According to the book of Genesis in the Bible, evil entered the world when the serpent tricked Adam and Eve into eating the fruit from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This event is known as the Fall, and is responsible for the suffering and imperfect nature of the world. (Some people do not take the story literally, and some see the Genesis story as an allegory or metaphor, possibly for a fall taking place at a spiritual level.)
Mixing Good and Evil
According to C.S. Lewis, evil is often a perversion of something good that God has created. In the instance of Genesis 3 (Satan's temeptation of Eve), Satan added potency to his temptation by mixing good with evil: Eve saw that the tree was good for food.
Denial of evil: relativismAmong the atheist community, there is liberal denial that evil exists. Many atheists have no universal moral law, and some insist that good and evil are seen as just personal opinions, varying from day to day (see moral relativism). A popular unattributed slogan from the 60's (hippie) counterculture asserted:
"There's nothing really good or bad, but thinking makes it so" (sometimes adding, "Don't think! Don't think!").
Christianity does not have this ambiguity.
- "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" -- Jesus (John 7:24 KJV)
- "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke
- "Evil wins when good men choose to do nothing" - Anonymous
- "We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." -- Winston Churchill
- "Evil to him who evil thinks." - Henry III (Motto of Order of the Garter)