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Monday, February 14, 2011

If God is good, why does evil exist?

The subject of the origin of evil is a controversial one and many have disagreed with me that the bible teaches that God created evil; this is the reason I have decided to address this topic once again and discuss it in some detail below.

The Bible teaches that God did create evil and what follows is evidence found in the pages of the bible. 

Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Wicked: H7563 rāšā‛: An adjective meaning wicked, guilty, in the wrong, criminal, transgressor. It means essentially someone guilty or in the wrong and is an antonym to the Hebrew word ṣaḏḏiyq (H6662), meaning righteous, in the right.

The bible clearly states that the LORD, Jehovah, has made all things for himself including the wicked. The wicked of course would include Satan whom the Bible addresses as the ‘wicked one’. Matthew 13:19 and Matthew 13:38, 1 John 2:13, 2:14, 3:12, 5:18 all refer to Satan as ‘the wicked one.’ If God’s Word tells us that He created the wicked, does it not mean that He created evil? Furthermore the following scripture clearly teaches that all things were created by God: Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. Ephesians 3:9 and Revelation 4:11 also tell us that God has created all things, and all things include Satan, include evil. Colossians 1:16 specifies that God has created principalities and powers; now Ephesians 6:12 tells us that at least some of these principalities and powers are Satanic, are evil, so does this then not prove that God created these evil powers and evil beings? They surely did not create themselves when the Bible clearly tells us that God created all things? In Psalm 100:3 we read, ‘Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves’… Man did make himself; neither did any other creatures such as angels or devils create themselves. I will remind the reader that the Bible teaches emphatically that all things were created by God, and for God, and that would have to include evil beings. 

But why would God whose understanding is infinite according to Psalm 147:5 create these evil creatures and thus bring evil into creation? According to Colossians 1:16 all things, including the devil and evil, were created by Him, and they were created for Him. With His infinite understanding it stands to reason that Satan and evil serve must serve the purposes of God, otherwise evil would not exist. It is common among Christian preachers to try and explain the origin of evil without attributing its origin to God as if anything could have come into existence that the Omnipotent and Omniscient God who has perfect foreknowledge did not know about in advance. However The LORD God is very clear in His Holy Writ that it is He who created evil as clearly stated in the following scripture.

·         Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

In the above scripture God plainly states that he creates darkness and evil, states it plainly yet I have heard all kinds of fanciful explanations for this verse that try and prove that it does not mean what it says. This word DARKNESS is the very same word that is used in Genesis 1:2 which tells us that darkness was upon the face of the deep. This darkness that was upon the face of the earth was not a physical darkness but rather a spiritual darkness, just as the light that God commanded to shine in Genesis 1:2 was spiritual light. Physical light that comes from heavenly bodies such as the sun, moon and stars did not come into existence till the fourth day of creation so the light that shone on the first day was spiritual light. This spiritual light did not become visible to man until Jesus Christ was incarnated and came down to Earth. John 1:4: In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. It is obvious that the light that the apostle John was writing about was not physical light for the sun was certainly shining in Jesus’ day and physical light was fully comprehended and appreciated by men. What they did not comprehend was spiritual light, which is the knowledge of God, because they were in spiritual darkness. The point here is that this spiritual darkness was also created by God by creating the devil; we understand that the devil was not created evil in the beginning but became so at a later date but the fact still remains that the very purpose for which the anointed cherub of Ezekiel 28:12 – 19 was created was so that evil would be born into God’s creation through him. 

Ezekiel 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. The anointed cherub was created perfect but it is impossible to believe that God did not know in advance that he was going to give rise to iniquity, that he would turn to evil at some point in time? Look at the following scripture: Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure…What we are told in this scripture and in numerous other scriptures is that God has perfect foreknowledge; He can declare (make manifest, reveal, show, predict) the end right from the beginning. This is the meaning of ‘prophecy’, the power to predict accurately and unerringly events that are yet in the future. King David wrote that God even knows all of our thoughts even before we think them; he knows the words that we will speak even before they are on our tongue (Psalm 139:2 – 4). A God who can understand our thoughts afar off would surely have known the thoughts of iniquity that the anointed cherub was going to think even before he thought them. The LORD God surely knew that the perfect ‘anointed cherub’ would one day turn to evil and bring much pain and suffering into His creation. So if God with his infinite understanding did not want evil to exist, all he had to do was to not create ‘the anointed cherub’ – problem solved! If man with his limited understanding can think of this solution to the problem of evil, then do you not think that God would also have thought about it! Yet The LORD God went ahead and created the ‘anointed cherub’, knowing ahead of time what he was going to do, but why? 

