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Good and Evil

“As decisively as the Eucharist is the sacrament of everlasting life, the revelation of our salvation and a participation in the Body and Blood of God, so, too, it comes with the reminder that it happened in the context of our sin. That Judas not only betrayed Christ, but sold Him out, seems particularly noteworthy in our times of material affluence. However, the transmission of the tradition takes on a different hue in the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church. In St. John Chrysostom’s Liturgy we hear: …who when He had come and had fulfilled all the dispensation for us, in the night in which He was given up [betrayed]— or rather, gave Himself up for the life of the world — took bread in His holy, pure, and blameless hands…The evil which Judas sought to do (even as we seek to do) is swallowed up by the providence of the good will of God. This is expressed yet more clearly in St. Basil’s Liturgy: For when He was about to go forth to His voluntary, ever memorable, and life-giving death, on the night on which He was delivered up for the life of the world, He took bread in His holy and pure hands, and presenting it to You, God and Father, and offering thanks, blessing, sanctifying, and breaking it: There is no tragedy of mistaken intentions, no triumph of greed over love. It is as Christ had said earlier in the Garden: “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour” (Jn. 12:27). The Cross reveals God in His eternity.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The doctrine of providence assures us that the omnipotent God is shepherding history to its happy goal. It gives us hope that even when the mustard seed of Christ’s Kingdom appears hidden from sight, it is still at work; that even martyrdom and apparent defeat are the very scaffolding by which God’s saving love is advancing the new creation project. The doctrine of providence, when combined with eschatology, relieves us from having to measure the success of new creation by the crude criteria of material appearances this side of resurrection. It assures us that nothing we do for Christ’s Kingdom will ever be wasted, even when we cannot see any visible fruit in this life.” (Robin Phillips)

“It is hard for many people, especially for non-believers, to accept that bad things in the world also happen by Divine Providence. That’s why faith is needed, and, to be more precise, trust in God. We need the experience of overcoming evil in its various manifestations, and the Lord can be known and revealed to us in overcoming trials. Unfortunately, such is the power of inertia of human nature that it can be very difficult for God to reach our souls. This is our propensity to sin, as the Holy Fathers put it, in which our self-indulgence and desire to separate ourselves from God, from Divine truth, from the Law of God, which the Lord has established, are manifested.” (Bishop Euthymius Moiseyev)

“We may act skillfully or clumsily. We may live wisely or foolishly. We may be clever or clueless, but the Almighty is with us. He is always working beneath what we do to fulfill His will in our lives. So let us abandon our pride and give Him the glory whether what we do turns out well or badly. Thus, let us trust that ultimately His will be done in our lives.” (Fr. Basil)

“Unless He allows it, the purpose of God cannot be stopped by earthly authorities or by the devil (Mt 16:18)….Note that the demons have to ask Christ’s permission to depart [Mathew 8:28-32]– they are absolutely powerless in the face of Christ, something Christians should remember whenever they fear demonic presence.” (Orthodox Study Bible, 2 Ezra 5:5, Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“No one ever became holy by fighting evil. We only become holy by falling in love with Christ.…we don’t conquer evil with fear but with love. This truth is built on the reality that the darkness cannot overtake the Light (John 1:5) and that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).” (Elder Porphyrios, Philip Mamalakis)

“Saint Porfyrios really is today’s great teacher, because he understands our complacent mind-set, which makes it difficult for us to see God. He taught that there are two paths to God: one is hard and tiring, with fierce attacks against evil, and the other is smoother and easier. The first describes the great saintly and ascetic warriors, such as John of the Ladder and Saint Paisios the Athonite. The second, easier way is simply to give yourself over to the love of God and not to fight evil directly. You don’t attempt to disperse the darkness from the chamber of your soul, you just make a little hole for the light to come in. You don’t fight the enemy, you disdain him and embrace Christ in a variety of ways. Saint Porfyrios also says that this is what he managed to do by intense devotion to the hymns and books of the Church and the Lives of the Saints, all of which moved him greatly and inspired him.” (Protopresbyter Nikolaos Patsalos)

