Out of evil comes good

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The concept that out of evil comes good is attributed to various sources, primary of which is the Bible.

  • In what is identified as his Sermon 28, Frederick William Robertson (1816-1853) wrote:
It is "Undeniable, that out of evil comes good--that evil is the resistance in battle, with which good is created and becomes possible. Physical evil, for example, hunger, an evil, is the parent of industry, human works, all that man has done: it beautifies life. The storm-fire burns up the forest, and slays man and beast, but purifies the air of contagion....
"Even moral evil," he wrote, "is also generative of good."
Robertson perceives that "evil is God's instrument." He adds that evil, as a "temporary necessity," is just as necessary as good.
"The evildoers have struck our nation, but out of evil comes good."[1]
  • Arthur Edward Waite, in Volume I (pp 61, 62) of "A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and of Cognate Instituted Mysteries: Their Rites, Literature and History," writes that "Out of evil comes good, however, and the confusion of tongues gave rise to 'the ancient practice of Masons conversing without the use of speech.'"
  • In a November 9, 2003, book review for the Washington Post by Shelby Coffey III of "And the Dead Shall Rise. The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank" by Steve Oney, Coffey writes "A Buddhist concept holds that out of good comes evil, and out of evil comes good. It's meant to keep us humble."[2]
  • "'Many times out of evil comes good.' So goes the philosophy of one Willie Stark -- illiterate hick turned politician. Taken from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men (1949) is the morality tale of Stark and how he rose from backwoods nobody to be a southern governor..."[3]

Early Christian father St. Augustine of Hippo stated the phrase in a slightly different way: good out of evil. St. Augustine said: "'God judged it better to bring good out of evil, than to suffer no evil to exist.'"[4]

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