If God is good why does he allow evil?
A metaphysical investigation of the problem of Good and Evil
Guest article by John Temple
In the fourth of his articles on the Search for Truth, occult writer and theologian, John Temple investigates the problem of Good and Evil from the perspective of occult science.
Although it is many long years since I stood before a congregation I can still vividly remember the first time a parishioner asked me the awkward question most theologians dread to hear: "if God is good why does he allow evil?"
It was that question which provided the catalyst that launched my own personal search for Truth. My reply, so far as I can recall, was that "people do evil, not God." Whilst this is true to a large extent, it is not the whole truth, for it still begs the question of why God allows so-called 'natural' disasters to devastate the lives of millions. Even if one concedes, as I think one must, that many disasters are the results of man's foolishness, ignorance and greed, such as building on flood plains, living near volcanoes, mining, deforestation, the testing of atomic bombs, and lack of sanitation and cleanliness which breed both physical and moral disease, there remain some 'evils' which man does not seem to be responsible for. But does this mean that God is responsible for them, and if so, why does he allow them?
What do we mean by 'god'?
Before one can hope to answer this question one needs to ask oneself what one means by 'god'. I am sad to say that all too many of the Clergy I once belonged to have the vaguest notions of God, which may mean anything or nothing. For some Christians he is the jealous, vengeful 'god' of Moses, who punishes the 'sins' of his children, much like a strict Victorian father! For others he is the merciful and loving Father revealed to us in the Gospels and in the teachings of Jesus Christ. Then there are those Christians, such as the present Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Justin Welby, who is reported to have said in a recent interview that: "There are moments, sure, where you think 'Is there a God? Where is God?"
No wonder theologians pray that no one will ever ask them the difficult question which forms the title of this article! When they do attempt to answer it, they often say, as the Archbishop did in his interview: "We can't explain all the questions in the world, we can't explain about suffering, we can't explain loads of things." Dr Welby went on to say, speaking parenthetically to God: "Look, this is all very well but isn't it about time you did something—if you're there." These words are an appalling indictment of the hollowness of the Christian Church and the abject failure of its teachings to satisfy the spiritual hunger of its adherents. I am tempted to ask the good Archbishop why he doesn't 'do something' given the vast resources of the Church over which he presides, rather than expecting God to intervene to 'save' mankind from the results of its own foolishness, selfishness and greed.
Unlike the Archbishop, Occult Science has no doubts about the existence of God. But it does deny that this is the personal god of the Christians, Jews, Muslims, or any other religion, who favours one special faith whilst damning and cursing the adherents of every other! All the Gods of these religions, as well as many others, past and present; cruel, tribal and jealous, are the empty phantoms of man's disordered imagination. Born in the mind of the zealot, the fanatic and the idle dreamer, they have taken form and overshadowing human ideals, brought darkness, strife and hatred instead of light, peace and love. Only when these false idols are cast down in the hearts and minds of mankind will the higher realisation of their oneness as the children of the God of Life, Light and Love become the heritage of all. This is the only God in which the writer of this article believes and worships.
Why does he allow evil?
Having clarified what I mean by God, I will now try to answer the question of 'why does he allow evil'. Before I do so it may be instructive to consider the answers the Church gives, in order to discover whether it has already done my work for me, so letting me off the hook! I would begin by saying that in the past the Christian Church neatly sidestepped the question by laying the blame firmly upon the devil. It can easily be demonstrated that in doing so it was slavishly copying the tenets of primitive Judaism, which had borrowed them in turn from the demonolatry of the Babylonians and Assyrians. It is these distorted theological concepts which have given rise to the dogma of vicarious atonement and laying the blame on supernatural agencies. How this came about the extract from The Oera Linda Book that accompanies this article in the sidebar explains extremely well.