“We have to resist evil every day, because our struggle isn’t against flesh and blood but against the authorities and powers of darkness of this age. In this engagement, we have the holy angels on our side, continuously praying to the Lord for our salvation.” (Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes)

“In my experience, the hardest and most painful in a community is to have tensions with a brother. And what a relief when we forgive from our heart and pray for the person that seemingly offended us! Often the injustice we suffer is only in our imagination, but sometimes it may be real. What a relief it is when we forgive and pray for that person and we try to conquer evil by doing good (Rom. 12:21). The Holy Scriptures say this, so we cannot be more clever than the word of God. We can be clever, but not wise. When he has the grace of God, even the most uneducated man is wiser than all the scribes of this world. No comparison in quality of mind and spirit between the people who are learned in the vain and proud ways of this world, and the man who perfects holiness in the fear of God day by day and fathoms eternity with his spirit.” (Archimandrite Zacharias Zacharou)

“Another brother asked him: ‘What is the meaning of “Never repay evil with evil”?’ (Romans 12:17). Abba Poemen said to him: ‘This passion works in four ways: first, in the heart; second, in the sight; third, in the tongue; fourth, in not doing evil in response to evil. If you can purge your heart, it does not come to the sight. If it comes to the sight, take care not to speak of it. If you do speak of it, quickly prevent yourself from rendering evil for evil.’” (Desert Fathers)

“At this point in his record of the church’s growth, Luke reports a remarkable sense of unity and sharing among the believers. He summarizes, “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things they possessed was his own, but they all had things in common” (Acts 4:32). But this very unity provided a perfect opportunity for the devil. Just as the serpent appeared amid the bliss of the Garden of Paradise, the devil invaded the blessed New Paradise of the mutual life of the first believers.” (Fr. Basil)

“ “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”” (1 Corinthians 11:23–25) Scholars believe that this tradition was given to St. Paul within the first few years following the events it describes. It predates the same words in the written gospels by some decades. It tells us that the earliest Christians specifically recalled that the Lord’s Supper was instituted in the context of betrayal.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“In what sense have Adam and his wife become like angelic beings? They have not gained new knowledge of the good. Before eating, good was all that they knew, because God had created all things good. Rather, humanity had gained the knowledge of evil. This knowledge is not just an intellectual idea or thought but intimate knowledge. Evil had now become part of humanity’s being and future possibilities. Understanding the depths of evil makes good—namely God Himself—more difficult to know…A very early influential body of works, Corpus Aeropagiticum, written under the pseudonym Dionysius the Aeropagite, deals with the problem of evil. He explains that God created everything to be in communion with Himself, and if that is done, humans will share the blissful blessings of peace, harmony and beauty that God planned for us. It is a reciprocal relationship. It means that as we learn to reach out beyond our own idea of those virtues and open ourselves to the promptings of the Spirit, we will develop an appetite for all that is best within and for us…” (Fr. Stephen De Young, Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)

“That which a man loves, to which he turns, that he will find. If he loves earthly things, he will find earthly things, and these earthly things will abide in his heart, will communicate their earthliness to him and will find him; if he loves heavenly things, he will find heavenly things, and they will abide in his heart and give him life. We must not set our hearts upon anything earthly, for the spirit of evil is incorporated in all earthly things when we use them immoderately and in excess, the spirit having become earthly by excessive opposition to God.” (Fr. Edward Rommen)

“You won’t become saints by hounding after evil. Ignore evil. Look towards Christ, and He will save you. Instead of standing outside the door shooing the evil one away, treat him with disdain. If evil approaches from one direction, then calmly turn in the other direction. If evil assaults you, turn all your inner strength to good and to Christ. Pray Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.” (St. Porphyrios)

