Good, Evil, and The Law

The man and the dragon.
Image by Prawny from Pixabay

A kingmaker and godslayer (deicide) of epic proportions. intersects heavily with morality, ethics, and philosophy. The great moral quandaries of its intellectuals are boundless, but outside of their towers are those in the moral trenches compelled to answer the hard questions right now, consequences and all.

Individuals who probably did not expect to hold such deciding power are now answering the weighty philosophical questions one way or the other, and with the advent of encryption, federation, machine learning and digital currencies — one of those questions is the question of evil.

We could opine at great length about the present affairs but let’s instead take up an The historical Christian Church (ecclesia) and its doctrine (ecclesiology). view to explore the question of evil as answered in the past. The King James The King James Version is possibly one of the most ridiculed translations, but that probably works in its favor. The difficult read encourages a detachment from modern biases. will act as the entry point to discuss a subset of the historical answers to this philosophical question. I’m not a philosopher and surely don’t claim to be one, consider me a layman. There be multiple dragons below.

Why does evil exist?

Evil exists because the law exists. That was the easy answer in past ecclesiologies; but today it is The start of a circular argument, but fallacies of this nature are useful for reaching interesting conclusions. and supposes an unconventional conclusion. If one accepts that evil exists because the law exists, then it must follow that without the law there is neither good nor evil, as there is no Meaning that the law was made for the evil which completes the circular argument. The evil in this context is implicit and some call it total depravity This idea is ancient. Paul, a reformed persecutor and Apostle of the first–century period ecclesia, draws a similar argument when reasoning with the Greeks in his letter to the Romans.

Romans 4:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

Qualifying what it means to have no law is Anarchy and all of its trappings. but first, let’s explore an implicit conclusion that follows if there is such a relationship between the law and evil. That conclusion is simple: To establish the law is to explicitly create good and evil. That surely sounds asinine, but the ecclesia embraced this summation completely. Take for example the 8th century BC prophet Isaiah as he speaks of Cyrus the Great, the prophet Micah speaking of Maroth, or Paul as he draws a strong comparison of a potter molding clay when speaking of supreme sovereignty.

Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Micah 1:12 For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem.
Romans 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

The implicit side effect of establishing the law is sometimes referred to as the Jean Bodin & Thomas Hobbes. on In more neutral terms: the monopoly of force. The paradoxical absurdity between, good, evil, and the law (God) is sometimes called the logical problem of evil. For the sake of entertaining the question of evil further, this ecclesiological view of the law sidesteps the problem of evil as asking the wrong question.

Instead, if an A god, government, ruler, creator, or judge. establishes the law, and as a side effect creates good and evil, and thereby wields and enforces a monopoly on violence; then what is, in essence, good and evil? That question is easier to entertain with another question.

Who determines good and evil?

Why the government of course. If we can accept that a creator of the law possesses implicit knowledge of good and evil, then who better an expert on good and evil than the government itself. This isn’t a novel concept either, the book of Genesis says explicitly that those who know good and evil are An entity's knowledge of good and evil is not enough to convince the observer that it possesses the power of a god. gods.

Genesis 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Matthew 22:21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

Let’s further say that relative to the government the average citizen possesses no knowledge of good or evil, that is — until that citizen hires a lawyer or becomes a lawyer. The lawyer adorns the government’s likeness and appears to wield its powers. In the ecclesia, lack of knowledge in the law is no saving grace. Violation in any point confers punishment just the same.

Romans 2:11-12 For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

Such conjecture reveals a more puzzling problem: Governments and citizens contemplate the nature of good and evil. This presents a set of dualisms and controversies that unravel between contemplators of good and evil and further expands into two opposing and An enigmatic axiom that is extended at will. genres of good and evil with its The actionable definitions or specifics changing throughout the histories. encapsulated. The knowledge of good and evil appears to differ between observers.

Good Evil Good Evil
Rich Poor White Black
Right Wrong Light Dark
Malachi 1:3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
Romans 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

The existence of evil as we have seen is paralleled to the identification of good and evil. However, if the creator and the observer of the law both know good and evil — then who holds authority in knowing? Is it the creator of the law, or the observer of the law? This higher level dualism is unavoidable and is sometimes expressed today as apparent and absolute authority.

Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

One could pontificate at length about the influence of knowledge on The idea that responsibility exceeds authority. The one who holds the most responsiblity effectively wields all the power at any given time, regardless of absolute power rank. but one thing is apparent: If good and evil are opposing and abstract, then even observers create The Law of Moses (Tribe of Levi) or The Law of the Medes and Persians are cursory examples within the ecclesia. for others to follow. These observers paradoxically, become creators. This introduces the peculiar perplexity of multiple creators — a controversy of gods among gods. The spheres of influence from each god are in conflict continually, and the winner sets the rules Those within the sphere. The sphere of authority is sometimes called sphere sovereignty.