But the Church has now kicked out the devil, or at least relegated him to the margins of its theology, from whence he can no longer offer a convenient pair of horns upon which to hang the dilemma of good and evil. Indeed, as recently as 2014, the General Synod quietly voted Satan out of its baptism ceremony on the grounds that "it was too complex and confusing to people who don't regularly attend church." Having axed the devil, modern Christians try get over his absence by quoting Bible verses that seem to suggest that God has reasons for allowing evil to exist that we simply cannot understand. Or they make an appeal to faith and so sidestep the question in that way. But I should say that faith which is based on something we can never know is not faith but blind optimism. Whereas the former excuse reminds me of the parent who answers their child's question with "because I say so!" These reasons are not good enough for children and certainly not good enough for the genuine seeker after Truth. Let us see if Occult Science can do better.
You may search the Bible from cover to cover and not find a single statement that supports the contention that God wants to keep us in ignorance. On the contrary, there are many verses that exhort us to acquire both knowledge and wisdom. Jesus says: "Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened" (Matthew 7:9-10; Luke 11:10). He further tells us that "...there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known" (Luke 12:2). What else can this mean but that God desires that we should learn his purposes? We find the same injunction in the Old Testament, where we may read "Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge" (Proverbs 22:17).
The reason for this ignorance is that the Church has long since lost the keys to the Mysteries of God which Jesus taught to his chosen disciples, if it ever possessed them at all, which I personally doubt. There is evidence that St Paul did know these Mysteries, and possibly a few of the early Fathers of the Church such as Clement of Alexandria and Origen, but it died with them, or was suppressed, it does not matter which, for the end result was the same; from that day to this the Church could not, and cannot, explain 'many things' as Dr Welby had the honesty to admit.
As long ago as the 3rd century B.C., the Greek philosopher Epicurus asked: "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?" Epicurus' proposition seems quite reasonable at first sight, and it has been echoed in various ways in support of the arguments of believers and non-believers alike. But is it as reasonable is it appears? I would submit that Epicurus sidesteps the question just as adroitly as the Church by answering his third proposition with the same question he started with, leaving us none the wiser as to the reasons why God may allow evil even though he is 'both able and willing' to 'prevent' it.
Good and Evil
The 17th Century French mathematician and philosopher, Pascal, provided an answer to this dilemma when he said: "Nature has perfections, in order to show that she is the image of God: and defects, in order to show that she is only his image." This is pure occult science. The Jewish philosopher Philo Judaeus ascribed the origin of evil to the admixture of inferior potencies in the arrangement of matter—and even in the formation of Man—a task entrusted to the lower creative hierarchies under God, as we may read in The Secret Doctrine. Occult Science affirms that evil is but an antagonizing blind force in nature; it is reaction, opposition, and contrast; evil for some, good for others. If evil disappeared from the world, good would disappear along with it, for there would be nothing to compare it to. Every gardener knows that plants will die in eternal sunlight, and so would man, who would become an automaton without the exercise of his free will and aspiration toward the Light, which would lose its being and value for him were there no darkness to offset it.
Good and evil are the two aspects that dominate the whole universe under such appellations as Light and Darkness, White and Black, Love and Hatred. Yet these are all realisations of the Mind and have no actual existence. There are, however, such things as positive and negative states of matter and mind; and Occult Science divides them into positive Forces and negative Conditions. In this way we may consider as positive forces such concepts as goodness, light and love and under negative conditions we may classify evil, darkness and hatred. It follows from this that the human mind cannot properly appreciate all the positive forces unless it has suffered from at least some of the negative conditions. This is one of the principal lessons we all have to learn, and when we have done so we will know that positive forces of good always overcome negative conditions of evil, under whatever form they manifest.
In The Golden Star, by J Michaud PhD, which book is filled to overflowing with the greatest wisdom and true elucidations of the hidden laws of God, we may read that great disasters are sent to teach mankind certain lessons, "hard to learn, but if grasped with due humility and wisdom they will raise the aspirant to the highest pinnacle of bliss." In The Quest of Ruru by the same author, it is said that: "grief is the Key of the Gods with which they unlock the portals of our Minds, so that we may behold the higher things of the Spirit, which is true Bliss; while in earthly things lies hidden the evil worm of unhappiness." Some will find these truths hard to accept, especially those who have often asked me "why do 'good' people die?" By which they generally mean why are their loved ones taken from them early when so many 'bad' people live long and seemingly happy lives. These same people see no good reason for the slaughter of thousands of seemingly innocent lives in wars and epidemics.
