We tend to spiritualize what it means to be good and evil and have a hard time defining it. I think good and evil can be simplified into two basic ideas. Good is keeping God’s word and evil is obeying oneself. This is illustrated in the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. God wanted them to have a blessed life and only gave them one negative commandment – to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And evil was exposed into the world when Adam and Even decided to not obey God and they obeyed themselves instead.
The greatest commandments we are to follow are to love God and to love others. Good is seeking God first, others second, and ourselves last.
It is interesting what the greatest commandment of Satanism is. You might think it’s “worship the devil” or “perform occultic practices daily”. Actually it’s “Do what thou wilt”.
The idea of seeking ourself first goes back to the garden of Eden, but it is manifested in different philosophies.
Hedonism believes the pleasure of self is the highest goal of life. It rejects any external laws or morals (particularly Biblical commands) that prevents self-pleasure.
Libertinism rejects all external restrictions and lives at “liberty” to follow his own course.
Aleister Crowley founded Thelema (or Thelemaism). It is summed up with “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” This philosophy is the basis of many modern pagan practices such as Satanism, Wicca, magick, and negopaganism.
We tend to have an elevated view of ourselves and think we are good. And those other evil people are the likes of Putin and Hitler. So, we justify our own actions because we think we are basically good and it’s other “evil people” that are truly evil. But, the reality is we are deceived. We are not really that smart or really that good. When we “do what thou wilt”, we are more in line with the philosophy of Satanism. We are unable to truly judge what is good and evil apart from a source that is the ultimate source of good – God expressed through his word.
So, it is simple to decide what we are doing is good or evil. Are we obeying God or are we obeying ourselves?