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This painting is partly about the knowledge of good and evil. The knowledge of good and evil is a crucial philosophical issue to humanity. Firstly it is tied up with free will. It is the human experience that we live this life with a constant flow of choices limited by our circumstances. If we follow the materialist argument to its conclusion; that argument being, that man is nothing but a machine made up from material elements and has no spirit soul, then actually there is no such thing as free will or good and evil. This conclusion is reached when you see that an individual has no choice in the DNA and atoms that give rise to the thoughts of his/her mind. Although it feels like he/she is making choices the random collection of matter that has chaotically evolved and caused their current consciousness at any given moment, would have only allowed the action the individual made and so no choice was actually available. The materialist philosophy does not accept the eternal spirit soul to be the guiding being behind the material body. With the existence of a spirit soul behind matter there is something beyond our chemical components, that is able to make choices and control the material body.

If the materialist philosophy is held that we have no spirit soul it follows that there is no free will and therefore humans can have no control over their actions. Therefore good and evil do not exist as the murderer could not control the random material chain that led to his /her action. So if a person denies the existence of the immortal soul they are really denying their own ability to make choices and in a way denying their own existence.

I believe it is vital to realise that we are spirit/souls and good and evil do exist. This painting illustrates how mankind can reach towards god who can be seen as pure goodness. Or sink through sin to the depths of evil.

The fist argument many people use to deny the existence of god is to point out the problem that if god existed why is there so much evil in the world. If we were only able to chose perfect choices there might be no evil in the world but we would not have the freedom to choose from the countless options of good and evil available to us. If we were forced always to choose the good we would not have free will and could not fully appreciate the dazzling beauty of choosing goodness. If I had no free will I would not be an independent thinking being with the ability to make choices and create.

Having freewill is a vital part of being a conscious human being without it we might as well be machines and if the materialist philosophy is held we are nothing more than machines and free will is an illusion.

If the will of all created beings is in harmony with the pure goodness of the will of god then we do not have evil, but with freewill comes the freedom to choose what is evil.

Whether we look at the Genesis account of the fall of man as literal or poetical it can be an useful story in understanding life, as there is truth in poetry.

The painting includes images that acknowledge the genesis account of the fall of man through the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. The figure at the top can be seen as Adam taking the fruit illustrated with an apple at the centre of the painting. The knowledge of good and evil is symbolised with the yin yang symbol over the apple. The knowledge of good and evil can be seen as flooding out from the apple at the centre of the painting and affecting all of the elements of the painting. I wanted to portray how the world falls with humanity as our every action and thought good and evil has some affect on the world and selfish evil actions can have a negative impact on the environment and all of creation.

 The figure at the bottom can be seen as fallen man deformed by sin. Seven root like tentacles worm through the ground towards a pyramid like structure of gold at the bottom right of the composition. These seven roots represent the seven sins and the pyramid represents power, it is gold because of the association of wealth with power. The pursuit and acquisition of power is connected to some of the most evil actions in history. The pyramid like structure is a reference to power structures of societies that withhold knowledge in the belief that they hold secrets to enlightenment where as such secrecy is false enlightenment and further away from the true knowledge of god. To seek power in order to exert your will over others is negative and this pyramid is meant to show that such aspirations lead away from enlightenment into darkness.

This painting captures something of my personal struggle between the warring forces in my own soul. I want to be a force of good but I am painfully aware that sometimes I make negative choices; this painting is a visual reminder to me that the concept of good and evil is real and I have the freedom to choose between the two. I can stop and take responsibility for my actions and aim always to choose what is good and beautiful. This struggle is common to humanity as everyone has the freedom to choose between what is good and evil, we all have the power to make existence  more loving, peaceful and beautiful.

Above: Detail centre of composition
Above: Detail, figure at top of composition
Below: Detail, figure at bottom of composition
Below: Detail of pyramid
The Fall