Today we will consider some things that Matthew has written on the subject of evil. To get an even better understanding of this introduction, read Matthew’s Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society.

Evil on wings, emblem of a fallen world? Asian tiger mosquito, disease vector and critical food source for birds, bats, insects. Photo by FotoshopTofs on Pixabay

Perhaps evil is inevitable in a universe as powerful and creative and full of eating and being eaten, living and dying as ours is. Perhaps evil is to blessing what terror is to beauty. Perhaps evil is the moral equivalent of terror, the moral counterpoint of beauty. Just as beauty and terror go together, so do goodness and evil, blessing and malice. Perhaps

We ought to be teaching about humanity’s capacity for evil so that we can consciously move beyond it. Evil has everything to do with our capacity for creativity, with what we choose to do with it, and with our not turning it over to others. Gas ovens and hydrogen bombs are born of human creativity after all. 

Shadow on the flag. Photo by IoSonoUnaFotoCamera on Flickr.

Evil is faceless
because it can take over any one of our beings.
No one is exempt from the possibility of evil.
The reality of evil calls for alertness.

Pain is a teacher.
The darkness is a teacher.
The shadow is a teacher.
Those who awaken our shadows
are teachers.
Even evil is a teacher.

See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. 9, 160.

See also Fox, The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human, p. 112.

See also Fox, Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet, p. 169.

Banner Image: Aerial view of the dry bed of the Kakhovka Water Reservoir in Ukraine, drained through the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam by Russian forces on June 6, 2023, causing the biggest environmental catastrophe in Ukraine since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster: 24 villages flooded, 58 humans dead, along with tens of thousands of farm animals and tons of fish, as well as innumerable wildlife. Sentinel-2 L2A satellite image taken on 15 July, 2023. Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

When it comes to good and evil, do you feel there are moral absolutes? And if so what are they? And if not, why do you think so?

Recommended Reading

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human

The A.W.E. Project reminds us that awe is the appropriate response to the unfathomable wonder that is creation… A.W.E. is also the acronym for Fox’s proposed style of learning – an approach to balance the three R’s. This approach to learning, eldering, and mentoring is intelligent enough to honor the teachings of the Ancestors, to nurture Wisdom in addition to imparting knowledge, and to Educate through Fox’s 10 C’s. The 10 C’s are the core of the A.W.E. philosophy and process of education, and include: compassion, contemplation, and creativity. The A.W.E. Project does for the vast subject of “learning” what Fox’s Reinvention of Work did for vocation and Original Blessing did for theology. Included in the book is a dvd of the 10 C’s put to 10 video raps created and performed by Professor Pitt.
An awe-based vision of educational renewal.Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet

Because creativity is the key to both our genius and beauty as a species but also to our capacity for evil, we need to teach creativity and to teach ways of steering this God-like power in directions that promote love of life (biophilia) and not love of death (necrophilia). Pushing well beyond the bounds of conventional Christian doctrine, Fox’s focus on creativity attempts nothing less than to shape a new ethic.
“Matt Fox is a pilgrim who seeks a path into the church of tomorrow.  Countless numbers will be happy to follow his lead.” –Bishop John Shelby Spong, author, Rescuing the Bible from FundamentalismLiving in Sin

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6 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Evil.”

  1. Avatar

    The ‘Teacher’ is a teacher, is ‘the Teacher’. Maybe if we follow ‘the Teacher’, others in their pain will follow as well. The problem ‘in and of the world’ is that we have too many self-professed and self-proclaimed teachers whether they be good or evil. And many have books, and some knowledge of a myriad of information that we do not have. The ‘Truth’ is a lived experience, whose life in even those considered the least of us, is more valuable than the entire Library of Congress, more valuable than our vaunted ‘Declarations’. Let us come and sit at the feet of ‘the Teacher’ together. — BB.

  2. Avatar

    I still have to read Matthew’s “Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society” because I am still understanding the mystery of the reality of evil in humanity, and even in the non-physical spiritual dimensions of the Cosmos. However, my Faith and the experiential testimonies of many mystics and genuine channelers from the past and present inform me that the DIVINE LOVE of our co-Creator~Source is ETERNALLY PRESENT within and among us Compassionately and Intelligently healing, transforming, rebirthing our evolving/eternal souls along with ALL of our physical and non-physical spiritual dimensions within our multiverse Divine Evolving LOVING COSMOS….

  3. Avatar
    Shirley Blancke

    Reading the current indictment of Donald Trump is a very fine example of how creativity may be used for evil purposes. In this case the focus was on staying in power for his own benefit against the wishes of the majority of voters.

  4. Avatar

    I have the book and highly recommend it. A shorter book on evil by Richard Rohr is also helpful to me: “What Do We Do With Evil?”. It’s a mystery but is clearly present. I have a longstanding debate with a friend about the sources of evil–I maintain that it comes from our individual hearts, and she maintains that it is also a force unto itself, and now I agree with her. She has experienced at least one “thin place” that emanated evil, and I am sure others have had that experience as well. The evil that overtakes mobs seems just to be in the air. I think that there are moral absolutes such as love and justice and beauty and goodness and truth. But their interpretation is the sticking point, since dark creative energy can turn the concepts upside down to benefit a certain group. And what is good for one may not be good for another. In the widest and broadest meanings, we are still limited in our understanding and must simply do our best, guided by the great commandment to love God, self, and neighbor.

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