In some form or another many of you are probably at least somewhat familiar with this phrase. The idea that evil exists to show the blessedness of good is even a notion that we can see in the pages of Scripture itself! The apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Rome ( 7:13 ), 'Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful'. In context, maybe, a bit off-topic, but the principle seems to fit. Evil occurs, or happens, that good might be shown to be good! Another way to put it is that, you cannot see the light, unless you are surrounded by darkness!
Yes & No!
One could well argue that light can exist without the darkness, good can exist ( or does ) without evil, and so forth, and this is true in the greatest sense. For example, God does not need an Adversary in order to exist; light does not need darkness in order to exist, but in order for us to appreciate the goodness of our good Father, we must experience the bad, and in order for us to appreciate the blessing of light, we must first experience the lack of it, or darkness.
While it is undeniably true that, for instance, God does not need an Adversary in order to exist, the way that He has set the world in motion is on the principle most famously popularized by Yin & Yang. We read in Jeremiah 32:23, for example, that God, because His people would not obey His Word, 'caused all this calamity to come upon them'. In the discipline of His errant children, Isaiah 45:7 records that our Heavenly Father said 'I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these'. In traditional poetic for, the prophet Amos ( 3:6 ) wrote 'I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these'
Our Heavenly Father uses evil ( the absence of good ) in order to show us, His children the right, good, and acceptable way! If we did wrongly, and yet received good for it, how would we know that it was wrong? On the other side of the coin, one might argue, if we do right, and yet receive evil for it ( Why do bad things happen to good people?' ), how then do we know that what we do is good, right, and just?
Thhe Scriptures tell us that 'He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you,but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?' I we do these, we can be assured that what we do is right, good and acceptable; if we do not do this things with all our heart, mind soul and strength, you may be assured that evil, in whatever form, will come of it!
Charles Haddon Shank