People were concerned about issues of good and evil since the beginning of their development. As soon as humans start thinking and analyzing they encountered problem: what is good and what is bad? If something is good for one person can it be also good for another? Human child, who represents the development of homo sapience throughout the centuries, also pays careful attention on this issue. Nowadays, it is often spoken about evil. News is full of violence, fear and suffering. People hear about war victims, terrorist attacks, and dreadful disasters. Evil happens every day and surrounds human being. Evil is inevitable in human development but it can be lessened if people would understand the reasons of evil in their lives.
The evil can b divided in two types: moral evil and natural evil. The examples of the first one are wars, manmade catastrophes, abuse of political and physical power etc. It is called moral because it is executed by agents who are to decide about moral side of the issue. It is bad actions done by people and it is their responsibility whether to commit evil or not. Such kind of evil is distinguished from the natural or physical evil. This notion is used to describe event which are not committed by people and they cannot prevent them but consequences of such events are evil either for human beings or for other species (creatures). These are all kinds of natural disasters: earthquakes, tsunamis, randomly occurring genetic defects. Despite the different causes and origin, evil harms and cause suffering to others.
At the early stages of human development natural and moral evil were often mixed. For example, the Great Flood, which of course is natural disaster and could not be caused by people’s actions, was considered to be the God’s punishment for all the sins people made. God was disappointed in people and decided to punish them. Only Noah with his family who did not lose faith could survive. With the development of science and philosophy humans understood the nature of geological and social process processes happening around them. Christians faced the lack of faith among believers. It was hard to persuade people that the natural evil is punishment for their sins, and that is the moral evil actually. The theory of theodicy was developed. This theory describes that the evil is not always by human actions but it is some kind of reminder from God that after overcoming the suffering a man can learn something important. Suffering was considered as inevitable part of getting experience.
The modern theologists have different theories to explain the existence of evil in the world. One of them focuses on the fact of Christ’s death. He died for our sins; God suffered and suffers when humans suffer. But suffering is not only a weakness. It gives us strength. Another theory points out that people were created in God’s image and likeness. But the evil still exists because people were born free. The freedom gives us the right to act good or evil. From this point of view natural evil can be considered moral. Every step a man takes in his life has its consequences and every evil he made could turn back as evil for him.
The distinguishing between natural and moral evil is a very complicated topic. Especially in the modern world when human posses such a big power to change climate and cause disasters, when number of victims in manmade catastrophe can exceed the number of victims in natural disaster. All in all, everyone should remember about the responsibilities he or she has to the nature, to other people and to the world as a whole.
Hill, Brennan R., Paul F. Knitter, and Willam Madges. Faith, Religion and Theology: A Contemporary Introduction. New London: Twenty-Third Publications, 1997. Print