Is there good and evil at all?

We grow up in a dual worldview, where good and evil is an obvious reality. Some elements, that are considered either good or evil, may depend on specific perspectives and cultural conventions. Other things are so evidently either good or bad to an alive human being, that we can hardly deny the presence of different experiences and choices, that are evidently not equally good or bad. As an example, letting die starving children, while we could easily save their lives, is evidently evil, while helping someone who needs our help, is evidently identified to be good, when shifting into the perspective of the other person. We know, that unconditional love is good for us, while undeserved hatred and persecution is bad for us. Obviously, there are evident criteria in life, that can be experienced as good or bad independent from culture and conventions. This means the dual worldview is not just a  hypothetical concept, it has its truth and important significance in our daily reality.

Ignorance of the relative life experience is not the solution

While we can all feel the difference between receiving something that supports our life (good) and something that brings misery into our life (evil), there are some people on this planet, that are convinced that there is actually neither good nor evil. There are different levels of understanding, where we may eventually come to the conclusion, that in essence there is no absolute duality, while we must surely see, that the relative experience is full of choices that are more or less good or evil.

A very radical approach of facing the relative reality is found in a multitude of spiritual circles, that want to eliminate the truth of relative good and evil by pointing towards the absolute essence of reality, that could not be seriously considered to be dual (which is right). The elimination of the experience of a dual relative reality is based on the “ignorance” approach, which means, that all relative reality is considered to be illusionary and only the anticipated non-dual essence is considered to be real. By the related groups of people, the existence of good and evil is usually considered as delusion and the obvious existence of pain and suffering in the relativ reality is considered to be the result of delusion and from this is considered to be unreal. This means adepts of these approaches may see suffering in the first place, but consider it as unreal, until they lose the impression that there is evil. To be able to truly believe, that there is no evil, they usually go some steps further and assume, that the whole world, the whole perception of the world is an illusion. Obviously, everything that appears must be considered unreal in this approach and the idea about the own existence reduces to nothingness, emptiness or indifferent awareness, that cannot be explained. Nonetheless, these people walk the face of the earth and interact with other human beings. They naturally cause responses in the world and therefore, the idea of being nothing cannot be confirmed in the world. Therefore, everything that happens in the world must be considered to be unreal, all relative experience must be denied to be “just a dream”, when following the path of ignorance. They invalidate the natural human conception of good and bad in a human life and replace it by ignorance and emotional emptiness. The incredible inner distance from life brings some kind of inner relief for the adepts and existence appears as illusional theatre or dream in front of an attitude of indifference.

There are surely understandable reasons, why these people try to follow the path of ignorance. It is hopelessness in regard to the world and an ending of suffering in the mode of being alive. Therefore, these people see their last hope in escaping life, or the wheel of rebirth, which below the surface can easily be understood to be a synonym for life, which is always based on flow, so birth and death of impressions and experiences. The suffering is the motivation for stepping back from life and to invalidate the truth of life. There is no evil intention behind this approach, it is about hopelessness. Due to this invalidation, the related adepts are no more actively feeling pain and there is strong reduction of compassion. Instead of compassion, which is based on feeling the pain of the other human being, there is often the attempt to practice kind indifference. This means, the adept is trying to not engage in life, that could either cause happiness or unhappiness. Passivity is the life modus of the adepts of ignorance, while they claim to be the only few people that have captured the truth and are no more in the “trance of life”. The absence of happiness and unhappiness is considered the true target, the target is indifference, no something better or holy. As the suffering of living beings is considered to be unreal in this approach, in the eyes of an adept, there is no need to perform charity or help anyone in need. The adept brings his inner distance to a perfection, that allows him to feel nothing in the presence of incredible injustice and pain. When he sees something disturbing like a starving child, he quickly thinks that this is just an illusion, just a bd dream. The obvious intention of these approaches is to escape the burden of suffering by bringing emotions and feeling to a flat zero-level. It is like switching oneself off from the experience of life, because there is no more hope within the stream of life.

