Don’t be discouraged by the evil we see.
The very fact that we perceive it as evil, and despise it, rather than accepting it as just part of nature—hoof and horn, tooth and claw, is proof that it is unnatural, something other. If we were unable to perceive it as such, we would be truly lost—any belief in God would be merely a fantasy. Just as a fish doesn’t know it is wet, a world where evil was part of the intrinsic fabric of existence would be invisible to us. That we do see it and despise it tells us not only that it is not part of this world’s blueprint, but there is also a Good to which we can aspire and cling.
Indeed, by the same logic, the fact that we see and appreciate beauty, glory, joy, love and the other virtues tells us there is more to the world, and us, than mere survival of the fittest.
But is it mere dualism, just yin and yang, light and dark in an eternal contest, in conflicting balance, with us on the front line between them, with our blood serving as the lubrication of their machinations?
If so, then redemption is a fantasy. If so, then it doesn’t matter which side we join. There is no difference between good and evil—the goal is balance, not victory, as both sides are needed and if one side conquered the other, the universe would collapse. Thus, our hate for those who choose evil would be misplaced. They would be needed there, for no other purpose than to balance us who chose the ‘good’ side. The ultimate end of such a worldview is either an eternal dynamic equilibrium washed in blood, or annihilation—matter and antimatter, where the universe is slowly ground to nothing between the teeth of light and dark. Thus, personal moral responsibility would be a fiction.
There is another alternative. Good and evil are personal, not impersonal mindless forces going through mechanical motion. If indeed there is intelligence and personhood behind them, then the contest between them has meaning, and there can be a victor, and such a victory is the goal and purpose of the universe.
What is the goal of each side, then? Put simply, it is whether the universe is a place of creation or destruction.
When we look at forces we call evil, why do we label them as such? Because of the effects of their actions. They take what is and destroy it, not to replace it with something better, but either to replace it with something worse or leave it barren.
By the same token, why do we call good ‘good’? Because it usually builds up, builds new, rebuilds, heals, increases the beauty and virtue around us.
Given that the universe exists, and according to the Big Bang theory, was brought into existence ex nihilo, which side created it? There is only one logical answer, the Good.
In fact, this leads to a startling conclusion—until something exists, is created, nothing can be destroyed. Thus, evil cannot exist in a vacuum—it can only exist as something derivative, once something else exists. So evil therefore, is a result of creation. Once something exists, it can be destroyed.
Destruction, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. We will destroy a room in our house to rebuild it better, nicer, larger. But destruction for destruction’s sake is a sign of evil.
The same logic applies to hate, but not to love. Hate also cannot exist in a vacuum, but love can, and the result is creating something on which the love can act. Hate has no motivation to create something to hate.
Given all of this, we can see that Good existed first, and is ultimately more powerful, as it is harder to create than destroy, and creation can come from nothing, whereas destruction cannot. Thus, if Good is stronger, we can be reasonably sure of its ultimate victory, and the beneficial results of that victory.
Why is the struggle so costly and painful? The greater the creation, the more painful and costly the impact of the destruction wrought by evil will be.
But why has the struggle taken so long? This is a harder question, and all the more so in the middle of the anger, pain, frustration and outrage of raw destruction. Indeed, it is almost impossible to be satisfied with any answer in the midst of open wounds, still bleeding.
The easiest answer is evil is a cancer, the ultimate cancer. Cancer cells start out as normal cells that mutate somehow in such a way that they grow destructively, and try to take over the host, and unchecked, unconquered, will kill the host. The more malignant the cancer, the faster it grows, the more it metastasizes, the harder it is to remove. It kills healthy tissue and the treatments also damage or kill healthy cells and tissue while trying to remove the cancer. Some cancers are considered inoperable because they are so entwined with healthy tissue, a human surgeon cannot separate them.
Fighting cancer is often a long, drawn-out, painful, wearying process, and indeed patients sometimes find treating the disease worse than the disease itself, and choose to forgo treatment and let the disease take them.
Does this not sound very much like the struggle against evil? Indeed, I’ve heard those struck with cancer call the disease, itself, evil. I do not think this is by accident.
Good, having created a universe out of deep love, is fighting for the life of that love. He is not willing to let that love die and just recreate, but has committed everything to THIS universe, THIS world, and is not willing to allow the cancer of evil to take it. He knows that this cancer WILL be defeated, that the patient WILL survive, even though the losses are painful in the process. To be the recipient of such unyielding love, from one who cannot and will not surrender, and who WILL win ultimately is a source of comfort, even as the scalpel cuts deep. He preserves the healthy tissue and will rejoin it together at the final healing. How many surgeons today can make such a claim?
So, perhaps the answer to the evil in the world, is to join with the Good Surgeon, fight with Him against evil, both within our hearts and without, and trust Him to know how to perform the treatment, even, and especially, when the scalpel comes close.