Evil in this world
If God exists, why is there so much evil in the world, such as wars, disease, suffering, poverty, etc.?
Letter from Magnus on February, 02, 2000
1) If God exists, why is there so much evil in the world, such as wars, diseases, suffering, poverty, etc.?
2) What is the meaning of today's highly developed society? What reasons do we have to change?
Response from Orlando Fedeli
Praise Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Your first question is why does God allow evils in the world (wars, disease, death, suffering, poverty, etc.).
You must remember, my dear Magnus, that evil, as a thing, as a being, does not exist. Remember the example of a hole in a sheet of paper? The hole does not exist. What exists is paper.
Evil is a lack of being, a lack of what ought to exist, or a lack of order.
For example, if I am missing an eye, that is an evil. It's a lack of something that should exist. If I have an ear in the middle of my forehead, that's a bad thing because it's a lack of order. A snake's venom, as a being, is good. It's just evil when it is in my veins. When in my veins, It is not in the proper place. It's not in order.
However, there are moral evils, that is, evil actions. Actions are not beings, they are not substantive. There are bad verbs like stealing, lying, adulterating, cheating, etc.
Whenever you do an evil action, deep down, you are looking for a good, albeit smaller. For example, those who steal, seek the good of money. Stealing is evil, because it creates a disorder among goods. Money is one good. However, justice is a greater good than money. Whoever steals puts the lesser good (money) above the greater good (justice). It is this disorder that constitutes moral evil (an evil action).
As Saint Augustine explained, existence is a good. If absolute evil existed, he would have the good of existence. Therefore, it would not be an absolute evil.
And yet: evil goes against nature. Therefore, evil is not a nature.
Everything that God has made is good.
The devil, as a being, is good, because he has a great intelligence and a powerful will, which he uses only to act badly.
Hell itself is a good, because through it God does justice. Hence Dante makes hell say:
Fecemi la Divina Potestate (God the Father), la Somma Sapienza (God the Son) ed il Primo Amore (the Holy Spirit).
The Divine Power (God the Father), the Supreme Wisdom (God the Son), and the First Love (the Holy Spirit) made me.
Now, on to your question, why does God allow relative evil such as death, sickness, poverty, etc.
First, God made all things with unequal qualities. Now, this difference in qualities is what allows order in the world. And the order is that it reflects the Wisdom of God.
(I explained this to you in São Paulo, but if you want, I will repeat the explanation)
If there is inequality in the beings, it is clear that the being with less quality (a stone in relation to a plant) is in a situation of lack of good, which is a relative evil. But it was done by God like this, that things might be ordered among themselves, making the Wisdom of God shine through the ordering of created things.
God also allowed poverty so that men would understand that wealth is not the supreme good, but only relative. Same with health, life, knowledge, etc.
Furthermore, God made things with inequality so that charity could exist in the universe, which is the image of God's love.
God is good and does good. He made us in His likeness.
Now every man, is a being, is good. But to be in His likeness, we must, like Him, do good.
To do good, there must be inequality. There can only be alms if there is one pocket full and another pocket empty. If both are equally full, or equally empty, it will be impossible or useless to give alms. The inequality between rich and poor is what allows the rich to be like1 God who gives us everything, and teaches the rich that wealth is not the supreme good. It is, therefore, the inequality between rich and poor that allows this image of God's Love in the world.
War, death, sin, are evils that entered the world with Adam's sin, which disrupted our entire nature. When one man unjustly attacks another, the attacked has a right to defend himself. The same happens with a country: if it is attacked, it can resist the aggressor, and make a just war against it.
Frequently, it is in suffering — in poverty, in sickness, in pain — that man comes closer to God. Relative evil brings you closer to Absolute Good. Which is excellent.
My dear Magnus, for today my time is running out. Other day, I will answer your second question.
In Corde Jesus, semper,
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In His likeness