“Questions about the problem of evil and God's commands are really asking about character of God. The real question is, "Can God be trusted?” (John Njoroge)

“I am struck by the preponderance of unbelief in our day and time. Frequently, the “problem of evil” is cited as an overwhelming obstacle to belief. I think of this in particular when I consider that antiquity was dominated by far more suffering on a daily basis than our present age. Our lives would seem magical in their easy dismissal of childhood diseases, our caloric intake, and the unending variety of all things offering themselves for consumption. If, as I believe to be the case, we are created for wonder and transcendence, then it would seem that we are malnourished and suffer from starvation in our souls. If everything that troubles us within the “problem of evil” were to miraculously disappear, or even be diminished for the greater part, it would do nothing to nourish our souls. In a certain manner, we live in a vegetative state in which our “needs” are met while our true hunger is ignored.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Without the intervention of God to establish justice through judgment, the creation would quickly sink into chaos, violence, and destruction, as occurred before the Flood of Noah (Gen. 6:5). One of God’s eternal activities in His creation is the ongoing restraint of these evil forces brought down upon humanity by people’s sins. Often, Christians of the present day discuss the “problem of evil.” Why does a good, loving, and all-powerful God allow evil in the world? Perhaps this question itself is misguided or based on a false premise. Not only does it presume humanity is the innocent victim of evil, but also that evil is an external force from which, it is imagined, God is failing to protect us. The reality is precisely the reverse—evil enters creation as a result of humanity’s collusion with evil spiritual forces. Humanity is the vehicle through which evil comes into the world, and it is most often directly inflicted by humans upon one another rather than by impersonal forces of nature. God’s merciful and gracious action is why this evil does not consume the creation entirely.” (Fr. Stephen De Young)

“As Christians we believe that all human beings are conceived and created in the image of God without exception. None are created evil—indeed, nothing that exists is evil by nature since God is the only Creator of all that exists. In that God never had, never would and never will create evil, what is the source of evil?...Evil is the free choice to ignore the inner promptings of God Spirit in our souls and prefer the spiritual cancer of demonic possession.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)

“All too often our treasure is a merely earthly treasure, and our hearts are held fast by the trinkets of this world. And all too often when we are deprived of such treasures, gratitude is the absolute furthest thing from our heart. Why are these things so, even for so many of us Christians? Why can we perceive the love of God so dimly in His blessings, and in His chastisements not at all? The answer, in large part, is that we have been seduced by narrative of modernity. Perhaps the defining feature of modernity is its utopianism: the conviction that this world can be made into paradise, indeed that it must be made into paradise, for there is no other world and there will be no future paradise (though one may still choose to privately believe such “fantasies,” so long as those “fantasies” are in no way permitted to impede the March of Progress). Such construction of an earthly paradise is even taken by many to be the true aim of Christianity, thus, in Voegelin’s words, “immanentizing the eschaton.” And indeed, the utopianism of modernity is simply a Christianity without Christ, the pursuit of a Heaven without God. And so, ironically, the “Problem of Evil” which has so often plagued Christians returns in even greater force to plague the utopianism of Anti-Christianity.” (Hieromonk Gabriel)

“Sin, like evil, is never a thing-in-itself. It is always a misuse, or disfigurement of something good. Everything created by God is good, only its misdirection and distortion makes it evil. Evil never creates anything. We generally do not and cannot see this about our own sin. The shame that it engenders blinds us to its deeper reality.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving; for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:4-5)…Nothing is to be considered as evil in itself, but becomes so by the act of those who used it in such a way; for when properly and purely made use of, it comes out pure, but if disgracefully and improperly, then it becomes disgraceful.” (St. Methodius of Olympus)

