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Did God create evil?

Did God Create Evil? Often people wonder, “If God is omnipotent, did God create evil?” We are obviously uncomfortable answering “yes” to this question and often we start hunting for answers. Invariably, our hunt produces additional questions: What is evil? Where did evil come from? Why didn't God stop evil from starting? Here are some of my thoughts regarding these answers.

First, we need to properly understand what “evil” is. The Bible often compares evil to darkness (Ephesians 6:12, Luke 22:53, Col 1:13) and goodness to light (Matt 4:16, Luke 11:36, 1 John 1:5, etc.). When we study what light is, it is simply photon particles assembled together and traveling in wave form. But what is darkness? Darkness is just the absence of those photon particles. There is no particles of "dark”, there are just less particles of light. There’s a not a physical way to add darkness, it can’t be packaged up. It’s just the absence of light photons. In the same way, “evil” is just the absence of good.

So when God created the world, He created it perfectly good (Genesis 1:31). In being perfectly good, He also created it with the capacity to turn away from beholding His awesome goodness. He gave humanity the capacity for true moral choice. In doing so, He created an environment where humanity can disengage from His goodness and seek that which is less good. Seeking anything less than God’s total goodness is, in some measure, seeking evil.

This is the condition of the realm in which we live. All of us are in a state of variable goodness. Sometimes we seek God fully (or so we think). Sometimes we seek Him half-heartedly. In reality, when we seek anything less than God’s fullness of perfection, in some measure we’re saying that we’re content with a smidgen of evil in our lives. This is why all of us must daily seek to be fully surrendered to God so that we might have the fullness of His goodness and purity in our lives.

So, why did God allow this? In many ways, we are going to have to wait until we are with Him in glory for the answer to this question. I suspect that once we leave this cursed dimension, and we are with God in glory—we’ll understand completely what God has been doing. More than that, Isaiah 45 says that we’ll agree with everything that God has done.

But still, between now and that day, how do we understand why God allowed humanity to seek anything less that His perfection? The best explanation I know is to say that God seeks His ultimate glory. Along these lines, He has sovereignly ordained this route for greater glory as we both praise Him willingly and find our joy in Him as we turn from sin.

Let me illustrate it this way: We would all agree that it is more glorious to have love that is expressed, rather than merely to have love. For instance, it’s good that I love my wife. But if I never tell her I love her, that’s not as good as if I expressed my love. Even more so, it’s better for me to show my love through tangible actions. Thus, if I really love my wife, I show her the most honor by expressing my love and showing her my love.

Similarly, it brings God more glory if we offer Him praise willingly. You see, God could have created us to be robots that mechanically had to praise Him—and in some ways, this is what He has done in creation (Psalm 19:1). But when it came to us, God created us with the capacity for choice because it is better when we choose to worship God willingly. Now I believe that God is sovereign over our choices and none of us resist His will, however, each person who is in fellowship with God would acknowledge that we worship Him sincerely and willingly. We are not being forced to worship Him. Not only that, but we also find greater joy in Him as we turn from our sin and find the wisdom of His ways. This route has increased our love and gratitude for God and gives us the capacity to willingly express this love and gratitude towards Him.

To tie these pieces together, since God is all-knowing, and all-powerful, and all-wise--He always knows and chooses and does that is best. Thus, in some way that we won't fully understand until we're in glory, God has decided it is best to allow this condition where humanity can choose to worship God or choose to look away from Him. Since this is the best route God could have chosen, any other route would have been to do evil Himself, and that is impossible for Him.

There will be a day when all those who willingly praise God will enter into His Kingdom. Likewise, all those bent on seeking evil will go away from them into Hell. This is because seeks true worshipers (John 4:23-24). Those who do not desire to worship Him will not have to, but their immortal soul will go to a place where His goodness is totally absent—Hell.

So, those are my thoughts. Are they the full story? Obviously not. There is still much more that can be said. There are literally books on the topic that seek to plumb the depths of this difficult question. But these cursory thoughts get us started and they help me to rest assured that God is in control and have redemptive purposes in our lives.

Last modified on Saturday, 05 October 2013 13:08
Russ Brewer

Russ Brewer

Rescued from the domain of darkness, transferred to the kingdom of the Son. Undershepherd of Grace. Husband of Corinne. Father of three. Chew-toy to Zeke...