An evil nature

Throughout the Old Testament, and all around us today, we see what we would call evil things happening. Whether it’s God’s wrath upon a group of people in the OT or a tsunami killing thousands of people along a coast, we struggle to understand why things like this happen in the world. Reading the bible as literature opens us up to a wider variety of interpretations of the text, and brings to light more seemingly contradictory sections. Although God may seem to be combating evil throughout the Old Testament, he may in fact be the source of all evil in the world.

A simple definition for Theodicy would be a justification or defense of God and the power he has. It is difficult to ascribe any one particular nature to God, as he can be different things to different people at different times. For Moses and the people he led out of Egypt, God was not their savior, but the one being they feared the most. It is through these stories and God’s actions throughout the Old Testament that we can know how God himself is the source of all things evil in the world. It may seem like a risky accusation, but God has shown multiple times throughout the bible that his actions are easily questionable. Also, it is only logical that if God is the source of everything that exists, that he is the source of all evil, since evil exists just as good exists. No, I am not saying that good and evil are the same thing, but they can both be ascribed to the same thing from different perspectives. It may have seemed right for God to impose the plagues on Egypt, but to the people of Egypt, it was probably one of the most evil events they had witnessed in their lifetimes. And it’s obviously not difficult to cite the many other instances of God’s (most likely) unnecessary and unrelenting punishment and torment of his followers (flooding the earth, destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, or incurring the emotional torment of telling a father to sacrifice his own son.)

What we hope to impress upon our audience is that God, while being the penultimate example of good and righteousness, is also (as any omnipotent character must be) the source of all bad things that happen. He is the ying to his own yang. It’s important to realize, of course, that without the comparative value of good, God would not seem at all evil; but since God does seem to be the source of all beneficial things and all things good and virtuous, it is necessary to observe that he is also the vice of humanity at times and that if he is to fulfill his roll in omnipotence, he must be seen as the source of exposition for all things and for the reciprocating actions of all people (for without a cause, there can be no reaction.)

We also plan to explore the mentality and possibly the emotion behind why God does/says/instructs the things that he does. Why is it he tells Abraham to sacrifice his own son simply to test his faith? Why does he flood the entire earth to wipe out what, practically speaking had to be, a “bunch” of evil-doers?

We hope to leave the reader educated and entertained with new thoughts and views on the “lord” as a dynamic, developing character, as opposed to the best thing that ever happened, whom has no reason to learn because he makes no mistakes.

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9 Responses to An evil nature

  1. Very interesting prospectus. I like how your group is taking a look at topic that is touchy at best to address. While this might not be in the nature of your group’s paper, how will you address those who consider evil as the absence of good? Under that definition of evil, one could argue that God is still the source of all things good and someone/something that is evil is just lacking in good.

  2. jtb31 says:

    Very interesting prospectus. It sounds like you all have a good idea of where you are going to go with this. Some sort of ‘evil’ happens everyday somewhere in the world, and trying to trace the source of that evil gives a thought provoking subject, which should keep the audience intrigued. The interpretation of good and evil being the same or different depending upon the point of view is also very interesting and deep thought. Sodom and Gomorrah is a good example to use. Have you thought about potential sources, besides the Bible and reports on the natural disasters/evil happenings you will focus on? Also, I think it may be difficult to conquer the broad term of evil in the way you want too. Maybe focus in on one or two evil happenings (past and or present) and dissect them and get all you can out of them. Finally, the media/presentation source should be considered, as that is a big part of this project too. Overall you have a good foundation and off to a good start. Good luck on the rest of the project!

  3. Brandon Nelson says:

    Nice perspective on a touchy subject. A lot of people don’t want to believe that God’s actions are evil, and those who are religious might suggest that if God does it, it isn’t evil. The plagues of Egypt is a perfect example; 10 miracles for the Israelites became 10 disasters for the Egyptians.

    This debate sort of ties into what we’ve been discussing in class. If we as humans are able to decide what is good and bad, and we designate some of God’s actions as evil, are they really evil, or are we as humans not able to grasp the larger picture that ultimately leads to a happy ending?

    I’m interested in what kind of real world examples will be used to make your case, and how your group will choose to look at things like poverty, disease, et cetera as good or evil depending on whose eyes are looked through. I am also interested in how your group views the character of God, and whether or not you collectively agree with his choices, even if there is a chance they are too complex to be understood.

    -Ashley, Da’Keisha, Brandon, Susan, Suzi

  4. jtb31 says:

    Forgot to put this earlier, sorry. Group is Leah Watkins, Ben Ward, Kevin Rooney, Michael Thompson, and Jordan Barton.

  5. tdjohn8 says:

    Now this to me is definately thinking outside of the box, most people think of the actions brought about by God are just to show people he is incharge but they think he does it for the good of humanity. By pointing out the actions God takes towards his own people you can think of him as an evil being. Who would kill thousands of people then turn one to stone who looks back, why would God not want people to see his destruction? I really like this goups start so far and believe it could be a very strong piece. Try and work in how God lets his people lose everything they have (Job) or how he lets his people become enslaved by eygptians. But if God is “evil” why does he put so much effort into freeing the Israelites, give Job his things. There are many different points of view but i think you have a good start. IMO you should make sure you include the “good” actions brought on by God and explain why it could be for evil ways.

  6. marysticklen says:

    I think this is a very intriguing topic with a different way of looking at things. Looking at God as both the source of all good and evil is a risk, but I think it will make for a very interesting presentation. You obviously have a lot of examples from the Bible, however it might be hard to find other sources to support your theory. If you are able to find other sources I think it would strengthen your paper and add credibility. Overall, I think this is a very interesting topic and look forward to see your portrayal of God in class.

  7. csmith73 says:

    I’m not sure what happened here, but just to be absolutely clear, this prospectus is for the group (and by group I mean two people) of Sean Gillespie and Corey Smith.

  8. cmweid2 says:

    While I think you all have a good topic going for you, it’s seems to me that you have many unanswerable questions. I’m sure how you’re going to be able to define God’s mentality, emotions, and character. I know you could probably use scripture to help support an opinion but it seems impossible to define these characteristics of God and his actions. I really do like the topic but it seems difficult to me to find answers to the questions you all have posed.

    Also, what other kinds of research material do you plan to use (aside from the bible)?

  9. Pam says:

    Wow, you are making significant theological claims in the third paragraph. I saw a comment to your prospectus, you have only two people in your group? That might explain why you can go out on a limb. I’m not arguing for or against your claims, just acknowledging their breadth. Will you elaborate on them in your final project, explaining such things as why God “must be the source for . . . reciprocating actions of all people.” These sorts of assertions just got my attention because my group had to be a little sensitive to the group’s differences. You guys are probably lucky I’m not in your group. 🙂

    Are you going to use a contemporary situation to juxtapose your Old Testament ideas against? I think that was part of the assignment. I just didn’t want you to get too far along and forget about that part.

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