ignoring evil or the evil

by Andrea Elizabeth

The difference between good and evil is indeed for freedom, but not in abstracto. This misunderstanding arises because freedom is changed into something else, into an object of thought. But freedom is never in abstracto. If freedom is given a moment to choose between good and evil, a moment when freedom itself is in neither the one nor the other, then in that very moment freedom is not freedom, but a meaningless reflection. So for what purpose is the imaginary construction except to confuse? If freedom remains in the good, then it knows nothing at all of evil. In this sense one may say about God (if anyone misunderstands this, it is not my fault) that he knows nothing of evil. By this I by no means say that evil is merely the negative; on the contrary, that God knows nothing of evil, that he neither can nor will know of it, is the absolute punishment of evil. In this sense  the preposition (away from) is used in the New Testament to signify removal from God or, if I dare put it this way, God’s ignoring of evil. If one conceives of God finitely, it is indeed convenient for evil if God ignores it, but because God is the infinite, his ignoring is the living annihilation, for evil cannot dispense with God, even merely in order to be evil. Here I shall quote a passage from Scripture, II Thessalonians 1:9, where it is said of those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel: they shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might. (note on page 111, 112 in The Concept of Anxiety by Søren Kierkegaard, translated by Thomte and Anderson)