“Men create oppositions which are not, and put them into new terms so fixed, as whereas the meaning ought to govern the term, the term in effect governeth the meaning.” – Francis Bacon, Essay III., Of Unity in Religion.
The moment I read this I thought it the perfect description of what has happened with respect to the terms “good” and “evil.” This fabricated opposition is not real. Moreover, it is imprinted in the consciousness of man in terms so fixed that the terms govern the true meaning of the reality they parody.
Good is a presence; evil is an absence. They are not opposites, equally matched and eternally opposed. Good is light and evil the shadow. Evil has no power or substance of its own, in fact, all that it has is siphoned away from good.
Those with evil intentions eventually become aware of this limitation, but with this awareness generally comes the realization that the power of good can be usurped in a variety of ways. The prevailing method is not by wresting it from the stewards of goodness, but through the perpetuation of the fallacy of the opposition of good and evil.
If those in whose hands good is freely given can be convinced that evil is the chief rival of good, they are also likely to swallow the lie that evil must be resisted to be overcome. Resisting evil is the hallmark of those who have fallen – hook, line and sinker – for the fabricated opposition of good and evil.
Good prevails over evil, as far as light prevails over the darkness.