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Author Topic: Did God Create Evil?  (Read 28837 times)

Beechwood

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Did God Create Evil?
« on: July 08, 2003, 07:57:20 AM »
What does it mean when God says "I create Evil"? Isn't God incapable of evil? So how do we explain this?

GoldRush

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Re: Did God Create Evil?
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2003, 08:37:22 PM »
Beechwood,

You probably refer to the verse from Isaiah where God says:

"I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things."  Isaiah 45:7 NKJV

The word evil is "ra" in the Hebrew language, which means "adversity," "affliction," "bad," "calamity," etc.

"Ra" (or, "evil") is not the exact same thing as sin, but evil is the consequence of sin.

 Sin produces evil results.  Separation from God produces darkness.  Unrighteousness produces wickedness.   "The wages of sin is death. . ."  Romans 6:23a


God did not bring sin into the world.  The first man, Adam, did that:

". . Through one man sin entered the world, and thus death (the wages of sin), spread to all men . . ."  Romans 5:12

But God, being sovereign over all His creation, created and allowed evil to physically manifest in order to demonstrate the spiritual victory of divine  righteousness, grace, salvation, and justice through His Son, Jesus Christ, who will judge and eliminate all sin, evil, and death forever and ever.  (See Genesis 50:20 and Romans 8:28)


J&R

GoldRush
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Bruce

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Re: Did God Create Evil?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2003, 12:31:51 PM »
The word evil is "ra" in the Hebrew language, which means "adversity," "affliction," "bad," "calamity," etc.

"Ra" (or, "evil") is not the exact same thing as sin, but evil is the consequence of sin.

That's not exactly true. The bible can call a storm evil, but storms are not the consequences of sin. Your definition is a little off.

GoldRush

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Re: Did God Create Evil?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2003, 02:13:15 PM »
Bruce,

Destructive storms are most certainly an evil result of sin.  All of nature reflects corruption because mankind corrupted.

"For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now."  Romans 8:20-22

J&R


GoldRush
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Tony Warren

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Re: Did God Create Evil?
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2003, 10:40:36 AM »
>>>
That's not exactly true. The bible can call a storm evil, but storms are not the consequences of sin. Your definition is a little off.
<<<

Bruce, the word "translated" evil in scripture does not necessarily mean evil in the same sense that we understand evil in our day. We use the word evil as a synonym for sin and wickedness, but that is not always the case throughout scripture. The word translated evil is the Hebrew word [ra'], meaning something that is the opposite of Good. It is from a root, meaning to be spoiled, and by implication anything that is bad. Not evil in the sense we think of evil today, but more correctly understood as something "bad" or anything that is "not good" for us. For example, adversity, a tornado, a spanking, or anything which we deem "not good" is bad, but not necesarily wicked. eg.:

Jeremiah 24:2
  • "One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad."

That Hebrew word that is translated "bad," is the exact same word [ra'] that is translated "evil." Yet, the fruit is not sinful or wicked, nor is it evil as we understand the word. It is bad (evil) only in the sense that it is not good to eat. Not good because it is bad fruit or spoiled. Not bad in the sense that it's from wickedness or is evil as we understand the word evil today.

If I walk outside my door and trip and fall, it is a bad [ra'] thing, but it is not because of evil, nor is it sin. It is simply something that is not a good thing to me. Unfortunately, in our day what is bad (the word translated evil), and what is sin (or wickedness), are often regarded as one and the same thing, when in fact often they are very different. Scripture makes it quite clear that what God calls evil, is not necessarily sinful.

Proverbs 15:10
  • "Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die."

Again, the word translated grievous [ra'], is the exact same word translated evil. Correction in this context is not wickedness or evil (as we understand it to be iniquity) perpetrated by God, nor this correction come from evil/wickedness. In fact, in this context it is good, not evil in the sense we understand the word today at all. This word [ra'] is used here to illustrate an unpleasant (bad) experience from the point of view of him that is being corrected, and cannot mean sin/wickedness in this instance. It means a bad experience or an experience that seems not good to him that receives it, even though ultimately it is for his good. That is the way the word  [ra'],  or evil is used in Isaiah chapter 45. It is things that are not good from the perspective of those receiving it. Though from God's view it would be just, true and righteous and not evil or wickedness. To those receiving it, it is bad/evil.

Also, it should be self evident that something bad (evil) "can be" sin, but something that we consider bad or evil is certainly not always sin. Bad or evil things include a whole list of other non-sinful occurrences. For example, adversity or trouble are bad things that come upon us (Note: the word [ra'] is also translated both adversity and trouble in scripture because they are bad things), but is not necessarily wicked/sin/iniquity.

Psalms 41:1
  • "..Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble."

That word translated trouble there is the exact same word translated evil or bad. It means that the Lord will deliver him out of bad times or times of adversity.

And so when we read that God creates evil, it is not saying that God creates sin, transgressions or wickedness in man, because that is antithetical to the nature of God, and is contradictory to all that God declares. Remember, no scripture can contradict another or make it null and void.

James 1:13-14
  • "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
  • But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."

