The Mind of God Part 3: The Evil That Men Do
Last week I promised that this week's exploration would be into why "evil" still exists despite my claims that God is a Loving being. Without further ado, let's get started.
Natural discordance, on its base level, is not evil, especially in terms of the nature of all things, living and non. It's only when it comes to human beings that we consider "evil" anything more than a part of the natural order of all things. When a lion kills and eats a zebra, there isn't an upraor. When lightning strikes down the tree and destroys it, we're not rioting over it. We accept that. When it comes to the nature of the world, of the Universe, it's only with people that we can really attribute the word "evil" to things because it describes human actions as requiring something beyond simple nature. "Evil" implies the intent behind the action. If you back into a tree, that's unfortunate. If you get into a fender bender, that's upsetting. If you purposefully run someone down with your car, that's evil.
That's why we have things like involuntary manslaughter. You didn't volunteer to kill someone, but it happened, so the intent is still lacking. It's sad and unfortunate and may cause someone else in connection with it to do evil somewhere down the road, but your act in and of itself is not "evil". It's not as if you planned and went out of your way to end someone's life. (If you had, those acts of evil then go beyond even natural discordance.)
It's easy to link evil with murder and leave it at that. But there are a lot of things that people would consider evil and resent people for doing such things, and to a high degree resent "God" for doing or allowing such things. God gets a bad rap on this because a lot of people associate him with the idea of a coin in that he must have two perfectly opposite sides. If God created good then he also created evil. I can't count the times I've heard people say, "If God is so great, why does he allow things like 9/11 to happen?" This is usually coupled with bitter sentiment and a rush to say words before really considering what it all means. Can you honestly say that if there is a God, and he is a loving God, that when people commit mass genocide he just throws his hands up and resigns to say, "Welp, I guess those are the breaks. I created this, so I shouldn't be upset! And the beat goes on..."
Firstly, that's my personification of how I interpret God. That "quote" is very much my sense of humor, but I use it to try and illuminate some of the ridiculous assumptions about God. Once again, God does not work on our terms. Just as Love does not work on our terms, we must work on its. Evil is not condoned so much as it is necessarily allowed. Necessary allowance seems harsh, but if there is only one side of the coin, then there is no free will. We are beings of free will. God is not the hand of ultimate fate. We like to think that things happen for a reason, and some situations are so emotional, so indescribable, that perhaps they do, but not 100% of all things are happening for "God's" reason. If they were, then you'd be insignificant.
Astrophysicist Bernad Haisch, in his book The God Theory, does a nice job at suggesting the existence of a sort of great consciousness that preceeds matter, not the other way around. This divine consciousness, or God, gives way to matter, it creates in order to experience its infinite potential. If you are God and are capable of any and all things, then you can't know your potential unless you are in the constant state of testing that potential. So God creates to understand and experience his own potential. Pretty cut and dry. (As for the scientific observations behind it all, with things like Zero point energy and inertia, etc. We'll save that for the part dedicated to the necessity of science.)
Just based on that hypothesis, it can lend itself to the acknowledgment that God wants to experience evil because it is within the spectrum of his infinite potential. People could then make the argument that just as God has created good, he has also consciously created evil because he wishes to experience the other side of the spectrum.
But if God experiences evil through humans, doesn't that give him a better understanding of how to better promote peace and harmony, of how to suggest, through his nature that concordance is the better option, that true love precipitates all that is good, that if you know how to love without condition then you know how to create harmony? If there is nothing to fight against, nothing to fight for, there is nothing to live for. It is only animals and their nature and sticks and stones. So evil begins to take the shape of being necessary only in that it serves to be contrasted with the benefits of goodness and concordance. And committing evil is not fated to us by God, but by our own choosing. We cannot blame him for the evil that men do, that is on our shoulders. But what God has done is allowed itself to arise, not because he gets a sense of schadenfreude from it, but because he cannot fully experience his infinite potential is he limits himself, if he prevents things from happening. God is the infinitely potential explorer, there is no stone he will leave unturned for if he did he would be disallowing himself the discovery of new facets of his potential. From experiencing all this, it is still clear that concordance, Love, and good are what promotes growth, peace, and harmony. It isn't that God is doing the evil, but that evil as an option of our choosing does exist. This potential for evil exists, but it needn't be attained or sought. Some do and some will, but God does not steer us in this direction, it simply exists out of a neccessity for all emotional options to exist for free willed beings to choose. Free will, just as Love, is unconditional, and unfortunately that means that evil must necessarily exist as an option of choice for humans because if it didn't, we would be blind beings of fate and God would be preventing himself from experiencing his infinite potential.
Just as I said "good" and "bad" are relatively subjective terms, it's entirely subjective to assume the conscious thought process of God creating was the idea that he wants to experience good and evil. Though I say I believe God is a being of pure Love, I'm willing to admit that language is entirely subjective and God, past a certain point, is so past the point of our understanding that describing and theorizing his intent is entirely speculation. No one can ever know for certain, but we can try and we can believe and we do. The reason I defend God as a being of Love is because natural concordance is just too much of a coincidence for me, because this stretches beyond physical animals. Natural concordance applies to entire planets and stars, galaxies, and all forms of matter. There is life, existence, and there is death, non-existence. Something either does or does not exist, there is no in between. And because God is an energetic, conscious being of infinite potential, and by his nature (Yes, even God has a nature) must create in order to experience that potential, means that the very first action that preceeded all things that have ever existed in time was an act of concordance. So God is, by his own nature, a being of concordance.
