Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Good and Evil

The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass
Good and evil are not polarities like spirit and matter or male and female. God's creation is altogether good. If there were to be an absolute evil, there would be two opposing creators and creations. The struggle between good and evil does not exist for plants and animals, which can only behave according to their innate patterns. This struggle comes with Man's unique status, expressed in his I-awareness, and his ability to gain knowledge and exercise free will. If this knowledge is partial, darkened or twisted, things will not be seen in their proper perspective. This leads to misjudgments, and these allow forces which may not be evil in themselves to draw men away from the straight path, with all the evil consequences thereof.
Men also have the ability to employ various means to darken or twist the minds of others in order to use them for their own nefarious purposes. Thus, man's natural desire for growth and completion can be directed either towards good or evil. The possibility of desiring things that are still missing (i.e. to long for completion) and to make choices in the pursuit thereof, has to do with Man's being created in God's image, destined to grow into God's likeness - or into his archetypal stature, in modern terms. In this process of growth and education, men and Mankind may make the wrong choices, go astray, commit evil deeds and suffer evil consequences, until the lessons are learned.
All this does not form good and evil into poles. Rather, the human concepts of "good" and "evil" exist in the gap between the potential embedded in original Creation and our shortcomings in effectuating it, between childhood and adulthood. Prophet Isaiah’s blunt saying that “God creates evil”, refers to the fact that we humans got free will, and thus can make wrong or evil choices). This faculty of developing and exercising free will, however, is not given to little children. It comes up in our youth, as said in Gen.8:21 where we read: “…the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth”. It is only from then on that humans, although being “made upright” by the Creator, “think out many inventions”). This possibility is given to us for the sake of our ongoing learning and growth. Moses, our great lawgiver, tells us in this respect: “Thou turnest man [אנוש, the fallible man] to dejection, and sayest: return [as] children of Man [=Adam}).The evil plays its Divinely ordained role in that process. It is included in the statement that "everything that He made [including Man]... is very good)
Whether we do good or not, we always draw from the one Divine energy source. Consequently, we are responsible for its use or misuse, and are constantly confronted by God's question to Adam: "Where are you?")

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