God does not create evil/wickedness, nor does He tempt man with it. But He does create bad/evil, which is things that are not good for those receiving it. God creates, judgment and hell, and that is a bad (evil) thing for people, but it is not sin or wickedness. And it is perfectly consistent with God's righteousness and word to create it. God withdraws light, and thus creates darkness, but this is not sin, it is justice. God takes away peace, and allows war, but this is not God making man war, that is God not restraining it. God removes His hand of restraint and man's heart is hardened, but this is not creating sin. For God is not obligated to maintain peace, hold back war, or keep man's heart softened, nor is He obligated to keep man's wickedness restrained. And when we look at the very context of Isaiah chapter 45, it becomes clear that this is what God is saying.

"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil:"

Notice the contrast between these things. Light contrasted over against the darkness. And Peace contrasted over against Bad or evil. Take away the Lord's peace and what do you have? Does that make God responsible for man's warfare? Not at all. He was never obligated to give peace in the first place. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. In another instance, the opposite of peace is war, adversity and trouble. And that is what God is saying about creating evil. God establishes peace, and God brings evil by withdrawing that peace He has established. As sovereign God He is not obligated to maintain peace. Likewiise, He is not obligated to maintain the light for anyone but whom He has chosen. God bound Satan that the nations might be delivered, but by the same token, God can (and will) loose him when it is Hisd will to do so. Because He is not obligated to keep him bound, nor his wickedness restrained. So you see, by taking away peace, God creates adversity and trouble as judgment upon the unrighteous. This is not sin (Wickedness), it is justice and righteousness. And scripture is replete with examples.

Job 2:10
  • "But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips."

Note that the opposite of good is bad. And God uses this same word [ra`] or evil. Yet this evil at the hands of God is not sin, it is to us something "not good," or a "bad" thing for us. God`s judgments, or his withdrawing His hand of protection, is how God creates evil (bad) or adversity in our lives. The righteous judgment of God is not an unlawful or sinful act, it is exactly what man should expect of a righteous, loving, and compassionate God. And from a God of judgment.

"nosce te ipsum"
 
Peace,
Tony Warren
"I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. -Psalms 32:5"

judykanova

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Re: Did God Create Evil?
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2003, 03:46:49 AM »
This is the best explanation of the Bible's use of the  word ‘evil’ (in reference to God) that I've ever heard.  Knowing that one primary attribute of God is His perfect Holiness, some passages like these I knew couldn’t mean what they appeared to mean on the surface, but I didn’t know why.

This also helps address the question some ask when faced with calamity of "why did God let this happen?"  The fact of the matter is that when God withdraws his peace or restraints and let's the sinful nature of man and this world take it's course -- bad things happen.  This is also why man is without excuse and cannot blame God for the sins committed, some even in God’s name; (some who call themselves ‘Christians’ can be  our worse enemies).

With the types of false 'what can God do for me' gospels that are so prevalent today, God is protrayed as a servant or caterer of some type, looking for  those who will  ‘accept’ Him.  What a great pity that those under these types of delusions don't understand that we are the servant, who, without God's intervention would be forever prisoners of our own sinful natures.

I began looking at other Scriptures with this word, and found this passages that uses a different Hebrew word (roa) for evil in reference to men,  versus (in this content) the calamity/judgment (ra) that God will bring on the churches that have fallen from the path.

Jer 4:4-7

4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil (‘roa’) of your doings.
5 Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities.
6 Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil (‘ra’) from the north, and a great destruction.
7 The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant.



Thanks so much Tony for this wonderfully clear and biblical definition of 'evil', which must be viewed in context to get the proper understanding.

judy
'For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.'   Ps 119:89

Beechwood

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Re: Did God Create Evil?
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2003, 07:29:59 AM »
Thanks Goldrush, Tony Warren, and Judykanova for those wonderful answers to my question. I am completely convinced.

beauty4ashes

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Re: Did God Create Evil?
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2003, 09:02:36 PM »
Praise God! This is wonderful and answers so much for me also!

Thank you all! I am going to copy this into my notes if it is OK.

Kenneth White

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Re: Did God Create Evil?
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2003, 10:36:11 AM »
Job 2:10

"But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips."

 Awesome Explanation!
Proverbs 1:5-6 "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings."

Layla

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Re: Did God Create Evil?
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2003, 02:04:29 PM »
Greetings

  I know there is scripture that states God is light and there is no darkness in Him...is there scripture that states God is righteous and there is no evil in Him?  I mean if God created evil, it doesn't seem to fit into His righteousness.  I realize God can do what he wants when he wants, but how can it be righteous to condemn those whom he made evil, i.e. satan?

I always thought evil was the absence of God.  But then I used to believe in free will (not understanding predestination until Tony S and David O so patiently shared with me the scriptures).  Am I still somewhat under a free will assumption that satan was created perfect but through his free will became adversarial to God.

Perhaps I am just being stubborn allowing the "man of sin" in me to not accept that all understanding is not revealed, looking to myself to make sense of things that might not be made known until a later date and refusing to submit and accept that the Potter has control over the clay???

