I hopped on an old computer today to transfer some music from Itunes (and an old ipod.. yes, there's a way!) and found my way to some old essays that I had written in college. Goodness, it's incredible to read what you know so much about when you're a college student. Someday I will look back on what I wrote at age 25 and think I was just as useless. Until then, I bring you a piece I wrote for a philosophy course I took one summer at the local community college.
Where, I want to know, does this kind of writing belong? I think there may be some logical gaps in this essay, but overall I read it and went "hm." As in, "hm," not too bad, but not terribly useful. Reading what you don't remember writing can be fun, and a useful exercise in and of itself.
Ok, here's the piece (cringe at the title and move along, please):
Good to Evil: “You’re My Other Half!”
With respect to arguments for and against God, the trilemma argues that our Creator, as an omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect being, must have established some ethical sense for us to follow. If this is the case, some might argue that God does not exist since there appears to be evil in the world, a force that would not have even been created had an omnipotent and morally perfect God been responsible for our creation; however, it is equally possible that the limits of language create the illusion that “evil” is a force on the opposite side of the spectrum from “good,” when it may actually also be supporting the very existence of “good,” much like the concept of yin and yang in the Chinese religious tradition.
Merriam-Webster defines the color white as “free from color,” “the color of maximal lightness that characterizes objects which both reflect and transmit light,” and “the opposite of black.” The first definition is dependent on our understanding of color in general. Furthermore, looking at the last definition, if the color black did not exist, we would not be able to contemplate the existence of white. Likewise, black is defined as “absorbing nearly all light of all visible wavelengths.” How would we define black or conceive of black without the other colors?
This analysis may be applied to the apparent contradiction that lies in the creation of evil under the hands of a morally perfect God because both concepts are limited by language. Like black and white, good and evil are continuously pitted against each other in an eternal battle of the opposites. Both may not exist without each other. Just as it would be impossible to observe the pureness of white in contrast to black in world without the color black, and just as black would not exist without a blend of other colors, good would be impossible to define without the existence of some force labeled “evil.”
This argument does not mean to expose the absence of an empirically evil force, but rather to illuminate the problems that exist in the world of language. It is not to say that evil and good are not superficial opposites; but language is dangerous in the sense that it suggests that evil is independent of good and could be completely eradicated to the benefit of the world. Instead, it is more likely that God is indeed a morally perfect being and recognized the importance of creating an evil “other” to be contrasted with and used as a vital ingredient in the creation of good.
Had we all been created as morally perfect beings and “mini-Gods,” we might have been able to recognize the value of good without the existence of evil. But as an omniscient being, God, presumably, knew the limits of human understanding and created the universe in such a way as to appear to be a precarious balancing act misinterpreted time and again by humanity. But in line with this argument, it is not to say that imperfect humanity suggests the shortcomings of God, but rather to help support the existence of a larger all-encompassing plan that surpasses human understanding in its complexity.