There is a concept called the Law of Contradiction that states something cannot be true and not true at the same time. For instance, a tree cannot be a tree and not a tree at the same time. A tree can be made into a piece of furniture but it is no longer a tree. A complementary law to the Law of Contradiction is the Law of Knowledge. We use both of these laws every day, not realizing how important they are to our understanding of the universe and God. Further, we need both of these laws to understand everything. Aristotle said it this way, “if everything is and at the same time is not, all opinions must be true.” To sort out truth from non-truth, we need the Law of Knowledge.
The Law of Knowledge works this way; the knowledge of one thing is dependent upon what the thing is not. Think of explaining light to a person who has been blind from birth. How would you do it? How would you explain colors to the same blind person? Without knowledge of what light and colors are not, it is impossible to understand what they are.
How do we apply this to our understanding of God, and more specifically, why God allows evil? First, let me say, I do not believe God created evil. There is a difference between allowing and creating. God allows evil to give us the ability to determine what good is. If there were no evil we could not know good. Easy enough, but let’s add a new dimension to this equation. Can mankind be good and evil at the same time? On the surface, we might answer mankind cannot be both good and evil at the same time. Mankind’s goodness ended in the Garden of Eden, according to the Bible, and the Book of Genesis, thus necessitating the need for a Savior: enter Jesus. For those who believe Christianity is the one true religion, mankind is evil and needs to be ‘saved’ before gaining access to Heaven. Were Adam and Eve evil, or not good, because they chose to eat of the forbidden fruit? Some may conclude, yes, they were evil because they chose to disobey God. But the Bible also says that mankind was made in the image of God, so therefore if we consider Adam and Eve evil because they chose to disobey God, we would need to conclude they were no longer the image of God. Perhaps, Adam and Eve were good and evil at the same time? Their decision to eat the forbidden fruit was evil because it was a disobedient choice and had consequences, but it did not cancel the fact they were created in the image of God. Jesus, the embodiment of God on earth, came to remind us we are still the image of God.
Jesus taught love, acceptance, tolerance. He was baptized, a ritual symbolizing the washing away of the old and going forth renewed. He healed and asked the healed to turn from their wickedness and make better choices. Jesus did not declare mankind evil, only their choices. Early on in the New Testament we are told that God so loved the world that He gave His Son so whomever believes will see eternity. There are no other qualifications except to believe Jesus.
Mankind was created in the image of God; God was only capable of creating good things. Mankind is good and is capable of making evil, or bad, choices because God gave mankind free will, the ability to choose. I believe allowing evil was part of the plan to complement the gift of free will. We can determine what evil is based on our knowledge of good. We understand darkness because we know light…..