It’s a vacuum

20 Apr

There is a dissatisfactoriness that one feels or ought to feel with regards to how things are in one’s own life, in the world around one and in the whole universe of people and nature in general. It is a feeling, and likely a reasonable one, that arises because of one’s hopes, expectations and, to some extent, an understading of an ideal.  This origin of dissatisfaction is an indication of its ‘nature’  of not being something at all but rather an absence – a lack of fulfilment, a shortfall of what should be.  And this way of viewing it is consistent with the view of wickedness and sin in the Bible and particularly in the New Testament, where the Greek word used of sin, amartia,  means ‘missing the mark.’
Evil appears to us often as something quite positive, powerful and strong; but it is much better likened to a vacuum  – a particular absense of something – but it seems more like a strength – it’s like the suction of a vacuum cleaner or the disappointment of expectations. But it is not (you may have learnt) that the vacuum is strong but the air outside that has its own pressure of positive reality – just as sin is the absense of the overall good of creation and life as it should be – this vacuum feels powerful. There is a Latin phrase used in the theology of the Catholic Church – omne ens est bonum which translates as ‘all things are good.’ Afterall God is the creator and sustainer of everything and, as we might say, nothing can exist without him; and so it is that everything is good and it is the absense of this that is evil. But also the absense of how things should be in our world because it is unfinished – God is still creating it –  and we need to realise this too!

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