One often hears the argument that people are basically good and all we have to do is understand those who are bad, educate them and they will become good. This is a position often taken by atheists and humanists to negate the proposition that there is a benevolent God who created and controls the entire universe and that evil in our world is due to sin.
But what if they were in a sense right? I want to look at the proposition that underlying the universe is a state of good but within which coexists evil and that state of affairs was the deliberate and intentional result of YHVH’s (God’s) creation.
First we must take the position that the universe and all that is in it was created by a supreme being and not the result of random time, chance and explosions. This therefore allows for four possible scenarios for the state of the universe, though more correctly we have to say the state of our earth, because we do not know by direct experience whether anywhere else in the universe is like earth.
State one would be a universe that is good and only good, state two would be a universe that is bad and only bad, state three would be a universe that is equal parts good and bad, and state four would be a universe that is both good and bad in any one of a number of possible proportions.
Now, state one is the epitome of a creation by a benevolent God. It was the state of creation originally and it will be the future state of the re-created universe as given in the Biblical account, after the return of Yeshuah, the son of YHVH (incorrectly referred to as Jesus). I think we can all imagine how that would be as a place to live.
State two is a little more difficult to imagine because the ultimate result of all the things that we would term evil is chaos and destruction. Inevitably one would have to start with a world packed to bursting with people, not just two, because the immediate consequence of those people, who are bad and only bad, would be the subjection, enslavement exploitation and murder of their neighbours. It would be an all-out war for supremacy and possessions until there was but one man left standing. Total free reign of evil would not last long and as a viable possibility for a created intelligent being it is not sustainable.
In state three we would see a mixture of good and bad in equal measures, but even though there would be present all the elements that we would understand as being good; love, kindness, compassion, understanding, help and protection to name a few, if there existed in equal measure hate, violence, theft, rape, murder, a working society could not exist. Equal measures of good and evil would also mean there would have to be equality in the social structure. You could not have any objection if, for example, when sitting at a restaurant with your wife or friend you have a person at the next table suddenly up and shoot the person they were with, and you carry on eating your meal because its none of your business, that was acceptable for them!
That’s bizarre to say the least, but in a world of equal proportions, or a level of evil above a certain amount we simply could not function as a society. Laws could not be made and protection under those laws given. You could not go to out amongst society when you could never know if the person walking towards you was going to attack you or not. The only thing that restrains people with such intent is the structure of our society and the laws enacted, if they are associated with swift and effective justice.
No, what we have here is a state four scenario, but one where the underlying good far outweighs the inherent bad. It has to be this way otherwise we could not have a functioning society. The world has to be fundamentally good, but it is obviously tainted by the bad. This is exactly the scenario we have in the Biblical account of creation. When Adam and Eve fell from the state of intimate relationship with YHVH in a state one world, that fall did not usher in a state two or even a state three world. It allowed the entry of sin to taint the world but the underlying mechanism of the universe was, and still is, good.
This presence of evil is felt in the only place it can be felt, and that is in people. Trees, animals, buildings, rocks and rivers are neither good nor bad; they simply are; only people have the capability to be good or bad. That underlying the universe is a state of good is obvious from the fact that society exists and is able to frame laws for the protection of that society. When those of us living in this society look at the lawlessness surrounding us we wonder if indeed this is a fundamentally good world, it certainly looks beset with all kinds of evil, and it is so beset, so why?
The answer is that there is bad in our world and it is people who manifest that ugliness. From time to time the bad in our world congregate around an ideology that is attractive to them and a charismatically effective though evil leader and are then are empowered to inflict great harm on the rest of society or particular factions of society. But such regimes never last, because within that regime, that country or culture the balance of good and bad moves ever more towards the bad and that is simply not sustainable. That ideology eventually destroys itself, but doing much harm to others in the process.
The human race, as an intelligent creation capable of learning and complex understanding, should be capable of looking at the history of ideologies that cause such harm and discount them as viable models for society to adopt. We should be but we aren’t. Why not? Why is it that intelligent people assimilate destructive ideologies into their world view, ones that have in the past been amply demonstrated as being contrary to the good of society, and then actively promote those ideologies and even attack those who would oppose it. There can only be one answer, and that is not found in their intelligence.
Because people are the carriers, the embodiment of attitudes and beliefs, the cause of the resurgence of such views must lie somewhere in the psyche, the internal identity, the souls of individuals. It must lie outside the chemical electrical activity of the brain but have an undeniable influence on that activity since that is the seat of thought and action. It must lie in the spirit of mankind, an inherent evil that is either manifested or driven out. Manifested in childhood naughtiness that, if not addressed, later become adult lawlessness. A baby is not taught selfishness and disobedience, a child is that way from birth, it is this inherent bad that every person in born with.
But, what brings a person to such a pass that the evil within has such authority over them that they commit atrocious, unconscienced acts against their fellow man and their environment as individuals, or go on to reactivate old failed ideologies of hate, enslavement and violence? There must be another element at work here and that element is spiritual. The Bible tells us that this world is inhabited by evil spirits that can influence mankind, and, if you recognise the awesome intelligent and reasoning capability of man, then an outside influence can be the only thing that overrides that ability to think, devise, create and implement a societal model that does not include the destructive ideologies.
The very fact that bad people and evil ideologies exist in the earth is the best evidence for a benevolent creator God that you can get. It is when we are surrounded by lawlessness in a world that must have an underlying good, that we understand there is a creator of the heavens, the earth, the sea and all that in them is and because the underlying nature of creation is good that the externalised attribute of that Creator is also good.
Yes, the earth has an underlying character of good and since good and evil are not scientific attributes they can not have come out of a big bang. There is only one logical state for the universe and that is to be underpinned by a spiritual state of goodness and that goodness can only have been imprinted on the universe by a benevolent creator God. The fact that evil resides here when total goodness is a possible state, can only be as a result of the permitting of imperfection, or to put it another way, when sin was found in man.
May all Israel, Honour YHVH.