Once we admit into reality the existence of good and evil…of light and darkness…then we create the opportunity to graphically illustrate this relative relationship…placing perfect light at the top of a vertical, graduated spectrum-line representing absolute goodness…with a decreasing, incremental absence of light…or increasing darkness…going down this vertical line…illustrating evil.
Evil is therefore not a stand-alone entity that is self-existent…that has its own independent beginning…that belongs on its own separate, vertical spectrum-line.
Evil is best defined as an absence of good…like darkness is the absence of light.
Evil derives its origin from goodness…and can never escape or leave its relationship with goodness.
Evil cannot break-away from goodness…it cannot rebel from goodness in an absolute sense…in pursuit of its own separateness.
Like we cannot produce a perfect vacuum…or reach an absolute zero Celsius temperature…or create a machine having zero friction…there is no such thing in reality as pure, absolute evil.
As difficult as this is to conceptually wrap our heads around…the darkness of nighttime is not something that can claim independent autonomy apart from sunlight…or apart from the light of a campfire…or the light of a flashlight…or the light of a street light. The darkness of nighttime does not possess its own identify…but is simply and purely the absence of its opposite counterpart…light.
Darkness can never escape this relationship with light…because darkness is defined by…owes its existence solely and exclusively to…the presence or absence of light…and not by its own stand-alone essence.
The question posed in this essay…having the greatest importance for the modern world…is would and could Mother Nature “create” the natural living world with animal instinct perfectly articulated in the varied lifestyle habits of the tens of millions of living species…yet “create” human beings having the transcendent “operating system” of intellectual and moral reasoning…being stuck somewhere in the middle zone of the vertical spectrum-line of goodness and light…and not at all operating at the top-most point of this spectrum-line…to equally match the perfect articulation of animal instinct?
How and why would Mother Nature be so spot-on accurate and correct in assigning and achieving perfect performance of lifestyle habits utilizing instinct…yet come-up so short in not being able to actualize perfect goodness and pure light in her one “creation” of human beings desperately needing perfect goodness and pure light…in their free-will application of choice…transcendent and independent above instinct…exercising intellectual and moral reasoning?
The atheistic worldview of naturalistic materialism is a false narrative because it puts-out either the wrong information…that God does not exist…or incomplete and insufficient information that excludes serious consideration of the biblical narrative stories of faith in the calculus of human life.
Atheists and skeptics of the Bible question how an all-powerful and all-loving God would create a world that contained so much evil and suffering…but this same question turns back upon themselves…in how would or could a purely materialistic Mother Nature “create” a world that was not safely amoral…empty of goodness or evil…but instead was and is fixated upon morality as its central issue for human beings.
If the grand scheme of the purpose of this world is to have imperfect people who freely choose light over darkness…and good instead of evil…then this is the only possible world God could have created.
If love is the supreme ethic…as brilliantly articulated by Ravi Zacharias to audiences around the world…then once free-will choice is introduced within the capacity of human beings possessing intellectual and moral reasoning…this automatically sets-up the graphically illustrated relationship on a graduated vertical spectrum-line…that portrays and exhibits the extent…or lack thereof…of light and goodness in the actions and thoughts of people.
In the middle of the spectrum-line is where the ideas and actions are experimentally tested.
This is the empiricism of the biblical narrative in action in the modern world…that scientists demand as qualifying evidence for biblical faith…acted-out on a massive scale over the entirety of human experience…yet rejected by most people because of the initial impediment of skeptical unbelief…or rejected by our hearts desire to go our own way apart from God.
The God of the Bible…living at the top-most point of the spectrum-line of absolute goodness and brilliant pure light…also possessing timeless foresight…already knows the realities of darkness and evil located down the spectrum-line.
This is the reason for God-composed journey of faith life-scripts…demonstrated in the biblical narrative stories of faith…designed to impart some of His goodness and light into the lives of human beings…entered into by free-will choice…giving God the benefit-of-the-doubt regarding the quality of His word (Heb. 11:6).
Walking within our God-composed journey of faith life-script enables God to craft events and circumstances in life that will lift us up to a higher place on the vertical spectrum-line of light.
Becoming spiritually born-again through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ…having the Holy Spirit within us…enables us to hear God’s voice and respond to His calling to enter into this journey of faith…gives believers the added light to be able to correctly choose the biblical narrative…and to reject the sea of multiple competing narratives out there in the modern world.
People who rob a bank…breaking the law and taking the risk of being caught…do so with the intention of living “the good life” by successfully stealing and possessing other people’s money. They plan-out and commit robberies with the positive outlook of obtaining wealth…by getting away with their bank heists.
The ancient profession of thievery as a “highwayman robber”…a stagecoach robber…and a modern-day bank robber…is not an example of pure, absolute evil for the sake of evil…but has the underlying motivation of procuring the good outcome of possessing and enjoying wealth…but obtained in the wrong way.
Being a thief is a social and cultural aberration…a morally bad mixture of good and evil…of light mixed with darkness…or more accurately a mindset put into action…that falls far below absolute goodness and brilliant pure light located at the top of the vertical spectrum-line of goodness and light…absolute goodness and brilliant pure light that contains no darkness (Jn. 1:9; Jas. 1:17; 1 Jn. 1:5).
But on what basis do we judge that stealing is wrong? This requires an appeal to an independent standard for right and wrong…that people generally accept whether they know it consciously or not.
This independent standard for judging right and wrong…C. S. Lewis called the natural law.
One way, that we can easily determine…in this one particular case that being a thief is wrong…is that stealing other people’s money reveals a criminally self-centered, near-total lack of empathy for other people…that when placed lower down on the vertical spectrum-line of goodness and light…describes not pure evil for the sake of evil…not the evil of causing deliberate harm to other people for the sheer pleasure of it…an expression of evil that would place it at the extreme bottom end of the spectrum-line…but rather the absence of some quantitative amount of morally unselfish love…the absence of the quality of moral light that cares for others…more than for ourselves.
This is the grounds upon which we catch and put bank-robbers in jail…because the chaos caused by continued and unabated bank robberies threatens the economic and social structures of human society.
Good moral order cannot allow bank robbers…or thieves of any kind…to operate freely.
From this we can deduce that absolute moral goodness and the brilliant pure light of flawless character…would never take something away…that belonged to another person.
Absolute goodness and pure brilliant light extends value and worth to others…and therefore has a natural inclination…a bend of the heart…to give away what we have in surplus to others in need…rather than take from others the little that they may have…to wrongly and unjustly benefit ourselves.
The vast majority of people would agree that stealing is wrong…based upon an assent and an agreement with this independent standard for judging good and evil…for judging right and wrong.