Шатов Геннадий Сергеевич: другие произведения.

Devil doesn,t exist !!!

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  "Devil doesn,t exist!"
  (A chapter of the book "LIFE WITHOUT EVIL")
  ј 2. Devil
  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.
  [Revelation 12:9]
  Well now, who are you then?
  I am the Spirit that denies!
  And rightly too; for all that doth begin
  Should rightly to destruction run;
  'Twere better then that nothing were begun.
  Thus everything that you call Sin,
  Destruction - in a word, as Evil represent-
  That is my own, real element.
  Goethe "Faust"1
  Devil (Greek is diabolos - accuser, the Slavs called satrap) - in religion - the leader of evil forces, the main opponent of God and enemy of mankind salvation, the source of all mischief and misfortunes... the greatest of all the fallen angels which refused to obey God, for this God exiled him from heavens together with the part of angels which followed him.
  From the dictionary
   The figure of devil (Satan, Beelzebub, "evil spirit", "prince of darkness", "the sly", "evil", etc.) in a very mysterious way appears and disappears from one religion to another, his image moves on almost unchanged from one epoch to another just slightly changing shades.
  What generates the "devils"? Some religions present devil as an integral part of the picture of the world of supernatural existence, without whom there cannot be explained the reason of the natural world -the terrestrial world of people - the arena of eternal confrontation of the spirits of heavens, the whole human generation became the involuntary witness and participant of this fight.
   For example such religion was in ancient Persia - mazdeizm or zoroastrizm, it was called after the name of its founder Zoroastra (Zarathushtra - in European transcription). It is typical for zoroastrizm the sharp division into light and dark beginnings in the world, presented in the images of agures - the spirits of light and good and daves - the spirits of darkness and evil. The leader of light spirits is Ahuramazda, the leader of dark spirits is Anhra Mainyu2. Both are the sons of "Eternal time" - of the god Ervan.
   Great spirits (deities) are recognized to have egual authority, both being the co-creators of the world. Yet, Ahara Mazda created everything light, pure, sensible and beneficial. Unlike Ahara Mazda, Angra Mainyu created everything evil, foul, and malign."4 Here is how Avesta, Zaroastrian sacred writing, depicts this event : "In the beginning there were twins, two spirits and each of the two had his own dominion. These were good and evil in words, minds, and deeds ... Having united with each other, these two created life ( existence) and absence of life (non-existence) to find out out what the world will be like after all; the villain will live a terrible life and the saint will reach a perfect spiritual state.
   Afterwards, when each of them had finished his own part of creation, they chose a kingdom for them to rule in. The evil spirit chose the evil, hence the worst things imaginable. The good one chose the righteousness...."That is it follows from Avesta, the good is not to blame for evil present in the world since it is produced by a different force, wholly independent of the good god. We have every reason to believe that "such a sharp dualism of the dark and light principles, being the pith of Avesta and the whole Zaroastianism, reveals a phenomenon guite uncommon for ancient religions. It was hot to be found in the religions of China, Japan, India, and played an insignificant role in the religions of Egypt and Mesopotamia. Through its dualism so conspicuously brought to the fore, the Iranian religion is probably unlike any other religion in the world."5 For one thing, it was in China that the concept of two principles, two cosmic forces of Yin ( associated with the feminine, the earth darkness, negative, and passive) and Yang (associated with the masculine, the heavens, light, the day, and tne activity) took its origin. Even graphically, these principles are presented as inseparable counterparts, perpetually contacting with and penetrating into each other. "All things have been produced by the interdependence of Yin and Yang. The interaction between Yin and Yang brings forth both good and evil in nature and life. It`s no use discussing which is better, darkness or light, rest or motion, since both are indispensable, and none is conceivable without the other. The former permeates permeates the latterand therefore may well become bad and good, depending on the time and circumstances."6 Only if put together, the two cosmic forces build Tao, omnipresent law of the Universe.
   Other religions, such as Christianity, taking the image of devil for God`s and antagonist, continuously resisted admitting even hypothetical existence of an evil deity. Eventually comihg to do but to acknowledge devil as the source for reproduction of evil in the world.
