The flip side of good and evil

IN his book Understanding Reality Religion: A Mind-Opening Look at Good, the Bible, the Church, and Faith, Hiley H. Ward promotes the idea of “reality religion’’ based on the acceptance good and evil coexist in this world.

“To consider one, you must consider the other,’’ he wrote.

“They are flip sides of the same coin. Tossed in the air you can examine both sides.’’

The miracles in life are not as obvious as the darkness. So it is tempting to embrace the spiritual darkness on the planet and become cynical and bitter.

Yet, there are those who proclaim the universe is always orderly and beautiful.

There are things in the world we cannot control; there are things we can.

Carl Jung said the good and evil sides of our natures were closer than identical twins. Jung believed that unless we experienced and acknowledged the opposite sides of our natures, we could not experience wholeness. And we could never understand the sacred core of true goodness inside us.

Evil in the soul could not be abolished, Jung said, but it could be transformed and redeemed.

“The individual must know, relentlessly, how much good he can do and what crimes he is capable of, and must be aware of regarding one as real and the other as illusion.

“As long as evil is a non-being, nobody will take his shadow seriously. Hitler and Stalin could go on representing a mere accidental lack of perfection.’’


27 thoughts on “The flip side of good and evil

  1. Nonsense! There is no flip side of good and evil. If there was, Jesus need never have died. I am surprised that as a Christian, Brian, you would quote Jung. The Bible says that the heart is deceitful above all things. Paul the apostle says “I know that no good thing dwells in me”. The Old Testament makes the statement that “our righteousness is as filthy rags”, “except the Lord had left us a remnant, we would be as Sodom”.
    And what in heaven’s name does Jung mean when he says that the individual must know what crimes he is cabable of?


    • If you want to know what Jung means you should perhaps read what he says. You might find that helpful. Jung was saying that ‘wholeness for humans depends on the ability to own their own shadow’ because he recognised that only understanding of our dark side could illuminate what are the fundamentals of goodness and worth. While it’s undeniable that humans are capable of great love, we also have an unspeakable history of brutality, rape, torture, murder and war. We need to understand all those darker,‘sinful’ aspects of our condition. Jung understood Christianity to be a profound meditation on the meaning of Jesus.


      • Evil in the soul could not be abolished, Jung said, but it could be transformed and redeemed.

        Really? Perhaps that is why pure rape pillage and murder was sanctioned by the Catholic church during crusades. It was no longer rape pillage and murder it was holy war. Thus evil was transformed and redeemed. Today our portrayals of the crusades all make it look like noble achievements, instead of brutal affair that it was.


      • Your premise is again false Vlad. I don’t know of anyone who now justifies the crusades.

        In fact, John Paul 11 apologised to Muslims, and everyone else, for the events surrounding the Crusades, saying the events caused him “pain and disgust”.

        Study some history. The crusades occurred because of some very complex political pressures but were mainly about fear and control. It wasn’t black and white. Try to look at the facts.


      • And…in 2011 Pope Benedict asked forgiveness for the church’s use of violence in the past.

        Describing violence in the name of religion as ‘an abuse of the Christian faith’, Pope Benedict’s address was one of the few times he has apologised for events such as the Crusades or the use of force to spread the faith in the New World.


      • Bryan,
        However much we might disagree at times, I still side strongly with you on Jung. Over the years I’ve been associated with quite a few Jung minded people, as well as actual Jungian Analysts. I find Jung very enlightening, and I can certainly vouch for the existence of the ‘Shadow’ that I have identified in myself as well as in others – and in the world of the Spirit.

        I’d love to know just how you as a Christian cope when you read some very vehement criticisms of Jungian theory from Evangelicals on the Net. And I must say that I can quite understand their problems with it all in view of their particular version of the Faith.

        Anyway, one other thing, – a couple of years back, I was engaged in a polite debate by snail mail with a Catholic convert, in which the topic of the Albigensian Crusades reared its ugly head. I waxed eloquent (generally) in favour of the Cathars, while he, very much schooled by Catholic propaganda, described all the terrible features of their diabolical teachings and practices that just had to be eliminated by the Godly Catholic Church. I pointed out that they were actually rather peaceable folk in their culture, and were not given to forcible intrusion into others’ terrritory, unless provoked to military defense.

        He stressed that their influence was bad and that the cruel Crusade against them (which eventually destroyed almost the whole culture of Southern France) could legitimately be described as a ‘Just War’! I have to admit that stunned me; and i was not surprised to learn that he was unable or unwilling to refer me to any non-Catholic historians who would ever class it like that. So I can assure you there are some still today who hold that the Crusades were holy and just wars. Mind you, this chap (a retired Psychiatrist of all things) had adopted an older and more rigid Catholicism than the one we know today.



      • Unbelievable how anyone could justify the actions of the Crusaders, but there you go. I wonder if there are people who are okay with the Inquisition too. Sadly, to so many, the actions of The Catholic Church represent all of Christianity rather than the institutional decisions made by an elite few, so that all Christians will forever have to apologize for such atrocities (even though the Crusades and Inquisition killed their share of Christians too).


