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Chapter XVI.—Existence of Evil.

Then Peter said:  “If you truly wish to learn, then first learn this, how unskilfully you have framed your question; for you say, Since God has created all things, whence is evil?  But before you asked this, three sorts of questions should have had the precedence:  First, Whether there be evil?  Secondly, What evil is?  Thirdly, To whom it is, and whence?”  To this Simon answered:  “Oh thou most unskilful and unlearned, is there any man who does not confess that there is evil in this life?  Whence I also, thinking that you had even the common sense of all men, asked, whence evil is; not as wishing to learn, since I know all things, least of all from you, who know nothing, but that I might show you to be ignorant of all things.  And that you may not suppose that it is because I am angry that I speak somewhat sternly, know that I am moved with compassion for those who are present, whom you are attempting to deceive.”  Then Peter said:  “The more wicked are you, if you can do such wrong, not being angry; but smoke must rise where there is fire.  Nevertheless I shall tell you, lest I should seem to take you up with words, so as not to answer to those things which you have spoken disorderly.  You say that all confess the existence of evil, which is verily false; for, first of all, the whole Hebrew nation deny its existence.”

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