   At the outset of the first millennium, the idea of two principles, dark and light, the exalted and earthly, good and evil, Christ and demiurge7 was the focal point for Gnosticism snd later on for Manicheanism. Being "pervaded by the idea of primordial and everlasting conflict between darkness and light and devil and Gog, Manicheanism became one of the major Christian heresies since its first days back in the 3rd centry. The ethical dualism contradicted the veri idea of an omnipotent God.... The concept of eternal battle between devil and God harboured menacingly perilous conseguences for the Church....Indeed, is the salvation for men possible in a world, which is not perfect, in which evil freely shares its headguarters with good and the devil, is as God is? What hope can church offerus, if any? Thus, it seems to be true that the essence of being is the overt battle with social evil rather that intermediary function of the Church."8
   However, the contradiction between this ethical dualims and the idea of an omnipotent God can be found still further back in time, both in the East and in the West.
   In ancient China, for instance, the problem of evil brought man to the necessity of answering the question which threw him intro the conflict with the very foundation of him Weltanschauung ( world outlook ): "The Heaven is omniponent and man is wholly dependent on it ( "The Heaven, giving birth to human king, governs the life of mortals" ). Then, it follows yhat the Heaven is the source of evil. However, God can by no means be the cause for evil. Therefore, it is man who produces rvil and "all adversaries are of human origin". If this is true, then man can not "set his hopes on the Creator"s will". This pattern of thinking brings the Chinese ethical teaching down to the thesis that "everything depends on men", with the Heaven being sanctified at the same time. In any case, in the most ancient Chinese writings, Shi-Tsin (Book of Songs) and Shi-Tsin (Book of History) which are part of the Chinese Pentateuch, already contained the concept of theodicy (vindication of God). This concept states that God is not the source of evil. Then it follows that He is not omnipotent, which only reiterates the age-old problem of relegius world outlook, the problem of God`s being perfect and mighty on the one hard and impossibility to beny the existence of evil on the other hard".9
   In Europe, that same problem was formulated by Epicurus (342/341-271/272 BC), this time it was dealt with more straightly and without any circumlocutium and equivoques about god or heaven`s will whatsoever: "God either wants to eliminate evil but is not able to, or he is able but has no will for that, or he has neither ability nor will, or alse he has both. If wants but is not able, then he is powerless, which a god can not be. If he is able but has no will, then he is envious, which is equally alien to a deity. If he has neither ability nor will, then he is both envious and powerless, conswquently not a god at all. If he does have the ability and will, which perfectly becomes a deity, then where does evil come from? Or alse why god won`t
  eliminate it?"10
   Quite a while later, in the 13th century, Tomaso Campanella, the author of the renowned utopia The City of Sun, put the same question in a treatise called Atheism Defeated: If God is limitlessly king and powerful, what force floods us with such a multitude of adversities? "Why did God allow devil to enjoy more power over His creatures that He secured for Himself? Is it beacuse He is powerless? May be ignorant? Or may be He lacks desire to come to our help? If the answer to these question is "yes", then He is senile, weak or slothful; and negligent and cruel to boot ...... Why doesn`t God do anything to forestall famine, pestilence, and wars?"11
   Harrowed with the same questions, I have been trying to find my own answers.
   Reflecting upon the matter, I gradually came to the conclusion that my distinguished predecessors12 sentenced themselves to self-tormeniting by the illusion of evil. The point they have naively taken for granted that evil does exist. This fact is not axiomatic and needs to be proved. All contradictions are automatically resolved provided we make a shift from yearing for understanding "whz does evil exist? " and "why did God let devil have his share in world control?" to analyzing the departure-point premises, and namely: "Is what we call really so?" and "does after all?" Even a single no-answer to these question breaks the vicious circle, for if the assumption turns out to be false, then its corollaries must also be declared false.
   Yet, there are two different views on the nature of evil.
   According to one of them, let`s call it traditional, evil is produced by devil. In this case, the refutation will immediately come to depend on whether we will be able to show that the idea of devil himself is false.
