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(c) Copyright 1971-2016 by Walter R. Dolen


NM 19: Reason Why

Why is there Evil?

Why know Evil?

Law of Knowledge

The Blind

God Created Evil?

Two Forces

Law of Knowledge Table

NM19 Abstract

Why is there evil? If God is all powerful, if God is good and if he created all things, then why is there evil? Could there be a reason for evil? Yes, there is a reason for evil and it has something to do with the law of knowledge. In fact, there cannot be good without evil. Good and evil are comparative qualities that need each other in order for us to know either quality.

Why is there Evil?

nm859 >> Why is there evil in this life or age? Why is the world the way it is? Why is there disease? Why do children get sick? Why are there natural catastrophes? Why is there war? Why is there death? Why is there hunger? Why this world? Why the confusion and tears? Why has God "allowed" evil? Or, to be more blunt, since the most powerful being created the all, why has the Power, why has the God (YHWH) created evil?: "forming light and creating darkness, making peace and creating evil; I, the Lord [YHWH], do all these things" (Isa 45:7, see Hebrew text). In the book many call God's book, the Bible, it says that God created evil. The original text (Hebrew) says this, not some translation of the text.

nm860 >> "And the Lord said, Behold, the man is become as one from us, to know good and evil" (Gen 3:22, see Hebrew; see Greek also). This comment was made right after mankind had broken God's first commandment by the influence of the serpent (see The "Other Mind" paper [NM 20-22] for more details). Thus scripture says that man was getting to know good and evil from the plurality ("us") of God (Lord or YHWH). From the "us" of God man is learning good and evil. There was/is a plurality to God (See the God Papers).

nm861 >> In the middle of the garden of Eden was "the tree of KNOWLEDGE of good and evil" (Gen 2:17). It was a tree of good and evil, not just a tree of good or not just a tree of evil. It was not just an ordinary tree, but a tree of knowledge. After mankind took from the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God said man was getting to KNOW good and evil (Gen 3:22). God then took away the tree of life and placed the cherubs to guard the way to the tree of life (Gen 3:23-24). The Hebrew word translated "from us" in Genesis 3:22 can also be translated "out of us" or even "of us" as it is translated in most English Bibles. Because of Adam and Eve's behavior mankind did at this time go "out of" the God, but also, since the God knows all, including good and evil, then mankind was becoming like ONE of the God (of the "us" [His hidden plurality]) by learning good and evil. "One" here can be translated "whole" since in history the word one was more likely to mean "whole" or "unity" rather than just the number one (See the God Papers under "One Yehowah"). Consequently, as events manifested, man was mostly left under the influence of the evil spirit of Satan, who was symbolized by the serpent of Genesis (see "Other Mind" paper [NM 20-22]). In the New Testament Paul said we were and are under the influence of the devil/Satan/evil powers and so forth (Eph 6:12).

nm862 >> In my studies it has become obvious to me that the one basic reason that mankind was left under the influence of Satan was to learn good and evil. To learn, not just good, not just evil, but good and evil. But why is God allowing this evil age to go on until the appointed time? (Mat 24:3 & Acts 1:6-7) Maybe God is evil or partly evil and wants us to suffer under evil? Or is God too weak and can't stop the evil or confusion of our existence? Why doesn't the God of love, the all powerful ONE, stop the evil and the general confusion of the present age? Maybe, just maybe there is a logical and reasonable reason?

nm863 >> If you read the God Papers you will see the scriptures that indicate that the true God is ALL MIGHTY. Thus, He has the power to stop the evil, if that is what He wishes. But God has allowed this kind of world because He knows man must suffer or live in an age of confusion and unhappiness in order to be happy. Does this statement shock you? What are we saying? Man must suffer. As we will show, a purpose of creation is for man to develop the cognition of good and evil. But the reason we are learning good and evil is that we cannot truly learn good without also learning evil. For us to even understand what is good, we must know evil. Further, we must all learn evil by living it, for experience is the best teacher. Scripture and the idea and definition of God tells us that God is all powerful and thus could have created a non-changeable paradise-like-environment at first with each human being physically perfect and unable to die. But God did not do this because he understood that man must first suffer in order to be happy. God cut off the tree of life from mankind in order to allow billions of people to learn good and evil. This is very important so do read on.

