Author Topic: Since God allows evil, it follows that...  (Read 827 times)

Offline Xavier

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2019, 06:14:25 AM »
St. Paul says, "And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints." (Rom 8:28)

St. Thomas says, "As Augustine says (Enchiridion xi): "Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil." This is part of the infinite goodness of God, that He should allow evil to exist, and out of it produce good."

God's Goodness is such that He can produce good even from the evil we do. How He repaired the fall of Adam by His wondrous Redemption in Christ is the best example, as was said. Careful attention should also be paid to the Catholic doctrine of Merit. We merit when we courageously repay good for evil, even terrible evil, as St. Peter admonishes us (1 Pet 4:16). So God did not immediately banish evil, but allows it for a while, that His Saints may become still more glorious and virtuous by combating them and victoriously triumphing over them, among other reasons. So temporary evil serves a mysterious purpose; again, not that God wills it, but that, while it exists, all have either to choice to become ensnared in it to their own destruction, or profit from it by co-operating with grace and resisting it heroically, and striving to repay good for evil, to be more like God,

"[44] But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you: [45] That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good, and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust. [46] For if you love them that love you, what reward shall you have? do not even the publicans this? [47] And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more? do not also the heathens this? [48] Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect. (Mat 5:44-48)
Please listen to the frequent messages and take heed of the directions given from Our Living Lord and Our Loving Lady from around the world here: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/ Great things are at stake. Please consecrate your life to the Blessed Mother so that the Kingdom of God may come, "Ad Sanctam Trinitatem per Mariam, Ut adveniat Regnum Deum, adveniat Regnum Mariae, ergo TOTUS TUUS ego sum, MARIA" See http://www.maria-domina-animarum.net/en/flowers/1-250

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time. Please do.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own. Let us all Offer all our Life to Jesus and Mary Today.
 

Offline St. Columba

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2019, 09:03:19 AM »
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« Last Edit: January 25, 2019, 09:21:51 AM by St. Columba »
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Offline St. Columba

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2019, 01:45:08 PM »
God's goodness is infinite, and nothing can increase it. God IS goodness. But God created OTHER good things OUTSIDE Himself, in particular man, and their goodness CAN increase.  God's goodness (God) is the SOURCE of their goodness, not one piece of it.

Thanks NN for your kind post!  You are one of my favorite posters! Thank you.

You said above: God IS goodness.  Are you saying that God is ontologically equivalent to goodness?  If so, therein lies the crux of the issue, as Daniel more or less zeroed in on.

If God IS goodness, then a greater good cannot ensue from evil.  First because God cannot become greater by any cause.  Second, and even more repugnant, God cannot become greater because of the antithesis of being, namely evil.

God is identical to His attributes.  So, if God is good, or possesses goodness, then He is the fullness of goodness, and is goodness itself.

You and Michael are talking about goodness increasing in an individual creature;  I am talking about goodness on the level of being (ontology).

I readily grant that a person can become more holy, and therefore participate in goodness to a higher degree.  But that participation in goodness is a greater "participation" in God.  The amount of ontological goodness does not change, for that would mean that God changes and God increases in goodness, both of which are nonsense.

So, again, we are left with the problem: how does evil bring about a "greater good" exactly?  The "greater good" here is not about creatures...it is about goodness itself.