   The followers of the second view do not associate the source of evil with anything specific. It`s of no conseguence for them to know where evil comes from: God, devil, or men. What does mater to them is the very fact of its existence. To shake their standpoint, it is not enough to prove that there is no devil whatsoever. They have to be convinced there is no evil at all. One of the following chapters will deal with task more closely. As for now, let`s come back to devil .
  God vs. devil
   If we admit existence of the two forces :
  -God as a positive force characterized by positive properties in the superlative degree, and
   -devil, an opposite force, with negative properties in the same superlative degree as well ; then we have every reason to claim that God is associated with CREATION whereas devil with DESTRUCTION. Therefore, if God is the creator and devil the destroyer, then everything created and existing could have been created only and only by God and not by devil.Being Lord - the- Creator`s antipode, devil aims at destruction and is unable to create.
   All above in mind, it will not be against reason to presume and analyze three situations:
  God is more powerful that devil is;
  God and devil are egual in power;
  Devil is more powerful than God is.
   Whatever our choice for consideration, we have to initially presuppose that actions of either force are substantially manifested,that is existence of either force is supported by obvious evidence in the world around us.
  InGod`s favoristhefact that we exist, world we live in exists , and everything surrouding us also exists.Undoubtedly, these facts indicate the existence of some creating force, that is God who created us, His creatures and children
  Unlike God, devil is expected to seek the opposite and drawing on his destructive potential, rty to reduce the results of divine creation to an absolute zero-sum state.Yet, there is nothing to prove that such destruction exist. As a matter of fact,what we erroneously call death jr destruction is not so. Destruction, even if it does take place , is always temporary and never absolute. It is just the prologue to creation and happers to usher the forthcoming creation. Whatever we perceive as "destruction by devil" is only a certain moment, a stage, or an element of creation. Devil has absolutely hothing to do with this creating destruction.
   Neither is it destruction proper. It is a transformation or metamorphosis we perceive as destruction due to our narrow-mindedness and earthliness. We do not and can not Fully grasp the allencompassingpurport of the world mechanism created by God. We constantly overlook the historicalevidence, which shows that any destruction has led to creation of something new; that the new has always emanated from the preceding old. Creation, therefore,is never annihilated. Instead, it undergoes complex modifications approaching the perfection. That is why I can find no evidence proving the existence of devil`s detrimental force.
   Thus, we cannot accept neither the superiority of devil, nor the assumption that God and devil are egually powerful. In the first case, devil most probably would not have permitted the creation. Orelse he would have ruined the creationat the early stages. In the second case, a day of creation would be countered by a day of destruction. Still, as I have already stated, the fact of our existence of everything we can see, feel and smell is an undeniable proof of God`s absolute superiority over devil ( or even the non-existence of the latter!)
   And if devil is weaker than God is (this is the only option out of the three which admit his existence), then it would not take much logic to deduce that devil is not able to destroy God1s creation.Moreover , devil is unable not only to destroy completely the divine creation. He is also unable to inflict any partial destruction of significant damage. Thus, devil`s destructive powers become evanescent, if compared to immense dimensions of creation which fact only ushers another hordes of doubts.
   Even if we put side the question of why God, who is able to eliminate devil due to His superiority, would connive the existence of the one who interferes with Creator"s doings, we are entitled to ask the following question: Well, is he that same devil people are intimidated by? What likeness does the terrifying Satan, who makes the human minds tremble have to the wretched buffoon or pretty rascal as he is, able to destroy less than a drop in the ocean of creation? Is he that "proud" 13, insolent and obnoxiously forward rival who is always a distant number two and yet prefers to live in disgrace rather than to retreat and give up?... and now I put myself the final question: Was there a devil in the first place?
