Good and Evil

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The question of Why /How / a omniscient (All-Knowing), Beneficent (Loving), Omnipotent (powerful) Deity would create a System of the World with so much death, decay, misfortune and randomness is called Theodicy, and has lead to many interesting attempts to understand Evil. Theos “God” and dikē “just” = “justifying God's actions on Earth


The Book of JOB ... a POETIC discussion of theodicy, how an all powerful, good deity can cause or allow evil to come to the innocent, surrounded on both sides by a PROSE story of a good man brought low and then redeemed by keeping his faith during adversity. Clearly the arguments came first, and were embedded in a story about people to make it easier to care and understand the lessons being explained. When God does appear to answer Job's lament (verses 38 - 42), HE just says he is VERY BUSY ruling Nature, so the evils Job is experiencing are NOT HIS FAULT. He is not "shooting poisoned arrows" from the Heavens into anyone's personal life. 40:7 Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. So, literally, pull on your Man-Pants and use your own skills to fix your issues, don't blame God. His friends, Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite represent different arguments, and are eventually rebuked for trying to comfort Job, and figure out God's Will. As described in the essay on NUMBERs, the age at which Biblical figures dies is often a numerological clue to their inner meaning. Job lives 140 years, 140 is the sum of all square numbers from 1 to 7, the number of completion. Psalm 140 is a charm to protect against Evil. As 14 x 10, it is a Fortnight (7 days x 2) to Completion. Or so says this Qabalist!

The potential reasons are - retribution for sin, unknown sins, sin of others (children), lack of faith, testing faith, resistance to God's Plan, It's really for the best, God moves in Mysterious Ways, we are strengthened by our challenges, not our privileges, Free Will, GOD was just not paying attention to your specific situation.

Book of Deuteronomy is filled with 613 commandments which order civil and family life, as well as health and religion. Evil is believed to be a consequence of some of these rules having been broken, and the vast number of them gives the Seeker a good chance to find some small infraction upon which to blame their "bad luck".

The possibly best explanation to me is that of the RaMCHaL. In Derekh Hashem (aka Sefer Derekh Yod aka Sefer Derekh ha-Shem aka the Way to the Name aka The Way of God aka The YOD Path, 1730 - 1740) he explains that the Lord wants to share The Good with HIS Creation, and having given Free Will to humans provided a way for them to EARN the Good so A). they would not feel unworthy, having it handed on a silver platter. B). They would also value it more, having earned it, and not take it for granted, as we tend to take the air, sun and gravity. And C). that each would know they alone were responsible for their own portion of challenges and not blame them on others or God.

So suffering -- both the kind we experience in life or in the Afterlife -- undoes all blemishes and utterly scours away at all stains, much the way weeping purges sorrow, and admitting fault unburdens the heart.

Derekh Hashem 2;2;5;footnote 7

also, that we have personal responsibility for our destination. " by virtue of the fact that each one of us is responsible for his or her own spiritual status, and that we're each free enough to be as great or as lowly as we decide to be (as we said earlier on), it follows then that each one of us decides upon his or her own particular accommodations in The World to Come, whether we know it or not. And that no one is to be blamed or credited for our station there other than ourselves"

more on Derech Hashem ("The Way of G-d"), a succinct laying-out of the fundamentals of the Jewish faith touching upon mankind's obligations in this world and its relations to G-d, ; The RaMChaL explains the Lurianic Qabalah of the Ari aka Isaac Luria, the concept of TzimTum and Tikkun (There and Back Again) (see Kalach Pis'chey Chocmah aka Kelah Pithei Hokhmah aka 138 Gates of Wisdom, 1785 at and our role, see Ma'amar HaGeulah ("A Discourse on The Redemption"), at, Ma'amar HaNevuah ("A Discourse on Prophecy"), Mishkney Elyon aka "Dwellings of the Supreme, ( and more.

Some philosophers, mystics and Rabbi's suggest Antinomianism is necessary to repair the world, find salvation, or power. They point out that Jesus taught thieves and prostitutes, not bankers and doctors, going where people did evil to rescue them. Similarly, many Christian and Muslim conversions occur in prison, when people feel at their lowest, guilty, and in need of redemption. While I have heard "there are no atheists in foxholes" speaking with returning soldiers from three wars that had no victorious conclusions there was as much disillusioned realism as those whose faith had increased.

Yetzir ha-Rah, The Evil Inclination, exists in the misuse of Freedom as a possibility, a seed, which can be nurtured or consumed and transformed. The only Satan is your own warped reflection, animated by that Yetzir ha-Rah.