Morality, as we've discussed, is nothing but shades of gray, colored by black and white at the far ends of its poles. We pursue good or bad, and our deeds inevitably fall in between. We can never be one hundred percent one or the other, purely good or bad. Intent to pursue concordance makes us good, intent to pursue discordance makes us evil.
But the intent is what defines the difference and defines who we are at the end of the day. Our intent is our will, our conscious decisions to do things based on who we are, what we think, and how we feel. We have the ability to do any number of things simply because we choose to do so, and that is a wonderful thing. Why would God want to experience his potential through forcing us to do things? He's not getting anything rewarding from that experience, he's not learning, he's not experiencing his potential that way. God knows all but at the same time is not human, is not an animal or a tree or a rock, and through creating all existing things God gets to experience and learn what it means to be all of these things. All things that exist are God, or a part of his consciousness, whether or not some of these things are conscious beings. We wouldn't say a rock has consciousness but God is there, God is the rock, just as he is the ocean and the fish, the men and the women.
Understanding the idea of God as an infinitely potential, energetic being that creates out of a necessity to do so because it is its only form of knowing and existing means God would not stop things from happening because he decides to. If he always intervened neither he nor we would learn a single thing. God is even less concerned with the idea of fate than we are because God wants us to live through our own individual consciousnesses that are linked to his. And because of all this, God necessarily allows evil to occur. Not that he intentionally created evil to strike fear into the hearts of unbelievers, or to smite us for our "sins", but that he allows us to do both good and evil because we have been given free will, which is a part of his will to explore his infinite potential.
The fire that burned villages, cities, and homes to the ground is not evil, but the man who started the fire has committed an act described as such. The fire is a force of natural discordance but has no human consciousness, has no intent. And even scorched earth has benefits, giving way to better soil, better crops, etc. So in a way, even an inferno is an act of concordance. But the man who started it had the intent to do so, the intent to destroy. And so "The Evil That Men Do" should be attributed as such, to humankind as we are the only ones capable of "evil" to such a large degree. There are many animals, like Dolphins, who are capable of making complex, conscious decisions but still there is no animal that makes them on the scale that humans do. We've yet to see another animal commit mass murder in the hopes of conquering other nations. So far it's just humans, and though it might seem crass to say, what a terribly wonderful thing that is, that we are capable of such amazing choice and potential, but that we use it for the wrong reasons.
Science is important amongst all of this and plays a very necessary role, and will be the topic of next week's journey, but there is still a degree to which our ability to trace back ends, to reiterate part one, it's the acknowledgment of that which we will never understand. It is an energetic force of infinite potential with a desire to play with that potential. As Haisch says in his book, "he gets to spend his billion dollars". But because of God's desire and constant need to make and experience new things, old things will come to pass either by nature, aka science (the tree and the lightning bolt), or by the conscious choice of a self aware being, humans and other animals.
So evil exists not because God created evil for the sole purpose of being the antithesis of good, or because he needed people to do bad things so he could make hellish examples out of them, but because free will exists and was given to us. Evil is a subjective term applicable only to people who understand and associate intent with action. No other animal is perceived as "guilty" simply because they do something "bad". When a chimpanzee attacks its caretaker and brutally injures her, we don't demand justice be done against the chimp. The consensus is usually, "That's what happens when you work with wild animals." (Some people, of course, do seek some sort of justice against animals, like those who hunted sting rays after Steve Irwin's death, but they are in the minority and certainly don't represent the majority of us.)
I hear unending arguments about how human beings are no different than any other animal in existence, past or present, that our nature is just another type of animal nature, our actions just different types of animalistic actions. Why then is there a constant need, even from the scientists and people who believe this, to pursue morality, to define "good" and even more so, to define "evil"? If both are part of the natural order then neither exists, life is neither good nor bad, murder is neither bad nor good, all things are without conscious purpose. But we're constantly attempting to, through science, prove why we have morality, as it has arisen from natural selection and in doing all of this we are still subconsciously acknowledging what makes us different from every other animal that has ever lived and breathed. Why is there such a constant need to validate the proof that we are not special? Don't those actions in and of themselves sort of point us in the direction of understanding that were are, if even just a little, special? The desire to seek and understand our own unique and individual consciousness is a pretty significant thing. If we really are no different than any other animal, then morality is moot and discussion is worthless and any justice system is laughable and your consciousness, everything you are, is meaningless. And despite the fact that many of you who believe we are no different than other animals may be nodding your head at all of this, if someone you loved was murdered, how would you feel? Would the beat go on? Would you be able of accepting it simply as an act of nature, or would you feel angry toward the murderer? Would you still consider and ponder that justice system, what it's doing, its effectiveness, and where your place is within it?
I think, considering all this, you'd be hard pressed to make a case for the unimportance of humankind, for its non-uniqueness, and for it's meaninglessness. When you reflect on yourself, on your life, your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and experiences, are you prepared to swear to the rest of the world that ultimately it is worth nothing? I think the more one becomes aware of his or her individual consciousness, the impossibility of two extremely complex consciousnesses like this ever being exactly the same becomes, you may start to lose your disdain for the human race, for viewing them as nothing but another massive group of insignificant animals, because that makes you insignificant. Do you believe that about yourself? Maybe the reason it's so difficult to think that we're special is because we actually are, that yes, though we may be capable of evil, but most importantly we are capable of Love. Now that is something special.