“Paul exhorts us “to walk circumspectly… redeeming the time because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15). Why does Paul call the day in which we live “evil”? Are things that bad? The Greek term “evil” refers to the effect or influence of wickedness or malice on something or someone. But note that does not describe the essential character of what it affects… what we call “evil” belongs to whatever we describe. For instance, the evil of the body is disease, whereas the evil of the soul is wickedness. But then what is the “evil of the day”? is not the day itself. “It is not the essence of the thing, not the things as so created, but it is the things transacted in them.”…the events of the day that come from God are good. But the events that “bad men” perform are “evil.” To the extent that the works of “bad men” prevail, the days are “evil.”… This analysis opens a possibility that we perhaps overlook in our hopelessness. We can “redeem” the time. The word redeem means to rescue to “buy back”… How can we save our days from evil? Paul says that we can deliver our days from wickedness by “walking circumspectly” (vs. 15), that is, by living each day “carefully “and “diligently”…in the light of the Spirit. (St. John Chrysostom, Fr. Basil)

“In this Scripture we see the effect on the human person of both sin and holiness. With sin, we become distorted. And the more we sin, the greater the distortion gets. As Jesus said, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” We have all had the experience of developing a sinful habit, and its effects on us get worse and worse the deeper we go. It gets harder and harder to break that habit. And we can become paralyzed in sin. With the encounter with what is holy and our assent and participation with it, we are restored to our humanity as God created us to be.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)

“Because of our own passions and the brokenness of our world of corruption, the struggle for faithfulness will require suffering. That is not because suffering is somehow pleasing to God in and of itself, but because of the inevitable tension we experience when we seek to offer our lives to Christ. Taking up our crosses requires that we embrace the difficult struggle to die to all the distortions of soul that have become second nature to us.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“When we observe the deplorable events of our times, it is easy to be discouraged. We lament the state of immorality, injustice, insincerity, and impiety of our nation and our world. And we wonder what the Almighty could do to advance the Gospel, bring the lost to Christ, and preserve the church in peace and security. Unrestrained evil is what we see if we view the world through earthly eyes. Yet, if we look at our times with eyes of faith, we see God’s hand at work in everything…no earthly power can contradict the will of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Fr. Basil)

“Evil is never creative. It is destructive and occasionally diverse in its activities. But creativity requires energy and commitment. Evil’s own entropy always reduces it to banality and boredom…Evil is corruptible because corruption is the nature of evil, which does not possess any true existence whatsoever. Goodness is incorruptible because it exists eternally and never ceases to be, and watches over everything in which it dwells…Evil has a beginning, for it has its origin in activity on our part which is contrary to nature. But goodness does not have a beginning, for it exists by nature before time and before all ages...evil has no substance or kingdom—either unoriginate or self-existent or created by God; but that it is our work, and the evil one’s, and came upon us through our heedlessness…not from our Creator.” (Father Stephen Freeman, St. Maximos the Confessor, St. Gregory the Theologian)

“Goodness is primary and independent; it does not require evil in order to exist. Existence itself is good, for it is derived from God’s Being, the source and foundation of reality. Evil, on the other hand, is parasitical in nature and cannot exist without the good: it is a perversion of that which exists…Evil is an erosion of being. The more evil a creature becomes, the more deficient its existence…Evil cannot create; it can only pervert.” (Lisa Coutras)

“To misuse the natural gift of intelligence by turning to evil is,…a kind of psychic fragmentation, in that one does not even truly want that which one is seeking….Just as importantly, their remaining in evil is also, in some sense, a dwindling away to nothing. By refusing the being that God wishes to give them, they have diminished themselves to the point of being almost nothing at all.” (David Bradshaw)

