Is Evil Real?

Many who adhere to some form of New Age thought do not believe in a real existence of evil in the world. Benjamin E. Zeller writes on Patheos that:

New Age beliefs tend to deny or at least minimize the fundamental existence of evil. … The New Age [believes in the] illusionary nature of evil.

A Course In Miracles, sometimes called a New Age Bible is very clear on the idea that evil (and a lot of other things) are not real, for example in Lesson 110:

If you remain as God created you fear has no meaning, evil is not real, and misery and death do not exist.

Unity is a popular church in many cities. From a discussion between Unity Worldwide ministers:

Truth reveals that evil is only a basically harmless illusion.

What really is “evil“?

It is a word used to describe many things from unpleasant conditions up to and including malignant and powerful intelligences bent on harming humanity. “Evil” can refer to “suffering, misfortune, and wrongdoing; something that brings sorrow, distress, or calamity.Merriam-Webster

In terms of suffering, misfortune, wrongdoing, sorrow, distress, and calamity I find it hard to understand how one can claim that this sort of evil does not exist in the world. Perhaps if one lived in a monastery without access to the evening news?

If one is rational this sort of evil does exist. If one believes in God or a Supreme Being who created the universe then it is hard to deny that this God is the author of that kind of evil. In the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament this is made clear:

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Isaiah 45:7

Some translations like to use the word “calamity” instead of “evil,” but in the original Hebrew the word is  רַע (ra`) which does in fact mean “evil.” In Judaism there is a concept of this kind of “evil” being created for the purpose of testing mankind.

That makes sense to me. If we did not have the possibility of this kind of evil, if we did not have to overcome disease with modern medicine, hunger with modern agriculture, and discomfort with air conditioning and overstuffed couches, and more importantly if we didn’t have the God-given intelligence and desire to overcome evil, then I guess we would still be setting around in caves scratching the fleas on our hairy butts.

Also see:

Is Evil Necessary?
Are Good And Evil Real?
Good & Evil – Light & Dark (Joseph J. Dewey)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *