When people new to Unity hear our foundational statement, “There is only one Presence and one Power everywhere: God, the Good Omnipotent,” they sometimes have some questions. “If there is only God and God is only Good, what about the Devil? What about me? What about evil?”
It is often true that religions teach that evil is necessary for the existence of good, that God must have some opposite power, and that we children of God are miserable sinners. We bless the paths of others, but these sort of teachings are not Unity’s path. We believe that God is All – Powerful and Everywhere Present, and this simply doesn’t leave any room for evil, or the devil, or sin as it has typically been understood. If there were any evil, than God could not be as Good and Powerful as we know God to be. We know also that humans are made with the Goodness of God as our essence and truest nature. “So God created humankind in His Image, in the Image of God He created them; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27, NRSV translation).
As the first of the Ten Commandments teaches us, “You shall have no other gods besides me” (Exodus 20:3). In other words, we are instructed not to allow anything other than God to have any power over our lives. Working not just in service of God but also in fear of evil gives us a lesser perspective of God, and it also diminishes our ability to experience Good in our lives. As Jesus Christ taught, “No one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24).
“God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). When we say that there is only God, and that God is only Good, sometimes people wonder how Good can happen without evil. “Everything has to have an opposite,” some would say. It is important to note that many things in the world do not have opposites. What is the opposite of the number three, or of an apple tree? What is the opposite of you? You have no opposite, and God, who made you like Him, does not require an opposite either. When we open ourselves to the possibility that evil, error, or sin are not necessary, we open the floodgates of God’s Limitless Good into our lives.
But what about when those floodgates are not open? What about all of the things that don’t seem to go according to plan? Maybe there isn’t really any such thing as evil, but what about the stuff that seems like evil? It is true that there are sometimes things in our lives that we would like to change, grow beyond, or triumph over. It is wonderful to know that we, as children of God, made in the Image and after the Likeness of God’s Freedom, are ourselves free. As the example of Adam and Eve in the second chapter of Genesis teaches us, we are all born in Eden — in the consciousness of oneness with our Father-Mother God. We have the freedom to know that God’s Good is all and accept the gifts that God gives us, and, as Adam and Eve demonstrate in the story, we may also choose to see some things as good and some things as evil. In the Eden story, this is symbolized by Adam and Eve’s eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:9). If we choose to see some things as evil or not-God, we limit the expression of God’s Goodness in our lives. The way to triumph over the seeming evil is to overcome the perception of evil, and choose to remember that God is Good and God is All.
Because what is usually called evil is nothing more than the result of our freedom to choose, we in Unity typically choose the term error over evil. It is empowering to remember that, because our freedom comes from God, even the errors that we may make have Good in them, as their essence and Truest nature. Regardless of the intent or outcome of any action, the path of growth is the consciousness that God is working in and through that action and through all things concerned. The story of Joseph in the 45th chapter of Genesis is a good example of God acting in this way. Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him and sold him into slavery. Joseph, because of his faith in God’s Presence, was able to triumph even in that seemingly dark situation, and soon rose to wealth and fame. When Joseph’s brothers came to apologize for their error, he taught them “Do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here for death; for God sent me here before you to preserve life. What you meant for evil, God meant for Good” (Genesis 45:5).
Let us remember that there is only God, and God is All Good, Everywhere Present. As we go about our lives, let us remember that we live, move, and have our being in God’s Good, now and always!
There are two ways of living open to humanity. One is the way of error: through experience of evil humanity gains by contrast a concept of good. The other is God’s way: through consciousness of good, humanity sees that evil is unreal and unnecessary. Every man and woman in the world is following one or the other of these two courses in the development of his or her individuality. Good and evil seem to be pitted against each other in the world, but it is not necessary for us to eat of the tree of good and evil; we need not have a knowledge of evil in order to realize the allness of good. If we follow God’s way, which is to know the good first, last, and always, our minds will become so charged with good that evil will be to us totally unreal. (adapted from Charles Fillmore’ s Mysteries of Genesis)
Affirmations for the Realization of Omnipotent Good:
- There is only one Presence and one Power everywhere, God, the good Omnipotent
- As a child made in the Image and after the Likeness of my Father-Mother God, I choose God’s Path of Good
- Error is not my master! I am a child of God!
- I live, move, and have my being in service of Omnipotent Good
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