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October 2020, #80 The Mystery of Evil – Part 2

The ego likes to believe this is mankind’s world, but PB writes: “This is God’s world; it could not be anyone else’s. It must ultimately be an expression of God’s wisdom. If we find in it things and people, events and sights which offend us and seem diabolic rather than godlike, the shortcoming is in our faculty of vision, the unpleasantness is in our limitation of understanding, and can be nowhere else. We learn from philosophy that the life of the whole universe, no less than the life of every man, is ruled by order and not by accident, by law and not by chance, by intelligence and not by senselessness. There is an intelligent direction behind every phenomenon of life and Nature in this cosmos.” All quotes are from PB’s unpublished essay, “The Mystery of Evil,” which can be found in its entirety here:

PB makes the point in the subheading ‘Our Practical Duty’ that philosophy does not deny evil’s existence but only its absoluteness. We as human beings may have to leave the riddle of evil as an unsolved one, but it does not interfere with the practical attitude that moral muscles are developed each time evil is resisted. “The attribution to God’s will does not in any way shift the responsibility which properly belongs to human endeavour.” “Evil is no metaphysical illusion but a practical fact.” “Thus, as humanity unfolds its diviner characteristics, it sheds its grosser ones. By its own labours of self-improvement it prepares the way for the entry of God’s redemptive grace. When it discovers its real self whose first attributes are love and wisdom, it discards evil and error. In the moment that it casts aside the shroud of ignorance, it sees ‘through’ the evil values and turns to the good ones.”

“To know himself fully, man will have to know himself as a ray of the divine sun, shedding light and goodness. To understand evil fully, he will have to love the pure truth rather than personal satisfaction. And then that same evil which was formerly a dark and tragic riddle to his lower perceptions, vanishes as such before his higher ones and is no more.”