Are All Beings Good?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I was very pleased today to hear someone tell me that this blog is getting them interested in Aquinas and his thought! That’s quite the compliment! For any who are interested in that, I will give the advice of Lewis for another philosopher. “Read Plato. Not books about Plato.” Those interested can go to and read the links there to the Summa. Of course, I have nothing against you getting your own copy. Before we begin tonight, I would like to mention my prayer requests. First off, I ask for prayer for my Christlikeness. There is honestly so much and I see myself as so fallen. There’s work to be done and I depend on the Holy Spirit and I pray I submit more to the scalpel of the divine surgeon. Second, my financial situation. It’s getting better, but it will be an expensive Summer. Finally, I ask for prayers for a third situation in my life. Now on to the blog.

Are all beings good? This is the question Aquinas is asked. Aquinas affirms that they are indeed good, which would be surprising to many of us. Aquinas says that every being as being is good. Why is this the case? All being is some form of actuality and all forms of actuality are some form of perfection and all perfection is desirable. In that case, then everything is good.

This strikes us as odd because we can immediately think about evil and ask “Are we saying that is good?” This is, in fact, one of the objections that Aquinas has to deal with. Aquinas says that nothing is evil insofar as it has being. It is only evil in that it lacks the being it ought to have.

For instance, I do not have the power to run at super speed like Clark Kent. Now I’m not saying it wouldn’t be nice to have that power, but I unfortunately don’t. However, in me, that is not an evil because that is not a power that I possess by nature. When Clark Kent, however, is exposed to green or blue kryptonite, it is an evil because that is a power he ought to have by nature.

On the other hand, I have two eyes and if I lost sight in both of them, that would be an evil in my eyes because the eyes were designed to see and eyes that do not see are evil insofar as they don’t see, although they are good, insofar as they are eyes. What about someone like Hitler? Hitler was not a good man in that he lacked virtue. That is, it is of the nature of man to fulfill a certain role and he was created to be a good being. Hitler was not a good man in that he was not a man of virtue we should admire, but insofar as he was a man, we say he was good for while human beings can fail to be good morally, they are still human. I beg you readers to understand definitely that I am in no way saying the morality of Hitler was good.

For Aquinas, pure evil cannot exist. It is the absence of all being. Evil is a parasite and it requires the existence of good first. If there is no good, there can be no evil. Hence, all beings ultimately are good insofar as they have being. Application for us? We must keep that in mind with our fellow man. They are good because they have being. Not morally good, but ontologically good. We should treat them accordingly.

We shall continue tomorrow.

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