In some sense & to whatever extent, we are all in the process of spiritual detoxification. Some of my readers may not even realize it yet. I assure you, though, we are all affected in some way by it. My own personal journey has brought me from a strict determinist position, to a slightly liberalist, preteristic ( past fulfillment ) position, to where I am now, hovering somewhere between realizing & knowing. I know that there is a Creator, biblically speaking, the Great 'I AM', but I realize too that good things happen to 'bad' people & vice versa, for reasons that we can't seem to comprehend, sometimes. One question on the minds of many people today is, 'Why would a good & loving God allow such evil to exist?'; it is also the reason that many have left the fold, so to speak!
Just like any other form of detox, spiritual detox can be quite painful at times; to whatever extent & for however long, the estrangement of friends & loved ones might be one of the results. Emotional turmoil is yet another; baring questions like, 'how can I bear the Christ Within ( the ( Holy Spirit ), when, as the apostle states, 'I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but [ how ] to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will [ to do, ] I do not do; but the evil I will not [ to do, ] that I practice' ( Romans 7: 18 & 19 )?' First of all, when questions like this come to mind, we must realize that the author was writing to address a certain situation, at a specific time in history, We can however, apply this to our current situation as well, for we often find ourselves locked in battle with what might be called the 'Ego'. It is the ego that says, 'I don't care if it's right or wrong!' Also known as 'the Person', the ego says, 'this is what 'I' want; who cares what anyone else wants!' One might call such a person 'selfish'.
It goes without saying that we are all at different stages in 'the Journey: I say 'the Journey', not 'our
Journey', because even though, in a personal sense, we must each ( individually ) walk the path before us, it is really & truly the same Journey. The Journey toward Knowing. Knowing ourselves, finding our purpose in Life, the Purpose of it All, really! 'Why are we here?' 'Why must we endure evil?' 'Why do we keep making the same mistakes over & over?' 'What is the point of it all?' When we begin to realize that we shape our own destiny by the choices that we make, the struggle begins in earnest. Thoughts like, 'Is God really in control?' begin to surface. We ( personally ) are tempted to think, 'Well, if God was really in control, evil wouldn't exist!'
But Evil does 'exist'; so how do we rectify this conundrum? There's a saying that seems to fit the bill; Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Like Epicurus above, the question of whether the Creator God is a loving One, is one that many, including Christians have been asking for centuries on end. On a personal level, even as Paul was quoted earlier, we can see that it is individual choices that manifest the evil we witness in the world. Not simply our own, but the selfish, ego-driven choices that others have made from time immemorial. In making these choices, for 'good' or 'evil', people have shown themselves to be masters of their own destiny. Some have perished, in a personal, biological sense, while others have chosen to live in unity with the (spiritual ) body, knowing that all are from the Source & of the same Essence.
This Essence, whether you call it by its Christian name, or 'The Great Spirit', 'the Creator', 'Energy', or simply 'the Source', is that Divine Essence of which all things exist. It is, therefore, all good! The 'evil' enters in when people ( individuals/persons ) allow their lower ( animal ) nature, or Ego, to rule them. This is not always a bad thing, but relatively speaking, it is construed as good or evil. In other words, what one intends or accomplishes for their own good might be viewed as evil to another ( person). What is 'good' for one may not be 'good' for another; what is 'evil' to one may not be seen as 'evil' to another. The Question of Evil is another that needs reexamining!
'Then why call him God' was the question. If 'He' is truly 'Almighty', as the Scriptures say, then why does 'He' allow evil; why did 'He' give us free will, knowing as 'He' must have, that some ( many ) would use that free will to their own ( selfish ) ends, doing what was right in their own eyes. It is recorded in Scripture that Jesus Himself agreed with the Psalmist ( Psalm 82:6 ), when He said, 'You are gods' ( John 10:34 ). We are gods in the sense that we have the free will to judge for ourselves. Some have used this to their own ( individual ) advantage, while others are content to 'let it be', basking in the Glory that we ARE, as the Image of the Creator God!
Something popular these days is to run a 'detox' ( similar to a 'defrag' ), whether it involves cleaning out one's friendslist on FB or ingesting some kind of more-or-less herbal formula to flush one's system. More often than not, unfortunately, many tend to, after the painful 'flushing', even during it, because of the pain, refill their system with much of the same garbage they just got rid of, or eliminated. Spiritual detoxification often has the same effect; because it's to painful, many tend to return to wallowing in the same pit they took pains to get out of, or else they ignore the fact that it's needed because they foresee the pain it will cause.
Realizing that we ARE gods, masters of our own destiny, personally speaking & further, that we are of a spiritual, not animal, or fleshly, nature, we thus begin to understand the Nature of Evil itself! Evil is not something that some God ( Person ) out there somewhere ('Heaven'? ) permits, or allows; it is something that WE permit, or allow! A wise man once said, 'the only thing necessary for the triumph of Evil is that good men do nothing': let that sink in! Depending, of course, on the context, one might well ask, 'are they truly good men IF they do nothing?' 'What IS a good man?!
Knowing that there is a Creator God, the Source of All Life, is half the battle, in a manner of speaking. While our spiritual nature just IS ( 'it is what it is' ), we must needs operate in the Person, even with its oft-damning Ego. What we must be careful to observe, as YHWH told Cain, the first biblically recorded murderer, 'its desire is for you, but you should rule over it' ( Genesis 4:7b ). By ruling over our Ego, rather than letting it rule us ( our actions ), we allow ourselves to BE the Love that we ARE & begin to heal, rather than harm!
Namaste' & May it be!
Charles Haddon Shank