      • Quackzalcoatal,
        Sure hope I spelt that right. I’d hate to think you might launch a crusade against me if I got it wrong!

        Anyway, that same guy who defended the Albigensian Crusade as a ‘just war’, also made a valiant attempt to justify the Inquisition as well. Once again he refrained from answering when I challenged him with the question. ‘If a son of yours was an Inquisitor in the old days, would you be terribly proud of him when he kept on interrogating some poor screaming and tormented individual who was being tortured?’ ’nuff said, I guess.


    • exactly! He didn’t die. It’s not literal. Jesus , to early 1st century Christians, were inspired to live a good and honest life. Love and live love. See Jesus as you. As a representation. A symbolic hero. The teacher of the greatest story ever. Come on man. Snap out of it. The Jesus story is there to lead you to recognize yourself as the “Son” of God. YOU are the child. Jesus said “GREATER” shall you do…Your religious piety and impracticality is the source of separation and every sort of evil work. Don’t literalize your Bible. See it for what it is. The greatest story ever told.

      YOU are one with God. Period. That’s the end of the story. Live with it.

      *To justify the crusades is a perfect example of how religious lies permeate the minds of “good” men in the world, even today. In a normal setting, good people do good things and evil people do evil things. But for “good” people to do evil things, that takes religion.


  2. Many openings here for a conscientious objector! (juxtapositioning ‘good’ with ‘crime’, for example.)

    But the bottom line has been a long-standing truism:- ” They are flip sides of the same coin.”

    ….as are god and Satan; neither could exist without the other.


    • God and Satan are not two sides of the same coin Dabs,

      On account that God created Lucifer (Angel of Light) and created cannot exist without the Creator but the Creator CAN exist without his created. “God is the immaterial transcendent reality, a necessary existence by which anything ever exists”.

      “Isaiah 45:7 has been misunderstood by many people, primarily because of a poor translation in the King James Bible (and ASV). Parts of the book of Isaiah are of the poetry genre, and there is a literary technique used at times in Hebrew poetry called antithetical parallelism which sets two thoughts in complete contrast to one another, which is exactly what is happening in Isaiah 45:7. For example, if you were asked what the opposition of “light” is, you would likely respond “darkness,” which is what Isaiah 45:7 says. But if you were asked what the opposite of “peace” is, would you respond “evil”? No, you likely wouldn’t. This is why nearly all other translations of this verse (including the New King James Version) translate the word “calamity” or something similar, as that is what the antithetical structure of the verse mandates. God does not bring moral evil upon anyone, but He does bring about calamity and disaster upon those who oppose Him, but such a thing does not make Him evil; it makes Him a just and righteous God.” Got Questions Org


      • I must admit Dabs,

        That I have great trouble now believing, as ‘Got Questions Org’ states, that God brings about calamity and disaster upon those who oppose Him. But having said that, I know only too well that God is sovereign over all creation and who am I to say that God can’t do that? Only….I thought that Jesus paid the price of God’s wrath; that that’s what grace is all about and that we now live under God’s grace?

        But if ‘Got Questions Org’ had of said that God allows calamity because of the bad choices we make and because we live in a fallen world on account of sin, then I would agree, based on the experience of my life alone. I am blessed now compared to how I was when I was steeped in sin. I just know that sin is the doorway to every evil thing and perhaps, when our cups of iniquity get full, then we reap what we sow?

        I just know that God is Love. But then He is also just. I guess sometimes we just have to admit that there are mysteries about God that we will never know this side of Heaven.


      • Myth #7 God makes bad things happen to teach us lessons

        Many people think God causes bad things to happen so that He can accomplish good things. This myth creates alot of fear. It is based on misunderstandings of God’s character, misunderstandings about what Jesus did on the cross, and misunderstandings about the two kingdoms.

        Jesus taught that there are two kingdoms. There is not a hint of light in Satan’s kingdom and not even a shifting shadow of darkness in God’s. When Jesus was accused of healing in the name of the enemy, He said that there is no healing in the kingdom of darkness. It can just as truly be said that there is no wounding in God’s kingdom. Jesus told us that the enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy. These are the marks of the kingdom of darkness. The Bible says that every GOOD gift comes from God.

        Preachers who accuse God of throwing 747s at tall buildings when He gets mad, do not understand God in the slightest…. in fact, they cannot tell the difference between God and Satan.

        The Bible says that through Jesus and His work on the Cross, God already sees us as perfected members of His Kingdom. In Christ, we are a finished work, not a starter kit. Jesus took all of our disease and sickness on Himself and took it to the grave. God would have to apologize to Jesus if He doled our sickness back out again.

        Some bad things happen because we caused them to happen by living unwisely. Sin hits us like stepping on a tooth-up rake and being smacked in the face. Then many people blame the bruise on God saying “God caused this to happen because I was bad and stepped on a rake”. What silly logic that is. The Bible does not say, “He pays us back for our sins”, or “He wounds us so we will not sin so much”, it says, “He remembers our sin no more”.

