If assuming this basic presupposition, or axiom of a realist type position concerning the Good and an anti-realist position of the Bad/Evil in relation to the Good in a negative existence or absence of the existence of goodness sense,

is it logically possible for a free agent (who is capable of moral reasoning; a moral agent and responsible towards the duty and obligation of acting morally in an objective sense) to love evil or to hate good?

I'm tempted to use the analogy of the mathematic relationship between positives and negatives, but the acts of loving and hating don't appear to be mutually exclusive to the Good or Bad/Evil, and have more to do with desired approval or disapproval towards things relative to different things and different relationships.

But I maybe wrong and love is mutually exclusive to only goodness and hate exclusive to bad/evil, although hating evil does seem like a virtue, but I wouldn't know if that would just be an empty anthropomorphic expression if evil in the sense I'm discussing (antirealist) isn't concretely real.

I wanted to take this question even further, and discuss a popular theological example (not necessarily sticking to a thomist or traditionalist or palamas or other metaphysical theological denominational positions), not necessarily to make this a theological or Christian or apologetic topic, since I'm only interested in the logical and metaphysical aspect of this question and not the denominational details.

If we assume that we're all Christians that believe in this personal God that is the source of free will, and his free will property is an extension of his more basic property/principle which is himself as being being itself so his free will is undescribably higher / perfect as always being and acting at the same time for all eternity so his immutability doesn't necessarily contradict his personalism and free will, just that it's different from our experiences of having imperfect free will abilities.

Assuming all of these issues just for the sake of argument and to get to the main point of this example, is it logically possible for God who is the Good ontologically personified, to will himself to love evil? Or even for that fact of the matter, for him to hate Evil? Are hate and love interchangeable relative terms so that God doesn't need to posses in him (logically contradictory) the properties of evil or any lackness of the Good in order for him to express hatred in time if he were to enter into our universe in time?

This God example is a good one and reminds me of the questions that me and my friends would ask when we were kids, such as can God love the Devil, or hate/love evil, or can God even hate anything at all?

I'm aware that I'm not asking specifically a Christian philosophy group, but assuming all of these points were granted for the sake of the example, I'm very interested to learn more insight about love/ hate and good/evil with these logical examples so that I can further develop the logical aspects of my ethical perspectives, for the sake of consistency and to me asking logicians this is the best place to start, if not to find the answer to this question, I may be pointed in the right direction by those who study and are informed in these topics!

  • Nothing "logical" here. Do you think that there are persons loving evil ? Maybe... If there are some, this means that there is nothing that is "logically impossible" in the related concept. Oct 5, 2020 at 11:13
  • Is it because there is no logical property of consistency between good, evil, love and hatred in relation to each other? Oct 5, 2020 at 11:17
  • I guess it could depend if love and hatred are purely relative/preference terms with no properties at all of Good and Evil, but I do think that there is something intrinsically good about love in of itself independent of anything else or intrinsically bad or evil in hatred by itself, although they do seem to change when one talks about hating evil as being a good thing or loving evil as a bad thing. Perhaps semantics is an insurmountable impass for this question in regards to logic? Maybe there are both properties of absolute (intrinsically) and relative (extrinsically) to these terms? Oct 5, 2020 at 11:22
  • Maybe the question must be rephrased avoiding "logic camouflage"... Are there Intrinsic Values Is "Good" one of this ? If so, are we "forced" to adopt behaviors that aim at achieving it ? Oct 5, 2020 at 11:26
  • Hmm.. your suggestion sounds to me like asking about objective moral duties, if they are truly obligatory towards us, if we are moral agents if ontologically and objectively speaking there is such a thing as moral values such as goodness? Sounds related, but this question sort of assumes this presupposition and asks, "if this were the case, does logical consistency apply to being obligated to love everything if we are obligated to be good ourselves, where we cannot act contrary to love or goodness since hatred intrinsically appears to be bad, so do we have to love evil if we want to be consist Oct 5, 2020 at 11:37

2 Answers 2


is it logically possible for a free agent (who is capable of moral reasoning; a moral agent and responsible towards the duty and obligation of acting morally in an objective sense) to love evil?

