Good and evil – and beyond – Part 2

From the point of view of our life realities, we cannot exactly define what evil is. From the point of view of the absolute, it can be clearly formulated.

Good and evil – and beyond – Part 2

To part 1

The function of evil

Let us have a look at the book of Hiob in the Old Testament. It is written there that the adversary is in God’s society. The adversary embodies the tendency to liberate ourselves from the absolute and to seek independence from God in the relative world. Thus, he asks God something like this: May I take away Hiob, your most devout servant, from you? God allows him to destroy Hiob’s life conditions and to expose him to the worst visitations. Everything is taken from him, his money and possessions, his family, his health. But he keeps his belief in God. He does not turn away from the absolute, but maintains his relationship to it and submits himself to Him. He accepts his destiny. And what happens? He surpasses himself. He surpasses his relative life reality. His central, divine identity awakens within him; his true self, which originates in the absolute, gives him the necessary force.

The teachings of karma and reincarnation also have the absolute as their measure. Karma can only be explained from the relationship between man and the absolute. According to that it is predetermined that a person attracts certain situations in his life, that he has certain encounters, for example. We experience many good and bad things. Everybody experiences the results of their behavior from the past, a behavior, which was mostly determined by his egocentricity, i.e. where the divine was not present. The results of it stay in the world and must be processed. Whether this takes place and how it happens is up to each individual. If a person decides to dedicate all his actions to the divine, then this will liberate him from the bonds of karma (Bhagavad-Gita 5, 10; 12, 6 f.).

Evil seen in a higher light

From the point of view of our life realities, we cannot exactly define what evil is. From the point of view of the absolute, it can be clearly formulated.

The Corpus Hermeticum, a collection of scriptures from the beginning of our calendar, which contains Egyptian, Greek and Jewish wisdom teachings, explains: “The evil of the soul is its ignorance, its lack of knowledge which is from God” (CH 12th book, verse 24). And in another place: “The greatest illness of the soul is its denial of God” (CH 13th book, verse 7). And we find the call: “Go within yourself and It will come” (CH 14th book, verse 25). “It” is the Only Good.

Not knowing the absolute means not knowing oneself, it means denying our deepest self which rests in the absolute. As long as this is the case, all our behavior takes place outside of the divine activity and has consequences which will someday have to be equalized.

The Chinese wisdom says in the Tao Te Ching: “Those who do not know the Eternal, will senselessly create harm” (chapter 16).

Why the human being is left to the relative

Our time is characterized by the fact that most people have turned away from the divine. We have gained an ego and test our autonomy. By interrupting the energy flow to the absolute, which is in our own center, we are under the influence of another river, of the river of the life patterns of our world. The contents of our ego come from this river. Thus, there are ever more veils between ourselves and our origin. However, a great task lies in this separated existence.

Let us have a look at the Veda, the oldest religion that still exists today and which in our time undergoes a kind of renaissance. We can read there that our world was created to give those spirits who turned away from God, the possibility to rise to the Divine again.[1] This is what our body and the nature realms, from which it has come about, are serving. The Veda speaks about the fact that beneath our world there are other worlds, worlds of a demonic nature. [2] The spirits which come from them penetrate into the thoughts and feelings of human beings. They either dominate him, as is mostly the case or they can be liberated by him, when he connects them with the absolute again. This points to an even broader task for the human being than we have hitherto indicated.

The teachings of the Veda speak of different world eras. According to them we are now in the Kali Yuga, the dark era, which began about 5000 years ago. This leads to our turning away from the divine light completely. It goes so far that in human consciousness matter takes the place of the divine and spiritual aspect.

The human comes to the conclusion that he has been created from a game of material particles. When he thinks like this, any sense for his existence has been lost. He must live through this situation, in a bitter way he must experience his failure in order to find the way to himself.

In the mysticism of Judaism, the kabbalah, it is said that the deity admits such a development. Here, we find a statement which shows that God always makes room and withdraws so that his creatures can find the way to themselves, to their true self. [3] God respects the freedom of His creatures. He delivers them to themselves in a way. Everything they do comes back to them. Until the veils that deny them the view of the absolute will be torn apart.

The New Testament also confirms this point of view. Jesus becomes Christ through the baptism in the Jordan and immediately after this event the lord of this world comes towards him. They talk to each other. The antagonist incites Jesus, the Christ, to transform the stones of this world into bread. The world will then become a better place. People’s suffering will be taken from them. However, Jesus does not follow this suggestion, since the people would not find the way to themselves in this way. Only after the experience of a fundamental failure can the true relationship to the absolute be found. Therefore, Jesus talks about the necessity of a new birth by talking to the antagonist about the creative divine word. [4]

Goethe’s Faust represents the human being of modern times. In this drama the antagonist is still, like with Hiob, in God’s society. “From time to time I like seeing the Old one”, says Mephisto. He is the antagonist, but he is of a different nature than was the case with Hiob. The human being has gone through a development in the relativity, he has become a thinking being with an autonomous ego. Mephisto speaks to God about Faust and they conclude with a pact.  “Withdraw this spirit from his original source”, offers God to Mephisto and He predicts: “A good man in his dark striving is conscious of the right way.” [5]

The original source, the innermost core of the human being, the relationship to the absolute, the divine element, finally awakens also in Faust. First, he wants to find out by himself “what keeps the world together in its innermost being”. Of course, he fails despite all the ego’s magic and the humanity’s past and despite Mephisto’s help. Faust reaches a zero point, like all seekers, at which he cannot go on, where all the old life patterns and his whole autonomy break down.

Now he can be touched and guided by the absolute. In the last verses of Faust there is a significant and liberating insight: “Everything that is transient is only a parable.”

The whole relative world with its states of consciousness is a symbol of a higher reality, in which the beings consciously unite with the absolute.

It is our task to make this connection. It will lead to transformation, to transfiguration, as the Rosicrucians call it. It is possible to rise above good and evil, beyond this world, by the hand of the absolute, the divine within us … and thereby in a beneficial way work in it.

[1]  Armin Risi, Gott und die Götter, Neuhausen, Altenburg, 5. edition 2002, p. 90

[2]  Armin Risi, op. cit, p. 91 ff.

[3] Cf. Gershom Scholem, Die jüdische Mystik in ihren Hauptströmungen, Frankfurt am Main 1980, p. 285 ff. (the teaching about the Zimzum, the self-restriction of God)

[4] Matth. 4, 3 ff.

[5] Goethe, Faust, Prologue in heaven

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Date: December 13, 2019
Author: Gunter Friedrich (Germany)
Photo: Ruth Alice Kosnick

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