Lewis’ Essay Introduction
This is a short essay of Lewis’ and consequently will be a short blog post. Evil and God is an essay directed at a line of theological thought that holds dualism (like Zoroastrianism) as an alternative to monotheism like Christianity.
The primary conclusion of the essay discusses how dualism may exist, but by definition it must exist subordinate to something else. Something else is greater and thus dualism can’t be the end of the theological thought.
As far as this world is concerned a Christian can share most of the Zoroastrian outlook; we all live between the ‘fell, incensed points’ of Michael and Satan. The difference between the Christian and the Dualist is that the Christian thinks one stage further and sees that if Michael is really in the right and Satan is really in the wrong this must mean that they stand in two different relations to somebody or something far further back, to the ultimate ground of reality itself. – pg 24
It makes sense that if dualism existed there would be two characters, one good and one evil, to which the dualistic theology can ascribe. Lewis is right however that in order to ascribe something as “good” and something as “evil”, it must be in relation to something else. Something bigger, something greater.
This had me thinking. Michael is good, Satan is evil; and that is because we can relate their actions to God who is goodness itself. What does it mean to be goodness rather than just being good? Any action that God takes, or doesn’t take is by definition, Good. Not because it was a “good” action, but because it was made by the source. God’s actions can’t be anything BUT good. This is why it’s a self-contradicting “paradox” to ask “If God is omnipotent and can do anything, can He then do evil?” Interestingly, if God is truly omnipotent, He can’t do an evil action. This is so because if he were able to do evil, he would be reduced to the level of Michal and Satan. Able to do both evil and good; but as discussed earlier he is then subservient to something else, something greater than himself from which evil and good are defined.
If this were so, we would effectively be worshiping the angles and would need to look deeper and farther in to find the True God. Luckily, we don’t have this problem as God can not commit evil. He is the source of Good. Any action we humans then commit that is truly “good” is then an act of compliance to Him. If copying is the best flattery and a form of worship, then any good action we make is a form of worship. May we all continually worship God with our actions.
This post is the first of a long series of commentary on quotes pulled from God in the Dock, a collection of essays by C.S. Lewis. For additional reading please see the short review (unfinished) of the book itself and a list of other commentary like this post.