In The Science of Logic Hegel defines evil as a totally self-centred point of view.

Remark: The unity of the One and the Many

§ 356

Self-subsistence pushed to the point of the one as a being-for-self is abstract, formal, and destroys itself. It is the supreme, most stubborn error, which takes itself for the highest truth, manifesting in more concrete forms as abstract freedom, pure ego and, further, as Evil. ...

As such, an affinity for evil is absolutely incompatible with being a moral agent. (Obvious, since morality is concerned with proper behaviour in society, and total self-centeredness doesn't involve itself with society at all.)

In a more nuanced reading: Godhead and the Nothing, Thomas Altizer writes "when philosophy first deeply engages the question of evil in German Idealism, this is precisely the point at which philosophy fully becomes theology". So continuing with theology:

Christian theology knows that “evil” is transfigured in redemption, is absolutely transformed, and even if it is thereby reduced to a pure and final nothingness, such a transformation is a genuine act, and is the eternal act of redemption. (page 76)

In Altizer's theology, evil is a inevitable stage in both life and metaphorical creation, and its redemptive transfiguration is the ultimate act. (of love?) On the human scale, this is where the selfish person has an epiphany and joins society, (joins the Mitsein).

  • Good and evil are purely relative and completely subjective experiences. Spinoza explain that, ' We do not choose something because it is good, but rather consider something good because we choose it.' So yes, someone can and often does desire evil, thinking that it will have a satisfactory effect in their life. This would be equivalent to 'loving evil'.
    – user37981
    Oct 5, 2020 at 17:29
  • 1
    @CharlesMSaunders It appears Spinoza and Hegel have different ideas of what constitutes evil. The relative merits of these views warrants consideration. Oct 5, 2020 at 17:53
  • @CharlesMSaunders FYI doi.org/10.1017/S0012217313000243 Oct 13, 2020 at 6:13
  • @ChrisDegmen Did read the Hegel abstract. Any theory that claims a natural dialectical antimony between good and evil seems to bear too much of the anthropomorphic theism residue to sound natural and ring true. Hegel merely proved Spinoza's assertion that humans subjectively decide what is good or evil.
    – user37981
    Oct 13, 2020 at 17:45
  • @CharlesMSaunders -- I bet my Christmas that you misunderstood Spinoza. The concepts Good and Evil are as absolute as they can possibly be. Yes, they depend on what we find painful or pleasant, those feelings are, in practical terms, objective as well. Nov 4, 2020 at 14:15

First, some agreements about the language.

  • Good and evil are relative. If I want to die, poison is good. If I want to live, poison is bad. Death is good for the hunter, bad for the prey. There's no absolute good or evil.

  • In order to simplify the problem (the problem of good and evil is quite complex), we'll assume that everything that is good is related with life, survival, wellness, love (in fact, all behaviors that are constructive on the long term) and everything that is bad is related to death, perenniality, suffering, hate (all behaviors that are destructive on the long term). In short, good is what is constructive and vice versa.

  • Love is essentially two things:

    • the passion that a person feels that raises because something is received (e.g. my wife gives me joy, so she creates a passion on me). Love as a passion is always the result of receiving something, otherwise.
    • the will to do good to another person, which is expressed by giving something (e.g. I love my wife, so I prepare her favorite breakfast on sundays).
  • "Loving evil" is quite subjective. It cannot be the "will to do good to evil". Perhaps it can be associated for the passion for evil. A person that loves, in the passionate sense, evil, would be a person that prefers destroying instead of constructing himself.

According to that, yes, you can feel love for evil, and that can be logical. Of course, the logical consequence is immediate self-destruction, with some degree of collateral destruction.

A lot of natural mutations of living entities perish easily. The reason for that can be interpreted to be its tendency to destruction, to have something bad (negative, destructive, wrong), or perhaps what you call "love for evil". That's completely normal in nature and regulated by natural selection. For example, if an animal gives birth to a mutated young that gets pleasure by stop breathing, or by being aggressive to his mother (what can be considered 'evil', according to our previous definition), it will soon perish. Dying is the logical consequence.

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