Unity Metaphysics 1 (Tan Book)
04 The Problem of Evil
4A DEFINITION OF EVIL:
"Evil–that which is not of God; unreality; error thought; a product of the fallen human consciousness; negation. Evil is a parasite. It has no permanent life of itself; its whole existence depends on the life it borrows from its parent, and when its connection with the parent is severed nothing remains. In divine Mind there is no recognition of evil conditions. Such conditions have no basis of reality. They are conjurations of a false consciousness. Apparent evil is the result of ignorance and when Truth is presented the error disappears." (The Revealing Word, Evil, p.64)
After we have learned something about what sin and evil are NOT, let us try to formulate some idea as to what those words might be referring to. First of all, they have to be connected with a human being and human behavior. Secondly, they have to refer to something wrong, something that is not correct. Since these words are used mostly in a religious sense, they would have to refer to something that is against spiritual Truth or divine ideas. On this basis, the metaphysical meaning of the words sin and evil become quite clear. Sin and evil are the words we use to refer to ANY HUMAN ATTEMPT TO NEGATE ANY DIVINE IDEAS.
4B EVIL: ABSOLUTE vs. RELATIVE:
"God knows that there is a great negative, which is a reflection of His positive, but He is not conscious of its existence. We know that there is an underworld of evil, in which all the rules of civilization are broken, but we are not conscious of that world because we do not enter into it. It is one thing to view error as a thing apart from us, and quite another to enter into consciousness of it." (The Twelve Powers of Man 42)
The opening sentence of this paragraph presents the reader with a very challenging paradox. Mr. Fillmore first states "God KNOWS that there is a great negative. . ." Then, in the same sentence, "He (God) IS NOT CONSCIOUS of its existence." The big question is: How can we say that God KNOWS something and then say He IS NOT CONSCIOUS of that same thing? Unity teaches that God is Omniscience, which means all-knowing. All consciousness is contained within Omniscience. So we cannot say that any sort of knowledge can be lacking in God's consciousness. Another way of stating the idea Mr. Fillmore had in mind might be thus: God knows of the existence of the negative, but GOD DOES NOT REACT TO ITS EXISTENCE BY CHANGING IN ANY WAY. God remains the absolute good, the one presence and power. God is in no way affected or influenced by the existing negativity manifested through us.
4C ORIGIN OF EVIL:
"By and through the imaging power of thought, man can produce illusions that confuse him. This occurs only when he fails to look to Divine Mind for the source and nature of his ideals. Obviously, many are deceived into thinking that they are indeed bound, and the unhappy conditions claimed do show forth in them. This is only consciousness entangled in its own effects." (Keep a True Lent 63 64)
There can be no question that the origin of what we perceive as evil is in human nature itself. As long as we identify with negative emotions by connecting our sense of I Am to them, our minds will be attempting to negate divine ideas. There are countless reasons why many continue to do this, and as long as anyone is doing it, sin happens and evil continues to exist. The level of human consciousness where most negating of divine ideas is attempted is the level generally designated as "false personality." This is the area of lies and illusions within human nature where most of our negative identifying occurs. In Bible symbolism this is called Satan, the devil, the adversary, the tempter, demons, evil spirits, etc.
4D FREE WILL & EVIL:
"It is possible for man to form states of consciousness that are out of harmony with the God principle, but these do not endure, and through experience man learns to adjust his thought to that of God . . . God is free to do as He wills, and He has implanted that same freedom in man. When we understand this ego-forming capacity of man and even of nature, we have the key that unlocks the many mysteries and contradictions that appear in every walk of life." (Atom-Smashing Power of Mind 18)
Misuse of freedom of thought, belief, and will are the mainsprings of our continued sojourns into evil and useless, unnecessary suffering (hell). Freedom of choice in how to think, what to believe, and how to react gives us a unique place in the universe. We generate our own heaven or hell. We may continue to blame God for creating heaven and hell, but God has only given us the resources and the freedom to use those resources in any manner we choose.
4E SEPARATION FROM GOD:
"Man came out of God, is of the same mind elements, and exists within the mind of God always. Yet by thinking that he is separate from omnipresent Spirit he has set up a mental state of apartness from his source and he dwells in ignorance of that which is nearer to him than hands and feet. A few moments of thought daily directed toward God in acknowledgement of His presence will convince anyone that there is an intelligence always with us that responds to our thought when we direct our attention to it." (Teach Us To Pray 160)
A sense of separation from God is the RESULT OF sin, not the sin itself. Numerous things may have caused this, but, whatever the cause, it can be corrected. Forgiveness of sin (any sin, whatever sin, no matter who, what, why, when, or where) is essential. Forgiveness of sin will restore the sense of unity with God.
