Does God Know Evil?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I thank you all for your faithfulness in prayer and I ask that you keep it up. Myself and those around me are convinced God will provide. We are looking at the doctrine of God now and we are using the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas as our guide. Those of you who do not have a copy can find one at The topic for tonight in our look at the knowledge of God will be the question of if God knows evil. Let’s see.

There are some problems with the idea of God knowing evil. For instance, does God know what it is like to sin? How does God know evil if he knows all things through knowing himself? Especially since there is nothing evil in himself. How can he know that which is directly opposed to him? Can evil be known since it is basically that which is not?

To begin with, we should define evil as the last question did. Evil is not really a substance in itself in Thomistic thought, which goes back to Augustine who answered the question on the problem of evil. Evil is not a thing in itself but rather it is the privation of the good that ought to be there. It is not an evil if a rock does not have eyesight. That is expected. It is one if a person doesn’t. That is not to say the person is evil, but to say that there is a lack that is there when one should be there. As one who is disabled myself, I would never say the disabled are evil.

God knows all the ways the good can be. In knowing this, he also knows all the ways the good can be corrupted to be that which it is not meant to be. However, if evil is also that which is not, there can never be a total corruption. The fallen angels still have goodness in ontology. Existing is a good. It is what they have done with their existence that is twisted and evil. We should make sure we apply the same idea to our fellow man. While he may be evil in his actions, in his being, he is good. The problem is he’s not measuring up to the being that he is supposed to be.

God does not know evil firsthand or by experience in the divine essence. Thus, when we are tempted with sin or do evil, God does not know what that experience is like. It is not my contention that omniscience refers to knowledge of experience but rather knowledge of truth claims. This would also further reinforce the post from recently on if God is the cause of all things. Aquinas does not consider evil a thing so God is not the cause of evil but he is the cause of the goodness through which evil eventually came.

What we can get from this is that God knows all that there is to know about us including how it is that we can be corrupted as well as knowing this about the world he created. Let us not close it there however. He also knows what it will take to change that and is bringing it about.

Isn’t that good news?

We shall continue tomorrow.

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