Why Know Evil

nm864 >> Why is it important to know good and evil? Why know evil? Why live evil to know it? The main difference between a man and any other animal is his higher power to reason and know. So far, it is true he has misused this power, but, nevertheless, greater knowledge is what makes man greater than most other creatures of God.

nm865 >> But why know evil at all? Why not just know good? Why do we need to know evil? Before we answer this we must know how one knows evil.

nm866 >> Experience Teaches. In order to know something, to truly know something, you must live it. It takes experience with evil to know evil. Our very life today teaches us that. How can you know pain if you had never felt it? How can anyone explain pain to you if you have never felt pain? Just stop and think for a moment. Try to imagine that you have never felt pain. If someone showed you someone else in pain, would you know what it was to be in pain, if you had never felt it? As you looked, you would see this person with an expression on his face like he was in pain. But how can you know pain through the face of a person in pain? Remember you have never felt pain. Any outward sign of a person in pain is just that, a sign or symbol of pain. Just because you see someone in pain, it does not mean you know pain for remember you have never felt pain, or experienced pain. You must feel pain to know it.

nm867 >> The same applies with evil. To truly know evil, one must live it. How would you explain misery to one who never felt or lived misery? How would you explain the pain of losing a loved one to someone who has never felt such a feeling? Now on this latter example, you could compare it with some other form of misery or pain. But, what if the person who you were trying to explain this grief to, had never felt any grief, misery, or pain? You could never compare your grief of losing a loved one with anything that would allow that person to know of your misery. To obtain the knowledge of knowing evil, then, you must live it and feel it. To obtain the characteristic of knowing evil we must live in such a world as we now live in.

Know Evil To Know Good?

nm868 >> But this is only a part of the overall picture. We must know evil to know good! Evil and good are inseparable! We must suffer evil to know good. Again, does that shock you? But why should it? Every day we live, we prove the principle that one cannot know good without real knowledge of evil. Every day that we obtain knowledge, we live this principle, and prove this principle. One cannot know good unless one knows evil. You cannot separate the knowledge of good and evil. The very Law of Knowledge tells us that. What is that law?

Law of Knowledge

nm869 >> Basic Definition of the Law of Knowledge can be stated as:

Knowledge of A is equal to and dependent on the knowledge of non-A.

Where A can be any particular object, technique or belief;

non-A is anything but that particular object, technique or belief.

It follows --

The depth of one's knowledge of A (and it truthfulness) is contingent upon the depth of one's knowledge of non-A; particularly, in the case of opposite qualities (light and darkness), you must know both qualities to know either; you must compare each with the other to know either.

In other words --

nm870 >> True Knowledge through the law of knowledge:

The continuum from incorrect knowledge --> to absolute true knowledge

nm871 >> In explaining the Law of Knowledge, we will first deal with how one obtains knowledge of opposite qualities. Next we will explain in a more general manner, or in the most broadest sense, how one obtains knowledge of anything.

Knowledge of Opposite Qualities

Blind: Light & Darkness

nm872 >> To amplify on this law we will use the example of a blind person. Try to empathize with a person that was totally blind from birth. Try to put yourself in such a person's mind. Close your eyes and imagine yourself as being blind. Now such a person has never seen light. Light is the quality that allows one's eyes to see objects. Without light no one would see even if they had perfect eyes. Light is the quality that the totally blind person cannot perceive or comprehend.

nm873 >> If you had never seen light, how would someone explain light to you? What choice adjectives would describe light to someone who has never seen light? To explain anything to someone who has never seen it, you have to use comparison, and say it is like this or like that. But there is no comparative quality in the universe that compares with light. It would be impossible for someone to explain light to you, let alone sight, if you had never seen light.

Knowledge of Each Presupposes Knowledge of Both

nm874 >> Yet at the same time one truly does not know what darkness is until one has seen light. The very definition of dark is: "without light." Darkness means without light as light means "without darkness." Each definition is dependent on its opposite quality. A definition of something is a statement of the knowledge of that thing. To know light or darkness by their very definition presupposes knowledge of each other. A blind person in order to know what darkness is, would have to see light. He knows darkness only if he sees light, for it is only then that he will understand what people were talking about when they spoke of darkness. The only reason that you can close your eyes, and call the result darkness, is because you have seen light. One cannot know darkness or light unless one has seen both and compared both qualities with each other.

nm875 >> Thus, specifically in the case of opposite qualities, your knowledge of darkness ("A") is dependent upon your knowledge of light (opposite-"A"), and vice versa. Because they are opposite qualities, you must know both to know either quality, but in order to know either quality, you must compare each with the other.

nm876 >> Furthermore, remembering that a blind person is blind because he cannot see light, it also follows that if there was only white light we would also be blind because we would not see or recognize any object, since in order to see anything, we need different shades of light and darkness, or more correctly since most of us see in color, in order to see anything, we need different shades of light and darkness and different hues of color.