"Sin–Missing the mark; that is, falling short of divine perfection. Sin is man's failure to express the attributes of Being — life, love, intelligence, wisdom, and the other God qualities. (Revealing Word, Sin, p.179)
"Transgression of the law brings its own punishment. We are not punished for our sins but by them." (Keep a True Lent 32)
The New Testament word for sin ("amartia" in Greek) means literally to "miss the mark." In the Old Testament, the corresponding Hebrew word is "net." It is the same word that an archer would have used if he missed the target. While this may seem like a surprisingly benign meaning, it does accurately describe the condition brought about (lack of perfection). For a metaphysical definition of the word "sin," however, we need to relate the term to human consciousness. Thus, metaphysically, sin is the word we use that refers to ANY HUMAN ATTEMPT (conscious or unconscious) TO NEGATE OR DISTORT ANY DIVINE IDEAS.
4G SINS OF OMISSION & COMMISSION:
"All the ills of humanity are the effect of broken law, of sin. That word 'sin' covers more ground than we have usually granted it. There are sins of omission and commission. If we fail to cultivate the consciousness of the indwelling spiritual life, we commit a sin of omission that eventually devitalizes the organism." (Jesus Christ Heals 17)
Omission and commission are two methods we use in our attempts to negate divine ideas. We can try to ignore them, refuse to learn about them, withold our belief from them, be unwilling to experience them; or, we may even try to pervert them into harm-causing expressions. We may try to use divine ideas to satisfy selfishness, cruelty, or any negative impulses that arise from false personality. Sin is different from mistake if the mistake was a result of pure ignorance. We designate sin as an ATTEMPT to negate divine ideas.
4H THE DEVIL:
"Devil–The mass of thoughts that has been built up in race consciousness through many generations of earthly experience and crystallized into what may be termed human personality, or carnal mind, which opposes and rejects God. The 'devil' is a state of consciousness adverse to the divine good. . . There is no personal devil. God is the one omnipresent Principle of the universe, and there ." i s no room for any principle of evil, personified or otherwise.” (The Revealing Word, Devil, p.54)
"Some metaphysical schools warn their students against the development of power, because they fear that it will be used in selfish, ambitious ways. It doubtless is true that the personal ego sometimes lays hold of the power faculty and uses it for selfish aggrandizement; we can readily see how what is called the devil had its origin." (The Twelve Powers of Man 66)
The devil as a literal personification of evil is totally rejected in the Unity metaphysical theology. Yet the devil is a metaphysical symbol which cannot be ignored. It exists. It causes harm. But it is also something which can be dealt with in a manner which prevents further harm. All this is beautifully symbolized in the Gospel accounts involving Jesus and the devil. The devil is a personified symbol of a human tendency — the tendency toward negativity. There seems to be a trace of this in everybody, more strongly active in some than in others, but it is a collective phenomenon and it is strictly a human consciousness phenomenon which has no existence in pure spiritual principle.
4I KEY TO UNDERSTANDING EVIL:
"In metaphysics the beginning students insist upon having evil explained to them — how it originated, and why it has place in existence — when good is the origin of all that is. They worry and they play their thoughts upon this question until in sheer desperation they, as a rule, give it up. The tangle of a good God and a bad devil will not straighten itself out from their plane of perception. The trouble is that they do not know enough about the good. . . To know about evil we must first become thoroughly familiar with good." (Charles Fillmore Prosperity 39)
Our purpose is to understand Truth — to learn to accept, believe in, and become willing toward God's divine ideas. In the gaining of such understanding mastery of existence is gained, including mastery of those existential factors called sin and evil.
4J RECONCILIATION OF GOOD & "EVIL":
"When one understands the creative processes to be the working of the various principles of Being in the development of man, many inexplicable situations are cleared up. God cannot bring forth without law and order. To produce a man, there must be a combination of forces that at some stages of soul evolution may seem to work against one another; but when one understands that the great creative Mind brings forth under law, reconciliation and consistency are found where inharmony and contradiction seemed dominant." (The Twelve Powers of Man 54-55)
Mr. Fillmore often speaks of a combination of forces in his teachings which are based on the Trinity. Through understanding this principle, forces which appear contradictory are creatively reconciled, and a higher synthesis emerges. Resistance or opposition makes effort necessary in life. It can come in many forms and we often label these forms "bad," "evil," "the devil," etc. Jesus named it "the adversary." When we understand the character of, and necessity for, this "combination of forces," we are able to make room in our attitudes for their existence. We do not need to get negative or violent. We learn how to agree with "the adversary," (nonresistance). This is followed by the manifestation of new blessings, answered prayer, and further opportunities. It's important to remember that the apparent opposition force itself is not evil or sinful. It is only our wrong interpretation of it, our negativity about it, and our attempt to misuse it that causes the harm and suffering brought about by such "sin."
Transcribed by Sheri Owen on August 5, 2015.