Top Catholic Archbishop and theologian, Fulton Sheen in Your Life is Worth Living: "Evil is either an excess or a defect of what is good. Food and drink are good.  Too little or too much are bad.  Sleep is good.  When sleep interferes with duty it is not good.  Evil is like darkness; it is the absence of light with no substance of its own.  All badness is spoiled goodness.  A bad apple is a good apple that became rotten.  Evil is a parasite on goodness because it is has no capital of its own."

So for Christians, goodness is originative not derivative. Badness is derivative - it is derived from good. It is not originative.

Sheen in the same book says that a bad man steals or kills or whatever.  So doing evil acts may mean you are either evil or bad.  You can be bad but not evil as a person and you can even be evil but not bad as a person.  The evil man may do nothing obviously harmful or hurt anybody but instead plots and manipulates to destroy goodness in others.  This is very interesting.  Anti-social actions do not necessarily mark your core but setting out to destroy the good core of others must mark your soul.  Thus religions that do not try to treat you with grace and powers to rise above your natural state are evil.  Sheen would include Christianity in that if Jesus in fact has no power to access souls and help them heal.  Not helping fix evil is helping evil so there is no neutral ground.

If you love the wrongdoer but hate the wrong that does not mean you can love the evildoer and hate the evil. Hating somebody who has become evil and who represents evil would go with hating the evil for they are the evil.  Christianity ignores this distinction and thus marks itself as another hypocritical lying religion that is not truly about changing hearts but about making evil people being able to pass for good ones.

If evil is a parasite then in bad men and evil ones it is simply trying to make itself pass for good.  Thus the distinction between bad men and evil men is incoherent.  To pass for good, evil has to try and send a message to bystanders, "Copy me and I am good."

If somebody seems good it takes a lot of discernment to see that they are in fact not.

Here is the argument that evil is compatible with the existence of an all-powerful and all-good God for it is not a thing or as power but a lack. A lack is not a thing or a power. 
God is all good and all powerful and has made all things. There is evil in the world. How can an all-good and all-powerful God who issued all things create evil? The answer is that he cannot and he didn't. Evil has to be a positive or negative. That is to say it is a thing or it is not a thing. Evil is not a thing. The believers in God say that evil does not really exist - its just good in the wrong place or a lack of good. They say good is a power but evil isn't. 
Believers in an all-good creator of all things hold that evil is real but unreal in the sense that it is a lack of good. A good that is less good than it can be is evil. Evil is not an energy or a thing or an entity. Thus it is not created. God did not make evil.

Is saying that evil is a negative, that is it is nothing, but good is real the same as saying that evil is good in the wrong time and place? Yes - because good alone is said to be real and evil is just good that is not as good as it can be. For example, hate is said to be good when directed at evil actions but wrong when directed against persons. This means that hate is good in itself. It is how it is used that is bad.
What is being clamed by believers is this: Evil is simply the absence of good so it does not exist in the sense that it is not a real thing. God is right to allow it to happen for it is a negation and nothing more. Strictly speaking, there is no evil - just misused good. God is not to blame for evil for evil isn’t real.  




Evil means that which should not be permitted for any reason.  That is why calling it a lack is irrelevant.  Making out that it is a lack is merely and cynically about preventing it from refuting God.


The notion that evil is just the lack or absence of goodness is unhelpful. It is playing with words. A really good God cannot cause or command an absence of goodness any more than he can for an evil that is as real as an electric shock.


There is physical evil. For example, when somebody is sick. The argument supposes that sickness is the absence of health.
There is moral evil. Evil is the act itself of choosing the lesser good instead of the proper good. You make good less good than it can be by putting it in the wrong place at the wrong time.


