Nihil Obstat. Again, the excellence of God's works in nature is insisted on as evidence of the Divine wisdom, power, and goodness, by which no evil can be directly caused. This was also, among Greek philosophers, the view of Hegesias the Cyrenaic (called peisithanatos, the counsellor of death), who held life to be valueless, and pleasure, the only good, to be unattainable. A person cannot drive another to an abortion […] Man has himself brought about the evil from which he suffers by transgressing the law of God, on obedience to which his happiness depended. Evil is a privation of good. Hence it has been thought that evil cannot truly be said to exist at all, and is really nothing but a “lesser good.” But this opinion seems to leave out of account the reality of human experience. Its chief representatives are Schopenhauer and Von Hartmann, both of whom held the actual universe to be fundamentally evil, and happiness it to be impossible. Schiller, Humanism, London, 1907.) Vol. The origin of suffering, according to Buddha, is "the thirst for being". Nom. Div. The object of the choice can by itself vitiate an act in its entirety. iii, 10) as “privatio boni alicujus”; Albertus Magnus (adopting St. Augustine’s phrase) attributes evil to “aliqua causa deficiens” (Summa Theol., I, xi, 4); Schopenhauer, who held pain to be the positive and normal condition of life (pleasure being its partial and temporary absence), nevertheless made it depend upon the failure of human desire to obtain fulfillment—”the wish is in itself pain”. Spinoza united spirit and matter in the notion of a single substance, to which he attributed both thought and extension; error and perfection were the necessary consequence of the order of the universe. Nyss., De. This is the fundamental tenet of Buddhism, which regards happiness as unattainable, and holds that there is no way of escaping from misery but by ceasing to exist otherwise than in the impersonal state of Nirvana. There is a principle in Moral Theology — the principle of double effect — which, under certain clearly defined conditions, permits us to perform an act that has both a good and an evil effect, but there is no allowance whatsoever in the Catholic system for directly choosing an evil. Poverty, oppression, and some forms of disease are instances of evil arising from imperfect social organization. Huxley was content to believe that the ultimate causes of things are at present unknown, and may be unknowable. Evil is to be known and combated in the concrete and in detail; but the Agnosticism professed, and named, by Huxley refuses to entertain any question as to transcendental causes, and confines itself to experimental facts. It has been contended that existence is fundamentally evil; that evil is the active principle of the universe, and good no more than an illusion, the pursuit of which serves to induce the human race to perpetuate its own existence (see PESSIMISM). The obligation to moral action in the natural order is, moreover, generally believed to depend on the motives supplied by religion; and it is at least doubtful whether it is possible for moral obligation to exist at all apart from a supernatural sanction. "Nothing is done without thee in earth or sea or sky, save what evil men commit by their own folly; so thou hast fitted together all evil and good in one, that there might be one reasonable and everlasting scheme of all things." 2; I-II, Q. ix, a. The origin of the phenomenal universe is attributed by Schopenhauer to a transcendental Will, which he identifies with pure being; and by Hartmann to the unconscious, which includes both the Will and the Idea (Vorstellung) of Schopenhauer. Again, if God is absolutely good, and also omnipotent, how can He permit the existence of moral evil? Mamiani also supposed evil to be inseparable from the finite, but that it tended to disappear as the finite approached its final union with the infinite. No one, however, has attempted to deny this very obvious fact; and the opinion in question may perhaps be understood as merely a paradoxical way of stating the relativity of evil. Catholic teens and adults should find it a fascinating watch, however, and aside from the frightening elements and glimpses of violence the show presents no morally questionable elements. Moral evil proceeds from the folly of mankind, not from the Divine will, and is overruled by it to a good end. We reach here the utmost limit of speculation; and our inability to conceive the ultimate reason for creation (as distinct from its direct motive) is paralleled, at a much earlier stage of the enquiry, by the inability of the non-creationist schools of thought to assign any ultimate cause for the existence of the order of nature. Manes held that matter was essentially evil, and therefore could not be in direct contact with God. There is practically a general agreement of authorities as the nature of evil, some allowance being made for varying modes of expression depending on a corresponding variety of philosophical presuppositions. If God is all-benevolent, why did He cause or permit suffering? Man has himself brought about the evil from which he suffers by transgressing the law of God, on obedience to which his happiness depended. Vat., can. Dei, XI, xii, De Vera Relig. The first example of such religion was that of Auguste Comte, who upon the materialistic basis of Positivism, founded the "religion of humanity", and professed to substitute an enthusiasm for humanity as the motive for right action, for the motives of supernatural religion. In like manner, the perverse action of the will, upon which moral evil depends, is more than a mere negation of right action, implying as it does the positive element of choice; but the morally evil character of wrong action is constituted not by the element of choice, but by its rejection of what right reason requires. As darkness is nothing but the absence of light, and is not produced by creation, so evil is merely the defect of goodness. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. Copyright © 2020 by Kevin Knight. Though the same cause may give pain to one, and pleasure to another, pain and pleasure, as sensations or ideas, cannot but be mutually exclusive. Dei, xiv). Lactantius uses similar arguments to oppose the dilemma, as to the omnipotence and goodness of God, which he puts into the mouth of Epicurus (De Ira Dei, xiii). In the light of Catholic doctrine, any theory that may be held concerning evil must include certain points bearing on the question that have been authoritatively defined. The first example of such religion was that of Auguste Comte, who upon the materialistic basis of Positivism, founded the "religion of humanity", and professed to substitute an enthusiasm for humanity as the motive for right action, for the motives of supernatural religion. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. Lactantius uses similar arguments to oppose the dilemma, as to the omnipotence and goodness of God, which he puts into the mouth of Epicurus (De Ira Dei, xiii). The Hegelian Monism, which reproduces many of the ideas of Eckhart, and is adopted in its main features by many different systems of recent origin, gives to evil a place in the unfolding of the Idea, in which both the origin and inner reality of the universe are to be found. Of this kind, of the whole, were the doctrines of the Ionic Hylozoists, whose fundamental notion was the essential unity of matter and life; and on the other hand, also, that of the Eleatics, who founded the origin of all things in abstract being. Bourdeau has asserted in express terms the futility of seeking a transcendental or supernatural origin for evil and the necessity of confining the view to natural accessible, and determinable causes (Revue Philosophique, I, 1900). The simple answer to the questions is, “Yes, you were right. “Nothing is done without thee in earth or sea or sky, save what evil men commit by their own folly; so thou hast fitted together all evil and good in one, that there might be one reasonable and everlasting scheme of all things.” In the mystical system of Eckhart (d. 1329), evil, sin included, has its place in the evolutionary scheme by which all proceeds from and returns to God, and contributes, both in the moral order and in the physical, to the accomplishment of the Divine purpose. It may be urged, moreover, that there can be no degree of finite goodness which is not susceptible of increase by omnipotence, without ceasing to fall short of infinite perfection. Basil (Hexaem., Hom. It is obviously impossible to suggest a reason why this universe in particular should have been created rather than another; since we are necessarily incapable of forming an idea of any other universe than this. It is obviously impossible to suggest a reason why this universe in particular should have been created rather than another; since we are necessarily incapable of forming an idea of any other universe than this. Mental suffering, such as anxiety, disappointment, and remorse, and the limitation of intelligence which prevents human beings from attaining to the full comprehension of their environment, are congenital forms of evil which vary in character and degree according to natural disposition and social circumstances. Metaphysical evil is the limitation by one another of the various component parts of the natural world. Proverbs 26 and Conc. The prohibition against eating "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" spells this out: "for in the day that you eat of it, you shall die." Theodicy, (from Greek theos, “god”; dikē, “justice”), explanation of why a perfectly good, almighty, and all-knowing God permits evil.The term literally means “justifying God.” Although many forms of theodicy have been proposed, some Christian thinkers have rejected as impious any attempt to fathom God’s purposes or to judge God’s actions by human standards. The problem is strictly a metaphysical one; i.e. Ecl., 1, p. 30) may be perceived an approach to the doctrine of Leibniz, as to the nature of evil and the goodness of the world. (I,Q. But the evil of sin (culpæ), though permitted by God, is in no sense due to him (I, Q. xlix, a. The features which stand out in the earlier Christian explanation of evil, as compared with non-Christian dualistic theories are thus (I) the definite attribution to God of absolute omnipotence and goodness, not-withstanding His permission of the existence of evil; (2) the assignment of a moral and retributive cause for suffering in the sin of mankind; and (3) the unhesitating assertion of the beneficence of God‘s purpose in permitting evil, together with the full admission that He could, had He so chosen, have prevented it (De Civ. Admitting that evil consists in a certain relation of man to his environment, or that it arises in the relation of the component parts of the totality of existence to one another, how comes it that though all are alike the results of a universal cosmic process, this universal agency is perpetually at war with itself, contradicting and thwarting its own efforts in the mutual hostility of its progeny? Hence, the various forms of Socialism: the idea conceived by Nietzsche of a totally new, though as yet undefined, form of social morality, and of the constitution and mutual relations of classes; and the so called ethical and scientific religions inculcating morality as tending to be generally good. If He is all-Powerful, He can be under no necessity of creating or permitting it; and on the other hand, if He is under any such necessity, He cannot be all-powerful. God's pleasure is the one supremely perfect motive for action, alike in God Himself and in His creatures; not because of any need, or inherent necessity, in the Divine nature (C. G., I, xxviii; II, xxiii), but because God is the source, centre, and object, of all existence. 2); its cause is the abuse of free will by angels and men (I-II, Q. lxxiii, a. Moral evil proceeds from the folly of mankind, not from the Divine will, and is overruled by it to a good end. The question may be stated thus. If it had been less fitted as a whole for the attainment of this object. But the Greek temper was naturally disinclined to a pessimistic view of nature and life; and while popular mythology embodied the darker aspects of existence in such conceptions as those of Fate, the avenging Furies, and the envy (phthónos) of the gods, Greek thinkers, as a rule, held that evil is universally supreme, but can be avoided or overcome by the wise and virtuous. Hence evil is not something positive and does not exist in itself; as the axiom expresses it, malum in bono fundatur (evil has its base in good). I, Q. v, 3; De Malo, I, 3). The nature and degree of pain in the lower animals is very obscure, and in the necessary absence of data it is difficult to say whether it should rightly be classed with the merely formal evil which belongs to inanimate objects, or with the suffering of human beings. In this mode of thought the individual necessarily counts for very little, as being merely a transient manifestation of the cosmic force; and the social aspects of humanity are those under which its pains and shortcomings are mostly considered, with a view to their amelioration. 2; cf. II. matter and force) appears as the eternal and infinite basis of all things. If you enjoy reading Fr. Thus it will be seen that evil is not a real entity; it is relative. Thus it has often been supposed that animal suffering, together with many of the imperfections of inanimate nature, was due to the fall of man, with whose welfare, as the chief part of creation, were bound up the fortunes of the rest (see Theoph. But when the universe is considered as the work of an all-benevolent and all-powerful Creator, a fresh element is added to the problem. 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