While this whole scenario may seem to be totally stupid and ignorant, like a little child holding the hands over his eyes, there is some resonance with a more profound truth in this approach, that is hard to deny. While there is surly the presence of worldly experience, which is based on experienced that are often either good or bad or a mixture of both, there is also something like a common essence of life, that cannot be divided into good and evil as it is based on all experience and the transcendence of all experience. The essence of life is obviously beyond singular events in life. We can understand this by looking into our human experience base. Often bad experiences have helped us in the long term, to learn from it and based on this learning, which is transcendence of experience, we have become more capable, we became better. So we shall not deny the fact, that all experience is linked and contributes in some way to, or bases on some kind of essence, but we should differentiate these things, from the wrong ideas that life should be considered unreal in the first place. When we would consider our experiences to be unreal, we would be unable to transcend anything. The essence of life, the inheritence of human life, is based on taking a human life for real. All the nectar of life would be lost, when the human experience would be valued low and when it would be ridiculed in the way that is practiced in the path of ignorance. Of course, there is tremendous pain in the heart of a human being, that decides to turn away from life for good and we shall not look down on such level of pain. We should bring more hope to our brothers and sisters, that have lost the hope, that there is truly a great inheritance waiting for those, that bravely walk the path of a human life. Their experience shall be transcended and this means that they shall be transcended as well. Let us give hope to all living beings. God may help us, to not lose hope and end up in the path of ignorance.

To conclude on the path of ignorance: by ignoring the relative experiences, there is no more access to the essence of life, which is based on the transcendence of the relative experience. Without experience, there is no transcendence and thus there is no essence.

The relative and the absolute are not two different things, where we can choose the part that seems to be more appealing to us.

Relative and absolute are actually two sides of the same medal and our approach must be to bring the absolute and the relative together, for the transcendence of life (the absolute) becomes the driving force behind the experience of life (the relative).

The human life gives us freedom to tune into the essence of life and live a specific life based on the essence of life. This is the path that Jesus has demonstrated to us. He brings together both, a human life that is very specific and is different from any other life and the absolute essence of live, the divine, that is our common and sharable inheritance that can drive all our lives, when we tune into the common essence, the “Kingdom of God”, the Father and Mother.

Love is the solution

When it comes to the Christian tradition, there is another approach in place. Jesus suffered and felt the pain of his brothers and sisters. When a friend died, he weeped and gave life back to him. Anyhow, the Christian path is also a path that is meant to escape suffering. But suffering shall not be stopped by ignoring suffering, it shall be stopped by love. The existence of good and evil is accepted as a temporary fact, that shall be overcome by love.

Before shifting the focus towards the pathway of love, the Jewish people was relying on their own attempts to commit no sin against their neighbors and hoped to avoid suffering (or the wrath of God) in this way. There trial is based on rules, obedience and moral insight. And it was evident. that this path could not stop the suffering (or sin) of the people.

Jesus has focussed on the power of love, that was not so apparent in the Jewish tradition before Jesus. He explained, that men shall not stay apart from the living beings that are considered sinful and bad in the cultural context, in contrary, men shall integrate these beings by love, unconditional love, obviously. “Love your enemies”, is the most advanced of the related statements that also include the command to love the neighbors as oneself. Obviously this leads to an unconditional (non-dual) approach when it comes to acceptance of living beings. It eliminates the need to distinguish actively between good and evil, by just putting love in the place where judgement would be, when there would be no love. Life from love is obviously something totally different, than life from judgment and effort. It is not less, than the transformation of the living being into a living expression of the Kingdom of God. Jesus has demonstrated this operational mode by himself. He called himself son of man and son of God, indicating that the inheritance of man is not different from the living son of God.

Love replaces the life in constant effort to avoid evilness by active distinction between good and evil, when it is unconditional love.

The difference between the Christian approach and the Eastern and new age approaches is found in the treatment of reality and life. In the Christian path we appreciate life and love life. We drop our possession of life in favor of being fully integrated into the eternal life that maintained itself in a healthy condition because it is in love with itself and all life that is inherent to it. Life is not considered delusional and suffering is not rejected, it is accepted as a reality that can be healed in love. The non-duality in the Christian approach is not bought by rejecting life, it is gained by love for all living beings. These living being do good, because of love. There is good and evil as long as there is no love, this is the Christian message, alongside the commandments to love those, who cannot love, to share their pain and integrate them into the sphere of love, where pain ends.