The answer to this complex question is simply this: it served the purposes of God to allow evil to exist in His creation for a finite period of time. As proven earlier in this article, The LORD God created all things, and He created them all for His purposes. Even a casual glance at God’s marvellous creation where everything works in such perfect order that it is impossible to believe that the presence of evil in God’s creation was an oversight or an accident. The only logical explanation therefore for the existence of evil and evildoers is that they serve the purposes of God. It was necessary for evil to be present in God’s creation, at least for a season, so God purposed that it would arise through the ‘anointed cherub’; God knew that he would not forever stay perfect, and that iniquity would one day arise in Him. Since it served God’s purposes, God went ahead and created him. Ezekiel 28:15 tells us plainly that God created the ‘anointed cherub’, he did not create himself.  

The Hebrew word for evil, RAH, as used in Isaiah 45:7 is the same word as used in Genesis 2:9 to describe the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Since God says that He created evil, does it then make God evil? Not in the least bit, and that is the paradox, God, the one who is absolutely good, created his own opposite so that he could use the darkness of evil to reveal the goodness of his own light to all of his creatures. Satan is not God’s adversary, he is man’s adversary; Satan is God’s servant, created simply to do his bidding. 1 Kings 22: 19–23 tells of evil spirits also serving God; it is not angels alone that do God’s bidding, evil spirits too  exist to fulfill His purposes. Scriptures such as the one quoted above and Proverbs 16:4 prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that evil spirits are not only subject to God, they are the subjects of God, under his absolute control. The story of God, Satan, and Job in the book of Job also illustrates this very principle; does it not make sense that if God created evil and evildoers to serve his purposes that they should be under his absolute control?

Darkness Hebrew: ḥōšeḵ: A masculine noun meaning darkness. As in English, the word has many symbolic uses. In its first occurrence, it is associated with disorder (Genesis 1:2) and is distinguished and separated from light (Genesis 1:4).

Evil: Hebrew rā‛āh: An adjective meaning bad, evil. The basic meaning of this word displays ten or more various shades of the meaning of evil according to its contextual usage. It means bad in a moral and ethical sense and is used to describe, along with good, the entire spectrum of good and evil; hence, it depicts evil in an absolute, negative sense, as when it describes the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:9; Gen. 3:5, Gen. 3:22). In Genesis 2:9 we read that God planted the tree of knowledge of good and evil; in Isaiah 45:7 we read that God creates evil, the same Hebrew word is used in both instances. If God did not want man to know evil He would not have planted the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. The reality is that without understanding evil, it is not possible to understand good, and therefore it is not possible to understand God. 

Waster: Hebrew: šāḥaṯ: A verb meaning to spoil, to ruin, to destroy, to pervert, to corrupt, to become corrupt, to wipe out.
  • Isaiah 54:16 Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.
By the above definition, the title of WASTER would certainly apply to the devil. God is once again plainly stating that he has created the waster, the evil one and he has created him to destroy. The bible clearly teaches that in the human realm it is God who appoints principalities and powers, all kings and rulers are appointed by God to serve his purposes, both good and evil. Daniel 4:32 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. The point here is that just as God determines human principalities and powers and uses them for his own purposes; even so does he not do the same with heavenly principalities and powers? 

It is a complex understanding but the only way to reconcile the existence and origin of evil in a creation created by an Absolutely Good God is by understanding that God planned for evil to arise but He has also planned for evil to be destroyed forever in the very near future. Since opposites are excellent teaching tools, God has used the evil and darkness of Satan to show all creation His own goodness and light. This is especially true of man, who has been the recipient of God’s unmerited favour, and therefore able to understand God’s character by comparing it to his own evil. God has used Satan to make man evil; it is only wicked sinful man that is in need of God’s mercy, had man never sinned, had never turned to evil, he would have never needed any mercy or forgiveness, and he would have never comprehended the depth of God’s love for him. So all these things that have happened in God’s creation have happened exactly according to his plans, and that includes evil and evildoers, be they mankind or devilkind. 

In conclusion I would like to repeat that God the Creator of all things is ABSOLUTELY GOOD – there is not an iota of evil in Him; He is absolutely incapable of even thinking evil, let alone doing anything that would be evil. Yet paradoxically, it is He who has created the wicked one, has created evil to fulfill His own purposes. Evil exists because God needed it to exist; there is no other conclusion that may be drawn from Biblical scriptures.

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