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Synopsis

The History of the Devil and the idea of evil from the earliest times to the present day
by Paul Carus

THIS WORLD OF OURS is a world of opposites. There is light and shade, there is heat and cold, there is good and evil, there is God and the Devil. The dualistic conception of nature has been a necessary phase in the evolution of human thought. We find the same views of good and evil spirits prevailing among all the peoples of the earth at the very beginning of that stage of their development which, in the phraseology of Tylor, is commonly called Animism. While the idea of God has received much attention from philosophers and progressive theologians, its counterpart, the dark figure of the Evil One, has been much neglected. And yet the Devil is, after all, a very interesting personality, grotesque, romantic, humorous, pathetic, nay, even grand and tragic. And if we have to declare that the idea of God is a symbol signifying an actual presence in the world of facts, should we not expect that the idea of the Devil also represents a reality?

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