Spiritual questions and answers


Evil as no independent force

Another way, to have confidence in the Source, is to not exaggerate any power of evil. I favour the idea that evil, although real enough in its effects if given reign, does not really exist in its own right. In other words, social injustice, pain, misery have never been inevitable. What is chaotic and disorderly comes about because people at times have chosen to stand good on its head. I see the evil of suffering, and hatred as the tragic rejection and thus absence of orderliness, contentment and compassion. In fact, the inversion of all that is good.

I would like to suggest that the cause of chaos and disorder is not an evil power that some religions have sometimes, and mistakenly in my view, referred to as the Devil. Instead, an atmosphere of evil originates in the way humans sometimes have freely chosen to behave.

“It is human spiritual disorders like lust, vengeance, cruelty and oppression that incubate disease and misfortune.” (Bruce Henderson, Swedenborgian writer)

I happen to hold the view that disease and natural disasters are due to the negative side of this spiritual environment around us. Let us then all try to not feed its influence. We could instead turn towards the spirit of love. This is shown by the outpouring of service and kindness in the wake of disasters. Seeing others suffer can help us to be more sensitive and merciful.


We have the potential to be a vehicle for both good and evil. In very trying times, putting one’s hope in the Source of love is not easy. But we all have a part to play in turning back towards Love Itself and helping with its plan to bring happiness in the world.

Copyright 2019 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems