Is Evil Necessary?

What is evil and how could it possibly be deemed “necessary”?

In the beginning the Creator said, “Let us make the human being in our image and likeness”.  What does that mean, but that we too are creators? However, there is no possibility to be creative without the capacity to choose, to choose something else. First of all we must consider that the possibility for a human being to engage in evil is indeed a necessary by-product of our freedom of choice.

Unlike animals, whose behavior is dictated by the compulsions of instinct; unlike the angels, who were created to joyfully serve the good always; human beings are created with a developing capacity for choice. This unfortunately opens up the possibility that we could choose evil over good. It is a necessary concomitant to our freedom of creative choice. The Godhead is willing to gamble on our freedom of choice so that human beings can become creatures who choose the good. We are gradually meant to be evolving into human beings who stand less and less under any kind of compulsion. With our evolving humanity, we are able to develop greater and greater freedom of choice.

What is the good? And what is evil?

One good working definition would be that evil is a good that is not in its proper time or place.

For example, once upon a time, in humanity’s childhood, the good involved being subsumed, serving the family, the tribe, the group. This is still the case with children today, who are “socialized” by family and school in order to become useful and cooperative members of the human race. However, what is good for a child is not necessarily good for an adult. An adult must sometimes make choices that disappoint or even enrage the group in order to fulfill his or her own divinely ordained destiny. Examples abound of grown individuals who, for instance, had to choose to abandon the life-path that their parents had laid out for them. It would be evil to compel an adult to subsume himself to the group’s hopes and expectations. Done out of love, it is appropriate enough for childhood or for an earlier phase of human history, but it is no longer a good for the modern adult. It destroys destinies.

Evil and its destructive consequences can also be brought about by a good being given too early. To take again the example of the adult’s relation to the child – to give children complete freedom to eat what and when they want, to sleep (or not) when they want, to go to school or not, to do chores or not, etc., would be to compromise the child’s future health and its capacity to contribute helpfully to its fellow human beings. In this case, complete freedom of choice is a good at the wrong time; given prematurely it would destroy health and human relations.