When we post evil we must have good. God is good. Does evil have to be, for us to know God is good.
I hope that you are doing well and thank you for the awesome question. In one way, I feel that we cannot truly understand IF evil must exist, but the truth of it is that it does, or at least the potential for evil always does. We see through the fall of Lucifer that the potential for evil existed even before we had fallen. Lucifer fell to the sin of pride and was cast out of heaven for his evil ways, and then he set about tempting Adam and Eve, and to this day we have never lived without the presence of evil acts in the world.
The truth of it is that we are living in a world where evil does indeed exist, not just the potential for it. Even in the garden the potential for sin was indeed present in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The existence of the potential for evil is exactly what makes us more than mere automatons. If we had been given no other choice in the garden than to love God, then we never truly would have experienced the ability to love in a real sense of the idea. Love is a choice that we make, and God knew that the choice had to be present for us to make, allowing for the potential of people to fall away from Him, but also allowing actual love to exist in those who chose to follow Him.
The Bible tells us that we are all wicked people, sinful and fallen. “The heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can understand it?” - Jeremiah 17:9. But because of what Jesus Christ did for us, we have the ability to choose to follow Him and be saved by His grace. The grace of it being that Jesus paid the penalty and took on Himself the wrath and curse of sin, so that we would not have to suffer it ourselves. He was the only one who could have truly made that payment for us, and it shows not only how fallen and desperately in need of His grace we are, but it shows just how amazing, wonderful, and good God truly is that He did that to save us.
We also see in Romans that there a couple of important passages.
Romans 5:8 - “But God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Yes we are fallen and evil, but that only serves to show the true goodness of God when we turn to Him and He saves us. Not only have we recognized that we desperately need a savior, but He has provided for our sins to be washed away. We further see in the book of 1 John 1:9 that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” What an amazing God He is! Despite how wretched we are, He still loves us and wants us to be reconciled to Him, and if we will only confess to Him how much we need Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us! Praise His holy name for the amazing grace He has truly given us!
One other verse from Romans, in chapter 3 verses 23-26, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forth as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He has passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
This is huge…HUGE!! Imagine it. From the beginning of our fall, Satan has been accusing us to God. Looking at Job, and David, and Moses, all of them and saying(I am paraphrasing here), “What? I thought you were a just and righteous God. Look at all these wicked people. They all deserve death. Yet you save them. Where is your justice?” Then picture God as Jesus is on the cross, and He just points to Calvary and says to Satan, “There is my justice. Poured out on my Son as the payment, in full, of all sin for all time.”
Did evil need to exist to reveal God’s goodness? Well evil did exist. We all know that. We also know because of all that we see in His word that despite the existence of evil, God has still truly demonstrated how good and righteous He is through what He has done for us. The more we understand just how fallen and desperately wicked we are, the more we understand what an amazing, just, righteous, good, and loving God He is…Praise His Name!
I hope that this helps to answer your question Joe. I know I went on a little long there, but hopefully it all was helpful. I pray that God will guide you to the truth as only He can. If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to ask them. God bless you and thank you.
Hello Joe, it is good to have you seeking answers again. Welcome back, I was not part of connect back then but your current question I think was well answered by Mathew. May I just add or ask can Righteousness exist without sin?
Goodness righteousness existed before sin but we didnt know how good it was until sin revealed it to us. Just sharing my thoughts. Be safe my brother.
The simple answer to the question is emphatically NO. Evil is not required for us to know God is good. Adam and Eve knew God was good before the fall and in their human perfection knew and understood the goodness of God far more before the fall than after the fall.
This issue is often brought up primarily because of the influence of the Eastern Religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. These religions put forth the Ying - Yang philosophy. Meaning that something cannot exist without its opposite also existing. That is good and evil must coexist for either to exist and the same is true of light and darkness and heat and cold. This concept is false as evil is by definition a lack of good as well as darkness is a lack of light and cold is a lack of heat.
When speaking of God we are talking of a Person that is perfectly good and no evil is present in that Person. We speak of evil or sin as existing, but in reality evil and sin are terms we use to describe the falling short of the total Goodness of God. Evil and sin are not independent states of existence. Similarly cold in a scientific sense does not exist only heat exists, but we use the concept and word cold to describe lack of heat.
The Scriptures teach that God is totally good and more than that God can only create good. It is contradictory to the Nature of God to create evil. However this does not mean that God cannot create beings that have the potential to lessen the good they were created with. Specifically Angels and Mankind have the capability to turn against their nature and God and thus sin and remove good from their being by actions of their free will. This free will also allows these beings to choose God and love Him and have relationship with Him. Free Will implies by its definition Choice otherwise Free Will is meaningless.
Hope this helps