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Thread: ORIGIN OF EVIL

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    Default ORIGIN OF EVIL

    Who created EVIL? Did God create evil? God is pure, and something fully pure can not create something impure, therefore God did not create evil. But God created Lucifer, and if Lucifer discovered evil within its heart, there must have been some kind of flaw in the construct of the being Lucifer!
    Bertrand Russell asserts that Christians can not adequately give an account about the origin of evil, because even if we said 'Lucifer chose' in order for Lucifer to choose the element of evil, the element must've been available so that it can be chosen!
    What do you think?
    (p.s. even if you don't believe in the existence of God, you can still analyze the story and even more, this is your chance to prove that the divine dichotomy (God/Devil) that took place prior to this world's existence, is not valid, and therefore we don't even know who came up with the idea of evil...
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    Quote Originally Posted by LIND View Post
    Who created EVIL? Did God create evil? God is pure, and something fully pure can not create something impure, therefore God did not create evil. But God created Lucifer, and if Lucifer discovered evil within its heart, there must have been some kind of flaw in the construct of the being Lucifer!
    I do not see evil as a "thing" (like a rock or a tree or a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle) to be created. It is an action (or absence of action).

    That would be like trying to create beauty or fear or stupid or smart or silly or serious, for example... or some other abstraction that is not really a "thing" at all -- but simply an awareness/feeling state that is evoked or the subjective reaction to an action.

    For a slight tangent, the concept of "Satan" as an independent being has evolved over time... and although the theological trappings that have developed over the last 2000 years equates some prominent evil unique being with the name "Lucifer," it's really not dealt with that way in the Old Testament at all. (iow, we can't even say that Lucifer would be the name of this "evil" being.)

    Bertrand Russell asserts that Christians can not adequately give an account about the origin of evil, because even if we said 'Lucifer chose' in order for Lucifer to choose the element of evil, the element must've been available so that it can be chosen!
    Well, compare it to "pregnancy and birth" for example.

    A woman is capable of becoming pregnant and giving birth, but it doesn't mean that the baby exists just because it has the potential of existing.

    Similarly, someone can choose to do "evil," but "evil" (or the "evil action") does not really exist at that point -- just an awareness of the choice that could be made.

    As far as Christianity goes, "good" is doing what is in alignment with God, and "evil" is doing something against God's nature. If one has "free will" (or perhaps even just the ability to think consciously and be self-aware), one is most likely capable of seeing God as an option and also at the same time framing the possibility of repelling/rejecting/running from God.

    One does not have to know what evil is. They merely have to reject God or his nature in order to align their actions with evil. The specifics of the evil do not have to be known or imagined, really.

    Honestly, though, "evil" is a value judgment, not a "thing." So not only is it not something that can be "created" like a "thing" can be created, but it also is something that not everyone will agree on, depending on their values. What is evil to one person is good to another, and vice versa.
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    I don’t know about the whole war in heaven prior to creation story.

    The way I learned it sin/death/evil/suffering/ickyness in general was introduced into creation with the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Prior to eating the fruit Adam and Eve were incapable of sinning, and eating the fruit was a sin, so they sinned prior to being capable of sinning.

    Figure that one out.

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    I believe good and evil aren't aspects of reality in and of themselves, I believe they are the way we tend to look at things because of our social influences. They are judgments/evaluations, not independently existent aspects of reality. If humans ceased to exist, so would good and evil, in my opinion.

    If you want to discuss it metaphorically/religiously, then I would say that evil was brought into existence to give people a choice between good and evil, because God wanted to test whether people would/could choose to love him and his ideals if they didn't simply do so by default.

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    Originally posted by Jennifer:
    the concept of "Satan" as an independent being has evolved over time... and although the theological trappings that have developed over the last 2000 years equates some prominent evil unique being with the name "Lucifer," it's really not dealt with that way in the Old Testament at all. (iow, we can't even say that Lucifer would be the name of this "evil" being.)
    The apparent biography that has been transmitted to us as representing the origins of "this being" is associated with this passage in the Old Testament:



    Isaiah 14:12-22 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet. Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned. Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities. For I will rise up against them, saith the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD.
    Ezekiel 28:12-19 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.


