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The World Enigma1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 November 2011

Cary C. Moody
Indianola, Mississippi


The enigma of the world is the existence of evil or imperfection. Though a deeper insight discloses relative perfection, yet the relative perfection of finite things discloses imperfection. If good of the kind, yet the kind is bad. There is no compliment more distasteful than to be told that one is good of his kind, for it implies that the kind may be bad.

While it is obvious that the world, as a whole, is under the sway of one principle, yet the problem is how can a perfect being originate and sustain a world of imperfect beings, endowed with the capacity to develop towards perfection, and likewise with the capacity to resist such development?

Research Article
Copyright © President and Fellows of Harvard College 1924

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1 In the following the writer is largely indebted to “Hegel's Logic,” by Dr. William T. Harris, sometime United States Commissioner of Education, and also to “The Fundamental Ideas of Christianity,” by Principal Caird. In this article I have endeavored to state the thought expressed in those works, adopting their phraseology where possible. However, in that connection I quote from the former: “But each thinker may claim originality, not only for his statement of it but also for the insight itself. For it cannot be borrowed from another, it is itself an original insight, because it is and must be a seeing at first hand of the necessity of all existence of whatever character to be grounded in self-determining being.”