The One Evil

For centuries much of the world has lived in terror of a curse. Even to-day, amongst uneducated people, quite apart from the dwellers in darkest Africa, the belief in the evil eye, or some such other terror, is far more potent than any belief in the power of good. The evolution of the whole idea may be traced back into the twilight of civilization. Primitive man, fearful of the blackness of the night, found one of his earliest expressions of worship in the moon which came to lighten the material darkness. Gradually, in his struggling realization of Principle, the sun took the place of the moon. Nevertheless the god of darkness in the folklore of the world always struggles for supremacy with the god of light; and though in these folk stories it is the god of light who invariably conquers, yet in practice the worshiper was far more apt to placate the god of darkness, whom he pictured as perpetually lying in wait to destroy him, rather than the god of light, whose hand was always stretched out to assist him.

To teach the world to rely on good as more powerful than evil was the great effort which came into existence with monotheism, for so long as there were many gods, it was impossible to induce the worshiper not to believe in the power of these gods, whom he invested with all his own mortal passions, to hurt rather than to help. Even the monotheist, allegorically fell back on the tree of good and of evil, and though he acknowledged only one God, Jhvh, whom he invested with all power, nevertheless he personified evil under the name of serpent, or Beelzebub, or a dozen other aliases, and so revivified the ancient story of the struggle of Merodach with Tiamat in the struggle of Bel and the dragon, or else rehearsed the contest of Marsyas with Apollo, in the story of the effort of Satan to tempt the human race.

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Editorial
Present Inspiration
July 17, 1920
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