   Devil"s existence would have a sense were this "genius of evil" at least a match to his own image we find in literature: "He (devil) is an enemy of hamankind, a manslaughter ab initio, a death angel, a companion of death and a robber of life. Besides, devil is a destroyer and slanderer, a liar and the Father of lies, justice spoiler, a source of evil, the root of vices...devil is also a seducer of man, the cause of all controversies and adversities, supplier of woes and betrayer of nations..."14
   There is no sense in keeping powerlessness that vainly makes efforts to balk your plans, neither in keeping something absolutely meaningless and helpless. It can not bring anything into this world. By his definition, devil does not produce a thing. He only consumes, feeding on minuscular crumbs of divine creation. One cannot help exclaiming: Can this laughing stock, this "pug barking behind an elephant" 15 be the devil? Positively not.
   Even if one decides to defy logic, common sense, as well as obvious facts and then admits devils" existence, in this case it seems to me that THE SMARTEST STRATAGEM OF DEVIL WOULD BE TO CONVINCE THE WORLD OF HIS EXISTENCE
  1) Goethe Faust. Mephistopheles - the devil"s name, the image of the evil spirit in European folklore and folk arts; in many works about doctor Faust, including Goethe"s "Faust", - the companion and tempter of Faust, offering him power, knowledge and all earthly blessings in exchange for spirit.
  2) It should be mentioned that in ancient texts according to the specialists in religion, the name Anhra-Mainyu is substituted by the words "davrand" and "daruj", that is "liar", in Christian Bible the Satan is called the slanderer. [See Rev. 12:10
  4) Tokarev A., Religion in the of World Cvilizations (Moscow,1986), p. 340
  5) ibid. p. 341
  6) Sidikhmenov V., China : The Pages of the Past ( Moscow :Nauka, 1978), p.6
  7) In the Greek language, demiurge means "a master", " an expert", a creator, and was utilized to denote handicraftsmen, plysicians, painters or officials ( for further details, see Philosophic Encyclopedia ( Moscow, 1960), vol. II, p. 453). In the course of time, this notion acguired and preserved the meaning of an ideal Fundamental principle creating the world, "a creator". Plato described demiurge as "the maker of the Universe". Later Plato introduced this notion into the philosophy parlance. Still , for a period of time demiurge was believed to be the source of evil since his "raw material" was inert matter signifyihg absolute evil. The concept of " wicked demiurge" was hugely characteristic of Gnosticism which at first played its active part in shaping the young religion of Christianity only later to become its major opponent. In this sense, demiurge was longregarded as the bearer of an intrinsically negative force.
  8) Guseinov A. And Irlitz G., Concise History of Ethics (Moscow: Misli, 1987), pp.213-214
  9) Chanishev A., A Collection of Lectures on Ancient Philosophy (Moscow,1981), p. 30
  10) Philosophic Encyclopedia (Moscow, 1960), vol.II, pp. 27-28
  11) Valova D. And Lapshina G., The Names on the Gravestone (Moscow, 1980), p. 121
  12) Of course, I do not mean here the whole Philospphy, nor all philosophers.
  13) "Satan was ranked among angels and ws called Satn-devil due to his pride and was cast down to earth four days before the creation of Adam." Cited from " A Talk of Three Baptizers", Zlatostrui. Ancient Russia: 10-13 th (Moscow: Mol. Gvardia, 1990), p. 263
  14 Klimov G., Minutes of Soviet Sages (San Francisco: Globus, 1961), p.8
  15) In Ivan Krilav"s fable "The Elephant and the Pug" (trans. by Bernard Pares), the pugdog Moska barked at the elephant, which was being led on a chain through the streets. The dog was sure that he was not putting himself into dnger and that is why he was so bold. At the same time he hoped that his behavior would impress the other street dogs and make them say: "That pug there surely must be strong; he barks behind an elephant."
  16) In his original theory of absolute goodness, N. Lossky states tht Satan must be given a place hedeserves. Here is what the philosopher writes in his Conditions of Absolute Goodness (1991:125): "The ultimate goal for Satan, as well as any other creature, is an absolute fullness of life. Devil"s flight with God and the evil he introduces into the world derive from his pride. This contradicts his own intentions. That is why Satan"s life is full of disappointments, misfortunes, and ever-growing feeling of dissatisfaction. Thus, we have enough ground to ascertain that even Satan will sooner or later overcome his pride and step on the path of goodness."
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