Greek Perspective of evil
According to Greek’s perception of good and evil, man is answerable to himself and his biggest mistake is doing contrary to the fate awaiting him. There is no reward or punishment after this life hence man must do his responsibility without any future expectations. Punishments or rewards are part of man’s fate here on earth with the aid of gods. The gods only intervene when requested by humans depending on one’s circumstances surrounding him. This is seen when Medea despite having murdered Talos by drugging him or hypnotizing him still asked goddess Hecate for revenge and she came to her aid. She killed Glauze and King Creon as a revenge showing the other side of gods as compromising and not just. Evil and good is just a perception on man’s mind (Richard, pg264) .Man should only accept that his life on earth is temporary just like for other creatures and plants that sprouts today and they are gone tomorrow. The Greek gods aged and died and were overthrown like Titans by Zeus and other generations taking over. Also man must also fight for his place in the society and allow his fate determine his course of action. In Greek mythology the gods are beyond human understanding as there are gods for both evil and good. In other instances a god who is depicted as good in his character is totally different as he aids the evil. They bring strife and discord in human beings life and without them there couldn’t be order. It depends on what one needs from the gods as they represent all aspects of life and it’s upon man based on her fate to request for their intervention. It’s not about good triumphing against evil but it a matter of what one seeks in time of need. There are gods depicted with pride, unfaithfulness, vain, jealousy, passive, vengefulness amongst others.
It’s in these line that Medea a Greek drama has numerous deities for symbolic purposes. The gods are symbol of emotional and natural forces beyond human understanding and Euripides invokes their names often in his writings. These clearly shows the diverse gods of Greek with their origins like Medea’s grandfather, their fight for control and dominance like in the case of Titans overthrow by Zeus with their different roles in human race. The same applies to human beings lives where control and dominance is Centre stage as depicted in the drama by Medea and her husband.
Apollo is depicted as second generation god of sun, prophecy, poetry and arts who replaced replaced Titans with the help of Zeus and that he existed with Helious as sun god side by side. According to Jason he believed the god gave him and Medea family security, wealth, power and children which Medea isn’t convinced it’s the case as he views these as basic material things (Eupides, pg58). This is well depicted when Apollo is accused of being a chauvinism god whose character supports men. In the chorus he is asked why he has not blessed women with poetry art.
Medea herself prefers goddess Hecate whom she describes as abiding in her inner hearth, the one she regarded more than other gods (Eupides, pg57). Being Medea’s symbol of revolt, she prays to her as she feels closer to her. She also believes in goddess Artemis who symbolizes virgins and nature. They represent the feminine power making them favorite for Medea. Medea favors Hecate who is much older than Artemis and who was also a foreigner just like her and that may explain her closer connection to her. Hecate was also a Titan like Medea’s father and had helped Zeus god to overthrow other titans. Hecate was also favorite to Medea as she was believed to be goddess of witchcraft which Medea was obsessed with as her skills of sorcery. She is seen as avenger of women as she summons all strength from women who had been wronged by men when Medea called for her blessings on revenge.
Biblical perspective of evil
In Jobs case, suffering is not as a result of evil but a test to the righteous. Evil exists and that we bear moral responsibilities and that it causes suffering. The Job story shows how God is on the righteous side and and how tests allows humans develop desirable virtues. The God is seen as sovereign and powerful and that at the end he rewards the righteous. God prevents evil from befalling his followers as Satan asked whether Job would still serve him if evil came upon him. God has given human being free will to either live righteous or do evil. Job chose to live a righteous life and to do that which is pleasing in God’s eyes.
The devil is the source of evil in Jobs case as he requested God permission to inflict Job with suffering. This shows how God protects the just and righteous and that the devil has no control or authority over them. He had to seek permission from God claiming that he was only faithful and trusted God because he was blessed. Even with permission Job remained faithful to God throughout his suffering period and didn’t sin before God or succumb to the devils expectations as everything went as per Gods plan. This clearly shows God prevails despite all suffering and that he is supreme beyond human and devil’s thoughts. Evil problem is not answered in the book of Job but it asks the righteous to keep trusting in God whether in midst of suffering, agony or pain, God’s will still prevail at the end. It shows that the suffering is temporal and that there is joy and triumph at the end of the agony.
Another source of suffering according to Jobs friends i.e. Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar is that Job had sinned against God hence was being punished and that he deserved it. They passionately defended the punishment by God out of ignorance and out their human narrow nature of judgement. Eliphaz claimed to be a prophet and that God spoke through him condemning Job for his sins. Bildad insisted the Job should repent and that God would forgive him his sins and restore him back to his later days. Zophar on his case is least compassionate assaulting and refused to speak as he was convinced Job had sinned. At the end of it God condemned Jobs friends approach and proved Job was innocent and a man of integrity before him.
The devil is portrayed as an accuser as he questioned Jobs motives on devotion as he asked whether he feared God for nothing. God initiated the tests as he asked Satan whether he had seen anyone righteous as his servant Job on earth. The insinuation created by the devil is that if God could remove the veil hedge protecting him Job would curse God on his face which was proved otherwise by Job. Gods takes pride and affection in righteous people as we can see through job. In all these, Jobs saw Gods hands in his suffering and never blamed God for anything but continued to strengthen his trust in him even when he was deserted by his friends.
Why Jobs view is superior to Greeks view
In jobs case Satan is seen as the source of evil as he questioned God on whether Job would still serve him if evil befell him. God permitted him to inflict him with suffering but not touch his soul. God is proved to be righteous and supreme and fights for those with integrity and prides himself in his people. In the Greek scenario’s, their gods are part of the evil as Hecate who is a goddess of witchcraft who aided Medea in her evil ways.
Jobs God is eternal as he questions Job of where he was while he was laying the foundation of the earth. Job also asserts that he came to this world without anything and that he will leave without anything meaning that Gods creation is meant for generations and generations. In contrast Greek God’s ages and are overthrown by other superior gods. Apollo is regarded as a second generation god of the sun and another instance Titan gods are overthrown meaning they are mortal just like human beings.
According to the Greek’s and their belief is that there is no life after death and that human beings fate determines their existence. Their god’s intervened only when consulted by the humans either for good or for evil. In Jobs case, fate has no place in human beings life and God is supreme and determines the direction for his glory. God is the source of life and wealth as he restored Jobs health and prospered him. He protects his own and their ways from evil but sometimes puts them to tests with good intentions.
- Euripides: Medea and Other Plays. Trans. J. Morwood OUP, 2009.
- Hopkins, Richard R. How Greek Philosophy Corrupted the Christian Concept of God. , 2005. Print