Remember the actor Flip Wilson and his characters.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kaiLcwHXB4 This is one of my favorite comedic routines, “The Devil Made Me Do It.” Geraldine blams the Devil on her buying a new dress. Sounds a lot like Genesis 1-2, where Eve blamed the Serpent for eating the fruit. We know the consequences, right?
The older I get, the more wisdom I hope to inform all the knowledge and experiences I have gleaned over the ages. I used to be satisfied with just knowing something. The World values memory, knowledge (along with the assumptions that accompany it), and the thinking that each person has the right to choose whatever value system they want, and not only that but what they choose is right. This thinking is seductive because it reinforces human choice, which seems to be at the core of being human. Let’s look deeper into the whole paradigm of evil and how it relates to our salvation by Christ.
If you ask what differentiates all life from the human species (Homo Sapiens), I come up with two attributes: we have reason for a reason, and we have the ability to choose for a reason. Using human reasoning, we can identify what is good for us and bad for us. Genesis 1-2 is the classic, archetypal story of how humans (Adam and Eve) chose poorly, and God gave them the path to be fully human again. The Original Sin is couched deep in the psyche of the human experience. God gave humans reason to be able to know what is good and what is evil. God gave humans the ability to choose because, to activate it, one must actually do something to make it happen. Adam and Eve missed what God had intended for them, even though he gave them reason. Clearly, reason is not enough when facing the choice of what is good for me or what is bad for me. This is why I hold that there has been a titanic battle going on since the fall of Lucifer and his choice to be God. This is why some people hold that they are gods and can determine what is good and evil. This is why some people hold that only God can give us the way, the truth, and the life. It is not the fact that we have choices that define us but what we choose as a result of choosing what is good or evil. The effects of Original Sin mean that, even with the forgiving power of God for the sin of Adam and Eve, we continue to struggle with temptation from the evil one.
THE EXISTENCE OF EVIL
We pray it every time we say the Lord’s Prayer, “and lead us not into temptation.” A better way to look at it is “Lord, do not abandon me when I am tempted.”
The big question for those who have been baptized in the blood of the Lamb is, “Is evil real?” and “Is there a Devil?” If you look at some movies and television shows, e.g., Lucifer, or Constantine, the answer might be “yes.” If you analyze evil from the viewpoint of science or psychology, the answer might be “no,” depending on who you read. What is real? That is the question, isn’t it?
Woven deep within the fabric of our Christian Faith is the notion of evil as personified by a fallen angel, Lucifer. It is part of the story of what it means to be human, as recounted in Genesis 1-2. This archetypal story of good and evil portrays God the Grand Gardner as making everything and then finding out He needs someone to tend his garden. What God makes is good, including Adam and Eve. It is only with Adam and Eve, different because God gifted them with reason and free choice, that this story continues. Choice means that someone must choose something for it to be activated. So, Adam and Eve are given a directive by God, “Do not eat of the fruit of the tree of good and evil. In the case o Adam and Eve, Genesis has a cunning serpent to represent Satan. Satan first tempts Eve with the sin of vanity and power, then Eve tempts Adam, and the consequences of that choice are Original Sin, a condition of corruption that all of us are born into. So, is this real? Depends?
THE PLACE NO ONE WANTS TO LOOK
My answer is contained in the book I wrote about the Foundations of Contemplative Spirituality, THE PLACE WHERE NO ONE WANTS TO LOOK. Here are six questions that all humans must ask and answer before they die. They are foundational questions that go to the heart of what it means to be human. Not everyone will agree with this, nor will they understand the significance of these archetypal questions. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Dr.+Michael+F.+Conrad&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss
I used to worry if someone would disagree with my hypotheses. Now, I am too old to care about comments. I think of myself as a dictation writer, writing whatever the Holy Spirit puts in my mind. Some of it will be folly for the Gentiles, and some will be a stumbling block to the Jews. It is a way to make sense out of the sign of contradiction, which everyone signed with the mark of salvation at Baptism has tattooed on their soul, the cross.
I am at the fourth question of those six questions, the others being:
1. What is the purpose of life?
2. What is your purpose within that purpose?
3. What does reality look like?
4. How does it all fit together?
5. How to love fiercely?
6. You know you are going to die. Now what?
At this late stage in my life, I am fixated on how all things are one in Christ.
John 12:32 32 And if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things to myself.
Reality contains three universes, each separate, each with its purpose and their own measurements.
EVIL IN THREE UNIVERSES
Let’s use the word “EVIL” from the perspective of three universes.
Evil lives in the realm of darkness, not light. It is invisible. The problem with invisibility is that you can’t see it. The darkness is not physical darkness but the spiritual darkness that comes as the wages of sin. Christ is the light that comes into the spiritual universe to enlighten the mind, enable the heart, and produce good works, that, when you let your light shine before others, they will see it and glorify your Father, the source of all light.
Hell on earth means the darkness of not knowing the way, the truth, and the life. Hell after death means you are in the darkness but now know what you should have chosen but did not.
The Resurrection Event lifts all humans up to have a chance to become adopted sons and daughters of the Father. Those who die without the benefit of The Christ Principle are judged accordingly.