New Agers at it again…
So now there are some going around claiming that "our ancestors had no concept of good and evil." Seriously, where do these guys come up with this ridiculous nonsense? It's almost every day we have to debunk some idiotic rumor being spread by these people that spreads around like a virus. This is what happens when you allow anyone to come along and just make up what they want. As long as they can sound "authoritative" they can pretty much tell you anything. Then if anyone calls them out they screech "CHRISTIAN!" real loud then start the list of excuses (the lore is CHRISTIAN!, because there were tribes I can make up whatever I want, we live in the modern world so I can make up whatever I want, etc. etc.).
The very words "good" and "evil" come from GERMANIC languages and date into pre-Christian times. In Old Norse "good" comes from goðr, and evil is directly from the Saxon language, with its root yfel. Its Old Norse equivalent is illr, which is directly connected. Not arbitrarily, directly. Here are the greatest Old Norse linguists who ever lived on the subject, Vigfusson/Cleasby:
ÍLLR, adj., compar. verri (q.v.), superl. verstr; íllr is still often pronounced with a long vowel, esp. in the forms íllt, ílls, as also íllr and illr, although it is usually in mod. books spelt with i; the long vowel is a remains of the contraction which in the Scandin. languages has taken place in this word: [Ulf. ubils; A. S. yfel; Engl. ill, evil; Hel. ubil; O. H. G. ubil; Germ. übel; Dan. ild; Swed. ill-; in mod. Engl. ill is of Scandin., evil of Saxon origin] :-- ill, evil, bad, in a bodily and moral sense: in sayings, íllt er at eiga þræl at einga-vin, Grett. 154; íllt er at eggja óbilgjarnan, or íllt er at eggja íllt skap = GREEK; erat maðr svá íllr at einugi dugi, Hm. 134; fátt er svo fyrir öllu íllt, að ekki boði nokkuð gott, = 'tis an ill wind that blows nobody any good; ílla gefask íll ráð, Nj. 20; opt stendr íllt af kvenna tali, Gísl. 15; opt hlýtr íllt af íllum (or íllt má af íllum hljóta), Ísl. ii. 151; frest eru ílls bezt, Fms. v. 294. 2. ill, bad, of quality, capacity; íllr búþegn, a bad farmer, Fms. i. 69; íllr hestr, a bad horse, Þiðr. 191; íllt skáld, a poetaster. 3. evil, wicked; góða frá íllum, Eluc. 37; íllr maðr, Hm. (íll-menni); íll ráð, evil counsel, 9; til góðs ok ílls, for good or evil, Grág. ii. 144; sjá við íllu, beware of evil, Sdm. 39; íllt eitt, all wickedness, as a nickname, Fms. ix. 419 (423 sqq.) 4. bad; íllum huga, an evil mind, spite, Hbl. 21; ílls hugar, Hým. 9; íllt skap, ill humour; vera í íllu skapi, to be in an ill mood; það er íllt í mér, to be angry; mæla íllt, to use foul language, Bjarn. 32; íll orð, evil words, Skm. 2; varð honum íllt til liðs, Fms. i. 22; íll öld, evil times, vi. 96; íllt veðr, ill weather, v. 295; íllar álögur, evil, oppressive burdens, vii. 75, v.l.; íll heilsa, ill health; íllt, unwholesome; er þat íllt manni, Eg. 604; medic., e-m er íllt (mér er íllt), to be ill; íllt er ('tis a pity) at eiga dáðlausa sonu, Ld. 236; honum þótti íllt (he was sorry) at heyra læti þeirra, Fms. iv. 368: denoting harm, hurt, grunaði at mikit íllt mundi af þér hljótask, Ísl. ii. 151; verðr hann þeim stórhöggr, ok fá þeir íllt af honum, Fms. xi. 135.
GÓÐR, adj., neut. gott with a short vowel; but that the ancients, at least in early times, said gótt is clear from the analogy with óðr neut. ótt, fróðr neut. frótt, and from rhymes such as gótt, dróttni; [Ulf. usually renders GREEK by gôþs, but GREEK by þiuþigs; A. S. gôd; Engl. good; O.H.G. got; Germ. gut; Dutch goed; Swed.-Dan. god] : 1. good, righteous; góða frá íllum, Eluc. 37; góðan mann ok réttlátan, Ver. 7; góðr ok réttlátr konungr, Fms. vii. 263; góðir ok ágætir, Alex. 65; góðr maðr, Sks. 456; góð kona, 457; er hón góð kona, er þú hefir svo lofat hana? Bs. i. 799; góð verk, Hom. 97; góðr vili, good-will : allit., Góðr Guð; biðja Góðan Guð; Guð minn Góðr! and the like : also as a term of endearment, my dear! Elskan mín góð! barnið gott, good child! M. N. minn góðr! 2. good, honest; drengr góðr, passim; góðir vinir, good friends, Ísl. ii. 393; góðir menn, good men, Grág. i. 301; aðrir góðir menn, Fms. ix. 268; Guði ok góðum mönnum, Grág. ii. 168; góðr vili, good will, honest intention, Bs. i. 746 : in addressing one, góðr maðr! Sks. 303, passim; góðir hálsar!