of being which, since it has a beginning, is fated inevitably to end. The Greek catharsis, or purification, has as its source the conviction that the immediate data of consciousness, whichattest to the inevitable destruction of all that is born, reveal to us a truth that is primordial,eternal, inflexible, and forever invincible. True being, real being (
) is not to be foundamong ourselves or for ourselves; it is to be found where the power of the law of birth anddestruction ends, that is, where there is no birth and where therefore there is no destruction.This is the point of origin of speculative philosophy. The law, discovered by intellectualvision, of the inevitable destruction of all that has arisen and been created seems to us to be alaw eternally inherent in being itself. Greek philosophy was as firmly convinced of this as wasthe Hindu wisdom, and we, who are separated from the Greeks and the Hindus by thousandsof years, are just as incapable of breaking free from the power of this most self-evident truthas those who first discovered it and showed it to us.In this respect the Book of books alone constitutes a mysterious exception.What is said in it directly contradicts what men have found out through their intellectualvision. Everything, as we read in the very beginning of the Book of Genesis, was made by theCreator, everything had a beginning. But this not only is not seen as a precondition of thedecay, imperfection, corruption, and sinfulness of being; on the contrary, it is an assurance of all possible good in the universe. To put it another way, God's act of creation was the source,and moreover the only source, of all good. On the evening of each day of creation the Lordsaid, as he surveyed what He had made: "It is good," and on the last day, looking around ateverything that He had created, God saw that it was all very good. Both the world and its people (whom God had blessed) were made by the Creator, and it is for the very reason of their creation by Him that they were made perfect, without any defects. There was no evil inthe world created by God, nor was there any sin from which evil could proceed. Evil and sinarose later. Whence came they? Scripture gives a definite answer to this question. God planted among the other trees in the Garden of Eden the tree of life and the tree of knowledgeof good and evil. And He said to the first man: "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freelyeat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the daythat thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." But the tempter (in the Bible he is called theserpent, the most cunning of all God's creatures) said: "No, ye shall not die; your eyes shall beopened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing." Man succumbed to temptation, ate of theforbidden fruit; his eyes were opened and he became knowing. What was revealed to him?What did he find out? He learned the same thing that the Greek philosophers and Hindu sageshad learned: the "it is good" uttered by God was not justified
all is not good in the createdworld. There must be evil and, what is more, much evil, intolerable evil, in the created world, precisely because it is created. Everything around us
the immediate data of consciousness
testifies to this with unquestionable evidence; he who looks at the world with open eyes," hewho "knows," can draw no other conclusion. At the very moment when man became"knowing," sin entered the world; in other words, it entered together with "knowledge"
andafter sin came evil. This is what the Bible tells us.The question is put to us, the men of the twentieth century, just as it was put to the ancients:whence comes sin, whence come the horrors of life which are linked with sin? Is there adefect in being itself, which, since it is created, albeit by God, since it has a beginning, mustinescapably, by virtue of that eternal law that is subject to no one and nothing, be burdeneddown by its imperfections, which doom it ahead of time to destruction? Or do sin and evilarise from "knowledge," from "open eyes," from "intellectual vision," that is, from the fruit of the forbidden tree? One of the most notable philosophers of the last century, Hegel, who hadabsorbed the whole of European thought covering twenty-five hundred years (and in this lies