Elements of the Heroic Term Paper

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The Nature of Evil

Evil is portrayed in a variety of ways in Genesis A and B. Of the Junius Manuscript. Evil manifests despite God's attempt to give those who are loyal to him everything they need. The first manifestation of evil is in Heaven, when certain angels become proud and rebellious. When God decides to create Earth and human beings, evil also infests this. The phenomenon can then be seen in three ways. Evil as perverse, irrational and deluding are discussed as it is portrayed in the Junius manuscript. It appears to infest everything and everybody. Even God himself is not entirely free of the claws of evil.

Evil as Perverse

The first case of the perversity of evil is in line 20-33 (Bradley, 1982:13), where the chief of angels becomes first proud and then perverse. The perversity is manifest in the way that the angel and his followers turn away from what they know is in their best interest. Instead of submitting to God's will and friendship, the chief angel becomes increasingly proud to the point where he demands a throne in the northern part of heaven.

This perversity breeds a perversity of justice. God's anger apparently knows as few bounds as his mercy. So in the next section, line 34-46 (Bradley, 1982:13), the angels who were previously crowned with glory are thrown into hell to be tormented eternally. This punishment appears rather harsh, especially as there is no hope of redemption for the angels. Also, it is ineffective punishment, since it does not rehabilitate the offenders and simply results in further perversities as God attempts to expand his universe.

God expands his universe by creating the earth and all the creatures on it. He then trusts ten orders of angels to deal with matters on earth. These angels are made especially beautiful and powerful for God's purposes, and they exist to exalt and praise him. However, it is an again the leader who perversely falls in love with the creation rather than the creator. The highest of the angels created in this way becomes proud of all that he has received in terms of beauty and power. Forgetting that these are gifts from God, the angel uses his endowments to become proud and boastful, and he does not wish to be under God's power any more (Bradley, 1982:19; line 261- 277). He also speaks very conceitedly against God, feeling that it is no longer necessary to "flatter" him for the sake of his own ego.

The result of this is again the harshest of punishment, and another perversion of justice. God does not take into account the service rendered or the fact that the angel may have been an effective ruler. Nor are there any punishments that could result in a reinstatement of this angel. There is no forgiveness, and the angel is again thrown into hell to join the other, earlier angels. He is also turned into a demon (Bradley, 1982:19; line 292-321). The punishments themselves also appear harsh beyond what is necessitated by the offense. Intense heat and cold are suffered alternately for the rest of eternity.

It is no wonder then that the angels, in their hopelessness, begin to scheme against their once loving God. In line 401-409 (p. 23), a plan begins to form in the minds of the demons. Having lost their position of leadership in heaven, they look for a perverted from of leadership through the fall of human beings. The plan is then to get people to disgust God in the same way that the demons have so that God will reject them, and that they can become subordinate to the demons.

In line 442-452 (p. 25) the plan is put into action. The demon chosen for the job is thus chosen for his malevolence, his strength, his ability to seduce, lead astray and pervert. This is also a perversion of the things that God values in his angels. His leaders are chosen for their excellence in terms of being good, while the evil leader is chosen for the opposite of this.

When his seduction of Adam fails, the demon then seeks to pervert Eve's judgment. He succeeds in line 578-596 (p. 28-29). He perverts Eve's judgment by pretending that he is a servant of the God that she serves. In this way he succeeds in replacing her connection with God with an evil thinking "seething" inside her. In this way she is then seduced into eating the fruit that the demon offers her. Now that Eve has been perverted, the demon completes his work by turning her into the tempter. She is told that Adam "blasphemed" because he would not accept the fruit from the demon, and that it is her task to give him the fruit. Adam would then not be penalized for his "sin." This is a perversion of the way that things really are.

In line 684-703 (p. 31) Eve uses all of her persuasive power to seduce Adam into the same sin as hers. Adam hardly has a choice, since he is tormented all day by Eve and the demon's persuasions. And so his judgment is finally perverted.

Evil as Irrational

In the Manuscript, it appears that evil is by nature prone to acts of irrationality. All the sinners do so to fulfill some hunger for power or for more than they already have. This is irrational, since it appears that their Lord has already given them all they could possibly want. This need for still more then appears to be highly irrational.

In line 246-260 (p. 19) for example the leading angel who has received more than all the other angels, and who has treasures far beyond anybody's dreams, commits an act of irrationality by making trouble against God. This is irrational, since the example of other angels who have done the same should have served as a warning not to venture into such foolishness. The treasures he has received however does not satisfy this angel, and he irrationally longs for more power than he already has.

In line 409 (p. 23), where the demons are cast down, the leading demon still has the elements of pride and ownership in him, despite having lost it all. He promises rewards to anyone who can escape their prison and pervert Adam and Eve's judgment in order for them to become subordinates to the demons instead of God. These rewards are however not his to give, and he is in the same situation as all the other demons. They are all subordinate to the punishment given them by God. To promise rewards to any who would do his bidding, appears ludicrous. However, the offer is taken up with a similar air of irrationality. The strongest demon with the greatest powers of persuasion escapes hell and makes his way to the unfortunate human pair.

Line 435-441 (p. 24) display the same kind of irrationality, when the demon leader's promises become more and more lavish. He promises joint leadership in hell to any who succeeds in perverting the human sense of judgment and bringing them to a fall.

The demon's initial temptation of Adam also proves as irrational as it is ineffective. The demon promises Adam even more than he already has (p. 26; line 496-521). The demon here projects the mentality that led to his own fall onto Adam. The presumption is that Adam is not already satisfied with the many things he has received so far, and the demon attempts to persuade him that there is more to be had. This is irrational, since it is obviously not true. Adam rejects the demon's offer without difficulty.

In line 523-546 (p. 27) Adam recognizes the demon's irrationality and refuses to be drawn into it. Instead he holds onto what God told him when he last saw him, and this is his initial salvation. Adam does not let temptation or emotion interfere with what he knows on an intellectual level. He also prefers not to take any chances and not to give in to any enticements offered by the demon. He realizes that it is better to obey the rules given by God himself than to succumb to pressures from an imposter. In this instance, Adam serves as the representative of rationality as opposed to the irrational evil that has come to tempt him and his wife.

This is however not enough to keep him from being led astray. Adam's love for his wife ultimately proves enough to let him lose his rationality. Despite the fact that he initially makes the right choice, Eve's persistence as well as her love and beauty eventually succeed where the temptations of the demon fail.

In line 726-761 the circumstances leading to the temptation of Adam and Eve are established. The demons' motives are not irrational. The demons are naturally jealous of the human beings who appear to have all the rewards that they themselves have lost as a result…

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