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Chapter LVI.—Origin of Evil.

Then the old man said:  “You have stated it excellently, my son.  It now remains only that you tell me whence is the substance of evil:  for if it was made by God, the evil fruit shows that the root is in fault; for it appears that it also is of an evil nature.  But if this substance was co-eternal with God, how can that which was equally unproduced and co-eternal be subject to the other?”  “It was not always,” said Aquila; “but neither does it necessarily follow, if it was made by God, that its Creator should be thought to be such as is that which has been made by Him.  For indeed God made the substance of all things; but if a reasonable mind, which has been made by God, do not acquiesce in the laws of its Creator, and go beyond the bounds of the temperance prescribed to it, how does this reflect on the Creator?  Or if there is any reason higher than this, we do not know it; for we cannot know anything perfectly, and especially concerning those things for our ignorance of which we are not to be judged.  But those things for which we are to be judged are most easy to be understood, and are despatched almost in a word.  For almost the whole rule of our actions is summed up in this, that what we are unwilling to suffer we should not do to others.  For as you would not be killed, you must beware of killing another; and as you would not have your own marriage violated, you must not defile another’s bed; you would not be stolen from, neither must you steal; and every matter of men’s actions is comprehended within this rule.”

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