Sound And Silence

nm877 >> The same applies for sound and silence. If you had never heard sound, how would you know what silence was like? Sound and silence are opposite qualities as light and darkness are opposite qualities. You must know both to know either, and you must compare each with the other to know either. Since these two qualities are interrelated, one has to know both to know one. The very basic definition of sound ("without silence") and silence ("without sound") need the opposite quality to define it. To know sound or silence by their very basic definition presupposes knowledge of each other.

Hot and Cold

nm878 >> The same can be said about hot and cold. "Hot" and "cold" are relative opposite qualities. One knows something is cold only so far as he has something hot to compare it with. You can place your hand into a container of water that is 90 degrees and it will feel warm to you. But if you place your hand into a container that is 110 degrees and keep it there for a while, and then place it again into the container of water of 90 degrees, the 90 degree water will then feel cool while before it felt warm. Your knowledge of hot or cold is obtained through contrast and comparison of both qualities. Knowledge of hot or cold presupposes knowledge of the other quality.

Life and Death

nm879 >> Further, one does not know what life is until he has seen death. To have knowledge of life you must have knowledge of death. One is very aware of life only if one has seen or become aware of death.

nm880 >> Adam and Eve didn't know death and that is one reason why they chose the tree of good and evil in the garden of Eden. Adam had never seen or felt the pain of losing a loved one. All he saw around him was life. This is very difficult for us to perceive today, for all around us are the living, the sick and dying as well as our remembrance of dead friends and relatives. Because of this we know a lot more about life and death than Adam and Eve. It is difficult for us to put ourselves into Adam's position.

Right and Left & More Examples

nm881 >> The right side has no meaning unless there be a left side. You don't know what the meaning of right is until you know about left; you don't know what left is until you know what about right. You need knowledge about both to know either. You don't know something is "high" unless you know there is something "lower." You don't know something is "low" unless you know something is "higher." You don't know a "plus" quality until you know its "minus" quality. You don't know a "minus" quality unless you know its "plus" quality. You don't know light if you don't know darkness. But you can know light if you know darkness. You don't know or realize harmony, if you have never known confusion. Think on what is being said. If you had always lived in an environment where there was no confusion, where there was harmony, would you realize the goodness of that harmonic environment? Would harmony mean anything to you in such a harmonic environment? Can you really appreciate harmony if you have never lived in confusion?

nm882 >> If you had good vision for forty years, and then lost your sight, you would truly know the value of sight, as does a blind person who miraculously gains his sight. But how does someone, after he loses his sight, come to appreciate the sight he once had?


nm883 >> What does it mean to appreciate something? Webster's Dictionary says that to appreciate something one must: "recognize it gratefully; estimate its worth; estimate it rightly; be fully aware of it; and notice it with discrimination." Thus, when one comes to appreciate something (especially if it is good), one in fact comes to know that thing. To appreciate something is to really know it; to know something is to appreciate it.

nm884 >> When one loses a loved one, one by the loss of the loved one knows the worth of the loved one. The same with good. One comes to know the worth of good only after he has lived in evil.

nm885 >> How can we know joy, until we have lived sorrow? How can you really become happy unless you have been sad. How can we know good until we know evil? Opposite qualities need to be compared to each other to know either.

nm886 >> The Law of Knowledge not only explains knowledge of opposite qualities, but also knowledge of everything capable of being known. The following is a short explanation of how we learn, not only about opposite qualities, but about everything.

The General Law of Knowledge

How Children Learn

nm887 >> One way to understand the Law of Knowledge is to understand how a child learns. Children's simple generalizations reflect lack of differentiation. That is, a child's wrong generalization about A (cow) reflects lack of knowledge of the difference between a cow and all that is not a cow (non-A) such as other four legged animals.

nm888 >> A child when he is first learning about four legged animals sometimes may mix up a cow and a horse, or a cow and a deer, or even a cow and a dog. This is because the child does not know what a cow is not. When parents first begin telling their child what a cow is, they point to a cow and say, "that is a cow." The child with the aid of other knowledge in his memory and his senses "sees" this living animal with four legs. Depending on how many other four legged animals are pointed out to him, he may mix the cow up with any or all other four legged animals.

