The question is not whether evil exists. Evil is apparent in the cruelty, suffering, and injustice we witness each day. The question is why it exists. Why does a loving God allow it? When evil appears to dominate our world it can cause our thoughts to be shadowed in darkness. How then, trusting in Divine goodness, do we reconcile the existence of evil with the conviction the One (God, Being, the All) is One, and is all and everywhere good?
And when you see the turmoils of the earth, and when you hear the cries of those that are fearful, and when you see the elements about thee apparently in destructive forces, and ye doubt - to be sure you sink into doubt and fear and despair; …
- Edgar Cayce reading 853-9
First, we need to recognize Being is limitless, but our point of view is not. Our limited perspective makes some things appear true that are only real in a material, three-dimensional way. In other words they are relative truths. For example, we say, “the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.” This is true, but only relative to the earth. If we pull back and look at the whole solar system, we see the sun neither rises nor sets. It is the earth’s rotation seen from our earthbound perspective that causes us to perceive it that way. In the same way, evil is real in relation to the physical. It is a relative, not an absolute truth, not an equal or opposing force to the Good, the One, the All. Still, why is evil part of our human experience?
Evil has been defined as having two forms, pain, or natural defect such as illness or death, and moral transgression, willfully harming others. George Boole, mathematician, philosopher, and inventor of the binary code used in computers, postulated:
- If the One (God) is omnipotent, all things must take place according to Its’ will.
- If the One is perfectly good, and all things take place according to Its’ will, absolute evil does not exist.
- If the One is omnipotent and benevolence is Its’ sole principle, then pain cannot exist as evil. It must exist only as an instrument of good.
- Pain exists.
Physical pain can be seen as useful when it reveals conditions that cause injury or death. We see it as an instrument of good because it points to something more important than pain. The suffering of an innocent child, one born with severe disabilities or illness is harder to comprehend, judging from the limited perspective of one lifetime. If we could take a timeless point of view, we might see the illness was the soul’s choice to learn compassion, the culmination of many lifetimes of soul-work. We might see the disability was a lesson for the parents, that it had been agreed to by all the souls involved prior to the birth of the child. Is suffering evil if it impels a soul’s progress?
This becomes hard to conceive in the finite mind; as does the finite mind fail to grasp the lack of or NO time. Yet out of Time, Space, Patience, is it possible for the consciousness of the finite to KNOW the infinite.
- Edgar Cayce reading 262-115
That there are duties, that there are problems is because promises have been made within thine own conscience! and these confront thee now!
- Edgar Cayce reading 1632-2
What about willfully harming others? What does that teach us?
Cayce explained this kind of evil is the result of man’s misuse of the gift of free will, bestowed by the Creator to enable the soul to be itself yet choose to be one with the Creator. We choose evil or we choose the Good, the Just, and the Beautiful. When we choose to turn away from Divine love, we bring evil into the world.
By Choice we know His companionship, and by will we exercise our Choice… “… in a world ruled by the prince of selfishness, darkness, hate, malice, jealousy, backbiting, uncomely things; not of the beauties, but that self might be taking advantage in this or that way or manner. What moves the spirit of these activities? GOD, but - Will and Choice misdirected….
- Edgar Cayce reading 262-115
Imagine you are a parent of a young child who is drawn to play with fire. You want to teach them there is danger; you warm them not to touch it, tell them they’ll be burned if they do. The child does not heed your warning, they put their hand in the fire and are hurt. Are you to blame for not preventing the pain? Or is the child meant to learn to trust in your love and guidance despite their own desires and impulses?
Then what is this SPIRIT OF REBELLION, what is this Spirit of Hate? What is this Spirit of Self-Indulgence? What is this Spirit that makes men afraid? SELFISHNESS! Allowed, yes, of the Father. For, as given, He has not willed that the souls should perish but that we each should know the truth - and the truth would make us free. Of what? SELFISHNESS! Then we should each know that the sin which lies at our door is ever the sin of selfishness, self-glory, self-honor.
- Edgar Cayce reading 262-114
Just as a loving parent may teach a child a painful lesson by letting them experience the consequences of their disobedience, the One allows pain to teach us, to bring us back to love and unity.
… The soul is a child of God, or a thought, a corpuscle in the heart of God. Yet the entity, thine own soul, has been given a will to use the attributes of soul, mind, and body to thine own purposes. Thus as the individual entity applies self in relationship to those facts, the entity shows itself to be a true child or a wayward child, or a rebellious child, of the Creative Force or God. The will then to do, to be one with that Creative Force and thus fulfil the purposes for which the entity entered this present sojourn, is an evidence of the conditions just stated, if one accepts the fact that God is and that the ego, the thought of self is His offspring. This is the accepting of the fact that ye always were, ye always will be; dependent upon the relationship or upon what ye do with thy will. Will ye make thy will one with the Creative Force? Or will ye be negligent or unmindful of thy opportunities, or will ye rebel and have thine own way?
- Edgar Cayce reading 3376-2
Of course the child who obeys their parent and doesn’t put their hand in the fire has no need of this kind of lesson. In the same way, the One does not teach everyone through the same means, but according to what is needed. For some happiness brings the lesson, for others it is pain.
For God has not purposed or willed that any soul should perish, but purgeth everyone by illness, by prosperity, by hardships, by those things needed, in order to meet self - but in Him, by faith and works, are ye made every whit whole.
- Edgar Cayce reading 3395-2
Although it is hard to comprehend why evil exists in our world, understanding it is a relative, not absolute truth, helps us see the One truly is One. Knowing suffering is used to teach us, to liberate us, can alleviate doubt and fear. Someday we will gain the cosmic perspective needed to fully comprehend the human experience. Until then, remember, shadows are only a temporary illusion caused by clouds passing overhead. The sun shines always.
Then, as would be given, keep that faith, do not let those things which may not in the present be understood weary thy soul, but know that sometime, somewhere, you, too, will understand. Keep the faith.
- Edgar Cayce reading 5369-2