Origin and Nature of Evil

Evil (symbol)God did not create evil – all of God’s creation is good. However, evil does exist and is real – it is not just in the imagination, as some teach. Evil is a human creation. Having been given free will, man is both a creature and a creator – and can create both good and evil.

Nature of Man

Man consists of physical body, soul and spirit body. Each is made of different substance, has a different function, and functions for a different length of time.

The body is material and temporary. After the end of the physical life, it will dissolve into its constituent elements and never again be resurrected in a physical form. Its function is to shield the soul and spirit body during the earthly life. The body continually changes as cells die and are replaced, although its identity and appearance are basically preserved – except for changes due to growth and aging. This material part is not connected with the real person (the soul). When its function is accomplished, the body ceases to be a part of the person altogether.

The spirit body contains the functions of life and what controls the person’s behaviour. This includes the intellect, mental faculties, and reasoning powers. The spirit body uses the organs of the material body to manifest these attributes. However, the spirit faculties can function even when the brain or the physical organs of one or more of the five senses are impaired. This body also contains the life principle which does not die, but continues beyond physical death after dropping the envelope of flesh.

As discussed in more detail on another page, the person as the soul inside a spirit body goes onto living in the spirit world. The mind – the mental and intellectual faculties – also continues, now without the limitations that the physical body had placed on it. Memory and all the things forming an individual’s identity continue. The person in the spirit world can still conceive thoughts of material things and perceive the physical – even more perfectly than before.

Origin of Evil

As mentioned, humans were created with both animal appetites and spiritual aspirations, but in the beginning, these were in harmony with the laws that produce happiness. After the original disobedience, however, people have often exercised their will in wrong ways and against the laws of God. They followed their animal desires, which unduly asserted themselves at the expense of their spiritual aspirations, which were partly lost due to the Fall. The perversion of the animal appetites and/or the loss of spiritual aspirations lead to disharmony and sin (cf. James 1:13-15).

Evil and the defilements of the soul are creations of not only the mind, but also of emotions, affections, and the intellect. These defilements result in alienation from the good, being opposed to man’s original state of perfection. The initial purity of the soul is besmirched by the impurities that the person’s misguided animal appetites have created. These impurities then become a part of the individual’s being and soul. They keep one in discord with the laws controlling the human existence and result in unhappiness.

The soul in this state can become awakened to its defilements and the fruitless pursuits of worldly values. Upon this realization, the person will then choose to embark on a path to purification of their soul and development of natural love.

Overcoming Sin and Purifying the Soul

The powerful force of the will needs to be used to destroy the acquired soul defilements and impurities. First however, human desires must be controlled and harmonized with God’s laws. This again involves the mind, as well as emotions and affections (which are of the soul). Effort must then be directed to replacing the unlawful animal desires which engender sin with desires that are in harmony with God’s laws and lead to purification of the natural human love and to happiness.

While humans can strive for recapturing the original state of purity, which aligns one with God’s laws and will, it does not mean that they are divine, at one with God, or that God is within their soul. The soul only holds the image of God. However, it does have the potential for being transformed from the divine image into divine substance. This occurs through asking for and receiving the Divine Love into the soul, which is imparted by the Holy Spirit. At this point, the person begins to acquire divine nature and ultimately immortality (2 Pet. 1:3-4; 2 Tim. 1:10). This transformation from human to divine is the greatest of all miracles.

If humans do not overcome their sinful nature in this life, they pass into the spirit world in their evil state and end up in a hell realm. They have an opportunity to learn the truth and progress towards perfection and the heavenly realms. Some, however, remain in their sin and wickedness for a long time and may also influence humans on the earth towards evil. They are perceived as devils or demons, but in reality, there is no personal “Satan”, but only spirits of departed evil mortals from a humanly unseen world influencing the earth inhabitants by suggesting wrong thoughts and desires to them.

Individuals who have passed into the spirit world (each being a soul in a spirit body) do not again incarnate (reincarnate). In fact, the conditions on earth are less conducive to spirit progress than those in the spirit world. Karma (cause and effect or the result of one’s actions) doesn’t need to take place in a physical body, and purification can continue in the spirit world.

 

ReferenceNew Testament Revelations of Jesus of Nazareth
Photo: Alex Peck 

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