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Tuesday, 11 June 2013 11:10

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.

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 10:46

The Problem of Evil

Here is a great "chain email" delineating the Christian's response to the problem of evil:
God vs. Evil

'Let me explain the problem science has with religion.' The atheist
professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his
new students to stand.

'You're a Christian, aren't you, son?'

'Yes sir,' the student says.

'So you believe in God?'


'Is God good?'

'Sure! God's good.'

'Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?'


'Are you good or evil?'

'The Bible says I'm evil.'

The professor grins knowingly. 'Aha! The Bible!' He considers for a
moment. 'Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person over here
and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?'

'Yes sir, I would.'

'So you're good...!'

'I wouldn't say that.'

'But why not say that? You'd help a sick and maimed person if you could.
Most of us would if we could. But God doesn't.'

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. 'He doesn't,
does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he
prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you
answer that one?'

The student remains silent.

'No, you can't, can you?' the professor says. He takes a sip of water
from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.

'Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?'

'Er..yes,' the student says.

"is Satan good?'

The student doesn't hesitate on this one. 'No.'

'Then where does Satan come from?'

The student falters. 'From God'

'That's right. God made Satan, didn't he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in
this world?'

'Yes, sir.'

'Evil's everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything correct??


'So who created evil?' The professor continued, 'If God created
everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to
the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.'

Again, the student has no answer. 'Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred?
Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?'

The student squirms on his feet. 'Yes.'

'So who created them?'

The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question.
'Who created them?' There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer
breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized.
'Tell me,' he continues onto another student.

'Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?

The student's voice betrays him and cracks. 'Yes, professor, I do.'

The old man stops pacing. 'Science says you have five senses you use to
identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?'

'No sir. I've never seen Him.'

'Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?'

'No, sir, I have not.'

'Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelled your Jesus?
Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that

'No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't.'

'Yet you still believe in him?'


'According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol,
science says your God doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?'

'Nothing,' the student replies. 'I only have my faith.'

'Yes, faith,' the professor repeats. 'And that is the problem science
has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.'

The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His
own. 'Professor, is there such thing as heat?'


'And is there such a thing as cold?'

'Yes, son, there's cold too.'

'No sir, there isn't.'

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested.

The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain.

'You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat,
unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don't have
anything called 'cold'. We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is
no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing
as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458

'Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits
energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or tran smit energy.
Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold
is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure
cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold
is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.'

Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding
like a hammer.

'What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?'

'Yes,' the professor replies without hesitation. 'What is night if it
isn't darkness?'

'You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of
something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing
light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it's
called darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word.'

'In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make
darkness darker, wouldn't you?'

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will
be a good semester. 'So what point are you making, young man?

'Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to
start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.'

The professor's face cannot hide his surprise this time. 'Flawed? Can you
explain how?'

'You are working on the premise of duality,' the student explains.. 'You
argue that there is life and then there's death; a good God and a bad
God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we
can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought.'

'It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully
understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be
ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing.
Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it. 'Now tell me,
professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?'

'If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man,
yes, of course I do.'

'Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?'

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes
where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

'Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and
cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not
teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?'

The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion
has subsided.

'To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let
me give you an example of what I mean.'

The student looks around the room. 'Is there anyone in the class who has
ever seen the professor's brain?' The class breaks out into laughter.

'Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor's brain, felt the
professor's brain, touched or smelled the professor's brain? No one
appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of
empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no
brain, with all due respect, sir.'

'So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures,

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his
face unreadable.

Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. 'I guess
you'll have to take them on faith.'

'Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with
life,' the student continues. 'Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?'

Now uncertain, the professor responds, 'Of course, there is. We see it
everyday It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in
the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These
manifestations are nothing else but evil.'

To this the student replied, 'Evil does not exist sir, or at least it
does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just
like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the
absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what
happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like
the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when
there is no light.'

The professor sat down.
Published in Blog