When I followed an Eastern or new age spirituality, I would not take the pain of the suffering living being in this world on me, I would consider it to be caused by delusion. When I follow the Christian tradition, I will surely live with my neighbor who is in pain, because I love him. In both cases I try to find a pathway out from the duality of good and evil, but the result and the path are totally different. When I reject the personal truth of my neighbor, I actually separate from my neighbor. In this case, only in emptiness, far from aliveness, I can find liberation from pain – on the cost of liberation from life. When, instead, I join life in love, I find eternal aliveness, life to the fullest, as Jesus has explained.

On the Christian pathway there is a rejection of the old life as well. It is the rejection of going for the wrong targets and a rejection of not-loving living beings as myself. I withdraw from my old life, but this is not for escape from life, it is for resurrection in eternal life in love.

So why is there good and evil in the first place? The Bible explains it by the storyline of Adam and Eve who ate from the forbidden tree of knowledge of good and evil. It is stated, that God knows about good and evil, while it is not told, that he knows it because he loves life so much, that he feels all life as his life. Adam and Eve want to differentiate between good and evil not by love, but by knowledge. God told them not to go there, but they wanted to be clever for themselves. And as a result the lost paradise and had to live in the daily struggle of wanting something good but causing something bad in the perspectives of our neighbors. The pain started with the trial to know good and evil without being joint in love. The one who wants to know, he had to step back from life, think about it, judge it, but actually he lost the ability to feel the right path in his loving heart.

From this, we could come to the interim conclusion, that in the Christian tradition it is understood that good and evil are real, as long as the living being do not live in the operational mode of love. And Love means being joined in a way, that goes far beyond the imagination of human beings, that do not know the love of Jesus, the love of God.

Having presented to you my conclusion from a life long search above, I would like to bring together the different aspects that may be considered to come to an own conclusion for you. Of course, it is always presented in a way that shows my feeling about it, and this should be just fair, as we both know about it.

1. Good and evil in the Bible

The Bible teaches to avoid sin and to distinguish between good and evil and choose the good. Further more it reveals, that all commandments that are related to the attempt to distinguish between good and evil are fulfilled entirely, when the man starts to love like Jesus loved us first.

2. The fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil brings misery

The Bible teaches that knowledge of good and evil is a divine ability, while it is not so clear about the cause of this ability. Jesus clearly indicates, that the ability is switched on by love. In the biblical storyline, the devil talks Eve into the approach of knowledge of good and evil, which is obviously the approach to step outside the divine sphere of love and try to know by oneself, while standing as an observer apart from the others. And this is where everything starts to go wrong. Separation starts, accusing others starts, shame starts, sin starts, shame starts and hiding oneself from God becomes the mode of living.

3. In a human life there is good and evil

In practical life it is often quite simple and obvious what is right and what is wrong. To help someone in need is obviously right and killing innocent children is obviously evil. There is no doubt that in practical life, there is something that can be identified as good or evil.

4. Evilness that is caused by human beings is truly evil, even when we love all human beings

Sometime we may try to think, that evilness is actually not so bad and in the big picture, everything turns out to be good. Unfortunately, this is not true. God does not cause small or local evilness, to achieve great goodness in the big picture. Evilness is evilness. Anyhow, the human being that causes evilness is not evil by nature. We can understand his storyline and we would do exactly the same, when we would be exactly him. We can love him and we don’t have to judge him or us, while we can clearly see, that it is not good this way. Therefore, evilness stays evilness, even when it sometimes might come to a good end in the large picture, and the human being that does evil things is not evil by nature, it just in the wrong operational modus of judging instead of loving, it does not know it better, as the world does not follow love in large scale up to now.