“Evil feels very real when we are touched by it, experience it, victimized by it. It feels devastatingly real without faith. We need to cling to truth when we experience evil. If we can’t, we need someone who can or to be that someone who can for others. The truth of our faith is yes, in this world evil will happen. Jesus tells us this (John 16:33). But He also tells us He has overcome the world and defeated evil, and gives us the promise of the end of evil in its final destruction. Holding onto this promise, His promise, Him, may feel nearly impossible during our darkest times, but I have seen what happens to people who won’t or can’t. It’s like their spirit dies or is broken beyond repair. Conversely I have seen the result of people whose faith is strong and it is an amazing testimony to power of His truth and the ephemeral nature of evil.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“…if God is all-good and all-powerful, then there shouldn’t be evil. But there is evil. Therefore, this God must not exist. This sort of skeptical argument could only take hold within the modern moral order…and its epistemic confidence…Before looking at the nature of good and evil, it is worth seeing the problem involved when choice is inserted into the conversation. What happens in that approach is that we are no longer speaking about the nature of good and evil, indeed, both are relativized in importance. Everything quickly revolves back to the nature of choosing, and makes the actions of our will the center of the good. Thus, there is no true good or evil, only good choices and evil choices. It is a narcissistic ontology – a system of thought in which we ourselves become the center of attention.” (James K.A. Smith, Father Stephen Freeman)

“It is entirely understandable that people cast about for answers in the problem of good and evil…In a world in which the action of choosing is exalted above all else, it is not surprising to hear that “evil is necessary in order to have the good.” I have seen this conversation, cast in a number of ways. It is stock-in-trade for some quasi-religious systems. I have seen it in spades in Jungian and Depth Psychology circles. No doubt, some bring this set of ideas along with them into the…faith. It is, however, a profound error.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“…Paul also said, “For those who love God all things work together for good” [Rm 8:28]. “All things,” he says. What is meant by “all things”? Opposition and apparent disappointment—even these things are turned into good…Despite the world’s darkness and the evils it spawns, God infuses His will into everything that happens here…The Lord can take evil and use it for good…recall what Joseph said to his brothers who had sold him into slavery, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good” (OSB Genesis 50:20). Likewise, the Almighty used the oppression of the church for His higher purpose.” (St. John Chrysostom, Dynamis 5/18/2021, Fr. Basil)

“Generally, we prefer routines rather than challenges. At times, it takes a crisis for us to leave our comfort zone and enter a new phase of obedience to the Lord. Sometimes, it takes a circumstance that we do not choose for us to take the next steps on the way of the cross…When our comfort is disturbed, we should remember that the Almighty can use anything we face for His glory and our good. We pray in the St. Basil’s Liturgy, “Preserve the good in goodness, and make the evil be good”…By this prayer, we acknowledge that the Lord is sovereign, and He works in and through all things to actualize His will.” (Fr. Basil)

“Wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way. You can be good for the mere sake of goodness: you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness. You can do a kind action when you are not feeling kind and when it gives you no pleasure, simply because kindness is right; but no one ever did a cruel action simply because cruelty is wrong—only because cruelty was pleasant or useful to him. In other words badness cannot succeed even in being bad in the same way in which goodness is good. Goodness is, so to speak, itself: badness is only spoiled goodness.” (C.S. Lewis)