God goes to school
The Church cannot answer these questions. Nor can material science, much less 'humanism' and the other pseudo-sciences which have replaced true religion in the hearts and minds of mankind. But Occult Science can because it reveals who and what man really is, where he has come from, where he is headed, and the true laws of evolution and reincarnation which neither science nor Church knows. If we will only accept the truth that life on earth is a school in which we learn certain hard lessons that prepare us for the greater life in the higher, non-physical dimensions or planes, the seeming inequalities and injustices of earthly life begin to reveal something of the true purposes of God. Each one of us, whether we know it or not, is a spiritual being incarnated in a physical body to gain experience of the material world. We are—as the authors of this website explain in many of their excellent articles—gods in the making. Earthly life is the school of hard knocks in which we learn the lessons and gain the experience to return to the Divine Source from which we first emerged, enriched with the wisdom of our many incarnations. In short: God goes to school!
Once we grasp these truths, death loses much if not all of its terrors, and grief is seen as the means to unlock the riches of the higher, spiritual life that awaits us all. I could give you many examples from my own personal experience of men and women who have immeasurably enriched the lives of others after having endured great suffering and loss. One lady of my acquaintance lost her son at the young age of 14 from a wasting disease. I knew this lad quite well, and his gentle, kind and loving nature was an inspiration to all who met him. His mother might have sunk into an abyss of grief and blamed her terrible loss on God. But she did not. Her faith in the goodness of God never wavered and although she is not an occultist and knows nothing of the laws of reincarnation, she used the experience gained in caring for her son to help parents with similarly afflicted children. In time she built up a huge support network which spread all over the world, bringing comfort and practical assistance to thousands.
You may know of similar cases yourself, but even if you do not, I hope you will now have a very much deeper and higher understanding of how and why good and evil work in the ways they do. You will also realise that there is always a good reason why the 'good' die young, or the evil live long, and this reason is to be found in the laws of evolution and reincarnation I mentioned earlier. This will give you hints as to why disasters of all kinds occur on earth as well as why some thoroughly 'evil' people live long and apparently carefree lives, whilst the innocent suffer the most appalling deprivation and misery. But whatever conditions we experience here on earth, which is a paradise for some and worse than a veil of tears for others, is there not both comfort and hope in the knowledge that it is only a very brief interlude in our long journey from ignorance to wisdom? There is no 'death' anywhere in God's Universe, only CHANGE from one state of consciousness to another. And for many, especially the innocent and good, death is the great liberator that will restore them to the bliss of the Higher Realms of Light, where such things as wars, disasters, epidemics and tyrants do not exist, but where all is beauty, laughter, peace and joy.
If this brief investigation has stimulated your interest in finding answers to the deeper questions of Life, you will find much useful information in this websites occult studies course as well as in their article entitled 'why study occult science?'
If you have enjoyed this article you may also like How peace leads to war—an investigation of the paradox of how the desire for peace leads to conflict and war.
About the author
John Temple is the pen-name of a writer who has studied and practised the occult sciences for more than 50 years. He graduated from Cambridge University with a first in Theology and Religious Studies and has lectured to students around the world on a wide variety of occult, religious and mystical subjects.
He is now retired and lives quietly in London with his wife, two Yorkshire terriers and a talkative African Grey Parrot called 'John' (no relation). He can be contacted via this website.
Read more articles by this author on the Search for Truth
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Esoteric meaning of Easter.
An investigation of the true significance and esoteric meaning of Easter.
Hidden Wisdom in the Bible. An investigation of the hidden wisdom in the Bible, why and how it was concealed, and the tools the sincere seeker needs to dig it out.
Esotericism in the Nativity. An occult investigation of the Bible story of the birth of Jesus, revealing the many layers of hidden meaning it contains.
Who are the REAL illuminati? An evil conspiracy or something quite different? His answers may surprise you!
Searching for Truth.
The true story of one seeker's personal journey of spiritual discovery.
© Copyright John Temple & occult-mysteries.org.
Article published 5 December 2014. Updated 1 June 2016.