    Moreover Jesus Christ asserts in the Gospel of LUKE 10:18: 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven".
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    I believe good and evil aren't aspects of reality in and of themselves, I believe they are the way we tend to look at things because of our social influences. They are judgments/evaluations, not independently existent aspects of reality. If humans ceased to exist, so would good and evil, in my opinion.
    I agree.

    But as for the origin, I think it's quite simple: choice and freedom. The minute humans aren't merely functioning on instinct alone like animals, the minute we're free and able to choose different paths, that's when evil becomes possible. If an animal kills another animal over territory, it's not evil because the animal has no choice and is acting on simple instinct. If a human does it, it's evil, just as it was to invade the others' territory in the first place, because the humans have a choice and enough intelligence to find peaceful ways around problems of territory/resources if they have to.

    I tend to think of evil in everyday terms as those times when our nagging 'second thoughts' voice takes over. When we let it. I think humans are fundamentally good, but we have a second-guessing mechanism that screws us all up. For instance, I think most people if they see an old woman fallen over on the ground, the first thing that springs to mind, instinctively, is to help her get up. But depending on how strong (strong in goodness) a person you are, that thought will disappear in a cloud of "but what if it's a trick?" or "she's probably just drunk" and other cynical, judgemental and self-interested thoughts that can have a person walking on by and leaving it to someone else to deal with. How long that person deliberates before walking on by, is a measure of something, but I'm not sure whether goodness or the opposite.

    I think learning to 'be good' is just about learning to act on that first instinct, before the other voices have time to create doubt.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LIND View Post
    The apparent biography that has been transmitted to us as representing the origins of "this being" is associated with this passage in the Old Testament:
    Yes, that's the passage you should do more study on. The layperson has been taught it applies to the nefarious satan; modern scholarly consensus (mainstream, not conservative evangelicalism) thinks it refers to the (gasp) King of Tyrus and the rest is an allusion or metaphor.

    Moreover Jesus Christ asserts in the Gospel of LUKE 10:18: 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven".
    Again, what proof is there of a connection there? And was Christ being literal, or delving into a metaphor he knew that people would recognize? And so forth?

    There are very few bones to hang "Satan mythology" on, and the evolution of the Satan concept is clearly seen and recorded in modern history and Bible commentaries. In the book of Job, he's clearly part of God's ordained plan and merely the challenger or "prosecutor" -- the person in the court given the power to challenge the way of things and make cases against people. [Note that Job is probably fictitious, not historical... a story meant to teach a particular lesson. So even this Satan might just be part of the fabric of popular culture.]

    Satan is also used as a general term (not just a unique) throughout the Bible, it means adversary.

    A unique personification of evil named "Satan" doesn't really show up until the NT, after the Jews had been immersed in Babylonian culture for quite a long time, which had a duality concept of good/evil and Satan becomes a mini-Jesus, although never on a par with God.

    (And I am not even about to try and develop any sort of theology from something as indecipherable as The Revelation of John.)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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    I've promised to myself not to go religious conversations online, so I'll make a comparison with computer technology

    It's been proven that any procedure that can be expressed and computed, can be computed with Von Neumann architechture machines.

    Current computers are (and have been since 1950's) good approximations to Von Neumann machines, and can do "almost anything", vaguely speaking. The memory is the limitation.

    One cannot make a general purpose program that would solve all the decision problems in the domain of valid programs for a given computer.

    In other words, everything that is valid and solvable (decidable) is an open-ended question. We can say of some decisions that they are solvable or unsolvable, but it is impossible to enumerate them, because there is no general description that can describe them in finite space.

    So you've bothered to read this far, thanks.

    My point is that this is how universally capable machines work. Human is technically at least as good as a Von Neumann machine, so it is impossible to enumerate (list) our decidable and undecidable problems either. Now if you see that defining good and evil is a decision problem, it is impossible to automate that, either.