        On this earth we still reap what we sow and we many times also reap the bad consequences of what others sow. None of it is caused by God… BUT, God can bring wonderful things out of bad situations if we trust Him.

        When we do see God’s wonderful solutions to our messes, we should not then say that God caused the mess to begin with. This would change God from a hero to a manipulator. God did not kill Lazarus so Jesus could raise him!

        Jesus said that we would have tribulations in this world, BUT, not to fear because HE has overcome the world. There are tribulations in this world because the whole creation is subject to futility, because people sin, and because there is an enemy. But these things do not come from God. When people have the faith to stand against tribulation in Jesus, God’s Kingdom is glorified.

        Rocky Mountain Ministries


      • Well let’s face it Mon: he (whoever is trying to make a different point) WOULD say that, (““Isaiah 45:7 has been misunderstood by many people, primarily because of a poor translation in the King James Bible”), wouldn’t he? 😉


      • Altogether too many unfounded assumptions in this tract, Mon. Just one:-

        “On account that God created Lucifer (Angel of Light)” —>> prattling.

        An omniscient god would do so in the full knowledge that in doing so he was bringing ‘evil’ into existence,
        …..and did so advisedly; ‘good’ cannot stand alone: it needs the concept of evil in order to have any meaning.
        ‘God’ didn’t create ‘evil’, except insomuch as HIS very existence necessitates the existence of his alter-ego.

        Take another version: (take ANY of the the umpteen citations.)
        NONE of them say I ‘creatED’ light and ‘creatED’ darkness; I ‘MADE’ peace and ‘creatED’ evil. (which would suggest evil didn’t exist before ‘Lucifer’.)

        According to the “English Revised Version” He DOES say “I form the light, and CREATE darkness; I make peace, and CREATE evil; I am the LORD, that doeth all these things.”

        ‘I create’ is a transitive verb: an ongoing dynamic, travelling in tandem. Where the light goes so MUST the darkness; where ‘good’ goes so MUST ‘evil’…..even down to the present, continuing moment. One without the other isn’t even possible in concept.

        And if ‘god’ is eternal, then so is ‘evil’. It could be argued that Satan was creatED, but only as a vehicle for intrinsical ‘evil’.(How else would some scribe describe ‘eternal evil’?)
        … the same way that ‘god’ is depicted as one tangible or another (and why you~ and even a dictionary~ insist on capitalising ‘God in direct defiance of every rule of grammar) :- Walking in the garden and ejoying the breezes; burning bushes, and pillars of light/smoke/whatever; and even as his own ‘son’.

        As ‘living’ as is the ‘living god’, so also ‘living’ is ‘evil’.


      • And that –> “Jesus took all of our disease and sickness on Himself and took it to the grave.” is just blatant nonsense.


      • ps….”“God is the immaterial transcendent reality, ..”
        May one ask: ‘transcendent’ to WHAT??
        (particularly prior to the ‘Creation’. 🙂 )


      • This is what I believe too:

        “God did not create evil. Just as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of God.”

        ― Albert Einstein


      • As a theologist (or even logician), Albert would’ve made a fine truck-driver.

        (““God did not create evil. Just as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of God.”)
        God SAYS (declares/brags/insists) he DOES (not merely ‘did’) create evil.

        Moreover, If “evil is the absence of god”, and god is ‘eternal’ (ie never absent), then evil doesn’t exist now nor ever did.

        On the other hand, if we can’t believe a direct quote from god and/or the foremost of the ‘Prophets’ then we’re not entitled to believe ANYthing the bible decrees.
        Take your pick.

        But consider:- For someone who accepts the ‘Trinity’ as one vehicle via which god can manifest himself to grossly-limited humanity why is a divine ‘dual nature’ so hard to come to terms with?


  3. When we are ‘saved’, perhaps we shouldask ourselves, saved from what? When we are under God’s protection, protection from what? We can easily and wrongly assume it is from earthly suffering or death. There is more to our being than what we experience in one lifetime.

    But prayers of petition regarding earthly matters are effective too, which I believe to be the work of angels as God’s instruments, rather than established by any decrees of eternal salvation.


    • I do love a good question, Dreamweaver; they’re much more enlightening than most ‘good answers’.
      ……now try applying that principle to your second paragraph. 😉

      The acid test: pray for a politician of such high quality that you’d willingly spend a week in bed with him/her………
      …and let us know how you go with that. 🙂


      • Have you never been refused what you asked for, Dabs? Asking is not a guarantee of receiving, but perhaps helps to influence some angel.

        Any prayer of petition could well carry the rider “Never-the-less, what ever is for the greater good of all concerned, so be it.”

        It is impossible for us, with our limited vision, to know what is for the best in the eternal scheme of things.


      • ”The acid test: pray for a politician of such high quality that you’d willingly spend a week in bed with him/her………”

        A politician would not be of sufficiently high quality if spending a week in bed with me was of any appeal to him/her. 😆


      • The best response of the month! ….(“A politician would not be of sufficiently high quality if spending a week in bed with me was of any appeal to him/her.”)

        ……and perhaps the best offer! 😆


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