nm889 >> After a cow is pointed out to him he may call a horse a cow, after all, to the child a horse is a four legged living animal (not a two legged animal or a toy animal or stuffed animal) just like the one pointed out earlier by his parents. But the child is wrong. This four legged animal is a horse, not a cow. The child fails to differentiate between a cow and a horse. How does the parent correct the child? The parent says, "no, it is not a cow, it is a horse." The parent is telling the child what a cow is not. The parent by telling the child what is not a cow is helping the child to learn what is a cow. Normally, after the child learns that a horse is not a cow, he doesn't call a horse a cow again. But the child may call a deer or other four legged animals a cow. When the child does this he is again corrected, "no, it is not a cow, it is a deer." The child has learned something else is not a cow (A); he has learned one more of the non-A's (all else besides cows). The more the child learns about other four legged animals not being cows, the better he is able to understand what a cow is. A cow is a four legged animal of a certain size (a cow is not a dog because for one thing a cow is bigger than a dog, etc.), but it is not any other four legged animal: it is not a dog, it is not a horse, it is not a deer, it is not an elephant, it is not a bear, etc.

nm890 >> But further the child from other knowledge knows a living cow is not a mountain, it is not dead (not a dead toy, not a dead stuffed animal, etc.), it is not a rock, it is not the sky, it is not a two legged animal, it is not an ant, it is not a fish, it is not fog, it is not a color, it is not a quality like "good," it is not a plant, it is not water, etc. The child knows more what a cow is, by the more he knows what a cow is not. Thus, the knowledge of a cow (A) is dependent on the knowledge of what a cow is not (non-A); or the child knows more about what is a cow (A), by the more he knows what is a cow is not (non-A).

The Color Green

nm891 >> Let's take another example, the color green. The more we know what the color green is not the more we know the uniqueness of the color green. The only way to point green out is to show what green is not. Since most of us know what the color green is (because we know what green is not), we will again try to understand how a child learns about the color green.

GREEN a color is "A"

nm892 >> The knowledge of GREEN (A) is dependent upon the knowledge of all that is not green (non-A).

  • First "green" is a subdivision of color. Before a child can learn what the color "green" is, he must know what is color. In order for a child to understand "color" his parents tell him, "that thing is the color red, that thing is the color blue, that thing is the color orange, that thing is the color green, that thing is the color ...." Along the line of learning "color" the child comes to understand (through comparison) what "color" is not: the color blue on a wall is not the wall, it is not the material that makes up the wall such as wall board, or wood studs, or nails, etc., but the quality on the wall that we call "color" is the color of the wall. A child learns what color is by understanding what color is not. So before a parent can make a child understand what the "color" green is, the child has to understand what "color" is, by understanding what "color" is not.

Now assuming that the child knows what "color" is we will continue:

  • We know GREEN by knowing what is not green (non-A). Thus the child comes to know GREEN by knowing what is not green.

What the color green is not (non-A)

nm893 >> Green Is Not:

  • More generally green is not: a tree, a bush, a rock, an animal, a fish, a man, the universe, the sun, the moon, our parents, a car, a road, atoms, space, form or shape, relative position in space, time, a dimension, or any other thing or quality except for a quality we call "color."
  • More specifically green is not: red, blue, orange, purple, or any other color, but the color we call green.

To summarize, GREEN is A; GREEN is not non-A. We know GREEN (A) because we know what GREEN is not (it is not non-A).

God Has Created Evil? ...

nm894 >> Considering the above it is not difficult to see why God (YHWH) has created evil (Isa 45:7): it is so we can know good, to know good's worth, to appreciate good, and to enjoy good. The reason we must suffer the effects of evil is so we can know, to truly know good. To know what is good we must have something to compare good with. God through his wisdom has given mankind a time for good and a time for evil (Eccl 3:l-8), so as to know each. Thus in this way mankind comes to realize the value of good and harmony. God has given us joy to balance against adversity, so as to know joy (Eccl 7:14). To be able to know goodness, one must know evil: "For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow" (Eccl 1:18); "Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the face the heart is made to be good" (Eccl 7:3).

Should We Then Seek Evil?

nm895 >> Considering the above, then does this mean we should seek evil? No! Once we come to realize how bad evil is, then evil has served its purpose as the comparative quality to good. In good is where the happiness lives, not in evil. We in this age are mainly learning more about evil than good. There are moments of joy and happiness in this world which allow us to partially perceive just how bad evil is, and at the same time allow us to perceive how precious good is.

