I don’t make a habit of studying evil. By its very nature, it is not a pleasant subject. But the truth is, it is part of the human dichotomy and has played a role in our history since the original decision to disobey.
I struggle with the question of whether “evil” is simply disobedience of our Creator, or if there is a demonic influence over this universal body like a cancer. Observing the cold-blooded, sadistic murders in the news certainly implies the latter. The Bible does mention “The Adversary.” But even so, did God not create everything? Is He not God of all? Does this mean He created His own enemy? Is He really that bored?
There are three possibilities I consider whenever I think about this:
- God and the devil have always existed in tandem (Heaven and Hell have always existed concurrently), or Milton was right and the devil is Lucifer, a fallen angel that became Satan, the king of Hell – which came into existence as a result of his fall. God’s creation of the world was a way to get inhabitants for His Kingdom / souls for His army, although some choose to suffer alongside Satan through blatant rejection and disobedience. Hell is an alternate dimension like Heaven, but farther removed, having no connection to the universal body other than an entrance for demonic cancer to form and spread.
Within the body metaphor, angels are neurotransmitters and the nervous system. They have a very limited free will that allows them to intercede with humanity on God’s behalf. Angelic disobedience is like a brain malfunction that causes a disorder (e.g. “Universal Tourette’s,” “Universal Schizophrenia”).
The first disobedience was not Adam and Eve, but Satan – that’s why Adam and Eve could not only choose to disobey, but choose to be evil (see Cain). The fall of “Lucifer” is what created the universal cancer/disorder. Note that Adam and Eve did not sin until Satan tempted them, after he fell for refusing to serve them.
As long as some people choose Evil, God’s kingdom cannot come. As long as some people choose Good, God won’t destroy the earth (“cleanse” evil from the earth).
With this possibility, the conclusion is that we must destroy ourselves, or become enlightened, before God can introduce the New Kingdom.
- There is no Hell, merely nonexistence. Evil people who mock God and do immoral things without remorse are eliminated when they die. In other words, there is either a paradisiacal afterlife or an erasure of the soul and self-awareness, as if you never existed. This is exactly what atheists expect, so in a way, it’s “just deserts.”
- God created the devil or is Himself both Good and Evil. Free will is His final touch on making us in His image. We have the ability to choose evil because He does. He, too, wrestles with this dichotomy, but Good reigns (Creation is the culmination of Good incarnate). God recognizes that the Evil side is “the adversary.” Perhaps it is an element of Himself that He will eventually destroy.
Whether there is a Hell or nonexistence with this possibility is debatable. If Heaven is God’s mind, Hell is (forgive my crassness) His bowels. Nonexistence is more likely if His end goal is to destroy evil.
Perhaps we were created so He can experience suffering at the hands of those who choose evil, and surround Himself with Good in Heaven. Perhaps Jesus was sent to experience ultimate suffering in order to destroy the evil in Himself, and therefore free us from being imprisoned by that evil. Perhaps His temptation in the desert was a dissociative identity episode – He was debating with the evil side of Himself, asking Himself whether He really wanted to suffer in order for Good to win out, or whether it would be better to give in to the fleeting power and “happiness” evil could provide.
The majority of Christians believe the first possibility (excepting the body metaphor, which is my own way of understanding panentheism and how the universe and spiritual realm function together) because it is what the Church teaches, despite not being one hundred percent Biblically-based. A lot of what we think we know about the devil actually comes from John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Dante’s Inferno.
I’d like to believe the second possibility, only because there is so much suffering in this life. I can’t stand to think there exists such a place of eternal suffering, even if only the worst of the worst go there. Nonexistence is a better way, besides, because why permit evil to go on existing? Is it not better for the universe, and for God, to destroy evil completely? Why banish it to a place where it can fester and exacerbate? But if this possibility of nonexistence is true, then the third possibility must also be true, because otherwise, where does evil come from? If there are no demons or devil, why does evil still remain a choice? The idea that God is both good and evil is hard for me to accept. I hate to think He not only allows, but ordains, oppression and suffering, but it would be foolish of me to dismiss it simply because I don’t like it.
I can’t say which possibility is the correct one. I don’t know. No one does. I find myself believing each one at different times. It is difficult to consider the nature of eternal suffering – none of us want to experience it, and we hope and pray we can be good enough to not find out what it’s like. What I do know is that no one is “good enough” to go straight to Heaven. We all disobey at some level, and do so repeatedly. The truth is we deserve to suffer. That is the wonderful miracle of Jesus – even if He is both good and evil, the good won out. He defeated evil by sacrificing Himself for our sakes; His resurrection is a precursor to the end, when God’s Goodness will triumph over Evil.
No matter what we do, we have the choice through Christ to destroy our own evil and focus on spending an eternity in God’s mind, Heaven, a place of eternal creation and perfect health.
Supporting arguments for the Third Possibility:
https://perfectchaos.org/2015/08/01/the-devil-doesnt-exist/ (I recommend looking up the Bible verses referenced both in this blog and in the comments.)
https://perfectchaos.org/2012/03/25/morality-and-god/ (Very interesting comments section here as well; I recommend reading through it.)
https://perfectchaos.org/2016/07/24/gods-sovereignty-in-scripture/ (Yes, this is the third link for the same blogger – what can I say, he has some good points. Here he outlines some Bible verses that support God’s control over all good and evil.)
Bible verses describing Hell (Most describe a fiery lake or blazing furnace, or reference the “realm of the dead” and everlasting destruction – these could be describing a real place. Or, they could be metaphors for the painful process of becoming eternally separate from God – or nonexistent.):
2 Thessalonians 1:9 in particular supports the nonexistence possibility. Any reference to a “second death” by way of the “lake of fire” could be speaking of the process of the soul being erased.
…Matthew 25:41, 2 Peter 2:4, and Revelation 12:7 support the first possibility of Lucifer’s fall, however.
God bless with mother earth’s bliss.