What is goodness and evil and when do they operate?

20 July 2020

Goodness is the Lord Himself, whatever originates from Him and all that surrounds Him. Goodness was also found in the human nature before the fall and afterwards in the reform of sanctification. Goodness is also the essence of what is right and what is rational and is found in the relationship between them. It is the complete absence of irrationality, wickedness and perversion.

On the other hand, evil is the perversion and the absence of whatever we have described as goodness. Whatever originates from evil comprises the elements and parts of death, the very same “body of death”, whose father and supporter is the devil and his numerous servants.

On the one hand, goodness has an existence and essence, because it is an entity and comes from God. On the other hand, evil does not exist as a being neither as an entity, but it has been created as a parasite from the absence of goodness, just like darkness appears in the absence of light. Evil in itself is a ‘non-being’ and inexistent and therefore it must not be allowed to threaten and scare us. It is our own negligence and treachery which gives it substance. It resembles someone who switches off the light and is covered in darkness.

The Word of God, the Self-Truth, attests to this reality: “Whoever is not with me is against me and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Matthew 12, 30). Again this is what He implies when He urges us to stay with Him, as the consummate goodness. “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15, 4-5)

 Translated from the Greek: Γέροντος Ιωσήφ Βατοπαιδινού, Συζητήσεις στον Άθωνα, Ψυχοφελή Βατοπαιδινά 13, Ιερά Μεγίστη Μονή Βατοπαιδίου, Έκδοσις Α’, Άγιον Όρος 2003, by Olga Konari Kokkinou.