New Mind And True Knowledge

nm896 >> As we are trying to communicate in this book, the best way to truly perceive good is only with God's Spirit - the New Mind. Through God's Spirit man begins to renew his knowledge and mind to the ways of good (Col 3:10; Rom 12:2). Before man receives God's Spirit, man is like a blind man: he lives in darkness, yet comprehends it not, for the blind do not know light. "And the light shines in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not" (John 1:5). Why? Because this world is Spiritually blind, this world or this age cannot perceive their sad state of affairs. This age and most people in it, do not and cannot know how bad this age really is until they receive God's Spirit - the New Mind, which is the Spirit of truth (John 14:17). This age only partially perceives how bad this age is, and this only because there is some joy in this age to compare with the average state of affairs. But those who have received God's Spirit know ever so much more just how bad this age is (Rev 12:11).

Two Forces

nm897 >> Scripture project to us that there are two spiritual forces or mental forces in the world today: God's and Satan's. God's Spirit is "A" and Satan's is contrary or opposite to "A". Your knowledge of God ("A") is dependent upon your knowledge of Satan (opposite-"A"); To know God ("A") you must compare Him with Satan (opposite-"A"). Mankind will only have the knowledge of good and evil after they live under the bondage of Satan's rule and under the harmony of God's rule. That is why all who are eventually born of God will and must live under Satan's spiritual law of confusion and under God's Spiritual law of harmony.

nm898 >> All must suffer evil. So that "they that sow in tears shall reap in joy" (Psa 126:5). The tears come first for man, the joy is the dessert of the creation. We learn unhappiness or the knowledge of sin through Satan's way. And it is through this knowledge of sin that we are able to truly know good, for then we have something to compare with God's way and his law of harmony. It is through God's Spirit and His law in our minds that we see the good (the light). And it is because of our former blindness (Spiritually speaking) concerning the good (light) that we are able to comprehend the worthiness of the good. Mankind is like a blind person who has lived in darkness (Satan's way) yet really didn't know how bad it was until he gained (or will gain) his sight (through God's Spirit) and was made able to comprehend the light (good), then all became understandable to him.

Two Forces Help Us to Distinguish and Know

nm899 >> "Except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?" (1 Cor 14:7) Except that there be a period of time to distinguish between good and evil, how else would mankind learn or understand what is good?

nm900 >> Since the knowledge of God depends upon the knowledge of Satan, then man must have a period under the way of Satan and a period under the way of God in order to understand the Goodness and worth of God and His way. "A time to love and a time to hate; a time of war and a time of peace" (Eccl 3:8). "Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof" (Eccl 7:8).

nm901 >> Mankind in School. One could say that mankind is going through a learning process. Mankind is in school. Man is going through a process of discriminating between plus and minus qualities. Mankind is learning to discriminate between good and evil, by living each. Man is living each for it is impossible to teach it through words. How can you know pain through words? How can you teach a blind person what light is by words? No, man must feel pain to know pain, and the blind must see light to know light. But further, the blind must see light to know darkness, for our very definition of light ("without darkness") and our basic definition of darkness ("without light") projects to us that opposite qualities need each other to know either one of the qualities. A totally blind person even though he lives in darkness, does not know darkness until he sees light. We only know darkness because we have seen light. To know what is darkness one must have something to compare it with.

nm902 >> We know something is "up" only because we see something below it in position. If everything were of the same height, there would be no "up" or "down."

nm903 >> The same principle holds true for pain and non-pain, or sound and silence, or for that matter clean air and smog. But, what is important to us in this paper is that this principle holds true for good and for evil. If you only had lived in an environment of harmony, how would you know it was a good environment? You would have nothing to compare it with. You would be like a person who lived all his life at the top of a hundred story building in a room without any window or way to go downstairs. Even though you have 99 levels below you, you do not know you are at the top, for you do not know there is a down.

Law of Knowledge

(Pertaining to Opposite Qualities)

Both sides complement the other and give meaning to each other;

you must know both qualities to know either: you must compare each with the other to know either

One Side Opposite Side
love hate
light darkness
right left
front back
up down
affection contempt
good evil
peace war
kind unkind
forgiving unforgiving
thankful unthankful
reconciliatory revengeful
lawful lawless
hope hopeless
truthful liar
fairness (impartial) unfairness (partiality)
temperance overindulgence
honorable dishonorable
unpretentious pretentious
elegant crude
patient impatient
harmony disharmony
sympathetic unsympathetic


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(c) Copyright 1971-2016 by Walter R. Dolen