Friday, 13 May 2022

Evil is Evil

 There is a certain strain in esoteric thought that considers evil to be necessary for good to come about, a kind of resistance required for good to arise by virtue of being forced to push back against it. According to this understanding, evil is simply the darkness against which one can more clearly see the light. 

I completely reject that idea. Evil is evil, full stop. 

At the same time, God is God and can make good come out of evil but that does not justify evil in any way. It remains wrong and a result of the fallen ego. Lucifer is not Christ's dark twin in some mysterious way working with him for long term evolutionary benefit. He is not there to enable self-consciousness to arise and grow. He is not a misunderstood good guy. He is a rebel against God not a partner with him. It's important not to get sucked into this false idea. Sin does not have to be experienced in order to overcome it. Darkness does not have to be integrated in order for a person to be in some sense whole. Evil is not part of good. Judas was not Christ's true disciple doing his work as a form of self-sacrifice. These are all deceptions and have no part in proper holiness. To believe that evil is anything other than evil will corrupt the soul. It is like peering into the abyss. Do that and you risk being drawn in.

I was prompted to write this post after reading a comment that Bruce Charlton made on his blog disagreeing with Rudolf Steiner who apparently believed that Lucifer was 'not really evil' but a kind of evolutionary force that could go wrong but was fundamentally positive. See the comment here at 17.57.  Some of the Gnostics also thought this. I disagree with Steiner as well and so does someone else who knows better than any of us. "Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!" (Matthew 18:7)


Christopher said...

Judas' betrayal and later suicide is the most shocking event in the Bible for its ugliness and unnatural motivation. It would certainly seem that anti-cosmic forces can manifest in the world, being wholly indefinable and alien even unto themselves. I automatically have more courage facing a wild predator than the inverted mind of such beings. The former requires that I dispense with my power unto powerlessness, the latter to completely shun and thus the danger of being drawn in by inimical being.

jorgen said...

Absolutely Lucifer is evil. Our violent tendencies which sometimes work toward good don't come from Lucifer anyway, but from the Old Testament God (just read the Old Testament). But sexual perversion comes from Lucifer and is evil.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - A lot of people are very vague about the definition and nature of evil - and usually regard it is some kind of utilitarian mortal fashion (killing people, causing suffering etc).

Steiner seems to me never to have had a clear idea of the nature of evil because he seemed to have no clear idea of God. He talks almost wholly of angelic powers - in their 3X3-fold Dionysian hierarchies - and almost never writes/ speaks of God the Creator.

I don't know what Steiner really thought about God (and the purpose of creation), or whether Steiner was a polytheist of some kind (he often sounds like he regards creation as being administered 'by committee') - or whether he was unsure and therefore avoiding the subject.

It may be that Steiner felt himself to be in clairvoyant contact with the angels - and therefore felt confident on that subject - but not with God, and therefore played-down God's nature and intentions.

Or maybe he was trying to keep the widest possible range of his followers from being 'turned-of' by too explicit a choice between rival concepts of the divine.

William Wildblood said...

I do feel a problem with Steiner is that he is too much the objective clinical scientist intent on building the perfect system of spiritual thought and not enough the simple lover of God. The fact he hardly mentions God ( to my knowledge, I'm by no means a Steiner expert) speaks volumes really.

Moonsphere said...

William, it is important to understand that the mission of Steiner was not religious per-se, it was about bringing knowledge and truth.

One can say he brought one aspect of a trinity of teachings. What you see as a deficit, was actually the mission of two further teachers. Steiner planned to name his successor but died before he could lawfully do so. This has been a source of division with Anthroposophy, but for many, that person was Valentin Tomberg. The third teacher is currently in incarnation, but a veil of mystery surrounds that individuality.

Occult knowledge itself may seem prosaic when we compare it to religious revelation. But it is a necessary framework without which religious understanding can so easily dissolve into nebulous sentimentality

William Wildblood said...

Fair enough, Moonsphere. No one can do everything and Steiner certainly did a lot. Perhaps he just had the defects of his qualities. I do see Tomberg's teachings as more spiritually useful though and I would still maintain that Steiner is intellectually helpful but can be a spiritual dead end if you are not careful. I also agree about the nebulous sentimentality which is a great phrase!