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In the New Age movement there is no difference between good and evil. 'Good' or 'Bad' actions are just actions that we label as good or bad based on our values.

They say that we are here to remember who we are not. That's why we experience all suffering and 'evil' in the world. Also our human limitations give us the sense of infinity after we die. For us to know what is cold we need to know what is hot and so on...

My question is: Are evil & suffering necessary for us to experience goodness, love, etc.?

Is Christian perspective, if we stop fighting evil we will lose the sense of love? If not sacrifice, no act of love, etc.?

If this is not Christian perspective, what is it? I'm interested in any denominational opinion. Thanks.

closed as off-topic by svidgen, Affable Geek, fredsbend, David Stratton Nov 5 '14 at 0:04

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    Voting to close: This question is going to be primarily opinion-based. Theologians have been wrestling with the role of evil for 5k+ years. Christian theologians since the death of Christ. A singular, doctrinal, or universally accepted explanation has yet to arise ... – svidgen Nov 4 '14 at 15:02
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    @svidgen It's therefore too broad then. Or we could call it general Philosophy (which is off-topic), or we could mark it as a duplicate as I'm pretty sure this has been asked in various forms. Hmmm, I bet we could make a case for Truth question too. So you have like an 85% of selecting a legitimate close reason at random. I'm gonna go with general Philosophy. – fredsbend Nov 4 '14 at 16:39
  • I see a confusion here. That God and humans through God can draw good from evil does not imply that evil is good. @Zenon's answer below is correct. Genesis tells of God seeing everything he had made and behold it was very good. No evil here to contrast with so as to highlight the good. Also God has promised a future free from evil. – user13992 Nov 4 '14 at 19:09
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    Do you need your wife to cheat on you to enjoy an exclusive relationship with her? Clearly not. Does a child need to be abandoned by his mother to know what motherly love is? Clearly not. The concept that good is dependent upon evil is easily disproved with many such examples. – Flimzy Nov 5 '14 at 2:12
  • @Flimzy, you are wrong here. Anytime you have lustful thought you cheat your wife, we have to fight evil and stay clean and this fight gives us recognition of relationship with her. Child experience abandonment anytime experiences inadequate parenthood and there aren't perfect parents. And by knowing the danger of this abandonment child recognizes motherly love. How do you know if someone loves you? If they sacrifice themselves for your sake. If they fight some evil to bring you consolation. – Grasper Nov 5 '14 at 14:22
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From an LDS perspective, this idea isn't simply believed, but explicitly stated as doctrine in the Book of Mormon. It uses the central idea of opposition, which is touched on at various points in the Book of Mormon, but most clearly in chapter 2 of 2 Nephi. The basic idea is that the contrast between two opposing principles is what distinguishes them from one another, and therefore the existence of opposition is a necessary part of God's plan.

11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.

13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.

14 And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.

15 And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.

16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.

17 And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God.

18 And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind. Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.

19 And after Adam and Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit they were driven out of the garden of Eden, to till the earth.

20 And they have brought forth children; yea, even the family of all the earth.

21 And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents.

22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

-- 2 Nephi 2: 11-24

  • Is there any support for this doctrine outside of the Book of Mormon, or is the belief reliant on those of your denomination? – Zenon Nov 4 '14 at 15:08
  • @Zenon "...shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?..." (Job 2:10) – ShemSeger Nov 4 '14 at 18:23
  • @ShemSeger: That's not saying that evil must exist. It seems instead to be saying that we have no right to complain. – Flimzy Nov 5 '14 at 2:11
  • I wouldn't say it was part of God's plan. I would think if the sin came to this world God has allowed it to manifest and our fight expresses God's love. – Grasper Nov 5 '14 at 14:31
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LDS view: in the Book of Mormon, read 2 Nephi 2, it is basically a whole chapter about this subject (online access can be had through lds.org).

In short: Yes, goodness is only a sensible attribute in opposition to evil. Righteousness only in the opposition of sin. We are talking about being something here, rather than the action itself. You are righteous because, being tempted, you choose to act in accordance to God's commandments. You can't be obedient if there is no law in the first place (and there can't be sin without laws, as there can't be laws if one says there is no sin). And so on.

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From a biblical perspective, it seems as if the answer would be no.

God is good, correct? Because God is good, God cannot be evil. If we are to be godly, there should be no evil. If we should be godly and without evil, and God is good, that must mean it is possible to be good without evil. After God created, he said it was good. That is not because there was evil to compare it against, but because it was good, it was worthy of his approval. We cannot test this theory, as we are all sinful already.

References:

God is good: Psalm 100:5,

All of God's creation was good: Genesis 1, 1 Timothy 4:4

We should be like God: Romans 12:1, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

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    But God knows Good and Evil, that is clear from the Garden of Eden. There is a difference between living in a world (universe) where there is both Good and Evil, but choosing Good, as opposed to a world (universe) where Evil is not even known. – kutschkem Nov 4 '14 at 15:11
  • However, God did create Adam, who he said was good even though Adam did not know evil yet. – Zenon Nov 4 '14 at 15:17
  • There's also Revelation 21:4, which states that there will be no more evil or sadness. Does that mean we will not be good or happy? – Zenon Nov 4 '14 at 15:20
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    Never mind, I just couldn't hold on to myself. Of course your point is as valid as mine. I did not actually mean to start a discussion. Maybe my point was more that it does not need to be interpreted in the way you outlined, but of course it is kind of useless to express that on a site where almost everyone has a different opinion on pretty much everything. – kutschkem Nov 4 '14 at 15:25
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    And actually I think it's good to have answers that come to different conclusions. – kutschkem Nov 4 '14 at 15:26

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