How I Used Truth - Lesson 10 - Annotation 8
What is meant by the statement, "There is no evil"?
8. By the statement, "There is no evil," we mean that there is no evil in reality, or in Truth. If we accept the truth that "There is but one Presence and one Power, God, the good omnipotent," then the condition we term "evil" can have neither presence nor power, and must exist only as an appearance in the world of form.
The first denial statement given in the Fourth Lesson of Lessons in Truth (Emilie Cady Lessons In Truth 4:21) is "There is no evil." The explanation brings out the point that because God is omnipresent there can be no reality to the appearance of evil. However, while there is no evil in reality, there are appearances that are not according to God's standard of good; and unless we make this clear, we may confuse ourselves or others. No matter what principle may be unfolding -- in anything we do -- the appearance in the beginning may look very unlike what we wish to manifest or demonstrate. The child struggling with the five-finger exercises on the piano may form the appearance of a very limited expression of harmony. We know, however, that by his continued practice, sustained by natural talent, he will be able to bring forth a more perfect expression of musical harmony. We would not call the music student's fumbling attempts "evil," nor would we see them as finalities.
We as creations of God are made in His image and after His likeness. We have the power to make concepts -- true or false -- out of the substance God has provided. We do this through the use or misuse of our formative power of thought. If appearances or conditions are such that we term them "evil," it is because instinctively we know that they do not measure up to the divine standard of perfection. We cannot blame God, all-perfection, for these appearances. We must look into our own mind for the mental cause of the so-called evil. What we term evil is not a creation of God, therefore is not based on a principle. There is nothing to sustain it. However, as long as we hold a belief in evil, the belief will act as a mental cause to bring into our life all kinds of inharmony and unhappiness.
We cannot close our eyes to the negative appearances in the world and our own individual experience, and call them "good." Nor can we say of some outer formed appearance that it is "good" when it is a malformation of God substance. Scripture admonishes against saying, "Peace, peace; when there is no peace" (Jer. 6:14). However, we can know that God is in the midst of the apparent evil, since it is formed -- in however limited a manner -- of divine substance. When something appears to us as not good, this is a signal for us to expand our limited thinking, and thus change the mental cause that produced the limited appearance that we do not like.
"Man cannot corrupt the inherent purity of any of God's attributes, but he can unwisely combine them in states of consciousness that bring dissatisfaction and incompleteness to him" (Twelve Powers of Man 131-132).
A statement is made on page 102 of the text that needs some explanation: "We shall succeed in becoming free, just in proportion as we cease absolutely to parley with apparent evils as though they were entities" (How I Used Truth 102). Having established that evil cannot be reality because it is not a creation of God, we need to disabuse our mind of any belief that apparent evils we may see around us are "entities." According to Webster's dictionary an entity is a "real being . . . has reality." This would mean something that has life in itself, that has creative power. The only true entities would be the divine ideas that belong to Divine Mind and are at our disposal in bringing forth our formed world. The apparent evils are only facts and not realities. A fact is an actual happening in time and space. Those facts which we call evil have taken place in our human experience because we have not lived in accord with divine law in our thinking, feeling, willing, speaking, and acting, thus forming substance in a limited manner. A quotation from Emerson's Essays, at the heading of the last chapter of How I Used Truth 104, includes this statement:
It is only through prayer, as already mentioned in this Annotation, that we are able to look correctly at the "facts of life." This is true whether they come under the heading of "apparent evils" or are the natural occurrences of everyday living. Through prayer, which is our conscious communion with the Father, we are able to say: "There is no evil; God is the one Presence and the one Power in my life."
Preceding Entry: Do we overcome sickness, poverty, sin, and the like, or what is it that is overcome?
Following Entry: Why do we say that it is the "spoken" Truth that makes manifest?