Catholicism in the Car

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Why does a good God have the ability to think of evil?

 The below post is an answer I gave to a question asked of me on the site "Quora." I have republished it here. You can find the original answer at: https://www.quora.com/profile/Parker-Zurbuch/answers 

Original Question: Why does a good God have the ability to think of evil?

If God is pure and utter Goodness, how can He think of evil? How can evil even exist, if God is pure and utter goodness? These are amazing questions!

If evil is simply the absence of goodness, then God most certainly can “think” about evil. I will explain:

God, as I am assuming you define Him, is pure and utter Goodness. Your problem may be in defining evil. If you wish to have a logically coherent answer to this question, then evil cannot be anything in and of itself. Evil must then, be simply the absence of goodness. If God is pure Goodness, and God created everything, how can anything exist that is the complete opposite of Goodness?: Evil? Well, one great answer to this question is that evil is just the absence of Goodness—that there is no such thing as absolute Evil. This rational is based upon the assumption that everything that exists is good. Even Satan (or whatever you call him) and demons. Even the worst, most vile people in the history of mankind were good—there actions were not good, but they in and of themselves are good, because they were made by Goodness itself: God.

This brings a completely different perspective to the “problem of evil”. The question, “If a good God exists, how can there be evil” often assumes that evil is some opposing force to a good God, but if evil is just a lack of goodness, then there certainly can be evil in the universe.

Another helpful aspect to answering this question is the definition of free will and love. If God is love, and if He created all things out of love and to become perfected in love, then all things participate in the love of God. Now, in order for there to be love, there must be choice (If one is forced to love, then it is not love—it is compulsion. In order for there to be choice, there must be things to choose between). In relation to this question, those things you can choose between are a “greater” good, and a “lesser” good. Ideally, man would always choose the “greater” or even the “greatest” good, but as we know so well, this often does not happen. Man often chooses the “lesser good”, and even sometimes man chooses goods that are almost totally void of goodness, but this is necessary if there is to be real love in the universe.

So, in short, the reason a good God has the ability to think of the “lesser” or even the “least” good things, is because of love. Without God being able to think of these things, choice would not exist, and this love would not exist. If God is love, then God would not exist. So, basically, God has to be able to think of “evil” (in the way I have defined it above), or else God himself would not exist.

Now, God can think of evil, but cannot do it. I can explain why this is in another question, if you would like, but I think this is sufficient for the present

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