Confused,
Layla

judykanova

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Re: Did God Create Evil?
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2003, 05:43:04 PM »
Layla,

There's a  Bible study on this exact subject by Tony Warren, as this apparantly is not an uncommon question:

http://www.mountain-retreat.org/faq/did-god-create-evil.html

Part of the confusion is our own misconceptions regarding the Hebrew word translated as 'evil'.  However, letting the Bible be it's own dictionary, this word can mean spoiled or bad (as in bad food),  adversity, trouble, sinful, misfortune, calamity, natural disasters, or suffering -- normally in response to, or as a consequence of man's sinful actions.  God may choose to restrain or not to restrain sin.... but the sin itself does not belong to God, it rightly belongs to the person(s) you committed the act of sin.

Here's a small bit I found particularly insightful:
Quote
... when we read that God creates evil, it is not saying that God creates sin, because that is antithetical to the nature of God, and is contradictory to all God declares.
James 1:13-14
"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."

He does not create sin, but He does create other bad or evil things. God creates hell, and that is a bad (evil) thing for people, but it is not sin, and it is perfectly consistent with God's Word to create it. God withdraws light, and thus creates darkness, but this is not sin. God takes away peace, and thus creates war, but this is not God sinning. God removes His hand of restraint from man's heart and it is hardened, but this is not God forcing him to sin. For God is "not obligated" to maintain peace, hold back war, or keep man's heart softened

Check it out... it's short, to the point and solidly supported by Scriptures... and let me know what you think.  Hope this helps.

judy

'For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.'   Ps 119:89

Paul

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Re: Did God Create Evil?
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2003, 09:24:06 PM »
my understanding of evil is it comes from the mind of man ,who is not concerned with serving God and then becomes a servant of his own mind which leads to evil.

(Gen 4:7)  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

i also think romans chapter one explains this greatly.

as for satan i'm not sure if our minds are built to understand all that .
and the scriptures talk very little about it.
i think we should really be concerned with where we place our own minds ,as the bible seems to primarily teach.
God bless.
paul
(Gen 4:7)  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

(Pro 3:5)  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Layla

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Re: Did God Create Evil?
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2003, 11:49:05 AM »
Greetings Judy and Paul

Thank you both for responding to my thoughts.  

Thanks for reminding me of the study Judy.  I had read it previously, but I find when I reread something months later, I always pick up something new that I hadn't seen or considered before.

It was interesting that you brought forth the passage in James.  Interesting to me because perhaps I did not put forth my true thoughts clearly.  I have never thought nor do I believe that God is the author of sin and I believe the scriptures when they write that God tempts no man.  I guess my real question is, not whether God is the author of evil, but rather did God create the adversary as perfect and he fell or did God create him as we know him?  I ask this because I have been having discussions with a few people who are stating that I deny the sovereignty of God if I do not accept that God made satan just as he is.  That if God had created him perfect and he fell then this shows chaos in that an entity can go outside the power of God.  I personally do not believe these statements to be true.  I mean can't God create an entity perfect even though God is aware what the entity might do or become and allows such to happen. Isn't this what happened in the garden or am I totally misunderstanding the beginning?  I wonder if it is because of my background or former belief in "free will?"  

I'm not sure if I have made my thoughts any clearer, but it is troubling me because if God did infact create satan to be exactly what satan is, I do not see how the scripture that God tempts no man can be accurate.  In other words, if God created satan for the purpose of tempting men, then why would God turn around and say He tempts no man?  This to me is chaos.  Anyway, I do appreciate your responses to my ramblings.

Still confused,
Layla  ???

Chicago Bear

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Re: Did God Create Evil?
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2003, 12:52:44 PM »
I ask this because I have been having discussions with a few people who are stating that I deny the sovereignty of God if I do not accept that God made satan just as he is.  That if God had created him perfect and he fell then this shows chaos in that an entity can go outside the power of God.

Are these discussions helpful or just an opportunity for these to trample God's word under foot?

 Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

People who say God didn't create everything good, when God insists that he did, are heretics. We are to seek and to save the lost sheep, not the goats.
Either the Bible will Keep you from Sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible

judykanova

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Re: Did God Create Evil?
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2003, 05:56:07 PM »
Quote
I ask this because I have been having discussions with a few people who are stating that I deny the sovereignty of God if I do not accept that God made Satan just as he is.  That if God had created him perfect and he fell then this shows chaos in that an entity can go outside the power of God.

Hi Layla,

Chicago Bear is right.

What these people seem to ultimately be saying is that Satan, along with sinful man, should not be held accountable.  They wish to throw accountability out the window, denying God’s perfect righteousness in judgment.  In the final analysis, it doesn’t matter what man considers to be right or just or fair; the only thing that matters is what the Word declares:

Ps 19:9-14
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Ps 145:17-21
17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
18 The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
20 The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.
21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.


Don’t allow such foolishness to disturb your peace of mind.   Even without perfect understanding (which we’ll never have in all things, until we are given new spiritual bodies)  we can still have perfect trust in the Lord and His Word.

judy

'For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.'   Ps 119:89

 


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