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Genesis 50:20). Joseph spoke to the heart of his brothers, for the heart has spiritual eyes to see the things of God (Eph 1:18). If their eyes were clear, they would be able to see God's forgiveness expressed through Joseph (Genesis 50:17), and that He worked their evil for good, in order to save many people alive (Genesis 50:20). They would also be thankful to God for providing for their welfare (Genesis 50:21). Truly, God is good!…the Christian faith tells us that there is a spiritual reality that is transforming the evil into good." (Orthodox Study Bible, Genesis 50:21, Jeffrey L. Morrow) “Generally it seems that evil prevails in the world today. Some believe the cause of evil is God. They believe Him to be with human passions—evil, a punisher, an avenger. Why does He allow it? Why does He give it license? Why doesn’t He remove it, since it afflicts His creatures so much? As is known, man is completely free to choose evil or good. For the choice of evil, God is not responsible. We cannot blame God for making us perfectly free. God is goodness, and never made anyone evil.” (Monk Moses the Athonite) “Disease is not the greatest evil for man, because a disease of the body endured with humility, faith, and patience can cure the soul sick with sin and bring it closer to God—the greatest good for man…It is in vain that some unenlightened people seek the greatest evil for man somewhere else, rather than in sin. Some consider disease to be the greatest evil, others—poverty, and others—death. But neither disease, nor poverty, nor death, nor any other earthly disaster can be such a great evil for us as is sin. These earthly misfortunes do not separate us from God if we are seeking Him sincerely, but, on the contrary, they bring us closer to Him.” (Archimandrite Seraphim Aleksiev of Bulgaria) “The commonest question is whether I really “believe in the Devil.” Now if by “the Devil” you mean a power opposite to God and, like God, self-existent from all eternity, the answer is certainly “No.” There is no uncreated being except God. God has no opposite. No being could attain a “perfect badness” opposite to the perfect goodness of God; for when you have taken away every kind of good thing (intelligence, will, memory, energy, and existence itself) there would be none of him left…Good, as it ripens, becomes continually more different not only from evil but from other good.” (C. S. Lewis) “Goodness, then, is what we should seek with our intelligence, long for with our desire, and keep inviolate with our incensive power. With our cognitive insight we should prevent it from becoming adulterated by anything that is contrary to it. With our voice we should make it manifest in speech to those who are ignorant of it. And with our generative power we should make it increase or, to put it more accurately, we should be increased by it.” (St. Maximos the Confessor)

“God is the very ground of being, and so everything that has being is good insofar as it exists. God is wholly good, and so too is anything He creates. What about evil? It does not exist in the same way that good exists, but that doesn’t mean it’s unreal. Evil is a privation of being. An evil act is a movement from being and its source toward nonbeing. In this way, even evil depends, so to speak, on the prior existence of being—of good. It’s like a shadow. A shadow can have a shape and size. It can cool your house and cause you to stumble if your eyes don’t adjust to it quickly. But no shadow has its own independent existence. It is rather a privation of light. If there is no light, there can be no shadow." (Jonathan Witt and Jay W. Richards)

“...evil has no substance or kingdom—either unoriginate or self-existent or created by God; but that it is our work, and the evil one’s, and came upon us through our heedlessness…not from our Creator." (St. Gregory the Theologian)

"Goodness is primary and independent; it does not require evil in order to exist. Existence itself is good, for it is derived from God’s Being, the source and foundation of reality. Evil, on the other hand, is parasitical in nature and cannot exist without the good: it is a perversion of that which exists…Evil is an erosion of being. The more evil a creature becomes, the more deficient its existence…Evil cannot create; it can only pervert." (Lisa Coutras)

“Evil is corruptible because corruption is the nature of evil, which does not possess any true existence whatsoever. Goodness is incorruptible because it exists eternally and never ceases to be, and watches over everything in which it dwells…Evil has a beginning, for it has its origin in activity on our part which is contrary to nature. But goodness does not have a beginning, for it exists by nature before time and before all ages.” (St. Maximos the Confessor)

"Here’s a liberating fact: Evil does not exist as some objective force, floating about like a dark hole, on its own. Evil only exists within living, created beings, both visible and invisible, as the result of their free choice to reject the good. This fact is liberating, because it liberates us from falsely seeing evil as some “power” that we’re up against. What we are up against is our own free choice to embrace good or reject it." (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

“Evil cannot be used for good, though good can be brought out of evil” (Anne Marie Gazzolo)"God does not do evil, but He often does good through the actions of those who do evil.” (Father Anthony Coniaris)

“Evil does not come from God…But when evil strikes, we can still be thankful for God’s presence and for the good that he will accomplish through the distress.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Thessalonians 5:18)

“God uses everything - both good and evil – for His good purposes…We don’t need to understand every detail of how God works in order to have perfect confidence in His absolute power over evil and His total goodness toward us.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)

“…although created for the good, anyone can become evil as a result of the choices they make and the temptations to which they surrender” (Anne Marie Gazzolo)