Finally, I have to more or less concede Kreuzritter's point that theologizing about these matters is to some extent futile, as these concepts are not well appropriated by our limited minds.  But if this is completely true, then there is little point to conducting any sort of theology...and we should certainly not pretend that there even exists such a thing as, "the sacred sciences"....ironically, the very name of this subforum.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2019, 01:49:33 PM by St. Columba »
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2019, 02:31:05 PM »
Evil brings about a greater good, because while the evil committed by a creature such as murder, theft, detraction etc. Brings pain and suffering with it, yet this same action also allows the just to practice the virtues such as Charity, patience, resignation, uniformity to God's will etc. Either that they would not have practiced, if not for the misfortune, or to practice it to a greater degree than they would have done otherwise.
In the death of Our Lord, we see the Jewish leaders doing evil i.e. Seeking the death of Our Lord, yet this very evil action brings about Our Lord voluntarily handing Himself over to them and accepting to undergo the pains and sorrows of His passion, in order to gain a greater good: to wit, the infinite merits of this same sufferings along with the priceless example of His sufferings and death for those of us who would follow Him. St. Alphonsus in his "Meditations on the Passion and Death of Our Lord" stated something to the effect, that Our Lord chose to undergo such a painful death with such different tortures, in order to give us so   much material in which we could find a source to meditate on and to imitate.
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"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 

Offline St. Columba

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2019, 05:04:13 PM »
Evil brings about a greater good, because while the evil committed by a creature such as murder, theft, detraction etc. Brings pain and suffering with it, yet this same action also allows the just to practice the virtues such as Charity, patience, resignation, uniformity to God's will etc.

Ya, except they might not practice those virtues...so it seemed you should have picked option (b) from the OP, not option (a).

But either way, I am speaking about the ontology of goodness itself, not how creatures participate in goodness.

Thanks Michael for your wise words!
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Offline Vetus Ordo

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2019, 06:48:06 PM »
Prior to God creating anything, no evil existed.  God already, and always, possessed and possesses every good.  Then, it is claimed, God allowed evil within the matrix of His creation, in order that a greater good would ensue.  But if that is true, then the amount of ontological goodness increased, which is impossible for God....which calls into question this whole idea that God allows evil for a greater good.  This line of reasoning suggests that God is determined to some extent by the existence of evil, which is absurd.

Where is my mistake?

Ontological goodness cannot increase or be determined by the created order. It is an absolute. The "greater good" that the existence of evil (or defect) is said to enable is contingent and can be considered in two ways:

1. Not in Deo but solely in the realm of creatures. Creation is not ontologically equivalent to the Creator. However, beings can be said to increase or decrease in moral status or virtue and, thus, participate and reflect the absolute good that in itself does not increase or decrease. The amount of goodness in the created order increases or decreases as light in a room, without the light increasing or decreasing in its own being. We can then posit that darkness, the absence of light, has been foreordained by God as an instrument to increase the full amount of light in all rooms of all time that God chose to be His, even if some rooms are contingently without any light.

2. Considered as eschatological. The outcome can only be fully understood when all space and time continuum is thus considered and apprehended, which is impossible for the current observer. Even if murders, cancers or tsunamis have not precipitated the practice of the virtues of charity and justice in the present time, this is hardly a refutation of the point at hand. What matters is the end result when all the matrix of existence is observed and weighed. For in that day, "there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known." (Luke 12:2). God's judgement will be just, His mercy fully apprehended and all truth unveiled.
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2019, 03:20:14 AM »
The understanding that God is perfect Goodness and that we His creatures reflect and participate in that goodness in various limited degrees, prepares the way for the Gospel message of supernatural union with God through Christ in His Spirit. For God calls us in Christ through His Holy Spirit to perfect union with Him, according to "Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect."(Mat 5:48) and "But he who is joined to the Lord, is one spirit." (1 Cor 6:17) This doctrine, of becoming One Spirit with the Lord God through Grace, is the heart and purpose of Christian life. Theosis means that perfect santification by which, by participation in God, we are to become holy as He is Holy, good as He is Good, perfect as He is perfect. And so it will be for us all in the end. The sins of man are causes of all evil upon earth; yet even so evil is temporary and the perfect world we naturally desire is already there in Paradise just waiting for all of us. In order to attain to that perfect world, we must be made perfect. As St. Paul says, all creation waits to be fully transformed to its final destiny, Rom 8:21 "Because the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption, into the liberty of the glory of the children of God."
« Last Edit: January 26, 2019, 04:03:47 AM by Xavier »
Please listen to the frequent messages and take heed of the directions given from Our Living Lord and Our Loving Lady from around the world here: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/ Great things are at stake. Please consecrate your life to the Blessed Mother so that the Kingdom of God may come, "Ad Sanctam Trinitatem per Mariam, Ut adveniat Regnum Deum, adveniat Regnum Mariae, ergo TOTUS TUUS ego sum, MARIA" See http://www.maria-domina-animarum.net/en/flowers/1-250

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time. Please do.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own. Let us all Offer all our Life to Jesus and Mary Today.
 

