Theodicy: The Nature of Evil and the Unity of God

Ibn Tumart was on to something when he asserted the equivalence of rational and legal deductions; in arriving at this deep insight, he argued that the former calls for the distinction between the necessary, possible, and impossible, where the latter calls for the parallel distinctions of obligatory, permissible (lawful), and impermissible (unlawful).

This understanding finds an ally in me, for if the Light of God is the very soul that moves man and all creation, how might it be resolved that evil might find any hospitality in such a land at all?  Whence comes the darkness opposed to the Light?

Many a sectarian conflict have roiled over the answers posed to such a problem, but I believe I have a proposal which has yet been heard.  God indeed does no wrong, but this creation is a merciful lesson and a guide to believers.  It is in creation that the trials of mankind make clear the superiority of the Truth, the Way of God, over that which is of the delusions of falsehood.

Experience cannot come about without the God-given Light of freedom.  We cannot explain, nor can we hope to explain, that inexplicable force of autonomy which moves these human bodies.  Religious faith is simply the trust in the Creator, that power from which the autonomous soul issues forth, that we engage that force despite our inability to comprehend or justify it.

And I observe the experience of life becomes that justification.  Everywhere darkness is encountered one receives a clear, indisputable proof of its inferiority to the Light of Mind.  Where there is grotesque and horrifying murder, where there is thievery and corruption of every kind, there is a powerful lesson for mankind that the power which they follow in faith bears fruit so vastly superior to this terrible alternative of its absence.

The lesson teaches that evil is the absence of God; it is not itself a substantive force, but simply that void into which the force extends, coursing over its dark waters.  That which is without the guidance of God, that presence of Mind felt throughout all that is real, is that which is known as evil in creation.

So life, in all its misfortune and all of its pleasures, serves to increase the conviction of faith with which each person approaches the gift of autonomy.  So too does the Master Rhetorician seek this end through the warmth of benevolence and love.  It is ultimately experience, itself, and its various accompanying apprehensions and thoughts in toto,which serves as the final and irrefutable revelation, the triumphant argument of God’s worthiness made to every creature: the Creator from whom your soul has issued forth earns the worship of creatures by the experience of Mind, itself.  The test of life, therefore, seeks those possessed of Mind, who remember.

Though we cannot understand or explain our autonomy, for its nature is outside the scope of determinate rationality (as it must be, lest we simply be machines, against which our very experience also speaks), we accept the challenge of faith, believe in the worthiness of our Mind, and proceed into a grand vindication of the Way.

We need not posit, therefore, that any wrong is done anyone.  Rather, in order that the quest of Mind commence in this meaningful teaching, mindlessness must transpire that they be judged against one another.  To know the mercy of God, a merciless darkness must be faced.  To understand the value of agency, it must be pitted against its absence.

So the righteous flow forth and illuminate their surroundings with virtue.  Every trial is yet another opportunity in which we, the viceroys of God, are moved to right what is wrong.  We mustn’t begrudgingly see in this a burden, but think from the perspective of death what fools we must be to disdain the opportunity of life. For whatever is known of death, it is known that there is a loss of opportunity to do what is right in this world.

It is true that every righteous soul is rewarded, and it is with that experience of righteousness itself that the reward is first granted.  The heart of a just man, it is written, is the heart of the all-just God.  To become that Light, fully devoting the body to the Way of God, this is the experience of heaven, where all is governed by Mind.  And the sinner, to whatever extent there is awareness left within, shall serve as a warning of the blight of mindlessness, and the danger from which the Mind of God saves.

Some may argue that this violates the Divine Unity, that God cannot be without division and yet move, but God, whom nothing is like, moves in a manner not comprehended in rational thought.  The transcendence of God is that to which the concept of a Divine Unity points, and no more; the concept of “Unity” is a reminder, a mercy and a guide, but it is not the Truth, which cannot be written or conveyed in text.

Again, the experience of God-granted autonomy is the conveyance of that nature to the apprehension of creatures.  It is an extra-sensory, extra-rational awareness of the creative spontaneity of autonomy.  It is the experience of its implementation.

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