What Is Evil?
Broadly speaking, ‘Evil’ is anything that is antithetical to the expressed Will of God - Anything! Consequently, your question becomes, ‘What’ is the expressed Will of God? Hey, we’ve been given a large entire book on the subject! It’s, also, been my experience that men have an intuitive sense of, ‘right’ and, ‘wrong’; and that’s not all. Men have access to (What is actually.) an acquired personal conscience. The problem with individual conscience, though, is that it needs to be subjectively and deliberately educated before it might be of any, ‘good use’.
In order to be understood, ‘evil’ must first be conceptualized. According to the very limited thought-processes of the human mind, ‘evil’ may be described as, ‘the opposite of good’. What is not, ‘good’ is, then, ‘evil’. Therefore, it is not rationally possible to define, ‘evil’ without also defining, ‘good’.
Frankly I think you’re getting, ‘hung up’ on too many individual examples of the higher, all-encompassing definition that you’re looking for. A long time ago I learned that no matter where you live in the world, all men, everywhere, intuitively recognize an: honest man, a brave man, a compassionate man; or, alternatively: a dishonest man, a cowardly man, or a selfish man.
All you've got to do is interact with someone for awhile; and, if you're really smart, apply the famous, 'boondoggle test'. Do this, and you will find out, very quickly, what you want to know about the other guy(s). So, who is the most difficult person to identify? Surprisingly it's not someone who, 'masks' well; instead, it would be someone who is inconsistent and vacillates between the various extremes. (Hence, even, ‘the best of men’ commit sin. It's only a question of degree. *1. )
In Moses’ so-called, ‘universal creation myth’ there are two trees in the garden: One is the, ‘tree of life’; and the other is the, ‘tree of the knowledge of good, and evil’. Simplistically speaking, our progenitors, ‘ate’ of the, ‘tree of the knowledge of good, and evil’. Once, ‘Adam and Eve’ indulged themselves they discovered - to their eternal chagrin - that they had irrevocably changed themselves - NOT for the better, but for the worse!
I’ll try to conceptualize your question for you: The Christ said that, ‘Only God is good’. *2. King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes that the real, the necessary, thing that everyman MUST do is to obey The Lord - Period! *3.
So, where do you (or anyone else) begin? There are 613 mitzvot (commandments) in the Old Testament. (The foundation upon which the New Testament is founded.) Of these 613 mitzvot, there are ten principal commandments, one outstanding secondary commandment, and two primary ancillary commandments. ALL are related to doing, ‘good’ before God. In my opinion, if all a man were to know about doing good, and evil were these 13 primary commandments then that man would have a very strong foundation in, ‘knowing’ the differences between good, and evil.
Specifically what did The Messiah say to that inquiring (and subtle) religious scholar? Christ said, ‘Thou shalt love The Lord, Thy God, with: all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.’ ‘THIS is the first, and great commandment.’ Then Christ went on to say, ‘The second commandment is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ ‘Upon these two commandments rests all The Law, and all the teachings of all the prophets.’ *4. This in reply to the man’s devious request for Christ to identify for him, ‘the principal commandment’ in The Law!
What, then, is evil? Evil is, both, sin AND the personal willingness to commit sin. ‘Sin’, in turn, is anything that violates the expressed Will of God; the consequence of which is evil. ‘Sin’ and, ‘evil’ are, therefore, closely interrelated terms. There are three immediate and glaring discrepancies in your reasoning: (1) God did NOT throw Satan out of Heaven merely for questioning Him. (Where did you get that nonsense from?) (2) Neither does God not punish ANYONE who fails to obey His expressed will. That most learned of Torah scholars, the Apostle Paul, emphatically states, ‘The wages sin pays is death.’ *5. (Just how plain does it have to be for you? ) (3) You say that, ‘evil is arbitrary’; but Christ has said, ‘By their deeds ye shall know that which they truly are!’
Because I’ve, now, had a considerable amount of experience in dealing with evil men I’m going to expand upon Christ’s last remark for you. (Ready?) ‘By both their deeds, and associations you will know the true character of those with whom you are dealing.’ *6. I hear ya; but, frankly, I don’t think you get, ‘the whole free will thing’ at all. Neither do you seem to understand the meaning and nuances of the term, ‘false prophet’. In closing let me add one more spiritual concept which I do not think you understand: ……… Karma.
I’m going to caution you against making the serious mistake of fooling yourself into believing that God does not see; that He does not hear; or that He does not judge, AND both reward and punish. The last thing I’m going to point out to you is Christ’s stern admonition that each and everyone of us IS GOING to answer for his every single: thought, word, and deed - Every single one! *7.
So, if you’re worried that God is allowing certain people to get away with anything, stop! As a practicing Christian, let me assure you that nobody ever gets away with anything - Not from the smallest of words to the largest of deeds. I would suggest that you should be VERY glad that it is not going to be you who has to pay for another man’s most despicable sins.
AROUND HERE THERE ARE NO FREE RIDES! (OK)
*1. Refer: Isaiah 64:6, ‘But we are all as an unclean thing; and all our righteousness is as filthy rags. We, all, do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.’
*2. Refer: Matthew 19:17, ‘And He said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? There is none good, but One, that is God; but if thou wilt enter into life, then, thou must keep the Commandments of God.’
*3. Refer: Ecclesiastes 12:13, ‘Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of a man.’
*4. Refer: Matthew 22:37-41.
*5. Refer: Romans 6:23.
*6. Refer: Matthew 7:15-20: ‘Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.’
*7. Refer: (1.) Ecclesiastes 12:14, And (2.) Matthew 12:36: (1) ‘For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.’ (2) ‘But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.’