Offline St. Columba

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2019, 08:32:16 AM »
Prior to God creating anything, no evil existed.  God already, and always, possessed and possesses every good.  Then, it is claimed, God allowed evil within the matrix of His creation, in order that a greater good would ensue.  But if that is true, then the amount of ontological goodness increased, which is impossible for God....which calls into question this whole idea that God allows evil for a greater good.  This line of reasoning suggests that God is determined to some extent by the existence of evil, which is absurd.

Where is my mistake?

Ontological goodness cannot increase or be determined by the created order. It is an absolute. The "greater good" that the existence of evil (or defect) is said to enable is contingent and can be considered in two ways:

1. Not in Deo but solely in the realm of creatures. Creation is not ontologically equivalent to the Creator. However, beings can be said to increase or decrease in moral status or virtue and, thus, participate and reflect the absolute good that in itself does not increase or decrease. The amount of goodness in the created order increases or decreases as light in a room, without the light increasing or decreasing in its own being. We can then posit that darkness, the absence of light, has been foreordained by God as an instrument to increase the full amount of light in all rooms of all time that God chose to be His, even if some rooms are contingently without any light.

2. Considered as eschatological. The outcome can only be fully understood when all space and time continuum is thus considered and apprehended, which is impossible for the current observer. Even if murders, cancers or tsunamis have not precipitated the practice of the virtues of charity and justice in the present time, this is hardly a refutation of the point at hand. What matters is the end result when all the matrix of existence is observed and weighed. For in that day, "there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known." (Luke 12:2). God's judgement will be just, His mercy fully apprehended and all truth unveiled.

Thanks Vetus Ordo for your beautiful post.

Ok then, well it seems the consensus here is that God allows evil, so that creatures will (or may) participate in divine goodness (light in a room, to use Vetus' image) to a greater degree.  The actual "amount" of ontological goodness, if we may speak this way, remains the same. 

Enlightening...thank you all!   :)

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Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2019, 09:59:08 AM »
Finally, I have to more or less concede Kreuzritter's point that theologizing about these matters is to some extent futile, as these concepts are not well appropriated by our limited minds.  But if this is completely true, then there is little point to conducting any sort of theology...and we should certainly not pretend that there even exists such a thing as, "the sacred sciences"....ironically, the very name of this subforum.

Iím not saying itís futile. Iím saying that, one, there is far to much being taken for granted here as far as language goes, and two, that itís totally misguided to expect to be able to apply rigorous procedures of logical deduction to words that have not been equally rigorously defined, in order to draw inferences from them. At its worst this leads to a belief in mere semantic constructs representing the true reality and dictating to one of immediate experience what is or isnít real.

Iím also not saying that this is fundamentally a problem of the limits of human intelligence. Iím saying that this is a limit of reason in itself and, in defiance of the Stoics, that not only some things, but most of everything is in principle not ďunderstandableĒ in the sense of being ďgraspedĒ by reason.
 

Offline St. Columba

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2019, 12:00:41 PM »
Finally, I have to more or less concede Kreuzritter's point that theologizing about these matters is to some extent futile, as these concepts are not well appropriated by our limited minds.  But if this is completely true, then there is little point to conducting any sort of theology...and we should certainly not pretend that there even exists such a thing as, "the sacred sciences"....ironically, the very name of this subforum.

