What is evil? Killing is evil, lying is evil, slandering is evil, abuse is evil, gossip is evil, envy is evil, hatred is evil, to cling to false doctrine is evil; all these things are evil. And what is the root of evil? Desire is the root of evil, illusion is the root of evil.
[Nonviolence] is directed against forces of evil rather than against persons who happen to be doing the evil. It is evil that the nonviolent resister seeks to defeat, not the persons victimized by evil.
If there is anything worse than evil, it is nothingness. At least evil has a form, and a voice, and a purpose, however depraved. Perhaps some good can even come out of evil: a terrible deed of violence against someone weaker may lead others to act in order to ensure that such a deed is not perpetrated again, whereas before they might have been unaware of the reasons why an individual might behave in such a way, or they might simply have chosen to ignore them. And evil, as we saw with the Blacksmith, always contains within itself the possibility of its own redemption. It is not evil that is the enemy of hope: it is nothingness.
Evil is thus a kind of parasite on goodness. If there were no good by which to measure things, evil could not exist. Men sometimes forget this, and say, there is so much evil in the world that there cannot be a God. They are forgetting that, if there were no God, they would have no way of distinguishing evil from goodness. The very concept of evil admits and recognizes a Standard, a Whole, a Rule, an Order. Nobody would say that his automobile was out of order if he did not have a conception of how an automobile ought to run.
There's a Good Book about goodness and how to be good and so forth, but there's no Evil Book about how to be evil and how to be bad. The Devil had no prophets to write his Ten Commandments, and no team of authors to write his biography. His case has gone completely by default. We know nothing about him but a lot of fairy stories from our parents and schoolmasters. He has no book from which we can learn the nature of evil in all its forms, with parables about evil people, proverbs about evil people, folklore about evil people. All we have is the living example of people who are least good, or our own intuition.
It was not evil that gave her the idea of pleasure, that seemed to her attractive; it was pleasure, rather, that seemed evil. And as, every time that she indulged in it, pleasure came to her attended by evil thoughts such as, ordinarily, had no place in her virtuous mind, she came at length to see in pleasure itself something diabolical, to identify it with Evil.
While God is not the author of evil and He never prompts or condones sin, nothing occurs without His sovereign oversight. Others may choose to do evil deeds and God's people may suffer in the short term, but He will transform the evil intentions of evil people into opportunities for the enrichment of those in His care.