purely passive in nature; the creature would simply submit, not having the
possibility of doing otherwise, since it would not be free. However, God wished
that, after a fashion, we too should be His co-workers in His creation and be
responsible for our own eternal destiny. God knows in His infinite wisdom how
to transform the causes of evil into that which is profitable for man's salvation.
Thus God uses the consequences of evil so as to make roses bloom forth from the
thorns; although He never desired the thorns, nor did He create them in order
to use them as instruments. He permitted these things to exist out of respect
for our freedom. Thus God permits trials and sufferings without having created
them. When suffering comes upon me, I must receive this as an unfathomable proof
of His love, as a blessing in disguise and without feeling indignant, I must seek
out its significance. As for temptations, I must avoid them, and for the sake
of humility, beseech God to spare me from them, even as our Saviour teaches us
in the Lord's Prayer:
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." Yet, in all
trials, temptations, and sufferings, we conclude our prayer as did the Saviour
in the garden of Gethsemane: "Not My will, but Thine be done" (Luke 22:42).
|Added: Aug 29, 2010
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