“What we face daily is spiritual warfare…Righteousness is the best guardian of the heart, which is why Saint Paul speaks of it as a breastplate. If we do not vacillate to the left or right, but hold solidly to what is good and just, then our thinking and acting will cope with every distortion and attractive delusion….The hardest part of the life in Christ is trusting God in all circumstances… This kind of faith shields against any assault on heart and mind.” (Dynamis 12/8/2012)

“We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it…No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.” (C.S. Lewis)

“…He [God] left us conscience, the sense of right and wrong: and all through history there have been people trying (some of them very hard) to obey it.” (C.S. Lewis)

“Running away is sometimes considered cowardly. But wise people realize that removing themselves physically from temptation can often be the most courageous action to take…Knowing when to run is as important in spiritual battle knowing when and how to fight.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Timothy 2:22)

“However, though we accept evil as real, we also know paradoxically it is unreal and not the true or ultimate reality. We don’t believe in evil as an equal and opposite power to God. It is not a power outside of God nor is it a power at all…it is taking that which is good and using it for our own willful purposes. Therefore, in reality, the answer to the question"what is evil?” is that evil is a counterfeit power.” (Sacramental Living)

“The most evil vice is always the perversion of the most excellent virtue.” (Father Thomas Hopko)

“… evil is both real and unreal at the same time. It is real in that exists because of created beings’ choices, but it is unreal in that it has no lasting permanence because it not created by God. Only God and his goodness are the true and lasting reality. Therefore even death and other circumstances that happen to us in this world are temporary circumstances; no matter how bad they feel to us, and not a permanent and lasting according the promises of Christianity.” (Sacramental Living)

“When allowed to run its course, evil always destroys itself.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 7:14-16)

"Deceivers are self-deceived by their vices, and thus devise evil things by choice. But good men are good both by nature and choice, and thus bring forth mercy and truth.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Proverbs 14:22)

“…a small amount of evil can affect a large group of people... Beware of the tendency to say,"How can this little wrong possibly affect anyone?” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 16:12)

“An evil man is not evil by nature. For if he were, he could not correct and discipline himself. He does evil things by the wrong use of his free will, which is often energized by arrogance, one of the worst of the vices. Those who know themselves know they are good by nature, and they will use this God-given wisdom to remove the deceptions of sin.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Proverbs 13:11)

"Few people set out in life with the goal of becoming evil. It is the little things-petty jealousies and grievances – which act as cancerous cells within the heart…We comfort ourselves with the thought that while we may not be perfect, we are not as bad as people like Hitler. Yet most of the trouble in the world is caused by ordinary people like us." (Clark Carlton)

“Evil lurks in the heart of quite ordinary human beings…Evil company corrupts good habits.” (Pastor Timothy Keller, 1 Corinthians 15:33)

“Although Joseph’s brothers had wanted to get rid of him, God used even their evil actions to fulfill his ultimate plan. He had sent Joseph ahead to preserve their lives, save Egypt, and prepare the way for the beginning of the nation of Israel. God is sovereign. His plans are not dictated by human actions. When others intend evil toward you, remember that they are only God’s tools.” (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 45:4-8)

“...we do not have a dualistic view of the world, in which there are two equal and opposite forces of good and evil. In that view, life is truly a battlefield and a"crap shoot” because there is no single force in charge. History is just a struggle between equally balanced forces of good and evil. There is no being powerful enough to carry out a coherent plan for history. The Bible shows us no such world. God is completely in charge.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“God allows evil just enough space so it will defeat itself...God will allow evil only to the degree that it brings about the very opposite of what it intends…When allowed to run its course, evil destroys itself (Pastor Timothy Keller, Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 7:14-16)

“When you see evil schemes unfold, remember that they will not succeed forever...God, according to his plan and purpose, will intervene for his people and give the wicked the judgment they deserve. We should not be dismayed when we see the temporary advantage God’s enemies seem to have.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 21:11)

