It is a physics class where Albert Einstein corrects the teacher about God. The teacher argues, if there is evil, then God created evil because he created everything. Therefore, according to the laws of physics if God exists, he is evil, but Einstein says, Is there cold? Of course, says the teacher
Einstein: No! There is no cold because cold is the absence of heat. Therefore, according to physics, it doesn't exist. Is there darkness?
Teacher: well of course we can see it.
Einstein: No! Darkness is the absence of light, therefore we can study light but not darkness. God didn't create evil, evil comes from Men who don't have God's love in their hearts.
Teacher: "You stated that evil is the absence of good. How does that solve the problem of evil?"
Furthermore, what is wrong with this approached is to say evil is just an absence of good doesn't make evil go away. The experience of pain and suffering is a product of evil and saying evil is just an absence of something doesn't make the pain and suffering an illusion. For example, if a tidal wave wipes out a whole town, and 100,000 people die, is that evil?"
Teacher: So, does defining evil as an absence of good makes the experience non-evil?
Einstein: Uh... I guess not.
Teacher: There you go. So redefining evil as the absence of good does nothing to solve the problem of evil. At best it shows that god did not create it, but this does not explain why god does not prevent it.
Also, your Thomistic-Augustinian semantic will not help you Mr. Einstein. Both 'heat' and 'cold' are subjective terms. They are what the philosopher John Locke properly called "secondary qualities". The secondary qualities refer to how we humans experience a very real phenomena: the movement of atomic particles. The term 'heat' and 'cold' refer to an interaction between human nervous systems and various speeds of atomic particles in their environment. So what we 'really' have is the temperature. The term 'heat' and "cold' are merely subjective terms we use to denote our relative experience of temperature. That's the same with darkness and light.
Light and dark are subjective terms we use to describe how we humans measure measure photons visually. The photons actually exist, the terms 'light' and 'dark' are just subjective evaluations, relative terms... Having to do, again, with an interaction between our nervous systems and another phenomenon of nature - this time, photons. So again, doing away with a subjective term does not eradicate the actual phenomena itself - the photons. Nothing actually changes. If we humans tend to call 'x number of photons' 'dark' and those numbers of photons we denote as 'dark' exist, and they continue to exist even if we do away with the term 'dark.'
Do you get it now?
So your entire argument is specious. Take away the subjective concept, and the "thing in itself" still exists.
Removing the term we use to reference the phenomena does not eradicate the phenomena. It is a fallacy to argue that it 'exists' devoid of any ontology. To exist is to exist as something. Ergo, if 'evil' exists is must exist as something, not nothing.
The students looked at each other and then began applauding at the teacher. This soon gave way to cheering. The teacher took a bow, laughing. Einstein was down, and at the next day he skipped classes. Then he left Germany and lived in America where he changed his name to Ken Ham .