I really liked, and so decided to share, the following extract from Andre Rabe’s book Imagine on the origin of evil:
When God considered all the possibilities and all the options in creating the environment in which His love dream for man would be fulfilled, there were many possibilities that He rejected. Evil is all the possibilities that God rejected. Evil is everything God chose not to create. Evil is not eternal; it is not to be compared with God or even God’s creation in any way. Evil does not have an eternal past nor an eternal future – it is doomed to pass away.
So, if God did not create evil, how did it come into being? It is useful to look at the symbolism used in the scriptures to describe evil.
Darkness is used to describe evil, ignorance, lies, and all that has no substance in itself, no eternal significance. Light is used to describe God Himself, understanding, truth and that which has substance; that which has eternal significance.
Darkness has no substance in itself – it is the absence of light. It only ‘exists’ in the absence of substance, which is not a real existence at all. It only has a form of existence in its opposition to that which truly exists. It’s only content is nothingness. God never created darkness – He created light. Darkness is the uncreated opposition to that which God chose to create.
Before God created, there was no evil. In a sense, evil is the potential by-product of creation – it is everything that God did not create.
Everything that is good: love, joy, peace, have their basis within a person … the person of God. Evil, however, does not have its origin in a person, but in that which is impersonal, that which apposes the person of God and all He has made. Obviously, evil can find expression through a person, whether angelic or human, if it is given opportunity to do so. If an angel gives place to evil, evil finds a demonic expression through that personality. If a human gives space to evil, inhumanity is the result. Evil is not a natural attribute of humanity – it is inhuman to its core.
All of this might sound very theoretical and abstract, but evil found a very real and concrete opportunity to express itself in our world. But how can it, if it has no real existence, if its very nature is unreal and uncreated?
When God planned the end even before the beginning, He knew that man, created in His own image and likeness, would have the creative abilities and the power to choose the possibilities that He rejected. However, there was no other way in which to create the ultimate companion, except by giving man this power of choice and the freedom of creative will.
Man would be capable of choosing the possibilities that He rejected, choosing to give time and space to that for which God has no time nor space; that which He did not create. Man, represented by Adam and Eve, did exactly that. They chose to believe a lie, to embrace what was unreal, uncreated, and in so doing, became untrue. They let go of their true existence in God and instead clung to the nothingness of separation.
This alternative is called the kingdom of darkness. It represents an unreal existence; self-importance without substance; living in ignorance, death and separation; accepting an identity that is not authentic nor original. The ultimate goal of this kingdom is to reduce man to the same nothingness from which it came.
In the real existence of man, evil found opportunity to express its opposition to everything that God made. Man, as the ruler of creation and the ultimate companion of God, gave darkness – the uncreated and unreal, the absence of light – a very real opportunity to manifest its opposition to everything that is good and created by God. Adam’s fall gave evil a very tangible existence in this new world of illusions and deception. All of creation was subjected to corruption as it was drawn towards nothingness.
Adam and Eve were given stewardship over all creation. Their actions would affect all of creation. When they gave evil space in the created world, all of creation became subject to corruption, drawn towards the non-existent nothingness that is evil. Man himself was drawn towards this opposition to all that is God and of God, meaning that man even opposed himself, resisted himself and denied his true existence in God.
Man embraced illusions as his reality instead of allowing reality itself to embrace him. The possibility of self importance tempted man into an existence without substance. Living in death and separation was preferred above discovering the secret of life in our union with Christ in God. Instead of living out of the reality of I AM, man succumbed to the suggestion of ‘I am not’.
The knowledge of good and evil is the alternative to simply and spontaneously living from the source of all life. This moral awareness offers an alternative to direct and intimate relationship with God. It promises an independent way of living a good life. God was clear about the consequence of eating from this tree: “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” The death God spoke of here was not only physical, but spiritual. This death is not creasing to exist, it is separation from the source of life.
This alternative only seemed attractive because man never fully grasped the intimacy, the knowledge of oneness, that was available in God. Ignorance makes sin attractive. So the core problem was not the deed of sin nor the act of disobedience. These were simply the symptoms of the core problem which was: man did not know the Father in the intimate way in which He wanted to be known. Later we’ll see that Jesus’ mission was not only to deal with sin and the guilt of sin, but to solve the core problem, namely: to make the Father known. For in doing that, sin loses all its attraction.
The book on Amazon: