Karl Heim

Karl Heim on guilt, the absolute evil

‘Guilt alone is the absolute evil, the absolutely terrible and unbearable, the simply irrevocable loss. Compared to guilt all else that may be terrible in the world is very slight indeed. If one weighs guilt against all other suffering in the world, unhappy love which makes life a hell, life-long hard labour in the mines of Siberia, continuous suffering from cancer without any hope but the prospect of a painful death, softening of the brain leading to madness, epilepsy with increasing stupefaction – the guilt will easily outweigh all the other evils in the scale. And if on the other hand we think of all that the world offers by way of good things, then all the riches, power and happiness of the world cannot balance and replace the damage caused by one guilty act’. – Karl Heim, Jesus the World’s Perfector: The Atonement and the Renewal of the World (trans. D.H. van Daalen; Edinburgh/London: Oliver and Boyd, 1959), 15.