Can evil be both power and non-power? Can it be a thing one way and a non-thing another?  Yes.  If evil masks itself by latching on to good you won't know exactly where the evil as thing is.
Would it being a thing make it better or worse? Evil by definition should not be tolerated so it makes no difference. Evil as in thing is a bad entity. It is making real bad and bad real. Evil as in lack is bad in the sense that it attacks good and tries to pollute it.
Christians say that if evil is a real thing and a power and God makes it then God is at least partly evil. God is not like us - we are a bit like split personalities because we can say the most helpful things and then seconds later say the most evil things. God is said to be a unity and is not like that. Thus if he makes evil then he is wholly evil. The good he does is really part of his evil manipulative plan.
If God didn't make evil and evil is a power, what then? God is not really God for there is a power outside of him that he cannot control or organise. It is wholly independent of him and thus is a "God" in its own right.
If God is good and nevertheless makes evil powers, it follows that he does it to fight an evil greater evil power than they, one that he didn't create or has any control over. This would deny that God is the sole origin of all that exists and would in effect imply a good God and a bad one. There is one God who is love and who lets suffering happen for it is the mere absence of evil and his creation despite the evil in it is all good for the evil is not a thing or power but a nothing.
Evil being a force means that there is no real God though there might be a supreme being or it means God is evil.
What would religion say if you asked if evil as in power exists? "That there is no such power. When you are evil, you make absent the ability to be good. You do not use a force that is evil. Everything God has made is good (Genesis 1). Evil is really a good that exists in absence of the good that should be there. Because evil is warped good, God can use the good in it to overcome the badness. But if evil were a power he couldn't do that. An artist makes a beautiful painting. It has faults for he is only human. But the faults have a good side and so they do not affect the beauty of the painting. But if the faults are powers, they are like spots of pizza that the artist vomited when sick and they spoil the painting. See the difference?"
Are believers saying that evil is not real because they want to believe in God or are they recognising that evil is not real and then moving on to the possibility of believing in a perfect God?
The notion that we do wrong or do evil because we abuse our free will which is not meant to be exploited that way, supports the view that evil is an absence of good not a reality. The free will defence exonerates God from being to blame for the wrong we do and blames us instead saying he gave us the gift of free will which we abused so it is our fault. We are responsible for evil not God. The defence defends and expresses the fact that evil is an absence not a reality. If one falls so does the other. If the free will defence fails there is no point in bothering trying to defend the idea of an all-good God. He is pulling the strings when we do evil. If evil is a power, then he made it and is not all-good.
What comes first? The free will defence or the notion of evil being unreal? What if you have to choose one or the other?
God is not evil for allowing evil to happen for evil is a non-thing. It is a failure. But is that all it is? Nope. The failure aspect is the least of the believer in God's problems.
Does the argument care about evil and call it bad just because it is horrible? No. It does not care about how we feel about evil. It is purely about honouring God by exonerating him for evil. So the argument that God is good for evil is not real, is not about us at all. It is purely about God and honouring him.
Theories about why God allows evil to happen tend to dwell on how evil is supposed to pave the way for our benefit. Evil feels real to us and we experience it as real. The argument however does not care what we experience it as. It is about how God sees evil. It is about answering the question, "How can we say God is good when there is evil?" The argument is fundamental for believers. It is the argument the devotee of God must have and revere even at the expense of any others. For example, if you love God alone you will care about showing that evil does not disprove his love or glory. You will not worry about showing how any divine plan of his benefits us. At a stroke, that takes away the very reason for why religion is popular. It sells itself on the basis that God has a lovely plan for us though it may have its challenges.
An atheist would argue that if evil is an imbalance in good, that to bring God into it is terrible and evil in itself. The atheist wants man and woman and child put first not God.
Despite calling evil a lack the believers in God still refer to it as real. They treat it as real and as a thing. So what do they mean by calling evil real? It amounts to no more than to say it should not happen.

If evil is not a thing and believers still think of it as one or can't help doing so then that is as good as attempting to create evil.


The suggestion that evil is just a falling short of good and not a power or force is used to deny that God creates evil. This is an attempt to make the goodness of God fit with the existence of evil. It seeks to miss the point. The point is not what evil is. The point is that evil is.
To be more interested in what evil is than that it is shows you have flaws in your empathy for suffering people.
Astonishing, truly astonishing, that anybody could accept the suggestion that evil is just misplaced good as an excuse for divine evil! It is very hurtful to tell people that their suffering is nothing but the absence of health. It is very hurtful to say to earthquake victims, "What happened in the earthquake was good for evil is just lesser good. The earthquake was sent by God and he didn't do wrong for the earthquake is simply the absence of stable ground." In fact, as we are bound to respect God if he exists it would be a sin to see evil as terrible instead of seeing it as just good that was in the wrong place and time. We are to see good as the mirror in which we see God and it honours him who makes it.
We do treat and think of evil as real when we try to avoid it and we don’t excuse anybody for doing it on the grounds that it isn’t real! You don't argue for example that Jack the Ripper was a good man who just happened to have a lower level of good when he murdered. You don't say his murders were just the absence of an inclination to preserve life and not true evil. To dwell on the alleged good will desensitise you to the horror of his crimes.
If a woman went out and got pregnant knowing she would pass on a cruel and terminal and incurable sickness to her baby we would condemn her action. We would not be arguing that she only created the good and the evil is just a falling short of good and not her making. Religion may answer that unlike a woman God can make babies that are sick for he is not obligated to make babies at all. But the woman isn't either! The woman might have the baby but she does not cause the problems that will make her baby suffer - she co-operates with the problems. God's role is bigger for he makes the problems.
Babies often suffer unimaginably. Believers contend that God is not our equal so we should not think he is being cruel and we should be grateful for the goods that the babies have. This says that God can make as much good or as little as he wants - he doesn't owe anybody anything. Thought he was supposed to be generous! Even if it is true that God can make sick babies, then he must look after them and provide for their healing. Kittens are not our equal and even if we make them in a lab we must not treat them like objects and make them suffer by making them as blind or whisker-less or whatever. Equality or inequality with God has nothing to do with it. To bring in such issues is simply insulting to people. To teach the excuse is simply to take the side of evil! A big God has no more right to hurt people than a small God has! To dwell on the good and not see the evil is no way to act!
If you have self-esteem and if you esteem yourself, you will not like the suggestion that God has the right to prevent you liking yourself if he wants to. For example, some people have genetic instructions to produce and develop depression. The claim that God can give us as little good as he likes means that if you are screaming out in agony for death you should be kept alive at all costs for it is good to be alive no matter how much you are suffering!
Evil is not justified if it is the nothing that the argument says it is. Murder is as real as life-saving. No matter what evil is, it should not exist. This argument is vicious for it has people who oppose evil embracing it by lying to themselves that it isn’t real. How can we insult sick people with such an attitude? Evil is what you can condemn a person for committing and if this argument works you cannot do that.
The argument is wrong because God made evil when he made thistles and poisonous snakes and disease-causing viruses and no pretending that evil is nothing can make that right. The idea that evil is nothing isn't even relevant. If the argument is wrong and God exists then we can whatever evil we like. God does not agree with it himself if he has any sanity.  Seeing suffering is necessary.  Looking at it as a lack of good is not looking at it.