“Evil is a parasite. It is there only because good is there for it to spoil and confuse…Evil exists only as a distortion of what used to be good.” (C.S. Lewis, James Stuart Bell)

“...God is not the cause of evil. He has given men knowledge and understanding, the power of discriminating between good and evil, and free will. It is man’s negligence and indolence that give birth to evil passions, while God is in no way the cause.” (St. Anthony the Great)

“Evil men are good by nature but evil by choice.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Proverbs 15:25)"Evil does not exist by nature, nor is any man naturally evil, for God made nothing that was not good. When in the desire of his heart someone conceives and gives form to what in reality has no existence, then what he desires begins to exist. We should therefore turn our attention away from the inclination to evil and concentrate it on the remembrance of God; for good, which exists by nature, is more powerful than our inclination to evil. The one has existence while the other has not, except when we give it existence through our actions." (St. Diadochos of Photiki)

“God uses even the activities of wicked people for His good purposes.” (Life Application Study Bible, Proverbs 16:4)

“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance." (C. S. Lewis)

“Christ purges evil from the hearts and souls of those who submit to Him.” (Dynamis 4/12/2013)

“Everything God made, including man, is very good, because God is good. Nothing He made is therefore evil in itself. So then, human nature is good in itself. But sin is a free choice of man's will, and it is contrary both to God's nature and human nature.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Genesis 1:31)

“Overcoming evil depends on whether or not we choose to take up our interior struggle under the shield of divine wisdom.” (Dynamis 1/126/13)

“Why is one child physically disabled and another child athletically gifted? Why do people die before realizing their potential? Questions like these we cannot possibly answer in this life because we do not see all that God sees. He has chosen to allow evil in the world for a time. But we can trust God’s leading because He has promised to destroy all evil eventually.” (Life Application Study Bible, Acts 12:2-11)

“God works in"everything” – not just isolated incidents - for our own good. This does not mean that all that happens to us is good. Evil is prevalent in our fallen world, but God is able to turn every circumstance around for our long-range good.” (Life Application Study Bible, Romans 8:28)"When people see not distinction between good and evil, destruction soon follows. It is easy for people to say ‘No one can decide for anyone else what is really right and wrong.’ …But when they make excuses for their actions, they break down the distinction between right and wrong.” (Life Application Study, Isaiah 5:20)

“Inversion of truth leads to arrogance. As Isaiah declares: men"call evil good and good evil, [and] put darkness for light, and light for darkness” (Dynamis 3/27/2013)

“Also, in the middle of the Garden [of Eden] were the tree of life and the tree of learning the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9)

“The name of the tree of knowledge of good and evil implies that evil had already occurred.” (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 2:9)

“… humanistic thinking prevalent today that acts as if all evil comes from within us as does all good. The latter is an egotistical way of thinking that makes us the center of the universe in our thought. As Christians, we do not hold to the humanistic view that everything good and bad ultimately comes from mankind. This is pride and egocentricity in its fullest. We accept in this vast universe where so much is beyond our limited comprehension that there is a spiritual reality and a spiritual warfare of which we are participants. To understand any reality above us and outside of us hopefully contributes to our humility which is critical to our spiritual growth and virtue as persons.” (Frederica Mathews-Green, Sacramental Living)

"A gulf has opened up in our culture between the visibility of evil and the intellectual resources available for coping with it.” (Andrew Delbanco)

"Evil is an intrusion into God’s good creation. And often evil and suffering occur without regard to an individual’s relative moral decency or deserts. But even though, as we will see, the Bible is insistent that suffering is not outside of God’s control, it is crucial to understand evil as an enemy of God.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

"Questions about the problem of evil and God's commands are really asking about character of God. The real question is,"Can God be trusted?" (John Njoroge)

“God not only created the universe, but He is in control over all that happens in it. He is sovereign over everything—including evil.” (James Stuart Bell)

"All opposition to God will be seen in the end as having done nothing but confirm and further His design.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

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