Incompatible Figures of Evil and the Plurality of Truth
Even within a single faith tradition, the accepted, “orthodox” symbols, figures, and images will have a degree of incompatibility due to all figurative language having creative and productive aspects. For example, the Christian conception of evil as a stain or blemish that the cleansing waters of baptism remove envisions evil as a kind of thing, as something with being, and yet, in the same tradition, evil is also considered as a privation, as a lack of a good that ought to be there, as not a thing at all, as not having any being. These two conceptions of evil aren’t entirely compatible, and yet both are very much at home in the same faith tradition.
What can we conclude from this? Ultimately what we know about evil, or anything else that we use figurative language to conceptualize, cannot be made into a single, coherent, all-encompassing conception. It’s truth is not one, but many, at least in so far as we have its truth figuratively in mind.