Is there more good than evil in the world? Do we suffer for sins, and are we rewarded for virtues?

—A Devotee

Undoubtedly there is more good than evil in the world, but good deeds are not noticed as quickly as evil deeds. Shakespeare was probably right when he said, “The evil men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” This does not mean that we are not later punished for our sins and rewarded for our virtues, for we know that we are. The law of karma (cause and effect) shows us this.

There is a universal standard of good and evil. For every pattern of good created by God, evil has created a counterpart. Side by side, we find both good and bad tendencies in people, but love is still the greatest force. We are immortal, but we are anything but immortal in our present state of consciousness.

Evil does not represent the innate soul of man. Look at the baby. We can see the glory of God in the newly-born baby but, at the same time, disease germs are ready to destroy the baby if possible. Look at the flower. How beautiful it is, but disease germs are also ready to destroy the beautiful flower. There is always a struggle between good and evil.

The theory that evil does not exist is incorrect. Evil does not exist in God’s consciousness, but evil does exist in our consciousness if we have closed our eyes to wisdom. God’s eyes are fully open, so to Him there is no evil. But if we have closed our eyes of wisdom, we do not perceive the light. We perceive evil.

We were given the scriptures so that we might learn how to transcend evil. One gains wisdom through experience, and through experience we learn that evil is that which causes suffering. Through suffering, wisdom is awakened and tries to find a way out of those sufferings.

If we cooperate with God, evil will destroy itself. When we can be like the saint who said, “Then life is sweet and death a dream; health is sweet and sickness a dream, when Thy song flows through me” — then we can truly say, “I am immortal, and sickness and death are but dreams. I am a child of God.”

From Inner Culture, October 1938.