In the Biblical narrative evil came out of the absence of beauty and light. The word Lucifer has certain connotations, but originally it meant a beautiful light. The character we now know as Satan was originally a breathtakingly beautiful angel of light. He didn’t like the idea that his beautiful light was simply a reflection of the beautiful light of the divine being. It seems out of envy he wanted the impossible; he wanted to have the source of light in himself.

The moon has no light in itself but is a reflection of the light that comes from the sun. In the same way this angel of light turned his back on the glorious source of his beauty and light and was consumed by the darkness of the great absence. This story helps us understand the source of moral darkness that produces an ill will.

Surely, If God created everything he must have created evil, and if he created evil how can we be blamed for it? This looks like a good question but on closer examination it cannot be said that sin and evil were created in the same way other things were created.

The absence of light and life

Sin is the absence of goodness, just as darkness is the absence of light. Darkness disappears when you switch a light on and darkness reappears when you switch it off. The word evil is live spelt backwards. Evil cannot create healthy life but always wants to fill its absence by devouring life. It is always envious of what it can’t have, so it spawns obsessive jealousy and greed. It might sound a little corny but sin is about the absence of goodness; evil on the other hand is the pernicious intention to propagate that which destroys goodness, beauty and truth. Of course these are the very things that promote spiritual life.

We could call evil a pernicious and willful absence of goodness

In the same way that darkness was not created because darkness is the absence of light, sin is the absence of goodness. This is why the Bible says “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory God.” None of us measures up to being consistently good, let alone perfect. This doesn’t however mean we have yielded our will to evil.

Our will may be flawed but we still yearn for goodness, beauty and truth

Our will is flawed but in our spirit we still have eternal yearnings. We cannot define goodness but we always recognise it when it turns up. When it does, it releases a sense of hope and relief.