For faith systems that are polytheistic or pantheistic, it is easy to explain the existence of evil by assigning its source to one or more gods. In monotheistic religions, especially those that attribute the creation of all things to that one God, explaining the source of evil is problematic. One of the attempts to do this resulted in the elevation of Satan/Lucifer to near deity status. In some cases, the source of evil gained god-like status in all practicality.
I don’t claim to have the whole answer. However, I am convinced that much of the “fire and brimstone” we talk about is an extension of our internal conflicts. We fear rejection when we don’t meet expectations. Our need to be loved is so great that we feel pain when we are not, or think we are not, loved. We express this in images of torment and externalize the cause of pain as an evil being foreign to our spirit.
There are people who are at least intuitively aware of this internal working that we all have. They prey on the fear and make you pay for some sign that you are loved. Sometimes this is coming from a pulpit, but more often it comes from family members who make love conditional.
More and more I am appreciating the expression a friend shared with me recently: God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it.
One of the corollaries of the doctrine of the Trinity is the lesson that God loves all that you are and has taken the initiative to let you know that. We don’t have to understand how. We don’t have to understand why. We do need to trust it.
Society will never be perfect. It is made of human beings. The physical world will not always give us perfect days and easy living. It is constantly changing. There truly are some things to fear. But fearing that you are not worthy of love is not one of those things.
Leave the house of your emotional fears and move into the house of love.