Are Humans Inherently Good or Evil? the Role of Evil in Discerning Good

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Deciphering Morality: The Interdependence of Good and Evil in Decision Making

The best solution to the Problem of Evil is “Evil is necessary for the knowledge of good.” (Notes) This allows us to decipher between the decisions we have to make and the goodness of something. This helps us prove if one situation is better than another situation because we will be able to tell which choice will be better. Without the classification of good and bad, it could create issues with making wise resolutions to our problems.

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This means that God is not supposed to prevent evil; humans are.

Good social behavior is following the law and not harming anyone, but we have laws to prevent chaos. As humans, we know we can not live in a utopian world of no rules because it will lead to chaos. Since we have the knowledge of evil, we know what is good for society. Humans have the potential to prevent evil. Major issues with making decisions could occur without the knowledge of good or evil. Humans make their choices based on the consequences, severity of the choice, and the benefit it will have on them. Each of these factors loses purpose because you cannot figure out how to categorize if any of them are good or bad.

Are We Born Good or Evil? The Interplay of Divine Creation and Human Free Will

For example, choosing a healthy meal over an unhealthy meal would be difficult. The severity of the choice is one meal. A consequence could be you gain a couple of extra pounds by eating an unhealthy meal. Your benefit would be you happy that you had a good meal. This might not seem bad at first, but what if this were to happen every time you had a meal? Even more bad health problems would happen to you all because you don’t know that having unhealthy meals is not good for you all the time. But you could only know this if you know the difference between what is bad and what is good. If God had to prevent all bad decisions, everything would be good, but we know that God created both. Therefore, they both must coexist. This was all avoided with a general distinction between good and bad and the greatness of each.

God is the creator of everything. God is omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent. (Notes) The Problem of Evil states that “God will be able, willing, and know how to prevent evil.” (Notes) God holds all of these characteristics, but the most important one to this topic is omniscient. God had to know what evil is to create the good things in life since it knows everything. Thus, God made a world that is composed of both good and bad. God can prevent evil, but humans have free will. Therefore, we can make our own decisions. Given this freedom, God cannot prevent humans from performing bad acts on themselves or others. As humans, we can figure out if something is bad or good and hopefully make the right decision on our own. This does differ for each person due to their beliefs and attitudes.

Deciphering Good and Evil: The Human Journey of Moral Understanding and Choice

A great example of this is murder; murder is a harsh crime against living things. Some humans think murder depends on the situation, such as self-defense or for certain family members. For the most part, murder is evil, so we know what is a good deed. We learn to prevent murder by establishing the knowledge of good behavior. We do this with all of the crimes that someone commits. Since humans see the consequences of this crime, most of them do not go out and commit that same crime. Humans are making a decision to commit a crime or not. When humans are young, we learn about bad behaviors and what the right thing to do is. As we grow up and become independent, it is our job to know right from wrong. Since we have free will, we can decide whether a decision we make is good or bad. This is why it is necessary to know what is good and to prevent evil.

Other people believe that the solution to the Problem of Evil is “Things are not evil.” (Notes) This cannot be right because then there would be a world full of good things which do not exist. Also, God created good and bad; therefore, this statement is saying that all things in the world are classified based on their goodness. For instance, someone who believes this is a long-term solution to the Problem of Evil would say that the Holocaust was not good compared to the Emancipation Proclamation. This means that one is better than the other but only based on good qualities. This also means you must know a bad situation to compare it to a good one. The knowledge of good is dependent on the knowledge of evil. This phrase begs the question because if things are not evil, then they must be humans. I say this because God is unclassifiable, and humans have control over certain situations. In addition, an equivocation with things can be brought up because no one can be certain of what “things” are being talked about. It is apparent that evil does exist, and evil is needed to know if something is good.

In conclusion, everyone should learn what is good and bad and, as they get older, begin to make their own decisions. “Evil is necessary for the knowledge of good.” (Notes) Some reasons are to make wise choices and maintain good social behavior. Lastly, to prevent evil, humans should learn from historically bad events and improve on them.


  1. Rousseau, J-J. “Emile, or On Education.”
  2. Hobbes, T. “Leviathan.”
  3. Plato’s “Republic,” specifically the Allegory of the Cave.
  4. Augustine of Hippo. “Confessions.”
  5. The Bible, specifically the Book of Genesis for the story of Adam and Eve.
  6. Milgram, S. “Obedience to Authority.”
  7. Pinker, S. “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.”
  8. Singer, P. “The Expanding Circle: Ethics, Evolution, and Moral Progress.”
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Are Humans Inherently Good or Evil? The Role of Evil in Discerning Good. (2023, Aug 25). Retrieved from