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When we stand in the sun a shadow emerges from us. The shadow defines the precise area of our body which does not receive sunlight. It is the form of our area of darkness. It does not have an independent form like our body has. Thus while we are substantial the shadow is not. The shadow has no substance, it is merely an absence of light. In other words, light is substantial, darkness or shadow is not. Light comes from a source which is real. Darkness comes from no source and is a kind of illusion. Evil can be compared to that shadow. Essentially it is an absence of good with no independent reality of its own, much like the shadow we cast. Where good has not penetrated there exists the darkness of evil,which is an absence rather than a presence. When we assist or help someone, that support extended is substantial – it has presence. When we obstruct, impede, deny or refuse someone, it is a negative which amounts to an absence as against a positive which amounts to a presence.

In Mathematics we have the concept of plus and minus. The plus is substantial, say 4+4 – that is a number. The minus is not. It is not an entity. It is like a shadow. A subtraction is not substantial in the sense in which an addition is. Evil is like a subtraction, insubstantial like a shadow. Let us dwell on this further.

Warmth is substantial because the heat comes from a source which is real. Cold is not because cold does not come from a comparable source. There is no entity which exudes cold like the sun exudes warmth. Cold is the state when warmth has fled. It is the absence of warmth. In that sense, warmth has presence while cold has only absence. Evil is like cold, an absence rather than a presence.

Life again is substantial and palpable. Death is merely the absence of life and not a thing in itself. It has no reality and source like life. Evil is like death.

Sight is real because it is enabled by the eyes, which are real. Hearing likewise because the ears enable it and the ears are real. Speech is real because it emanates from a real mouth, tongue and throat. Blindness, deafness and dumbness are only an absence and evil is like them, an absence without a source. You may object that the source of blindness is disease etc. what I mean to say is that there is no organ which produces blindness comparable to the organ which produces sight. Please move away from the semantics to grasp the meaning with some lateral thinking. Evil, I wish to underline, in the same sense, has no ‘source’. when we attribute evil to say a Satan, we err. There is no Satan which produces evil. Evil is merely the absence of good. If there were a Satan, then evil would have a presence rather than an absence.

We often blame God for tolerating and allowing  evil in his creation. That is like blaming Him for allowing shadows to be cast where there is light. We pit a Satan against God and wonder why if He is omnipotent, he allows the existence of a source of evil like Satan. We fail to see that in God’s creation there is no Satan and what we call evil has no ‘source’ because an absence cannot be a presence.

Demons that need to be exorcised, arise not from any Satan as a source but from ourselves when we have an absence of good. Our state of absence of good, in the residue, is demonic. The state of darkness is simply the absence of light – there is no ‘dark planet’ (comparable to the Sun a ‘luminous planet’ radiating light), which casts shadows. Darkness has no presence. There is no ‘source’ which brings darkness into being or creates it. Darkness is merely an absence of light. Evil is like that.

We could term the vacuum of space as a form of evil. Evil because without light and warmth filling and dispelling that vacuum, life cannot survive in it. Such a vacuum appears dark and  sinister, cold and uninhabitable, cruel and life extinguishing. And we then seek to define evil as dark, cold and cruel, one that kills and exterminates. But in the final analysis it remains only an absence rather than a presence.