(artwork of evil fighting good by Michael Brandon Heath)
I have found the courage to make public an essay Brandon had written for his college English Comp. class from April 14, 2003. I have thought about how putting it all out there would open my now deceased son to criticism. I am still his biggest defender. His grade on the essay in red ink was a 90 A-. There were a few remarks in the margins about Brandon using the politically incorrect word, “mankind” instead of the more acceptable “humankind” by his feminist instructor, and there were a few grammatical errors, also the omission of some his sources’ exact page and chapter. What is most important to me is the essay itself.
I am a glowing proud mom who still cherishes what my children have accomplished. When I found this essay it was only a few weeks after Brandon’s death. My heart was painfully raw from the shock and each word hit me there in the depths of that horrible feeling. I was on a mad hunt for answers. Did evil prevail over good? Was the answer in Brandon’s words? The situation was starkly screaming out at my heart for God, of God, my swollen abandoned heart, where oh where, God heart! I was humbled, lying prone-faced to the floor, sickened by death’s unwanted presence.
Oh, my child….my sweet man boy, Brandon, you were all a mother could have ever hoped for…and whatever good was overthrown in that last dark impulsive moment cannot erase the lifetime of YOU, nor your true goodness and heart for our Lord.
Good and Evil
by Michael Brandon Heath
In order to arm one’s self against the cruelties of this world, understanding the nature of good and evil is an imperative step. Seeking insight on such a topic can be a very confusing journey. It drives deep into the instincts of human functioning, as well as the inhumane. To fathom the infinite structure of good and evil, there must be a logical definition, a realistic view of its nature, and an understanding of its role from life to death.
An exact definition for such a complex subject is difficult to obtain. It might be safe to assume that there is no true way to define good and evil, only a bodiless presence that exists as a whole. Good and evil are better observed through this train of thought. It is not the defining good and evil where knowledge is gained, rather it is the attempt in itself to define where all sense is made. Contrary to common belief, good and evil are not opposites. They are actually a part of the entire structure that forms the framework of human thought; therefore, good and evil define each other through an endless display of action. Evil by itself has not real function just as goodness by itself stands with no function. The two have to remain united, feeding off each other’s weaknesses. Good and evil are like light and dark, yet they act in a way that it is easy to misjudge a glare for a shadow. This is why an exact definition is so difficult to see. World famous fantasy/Christian author, C.S. Lewis explains:
You cannot be good for the mere sake of goodness. You cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness. You can do a kind action when you are not feeling kind, and when it gives you no pleasure — simply because kindness is right. But no one ever did a cruel action simply because it is wrong– only because cruelty was pleasant or useful to him. In other words, badness cannot succeed even in being bad in the same way in which goodness is good. Goodness is, so to speak, itself. Badness is only spoiled goodness. Evil is a parasite, not an original thing. (Lewis 192)
The Bible states that God created man in his own image. Unlike God, man was given a choice to do wrong after sin entered the world. This is mentioned in the book of Genesis.
The woman saw the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some of it to her husband and he ate it. ( New American)
This ability to sin became the nature of mankind; therefore, man’s nature is based on a chain reaction of events that started with a single act of evil. Like Pandora’s box, Eve’s decision to disobey divine instruction led the entire race into a world of constant inquisition. Every thought, action , emotion, desire, and motive is made up of two ingredients, good and evil. It is the moral condition which leads to the conclusion …to do good, or to do evil. This free will is the nature of how good and evil tends to operate in society.
What determines human fate? Is it simply enough to do good that saves? Obviously not. Many good men have died, just as many evil men have died. The Bible addressed sin as the bringer of death, as stated in the book of Romans:
Therefore, just as one person, sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned…. (New American)
Understanding the concept of sin and knowing that God forgives is a direct result of good overpowering evil. A lot of people outside the Christian faith have a hard time dealing with this concept. How is God forgiving? With all the atrocities in this world, wisdom and insight are the keys in defeating the forces of evil; furthermore, it is wise to be wary of evil’s influence, even through, seemingly “good” deeds. Evil has a deceptive way of hiding behind its better half, like a shadow beyond light. Evil is often mistaken for something that is good. Dr. M. Scott Peck, a famous psychiatrist and author refers to this in his book, People of the Lie. He details the significance of evil, dating back to God’s banishment of the angel known as Lucifer. He states that the name Lucifer actually means “light bearer.” It’s not hard to see how this seductive manner of evil repeatedly blinds mankind with its brilliant “light.”
Though fully grasping the complex concept of good and evil is beyond human rationale, efforts to define its configuration, mysterious nature, and its role in life and death inspire mankind to examine this great enigma. Continuous evaluation and education may play an important role in the on-going efforts to uncover the face of good and evil. Until that time comes, simply trying to fathom its simplest factors might be enough to leave a lasting impression on mankind.