5. Human beings are not able to judge properly between good and evil

Judging between good and evil is obviously not possible without judging others.  To be able to judge, the man must stand aside of the situation and look on it with his distant personal abilities in observer mode, not in love mode. We all know that personal abilities outside the mode of love are quite poor when it comes to righteous judgments about oneself and others. Therefore, judging of men is a poor method, that will not avoid evilness, but may cause many actions, that could be considered evil for themselves.

6. Who judges is not inside of life / love and only who is inside of love, he is with God

The attitude of distinction between good and evil brings distance from life, because the judge must step back and think about what has happened. He must go out from life and this may decrease his ability to feel with the ones he judges, so the ability to provide compassion and mercy becomes questionable. Who judges must step out from God and this means he lost paradise and lives in the mode of judgment that causes evilness.

7. A human being that does not judge on good and evil causes evil

Not judging on good and evil and just doing what we desire can obviously easily bring in more evilness, because we don’t consider sufficiently the needs and interests of our brothers and sisters. A man that does not live in divine union of love, he must take care on what he does, to not cause even more evilness.

8. God lives all lives, therefore he knows how it truly is

God can only see what is good, when he completely understands all perspectives and feels it accordingly. Knowing what is good, is essentially based on emotional qualities that distinguish between pain and happiness. When we see a child starving, we feel the pain of the child and simply know it is not good. When we see a child, that is in the flow of playing with other children, we feel the happiness and flow of life and simply know it is good. Therefore, to be able to do good always, God must capture each situation in such a profound way, that makes him one (due to love) with everyone. Obviously, this is the divine mode of living.

9. Life is good, no aliveness is bad

God is life and love. Without life and love, there is nothing that could experience anything and there would be no consciousness of anything. When God is alive eternally, and we may consider this as a fact, then it is obviously essential that life goes on and does not break down into nothing. This means, what supports life and brings love and joy is good; what counteracts life and causes suffering is bad. The wording “life” is quite tricky here, because as it it is used here, it means the divine presence of aliveness that truly lives. It does not mean the concept of a life between birth and death. Actually, Life uses birth and death to be alive.

10. In eternal perspective everything is good

In an eternal perspective life does not start and does not end. Each stream of aliveness is in change, yet overall, all change is eternally present. The change is inherently changing, but it’s existence is causeless and therefore it is eternal. God is eternally in internal change, but this changes not and all the change that is inside of God is not new or old to God, it is just aliveness that is present eternally. Based on these insights, it is hard to speak from good and evil, because overall, only what lives lives and this is good per our definition of life. When God would like to stop life overall, there would be now life at all. The appearance of life is the proof of God’s existence and goodness in one. When He would be not good, he would not live. What lives eternally is good, as explained. So it is true, that in the big picture everything is good, but this does not mean that evilness in temporary spheres of existence is something good. Evilness is eternally defeated.

Having collected these ten key aspects on good and evil we may try to derive a more compacted view:

God is the living one. God is able to do good, because he loves and is completely one with life. God fully accepts the relative life in all its facets, therefore God is able to transcend it completely into its essence, the absolute and divine. God is taking it all on himself without any distance and this is the precondition to be the One.

Who stays apart from life, he stays apart from the essence of life, God. No-one can have God without going through all lives and all experiences. Nobody can have the all-knowingness without living it entirely and personally. The human life is not easy and therefore most people stay more or less distant from life. As a consequence, there is low transcendence available in the life of the human beings, the divine is temporarily missing. The human abilities are still poor, because they are based on being a distant separated observer of life, instead of fully accepting living all life.

 The only possibility to do good always is Union with God in love. This brings eternal life. But the condition is to live life directly, without a safety distance.

Goodness is what makes life good. And the one who lives all lives, he surely know it and is it.

Love joins individuals in a profound way, that every soul knows the feelings and needs of the other souls and the resulting aliveness is the divine life. Love means living the different lives together, not alone.

As a conclusion we can be sure, that we cannot be good apart from God and we cannot have life to the fullest apart from God. God is life and we are life in Union with God. When we want to bring goodness to life, we must come into Union with God. The fruit of the spirit of Union is Goodness.

I love you.