6. If this be so, how do we explain the teaching that evils can never pass away but "exist of necessity," that "while evil has no place in the divine order, it haunts mortal nature and this place for ever"?
Does this mean that heaven is clear of evil, ever moving its orderly way, spinning on the appointed path, no injustice There or any flaw, no wrong done by any power to any other but all true to the settled plan, while injustice and disorder prevail on earth, designated as "the Mortal Kind and this Place"?
Not quite so: for the precept to "flee hence" does not refer to earth and earthly life. The flight we read of consists not in quitting earth but in living our earth-life "with justice and piety in the light of philosophy"; it is vice we are to flee, so that clearly to the writer Evil is simply vice with the sequels of vice. And when the disputant in that dialogue says that, if men could be convinced of the doctrine advanced, there would be an end of Evil, he is answered, "That can never be: Evil is of necessity, for there must be a contrary to good."
Still we may reasonably ask how can vice in man be a contrary to The Good in the Supernal: for vice is the contrary to virtue and virtue is not The Good but merely the good thing by which Matter is brought to order.
How can there any contrary to the Absolute Good, when the absolute has no quality?
Besides, is there any universal necessity that the existence of one of two contraries should entail the existence of the other? Admit that the existence of one is often accompanied by the existence of the other- sickness and health, for example- yet there is no universal compulsion.
Perhaps, however, our author did not mean that this was universally true; he is speaking only of The Good.
But then, if The Good is an essence, and still more, if It is that which transcends all existence, how can It have any contrary?
That there is nothing contrary to essence is certain in the case of particular existences- established by practical proof- but not in the quite different case of the Universal.
But of what nature would this contrary be, the contrary to universal existence and in general to the Primals?
To essential existence would be opposed the non-existence; to the nature of Good, some principle and source of evil. Both these will be sources, the one of what is good, the other of what is evil; and all within the domain of the one principle is opposed, as contrary, to the entire domain of the other, and this in a contrariety more violent than any existing between secondary things.
For these last are opposed as members of one species or of one genus, and, within that common ground, they participate in some common quality.
In the case of the Primals or Universals there is such complete separation that what is the exact negation of one group constitutes the very nature of the other; we have diametric contrariety if by contrariety we mean the extreme of remoteness.
Now to the content of the divine order, the fixed quality, the measuredness and so forth- there is opposed the content of the evil principle, its unfixedness, measurelessness and so forth: total is opposed to total. The existence of the one genus is a falsity, primarily, essentially, a falseness: the other genus has Essence-Authentic: the opposition is of truth to lie; essence is opposed to essence.
Thus we see that it is not universally true that an Essence can have no contrary.
In the case of fire and water we would admit contrariety if it were not for their common element, the Matter, about which are gathered the warmth and dryness of one and the dampness and cold of the other: if there were only present what constitutes their distinct kinds, the common ground being absent, there would be, here also, essence contrary to essence.
In sum, things utterly sundered, having nothing in common, standing at the remotest poles, are opposites in nature: the contrariety does not depend upon quality or upon the existence of a distinct genus of beings, but upon the utmost difference, clash in content, clash in effect.