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Did God Create Evil?

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Did God create Evil?  At a certain college there was a professor with a reputation for being tough on Christians.  At the first class, every semester, he asked if anyone was a Christian and proceeded to degrade them and mock their statement of faith.
 
One semester, he asked the question and a young man raised his hand.  The professor asked, "Did God make everything young man?"  He replied "Yes sir HE did!" The professor responded, "If God made everything, then HE made evil."  The student didn't have a response and the professor was happy to once again prove the Christian faith to be a myth.
 
Then another man raised his hand and asked, "May I ask you something, sir?" "Yes, you may," responded the professor. The young man stood up and said, "Sir, is there such a thing as cold?"  "Of course there is, what kind of a question is that?  Haven't you ever been cold?"
 
The young man replied, "Actually, sir, cold doesn't exist.  What we consider to be cold is really an absence of heat.  Absolute zero is when there is absolutely no heat, but cold does not really exist.  We have only created that term to describe how we feel when heat is not there."
 
The young man continued, "Sir, is there such a thing as dark?"  Once again the professor responded, "Of course there is." And once again, the student replied, "Actually, sir, darkness does not exist.  Darkness is really only the absence of light. Darkness is only a term developed to describe what happens when there is no light present."
 
Finally, the young man asked, "Sir, is there such a thing as evil?" The professor responded, "Of course, we have rapes, murders and violence everywhere in the world. Those things are evil."  The student replied, "Actually, sir, evil does not exist.  Evil is simply the absence of God.  Evil is a term developed to describe the absence of God.  God did not create evil.  It isn't like truth, or love which exist as virtues like heat or
 light.  Evil is simply the state where God is not present, like cold without heat, or darkness without light."
 
 The professor had nothing to say.................

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From this site’s editor:

 

The discourse above has merit.  God is holy [1], which means many things, such as “justice” and “perfection.”  It is without doubt synonymous with “deity.”

 

Since God is transcendent and independent of His created universe (1 Kgs 8:27), He is separate from its inhabitants and feared by them (e.g., Ex 19:10-25; 20:18-21).  Thus holiness becomes equivalent to true deity, separating Him from the impotence of the gods of the defeated Egyptians (Ex 15:11):  “Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods?  Who is like thee, glorious in holiness?”  “Holy” in many passages is synonymous with “divine”:  “There is none holy [uniquely divine] as the Lord:  for there is none beside thee” (1 Sam 2:2; cf. Ps 99:3, 5, 9;  Isa 40:25; Hab 3:3).  Because He is holy, truly deity and thus infinite, there is no searching of His understanding (Isa 40:28; Ps 145:3).  Holiness, then, is what characterizes God, and it includes all His other attributes.

(Wycliffe Bible Dictionary, Barton J. Payne, Th.D., Professor of Old Testament Language and Literature, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.)

 

For certain when there is “holiness” there is the absence of “evil.”  God never created evil or anything as evil.  Evil, in its purest form, is a "decision" (of the will) made by a created being to exist without (apart from) God.  When God created Lucifer, a magnificent and strikingly beautiful angelic form, God created him with the ability of free choice.  When Lucifer willfully chose pride to dominate his life and willfully chose to elevate himself to the level of God, it was then that Lucifer (Satan) introduced "evil" into the created universe [2].  When Eve and Adam chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden, it was they who introduced evil into the human race, which is transmitted (the "sin nature") through the seed of the male from generation to generation, to us today [3].

 

Did God know before "creation" that His created beings would introduce "evil" into creation?  The answer is yes.  He knew, but without allowing His created beings the freedom of choice and its result, there could never be a full manifestation and appreciation of God's holiness, love and grace [4].  What is more is that man, as a creation of God in His image, would never have had the opportunity for true fellowship with God, which is the very essence of the heavenly state.  On a parochial plain, we may understand an inkling of this when we understand that there is no appreciation of light without the existence of the absence of light (darkness), or warmth without the existence of the absence of heat (cold).  So only in that sense, can one make the accusation that God is "responsible" for the existence of evil, that is, He permitted it to happen.  It was not His choice that it was to occur.  It was His choice that all created beings would choose Him.  But because they did not, He now is able to manifest His true nature to them.  In the final analysis it could not have been any other way.  Without free choice, man would have been a mere robot, who could never have understood and appreciated the nature of and fellowship with God—the ultimate and perfect state of a created being.

 

From a human viewpoint there are degrees of evil, but the truth is that "evil" is simply the decision to be "without God."  As one continues to exercise this decision in one's life, it may well manifest itself in degenerative acts of unspeakable degree that may indeed impact one's eternal state in hell should one die "spiritually" in that state of being.  But no matter the degree, as man so judges the outward forms of evil, any person who is "without God" and thereby in a spiritual state of evil at the time of physical death will face an eternity in this condition apart from God in the lake of fire [5].

 

The only way a person may escape this spiritual condition (of "evil" or "death") is by faith alone in Christ alone.  When a person turns totally and genuinely, by a decision of the will, to Jesus Christ (which is "the" act of repentance, that is, the turning away from every other confidence such as works or religion) by placing full confidence (trust) in Him and His sacrifice on Calvary for his personal salvation; that person instantly (at that moment of decision) is transferred from a spiritual state of evil (without God) to a spiritual state of holiness (union with God).  This is a permanent arrangement that can never be undone, by God or man. [6]

 

Even so, while in human form, which embodies the "sin nature;" a Christian can still experience prodigal moments and journeys [7] as a result of evil (without God) decisions that will affect his present physical life and eternal awards to come [8].  Nevertheless, because the Christian's soul and spirit are linked with God through Jesus Christ and are always in a spiritual "state of holiness," they will be secure because of what Christ did, and never because of what the Christian can or will do. [9]

 

No Christian may every blame God for moral evil within the created universe, nor for any temptation toward evil.  God does in fact create in some instances, and permits in others, calamity and adversity in the Christian and non-Christian life for the purpose of punishment, correction and guidance; but never is God the author of moral evil. [10]

 

The creature—whether angel or human—is created to be God-centered.  To become self-centered is a contradiction of the basic law of creature existence.  The falsification of God’s moral order, is, when self-centered, complete.  It is also found to be a violation of the original design relative to interrelationships between finite beings themselves.  Sin is not against God, but is against all other fellow beings.

(Systematic Theology, Volume 2, Lewis Sperry Chafer)

 

There are several doctrines that man may never be able to fully understand.  The beginning of evil may indeed be one of them.  Nevertheless the fact remains that there is evil present within the universe and upon earth.  Yet the day is coming for those who by faith alone in Christ alone have changed their spiritual state from “evil” to “holiness,” when they will experience no more evil or its fruit forevermore. 

 

References:

 

[1] Leviticus 11:45; 19:2; 20:7; Psalm 99.5, 9; Isaiah 6:3; 1 Peter 1:16; Revelation 4:8; 15:4.

 

[2] Isaiah 14:12, 13.

 

[3] Genesis 2:16, 17; 3:6, 7; Romans 5:12.

 

[4] Ephesians 2:7.

 

[5] Revelation 20:11-15.

 

[6] John 3:14-18, 36; 5:24; 6:40, 47; 14:6; 20:31; Acts 16:30, 31; Ephesians 2:8, 9.

 

[7] Luke 15:11-24; Ephesians 4:22.

 

[8] 1 Corinthians 3:11-15.

 

[9] John 10:27-30; Romans 8:38, 39; 1 Peter 1:3-5.

 

[10] Isaiah 45:7; Amos 3:6; James 1:13, 14; 1 John 2:16, 17