The principle of authority spheres is foundational, with examples all throughout the ecclesia. In short, any entity imputing good or evil, whether alive or dead, is not just like a god — but Knowledge and imputation as the foundational aspects of a god. The observer considers an entity that imputes or accuses other entities of good or evil as a god. That entity has apparent authority. becomes one.

Exodus 7:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.
Isaiah 44:17 And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.
John 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

Ideological battles are fought constantly and indefinitely within a larger divinational war with varying levels of Force that parallels the scope of imputation. Many observe the law but only few create due to its paradoxical requirement of monopolized violence. Perpetual battles between our gods and would be overlords on Earth are fought to decide the decider of good and evil, which are Or more, but an observer's natural disposition reduces all disparities into two irreducible and opposing axioms (Duality). opposing and abstract mights. In some ancient civilizations, child sacrifice was upheld as a moral good — Canaan’s ruler Molech is one such example.

Leviticus 18:21 And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.

If we continue with this ancient ecclesiastical philosophy it starts to become easier to answer the question of why evil exists. The controversy of many gods fighting amongst each other is too problematic. A better approach requires peeking into the very essence of evil itself. One could sneak a glimpse at the essence of evil by removing all gods and consequently removing all laws. Paul Many of Paul’s arguments mirror the belief systems of his opponents. He used perhaps one of the most powerful forms of persuasion — becoming all things to all people. See his first letter to the Corinthians, the ninth chapter. a similar point with the Greeks.

Romans 2:14-15 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

Those who have no laws are a law unto themselves, meaning observers in the face of no external laws, create internal laws. The laws that they make are scoped to a more natural and daresay noble The Law of Nature (Natural Law). See John Locke and the ancient Greek’s Natural Law. This line of reasoning appears to zero in on a more satisfying answer, but asking the question of no law is to ask a final and more sinister question.

What is evil?

Take away all laws, by removing all gods, and we stare into the face of evil itself. Hannah Arendt would say that evil thrives on apathy. is the source of fear — the primary essence of terror. A rather anticlimactic conclusion but a circumspectual answer in the ancient ecclesiologies.

Evil as the source of fear is a word play, but should not be taken in the sense of fear as the absolute root of all evil. The sense is Not exactly but this wording suffices. to the idea that if pain is a source of fear, and suffering a source of fear, then pain, suffering, and evil would be apparent equivalents. To put it another way; fear becomes the source of a new evil.

The ultimate end of fear is the terror of death, preempting the final natural law that no man has escaped; all eventually die. This axiom pervades the minds and perturbs mortals continually. In the ecclesia, this internal law and its derivatives guards the fear of the final evil, the king of evils, and the king of terrors — death itself.

Job 18:14 His confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, and it shall bring him to the king of terrors.
Ecclesiastes 8:8 There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war;

In the mortal’s mind, anything that so much as points towards death is evil. If we accept this idea, then laws are the fundamental instruments that control fear, the essence of terror, and subsequently the propensity of death. Any external entity perpetuating terror challenges the law directly in the most blasphemous way. It would be trivial to usurp or gather the powers of a god quickly with The supposition that virtue can be derived from terror — to be terrifying is to be virtuous. See Robespierre’s ideas of terror emanating virtue and the Committee of Public Safety's Reign of Terror. alone.

Romans 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

Evil is also mutual; one who is afraid From a show of force, to verbal denunciations, or even inventing powerful weapons. evil to remove the source of one’s fear. This is not particularly eye opening, but the fearful within the ecclesia are considered to be some of the most dangerous and unpredictable.

Genesis 3:10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Numbers 13:32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
Numbers 14:37 Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD.

Death, the king of terrors, additionally invites the infinite unknown. Foreign and unknown entities become implicitly evil. The unknown imputes fear, fear brings terror, and ultimate terror motivates death. Many civilizations have destroyed the unknown without second thought.

Paul’s take on the conscience in a calculative sense, turns the problem of mutual evil into multiple bounded or scoped problems of evil. The conscience acts as a delimit, such that if the evil One or more convergent evils. then there is some route to Where none, one, or two or more evils coexist in a mutual relationship. The greater of the convergent evils isn’t always the target.

This is primarily the idea that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. If an external entity attacked the Earth, peace among Earthlings would be realized In the common hypothesis, but it's more complicated that that. The attacking forces would become an Perhaps why hostile empires, monopolies, and other coalescing powers rarely stand the test of time. convergence of evil, but in practicality, evil as it is perceived is mostly divergent — it cannot be pinpointed quickly or identified easily.

Lastly, the conscience and the knowledge of good and evil appear as two entirely different domains. Paul discusses this distinction when summarizing the ecclesia’s laws of liberty in the context of two men’s opposing consciences.

1 Corinthians 10:29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?

Conclusion

The shapeless conflict between good, evil, and the law is continual, its winners and losers painted throughout the halls of history. The technological landscape is transforming fast and in the real world, fear appears to be increasing steadily. What new evils are on the radar? Who will be the kingmakers? Who will be the In this context, a godslayer is a god who is killed and then resurrected. Those who answer such questions are possibly the ones you least expect.