How does pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite reconcile evil with the existence of God?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite takes a strongly Platonizing position in his understanding of the nature of evil. For him, as for Proclus, who probably was a major influence on his work, evil does not have a positive existence or any positive qualities, but instead is defined by absence of good just as chaos is defined by absence of order. Descriptions of evil in his works associate it with non-being and chaos. Since to truly know the good, one must be and do good, evil is grounded in ignorance. Angels have perfect knowledge and perfect worship of  God; humans have neither. Matter, being inherently chaotic until united with form, acts as a precondition for evil, with the soul capable of evil due to its embodiment.


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