Iím not saying itís futile. Iím saying that, one, there is far to much being taken for granted here as far as language goes, and two, that itís totally misguided to expect to be able to apply rigorous procedures of logical deduction to words that have not been equally rigorously defined, in order to draw inferences from them. At its worst this leads to a belief in mere semantic constructs representing the true reality and dictating to one of immediate experience what is or isnít real.

Iím also not saying that this is fundamentally a problem of the limits of human intelligence. Iím saying that this is a limit of reason in itself and, in defiance of the Stoics, that not only some things, but most of everything is in principle not ďunderstandableĒ in the sense of being ďgraspedĒ by reason.

Thanks Kreuzritter.  I agree my friend!  You speak the language of neither a sophist nor a skeptic, but of a believer...and I truly appreciate that!

But despite all of the imprecisions in language, and yes, the realization that reason can only go so far, etc., is it not incumbent upon us theists to able to mount at least some kind of meaningful defence when we are asked, "Why does God allow so much evil?"  Should we not all have some rudimentary understanding of our standard, pat answer, "so a greater good will/may result"?

Given the answers in this thread, it seems to me God is only allowing evil so that His creatures might realize a greater good.  But does this not redound back to God in the form of an increase in "accidental glory"?

I am also unsure if every individual creature benefits from the "greater good that ensues from the allowance of evil" proviso, or the mass of creation taken collectively.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2019, 12:08:14 PM by St. Columba »
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Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2019, 02:22:31 PM »
Youíre right of course. But how I respond there is how I respond here. What do you mean by ďevilĒ? How do you imagine God could stop evil from existing? Why do you think God would not allow evil to befall us?

Itís like my question to atheists: how is it you have so many preconceptions about necessary attributes of something you donít believe exists, or worse, havenít even defined?

 

Offline St. Columba

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2019, 04:23:43 PM »
Youíre right of course. But how I respond there is how I respond here. What do you mean by ďevilĒ? How do you imagine God could stop evil from existing? Why do you think God would not allow evil to befall us?
Off the top of my head, evil is the privation, or corruption of something that is integrally good in itself.  Do you agree with this definition of evil?  If not, why not? 

Thank you Kreuzritter!
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Offline james03

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2019, 10:08:13 PM »
Quote
Prior to God creating anything, no evil existed.  God already, and always, possessed and possesses every good.  Then, it is claimed, God allowed evil within the matrix of His creation, in order that a greater good would ensue.  But if that is true, then the amount of ontological goodness increased, which is impossible for God....which calls into question this whole idea that God allows evil for a greater good.  This line of reasoning suggests that God is determined to some extent by the existence of evil, which is absurd.

Where is my mistake?

Category error.  You are using temporal language to describe the Eternal Being.  Real easy to fall into.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

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Offline james03

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2019, 10:08:57 PM »
Quote
(a) A greater good will certainly ensue from that evil

And we can name that Greater Good:  Free Will.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

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Offline james03

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #29 on: January 26, 2019, 10:24:33 PM »
Quote
Off the top of my head, evil is the privation, or corruption of something that is integrally good in itself.  Do you agree with this definition of evil?  If not, why not?

I'm undecided on this.  The privation argument has many good points to it, granted.  However a demon is an infinite abyss of hatred.  Look at the utter hatred of Christ being hurled about, e.g. against the Covington kids.

I find evil to be something more substantial than a mere privation.  It's the hatred that gives me pause.  As Catholics, such hatred, at least to this degree, is completely absent.  It's something we do not readily understand.  Even now, while I accept that it exists, I can't understand it.

Give Ayn Rand credit, she addressed it prophetically in The Fountainhead.  According to her theory, it is a lust for power.  The scum of the Earth know that they can not create beauty, so in order to have power they seek to destroy beauty.  So their hatred is a symptom of a need for power.  You can see that applying to the demons also.  Why do leftists want to flood the US with people from sh!thole countries.  In the past we attributed it to "bleeding heart" liberals.  We now see it is the hatred of Christendom which they seek to destroy.  Barbara Spectre basically admitted this if you pay attention to where she pauses in the interview.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."