A Couple of Theological Issues

Pages 416-417 of Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein book one: The Prodigal Son have had me internally arguing with two of the characters – Father Duchaine and Detective Jonathan Harker. Both are ‘made men,’ not in the Mafia sense, but literally, in that they were created by Victor Helios aka Frankenstein. They are of the New Race, who will, if Helios has his way, one day supercede the Old Race. Harker has committed murders, ripped open his victims, in order to ‘find’ the secret to happiness. Duchaine has given him sanctuary in his church, which serves as a channel of communication, via the confessional booth, between the guilty confessers and Helios. Duchaine is suffering an existential crisis, in that, although he was originally created by Helios, as a soldier in the upcoming war against the Old Race, he is coming to believe, through his time in the church, that there is in fact a God, and that he (Duchaine) is a soulless creation of man, who is, along with all members of the New Race, destined to eternal damnation. On page 416, upon Harker’s assertion that he doesn’t feel guilty for his murders, he reminds him of the commandment, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ Harker then reminds Duchaine that even if there is a God, His commandments can’t apply to them, because they are not His children – their maker is not God (who may or may not exist) but Helios.

And here is my contention!

If you believe in God, would it not make sense to believe that He is the creator of everything? Not directly, of course – my mother and father made me; but if God is the source of all existence, and therefore all matter, then God’s hand was there in my creation. God created me, through my mother and father, as he created trees and bugs and bacteria, and Harker and Duchaine through Helios.

Duchaine quickly relents and says, “It’s still a crime.” – to which I have to say, “What kind of a Catholic priest is he?!” One who was created by Frankenstein, I suppose…

Harker then goes on to ask Duchaine if he believes in evil – which is, I have to say, a debate which just annoys me. What is evil? Reduced to its simplest terms, it is (I would say) negativity, destruction. It is hate, disorder, entropy. One could argue that it is none of these things – that some of these things are, in fact, neutral forces, which have nothing to do with good and evil; that some of them can, in fact, be forces for good – for example, the destruction of weapons of war; but that’s a double negative, which doesn’t count… and… well… I think you get the general gist. If you don’t, then click off to another blog, but if you do…

Does all this not suggest that evil (or Evil) is not one big black hole of a force, which we either have or we don’t, but is something we can all have in us to varying degrees? Vis a vis ‘good.’ The term ‘evil’ is a very emotive one (not so much ‘good,’ strangely), but if instead we say, for example, ‘negative’ and ‘positive,’ is it not easier, and less morally contentious, to concede that we are all mixtures, to varying ratios, of these opposing forces? That no one is pure evil, no one is pure good, and God and Satan (in the Christian sense) are physically impossible Platonic ideals of the concepts of good/positivity/creation and evil/negativity/destruction?

So of course evil exists, but only if we understand and have a proper definition of what it is.

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