The self-proclaimed messiah Sabbatai Zevi and his disciple Jacob Frank (one converts from Jewish to Muslim under a death threat, the other from Jewish to Christian under persecution) believed the Rabbi / Shaman must descend into the Other Side of the Tree of Life to rescue the World's Soul, God's Bride, the Shekenah. While Christians such as Count Nicholaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf of the Order of the Grain of Mustard Seed within the Moravian Brotherhood and his son Christian Renatus von Zinzendorf aka Christel aka The Sidewound believed in attracting the Holy Spirit by breaking the Commandments so the Christ would walk among them to teach and redeem the congregation. They mentally relived Jesus' five wounds, some believing the fifth "sidewound" made by the lance was a code for anal intercourse. The believed all Humans receptive, or female, to the Holy Spirit of God, and practiced ecstatic "Drawing Sown" trances and orgies.

Or is Evil Ignorance of the Natural Flow, resistance to "God's Will'? Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, author of Essais de Théodicée sur la bonté de Dieu, la liberté de l'homme et l'origine du mal (Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil); Voltaire disagreed; Plato; Neoplatonists; St. Augustine of Hippo, Evil is a corruption of the Good God created; Saint Irenaeus, Evil exisits to spur us to choose to do Good through Free Will; Constantine Kempf ; John Hick, author of Evil and the God of Love; Zachary Braiterman, author of God After Auschwitz; Emmanuel Levinas, after the Holocaust, argued against even TRYING to understand Evil, but instead to use it as a measure against which to do Good; Erasmus and Martin Luther argued over Free Will and Evil, with Luther the Determinist;

Is it an Evil, The Devil, almost as powerful as God? Zarathustra, AKA Zoroaster taught they were at war, an eternal struggle, so neither side was definitively superior, see the Pagan and Gnostic essays. Mani postulated a co-equal force of Darkness with the Good, not a result of an imperfect projection of God creating matter (like in Neoplatonism's Craftsman God), not a vain and ignorant child God like the Yaldabaloath of the Gnostics who was nevertheless a projection of the Invisible God, and therefore dependent on that stolen power. Christians after St. Augustine of Hippo adopted the Fallen Angel theory, which finds Devil as having come from God, and almost at the same level of influence as the Christ. The Christian God COULD control Satan, but.... doesn't. The Jewish God is ONE, but with many layers or emanations between HIM and us, each polar opposites, and when THEY get out of balance, Evil creeps in, as we deviate from God's plan. The Buddha taught there was no Evil, just illusion, and attachment to that illusion is what caused suffering, which we mistake as Evil. The Hindu sages are quite varied, of course, but generally the doctrine of Karma and reincarnation require Evil as obstacles for us to overcome and temptations to avoid, thus proving us worthy of advancing up the chain of Being. Valentinus taught the material world was a product of a mistake by one of God's most junior emanations. Iamblichus worked out an elaborate system for advancing up that Chain of Being back to the ONE, and Evil was stagnation in that progreass.

Is it our attempt to impose meaning on Chaos? And if so, is that a sound basis to categorize experiences as similar and dissimilar, Emotional, Physical,thought, Spirit?

see the ideas of Saint Irenaeus; Valentinus; Simon Magus; Plato; Jesus; Saint Paul the Apostle; Plotinus; Iamblichus; Hermes Trismegistus; GRS Mead; Mani aka Manes;

Once again, we consider "How different is Magick from Life?". Anyone who has cradled an infant's face knowing they were taking responsibility for that young life is forever changed. Watching the heartbreak of the burial of one who died too young, changes you. Clawing your way back from the Grey Shore of Death changes you. So how is Magick different, is it different, and is the effort worth it. When are the results of Magick so unusual as to be more than Will on it's own?

Let's be serious, lots of memorization, practice, breathing, record-keeping, it doesn't STOP disease, or distress. It DOES better equip one to not just survive, but thrive in the face of stress, which brings a measure of confidence in your Will.

Related issue of Drama and Meaning, Pope Gregory I, or Gregory the Great (540-604); Maimonides; St. Thomas Aquinas; John Calvin, 1536; David Hume; Lucien Febvre; Voltaire; Immanuel Kant; Johann Gottfried von Herder; Robert Lowth; William Blake; Elie Wiesel; Hannah Arendt; Rabbi Richard Rubenstein; Stephen Mitchell, translator;

RESOURCES:;;; The World of Biblical Israel lecture series by Professor Cynthia R. Chapman ; ; ; ; Gnosticism: From Nag Hammadi to the Gospel of Judas lecture series by Professor David Brakke, The Teaching Co/ Great Courses, 2015 ;