“The Negative Only Emerges from the Absence of the Positive”

By Pastor Ron Buxton

  It is very unfortunate that we live in the age of “fake news” and “alternative facts”. There was a time, not too long ago, when most printed information came from credible sources. Not so today, and that is sad.. The following dialogue circulated on the internet some time until it was recently debunked. Although the individual identified in that dialogue was not a younger Albert Einstein, whom I mentioned in my previous article, it did make me think of him. That being said, that scenario of a dialogue itself–whether hypothetical or real–provides a profound understanding regarding reality and the world around us. Imagine a large auditorium at one of our esteemed American colleges.

     One day a university professor challenged his students with a question. Did God create everything that exists? One student sheepishly replied, “Yes, He did.”

     The professor, with a sneer on his face, responded, “If that were true–that some kind of Deity created all that there is–then that God also created evil, since evil exists. And if what we create defines that which we are, then that kind of God would be evil.”

     The classroom became deathly quiet. The professor looked across the faces of the students, and then boasted that he had once again proven that the Christian faith could not be anything but a religious myth.

     “Could I ask you a question, professor?”– was heard from a student who had his hand raised. “Does cold exist?”–began the student after he was given permission to speak.

     The professor bristled. “What kind of foolish question is that? Of course it exists. Haven’t you ever felt cold?”–he replied, as the other students began to laugh nervously.

     Calmly, the young student responded to the ridicule. He said, “In fact, sir, cold does not exist. In the laws that govern physics, cold is the absence of heat. Every object of matter can only be studied if it has or transmits energy. That is measured by its heat. Mankind has used the word cold to basically describe an absence of heat.”

     The student, gaining momentum with his words, continued: “The same could be said of darkness. That is a verbal construct to describe the absence of light. Light we can study. Darkness we cannot. Isaac Newton was able to discover many wavelengths of color by his prism that separated white light. There is a scientific measurement for light that is unable to be quantified in its absence.”

     The professor protested, raised his voice, and said, “But we see evil everyday. Day after day, violence and crime flood our cities and neighborhoods. How can you make those previous statements apply to this obvious evil?”

     “Your opening statement is flawed”, responded the young man, “With all due respect, you said that God created evil. That’s not true. Evil is simply the absence of God. It’s like the cold that comes in the absence of heat or the darkness that appears where there is no light. The negative only emerges from the absence of the positive.”

     And so, the alleged dialogue concluded between the student and the professor. As I said in my opening comments, the encounter was not a young Albert Einstein confronting the university professor. That much is true. However, the concepts discussed are absolutely essential in our struggle to make sense of this world around us.

     There are four main questions that envelop that existential struggle. How did everything begin to exist? Why are some things right and some things wrong? Is there any significance or meaning to our life? And finally, where do we go when we die? Good news! God wrote a Book. It’s called the Bible, and it is the only source of information to adequately answer those important questions. Brush up on the Bible and prevent truth decay!


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