Evil by definition means an act or thought that is deemed wicked and immoral. For many inhabitants of the Earth, they believe that there is God and Satan. That there is Heaven and Hell. That there are Angels and Demons. That there is Good and Evil. But as our human thinking have evolved and continue to evolve, we have begin to realize that it is not always black and white. That gender is not always binary, that a religion is itself a spectrum of beliefs and interpretations on its own, and so is everything else for that matter. Good and Evil too have many grey, overlapping, neutral areas.
If we look at back at the origins of Evil from the Bible, we see that a Lucifer was a mighty angel, who in his beauty and splendor, was overcome by pride and desired to raise his throne above God’s. He was judged by God and cast down to an abyss but the heavens remained opened for him to regain an entry ticket. The fall of Satan is thought to be the beginning of evil in the world where mankind lived. But over the millennia and centuries that have passed since the Creation, we see Satan continue to be a rebel and never desired to reconcile back with God. In this context alone, there can be two dominant beliefs; if you continue to remain in your own pride you will never rise above the ranks to be closer to God. But then Satan, like men, had freewill and yet he was judged for his actions.Was God being just or was He drastic in His actions to excommunicate Satan because he couldn’t take a little challenge? This is not the first time that we see God just act out in a whim. He also causes the flood and selects only a handful of people in the story of Noah and so is seen in the book of Exodus when diseases and plague befall a large nation with only a few people chosen to escape the misery. Many innocent women and children perish and face the same fate.
So the question arises then, if God is omniscient(all-knowing), and yet chooses to do something that is deemed as evil and cruel by a large many people, does that mean that Evil is not only a human thing but a trait that is simply ubiquitous and evident in heavenly beings and all across the universe? Perhaps evil can be likened to emotions. We humans experience emotions. So does God. God can be pleased and He can be angered. What if Evil is just another triggered-emotion? Only that it is often realized with some unpleasant actions. But so can be said about the simple manifestation of deep-seethed anger such as crashing a glass bowl to the floor or swinging one’s fist into the air. Except that the former is often unpleasant, undesired and shunned to a greater degree than the latter. Perhaps Evil is just another innate quality in both God and man.
Deviating a little towards the story of mankind in the book of Genesis, we see that Adam and Eve are tempted into eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, hence leading to what is known as original sin and consequently the fall of man. As a result, Adam and Eve become mortals and are banished from the Garden of Eden due to their disobedience to God. This boils back down to the omniscient God that we know of. If He was all-knowing, He would know what was to become of Adam and Eve with the planting of the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden. Did God intentionally choose to tempt the first two humans he had created? Was it deliberate entrapment? If so, who then was the real cause of Evil?
Shifting our focus to the real world, we see that Evil is often a time a result of selfish priorities to achieve political agendas such as the case with tyrannical leaders, or simply to revenge or avenge something that has been taken away from one such as the case in murdering someone who was the direct or indirect cause of the death of someone that was held dear. Sometimes, Evil can also result in the name of fighting for something one believes in. Such as the case of religious radicals who kill under the banner of religion. All these sort of Evil are justified in the viewpoint of the perpetrator and those who believe in the act of that perpetrator. Of course, there isn’t always many valid arguments to defend these acts as these acts are seen as brash and simply irrational. And as crazy and unjustified as these acts may seem to the general public and in the eyes of the law, the perpetrator would in most instances think that they were right in their doings. This then opens up an argument for the case that evil is morally subjective. Take for example, capital punishment.
Some view it as a definite means to eradicate evil-doing such as murder. But in the eyes of some people, they believe that capital punishment is inhumane and that no one, not even the law has the right to take another person’s life.
On a slightly lighter tone, we can see these forms of subjective morality in our favorite Disney villains. One such example is Yzma from The Emperor’s New Groove. Kuzco was not a benevolent ruler. He even threw an old man off his window because the old man “threw off” his groove. And Kuzco in his selfish pursuits intends to build a vacation house on top of a village hill, forcing the evacuation of many villagers. Yzma’s just another lady in the workplace seeing a man doing a job he didn’t earn that she’s sure she can do better. Did ambition get the best of her? Yes. But give her this at least: is her brand of intentional tyranny really worse than Kuzco’s callous neglect? Take the story of Cinderella for another example. While the Stepmother can be said to be abusive and unfair at times, other times she is just doing everything she can to look after herself and her kids in a society where the odds are stacked against women. She’s married for money, and it seems to be working out for her, so no wonder she’s energetically shoving her not-aesthetically-blessed daughters into the Prince’s path while doing everything she can to keep the more photogenic blonde stepdaughter from going to the ball.
So if evil is evil to some people and not evil to some other people, can evil said to be evil and not evil at the same time? The Law of Contradiction by Aristotle states that for an example quality A, nothing can both have the quality of A and lack the quality of A at the same time. This law also applies to certain subatomic behavior. An electron behaves in one of two ways: as a particle or as a wave. when it is seen as a particle, it has all of characteristics of being a particle and none of being a wave. When it is seen as a wave, it has all of characteristics of being a wave and none of being a particle. However, it cannot both possess and lack the quality of being a particle at the same time. Same goes for the paradox of Schrödinger’s Cat where the cat in the box is ‘forced’ to be either dead or alive but not both, depending on the viewer and the time of the viewing. Similarly, in the context of Evil, whether or not evil is evil depends upon a person grasping it.