Years ago a friend of mine asked, “Why does God allow evil to exist in the world?” At the time I couldn’t come up with a decent answer. Perhaps I was too young and lacked life experiences.

If she asked me the same question today I would answer, “You can’t understand good without evil. And if you can’t understand what is good, why would you choose it?” But there is so much more to the answer than a sentence, or a blog, can state. Sometimes we define a person as evil because they don’t agree with us (republicans vs democrats). Sometimes we classify an event as bad because when it happened it destroyed our plans (we didn’t get out way). And so eventually we must try to define what we mean by evil. Just because we don’t agree, or don’t get our way, does not mean the person or event is evil.

I’ve read that change is the only constant in life and I believe that is true. People, ideas, events, societies and countries are born, thrive, decline and end. All of them end; every single one. If you don’t agree, name one thing that has existed forever, other than God. There isn’t anything that has lived forever. The U.S. is just 238 years old. Our religious beliefs are two to five thousand years old; Hinduism may go back 10,000 years. Mankind has been around for about a million years, give or take a hundred thousand. By comparison, a few of thousand years is not a significant number.

We view our society and our beliefs as being the culmination of an evolutionary process. Are they? Countless generations of human beings have had that view long before we were born. And we think our progress is the apex of creation. Others held that view too, but about different ideas and societies. Still, I think the definition of real good and real evil is easy to understand. It has to be easy in order to be available to all human beings throughout the ages, past and future.

Real good is what creates love, harmony and compassion in any society; do to others what you want them to do to you. It is the angelic side of our nature. And real evil is its opposite, and usually associated with the needs of our ego; greed, and a desire to control others.  Good is based on our ability to see the unity of creation. Evil occurs when we see ourselves as separate beings. Real good and real evil are the choices we make; they come from within us. Do we choose unity or separateness?