Monday, July 14, 2008

Evil

Disclaimer: I don't much like theologians. Pretty much everything wrong with Christianity can be traced to either Paul (a theologian) or Augustine. What's left is because Christianity moved from a marginalized religion to a religion of powerful people. Just my opinon. I don't like theology because it seems that folks take an idea and then try to make sense of it and lose track of scripture (and sometimes reality). I say this as someone who has read the entire, unabridged Institutes of the Christian Religion. Before going to seminary. I much prefer to rely on Scripture to answer my questions.

So, I've just finished Kay Warren's Dangerous Surrender, about her call to AIDS/HIV ministry. She has several chapters on evil. So, my question is, what is the origin of evil. From a scriptural basis.

Here is my problem: Genesis 1 tells us God created the world and everything in it and "it was good." God creates humans in God's image. My theology, such that it is, begins with the premise that creation is good and that humans are good. Then we enter Genesis 2 and 3. Sin enters the world through the disobedience of the first humans Adam and Eve. Now, I view that story as etiology, as myth, not as fact. Evil follows from sin (at least human evil: I don't consider natural catastrophes, no matter how awful as evil). But, how did sin get there. If God created the world as good and humans in God's image, where did the sin come from? (Yes, I know it's a different author, different orientation, and a God with a different personality than the one encountered in Gen 1) According to J, Sin got there because the serpent tempted Eve. but where did the serpent come from? If the world is good, then there should be no temptation because temptation is bad. And don't tell me about Lucifer's rebellion, cause that ain't in the Bible.

I don't believe in a duality of good and evil: that is that God and Evil are equals in a battle for humans (a Zorastrian belief entering western thought from Persia). If God is supreme and God created everything in the world and God created the world good, then whence evil? J would have us assume it was always there since she posits the serpent and the potential for sin from the beginning of her narrative. E posits an entirely different idea in his scenario, but I don't know if he ever addresses the issue of the origin of evil.

So, if God is good all the time, and I don't want to be a dualist, how do I explain the origin of evil?

I really hate to expose my ignorance, but