    It's also impossible to maintain the computer as powerful (capable of solving problems) as it is and to somehow restrict it to decidable problems. The task of doing that is already provably undecidable problem.

    Now steam is coming out of your ears. Thank you for baring with me.

    In short, It is impossible to automatize the function that a general-purpose computer would only run decidable programs and to maintain the computer as all-capable at the same time.

    The impression I've got is that apparently the Bible's God appreciates His creations to be as powerful by the virtue of their minds as possible. Bible also supports the existence of free will, btw. Call these freedom and capability, when put together.

    This is also how an all-capable computer or a system should be designed. Do not restrict the system in fatal ways, but make there some specific guards against specific things, and always make sure that the computer stays all-capable after each restriction. For example, deny direct disk access but to make the programs use the disk operating functions in the operating system. The computer can still perform any procedure, but not by writing to such disk sectors that need to be guarded.

    So I'd say that technical reasons prevent us from being computationally all-capable and inerrand at the same time. We must choose our own restrictions that will promote our well-functioning. The bible's thesis is that if we accept the restrictions and goals set by the God, he will accept us. This is something that each individual must decide themselves, as it is something that has been impossible to pre-program on us. Each human creates the own programming of their mind.

    Science of computablity is really enlightening. If you wish to read more, I suggest search words such as Church-Turing thesis, computability theory, Von Neumann architecture, decidability, Turing machine, Gödel's incompleteness theorems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Santtu View Post
    Bible also supports the existence of free will, btw.
    That is debatable.

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    Originally posted by Jennifer:
    I do not see evil as a "thing" (like a rock or a tree or a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle) to be created. It is an action (or absence of action).
    That would be like trying to create beauty or fear or stupid or smart or silly or serious, for example... or some other abstraction that is not really a "thing" at all -- but simply an awareness/feeling state that is evoked or the subjective reaction to an action.


    OK-Your analogy "beauty, fear,.." implies certain either qualities or reactions to an external stimuli. Yet if you do speak the language of creation, the package doesn't arrive here empty, meaning the subject arrives with certain qualities, qualities that were created along with the subject as being part of the subject. Those qualities either get developed in the right way, or do not get developed the right way or at all. Beauty for example is not something developed, but something given, fear is not something created but the state/instinct of being aware of dangers (which is created for the preservation of the species) when exagerated becomes fear. To sum up, the "action" originates in the subject's make up.

    Yes, that's the passage you should do more study on. The layperson has been taught it applies to the nefarious satan; modern scholarly consensus (mainstream, not conservative evangelicalism) thinks it refers to the (gasp) King of Tyrus and the rest is an allusion or metaphor.
    Just because I pointed out the passage that religion makes use of, doesn't imply that I haven't studied it or that I think about it in layman's terms, as well as it doesn't mean that I personally endorse it, I simply want it to see you opinion about it. Yes I am very aware of King of Tyrus, but if you take one part to be historical, and one part to be metaphorical, I wonder how you can pinpoint exactly the historical part and than the metaphorical....is it perhaps that what the reader doesn't comprehend becomes "metaphorical" and what he does make sense of, becomes "historical"?

    Again, what proof is there of a connection there? And was Christ being literal, or delving into a metaphor he knew that people would recognize? And so forth?
    Now we have to be careful because at this point you're making some pernicious statements; Chrsit surely spoke 'the language of metaphors" but in his overall message, he clearly states that there is a separate power (e.g. demons, 'Satan is speaking through you Peter'; at one point the pharisses accuse Jesus of working with the Devil, to which he responds : can the devil work against his own...) and that is the reason why he purported to have come on this earth for: namely to purify and save humanity from the evil fetters that have been placed upon them.
    If we wholly dismiss the idea of there being a separate spiritual instituion which exploits, and corrupts, perhaps then Christ came down for nothing, but only to fight against his own self. What does humanity need to be saved from?
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