A Philosophical/Theological Commentary
The Fundamentalist Viewpoint
In the preceding subsection of this series we pointed out that if “God” truly exists and created every single thing in existence—both seen and unseen—then it necessarily follows that He created evil too. We also pointed out previously that Christians need only turn to Isaiah. 45:7; John 1:3; and Colossians 1:16 in their bible to see who Scripture ascribes the creation of evil to, prima facie.
Yet so many Christians—primarily those of the fundamentalist variety—remain astonishingly untroubled by the existence of evil. To them evil is just a temporary depravity being employed by God for reasons we humans cannot even begin to ascertain. The fundamentalists maintain that this is due to the very nature of God and man’s inherent incapacity to fully comprehend Him. I call this bit of exegesis the “incomprehensibility” argument.
The incomprehensibility argument takes the tack of likening man trying to fathom God to an ant’s ability to fully comprehend we humans—only magnified a thousand or more times over! Try as it might, the ant will find it impossible to see we humans in the same light as we are able to see ourselves. Though the ant will have some awareness of certain facets of our existence—like our physical presence when we trod on its ant mound, to cite one example—it can never fully understand our make up. But it can comprehend that we are real and part of its world.
Man, on the other hand, has so little comprehension of what God is all about, say Christian fundamentalists, that it is futile to even try and attempt to fathom his all-encompassing nature. Unlike the ant who can at least physically sense we humans, God is so beyond our understanding that we don’t have the ability to even detect Him in any truly measurable way–excepting faith. (A stellar reason for maintaining God is, in fact, non-existent; that His Almightiness is simply a product of man’s fertile imagination! But I digress.) So we humans should just be content to love, worship, and adore God, and not be distracted by things we cannot even begin to understand. Just let God remain wondrous and “mysterious,’ so these fundamentalists insist.
The main difficulty with the incomprehensibility argument is that it blithely ignores the evil that the willful and malevolent act of actually creating evil embodies. Put simply, it is an evil endeavor to deliberately create evil. Period! The admonishment by Paul to Christians in Romans 12:9—a directive claimed to have originated with God himself—is that the good Christian is to, “abhor what is evil, [and] cling to what is good”? Good advice. Advice God himself should have heeded at the moment he conceived, then created evil!
But God is “God”! Therefore, He can do whatever he so pleases, charge the fundamentalists. And if God created evil it is impossible to deem it an evil act for it is impossible for God to “sin”, plead the fundamentalists.
Who says? Brainwashed believers who cannot recognize theological contradictions when they see one?
Let’s take “Noah’s Flood” as an example. If accepted as an actual historical event, (but one which scientists insist never happened) it would mean that God went and murdered every single infant baby, toddler, and pregnant woman on planet earth. Yes, “murdered”—through the agony of drowning. A truly evil act.
The fundamentalist will argue, however, that it needed to be done and that God had every right to do what he did. Since he created life, He had every right to take it away, goes the argument. Much like Michelangelo sculpting a stunningly beautiful statue yet having every right to destroy it because he is unhappy with how it turned out.
True. But a statue made of clay or marble is not a living, breathing baby or a woman with child. Those Christian fundamentalists who feel God had every right to drown every infant baby in the world fail to appreciate the fact that what God did was still “murder”. Sugar-coat it, camouflage it, any way possible. It still remains cold-blooded murder—however justified Christian fundamentalists may feel the barbarous act was. There are moral aspects to the murder of a world-full of living, breathing, infant babies by a being declared to be love and goodness incarnate that cannot be rightfully ignored. Something is profoundly wrong with this picture!
Same goes for the creation of evil. Evil is the greatest imperfection in existence. So how does a being declared perfect in love and goodness turn around and create the greatest imperfection imaginable, yet continue to be worshiped and adored as love, goodness, and perfection personified? Only by having slavish, uncritical-thinking believers deeply immerse themselves in denial and delusion, then charm others into belief with the very charm of their deluded belief. That’s how! Simply saying something is this or that doesn’t necessarily make it so. You can call a geometric circle a “square” all day long; at the end of the day it still remains a “circle”. A Creator who would concieve of, and then actually go out of His way to create evil, is . . . well, He’s not Perfection itself personified, now is He?
The foregoing, admittedly, is very tough going. I don’t think anyone can be faulted for feeling a tad discomforted, both physically and emotionally, after plowing through it. But in trying to determine the true origin of evil, whether it be objective or subjective, we must insist on being brutally honest with ourselves. We should also strive to work in general harmony and without excessive reproach, we theists and non-theists.
We have to. We share the same planet. The alternative is simply too gruesome to even contemplate.
We must try and lessen the tension and divisions between us and show more open-mindedness and sensitivity towards one another—far more than I’ve exhibited in this series, that’s for sure! That is, if we expect to get at the real truth that underlies evil.
Or could it just be that we humans don’t really want to know the truth about it all, after all?
Greywolf’s Dictum: There can be no greater evil in all of existence than the Creator of evil. (Assuming that there is such a creature.) The conscious, deliberate act of creating evil is, in itself, inherently evil and malevolent Is it not? – A sobering question that is in need of a truly honest answer for those seeking the honest truth.
Greywolf’s Dictum #2: If it happened, God wanted it to. If He didn’t, it would never have happened. End of story. (Assuming that there is such a Creature, of course.) That would include every human tragedy, every evil to befall man. Would it not? – A sobering question that is in need of a truly honest answer for those seeking the honest truth.