Did God Create Evil?

From Robert Lawrence Kuhn, host and creator of Closer To Truth:

If I would believe in God, I would have to explain evil. The monstrous horrors of this world, whether perpetrated by humans or accidents of nature, form the strongest argument against the existence of God. To theists, it’s “the problem of evil,” which they struggle to resolve. To atheists, it’s “the argument from evil,” which they wield like a sword.
Here’s the question I can’t escape: If God exists, did God create evil? My question challenges the consistency of the concept of God. After all, if God is all powerful and all knowing, how could God not have created evil?
Christian philosopher Nancey Murphy argues vigorously that God did not create evil, but then adds, “I believe that God created the universe knowing full well that it would be a universe containing vast amounts of evil. But if God is good, then God must have known that the amount of good would have to outweigh the evil.”
“You’re rationalizing,” I goad her. “I asked you if God created evil, and you said, ‘No.’ Now you’re telling me that God created the world knowing there would be evil, provided that the good would outweigh the evil, which sounds to me that God did in fact create evil.”
“No,” Murphy responds. “God created the world in such a way that it would produce the outcome that he wanted. And to put it perhaps in overly anthropomorphic terms, God wanted creatures with whom he could have a relationship. And in order to have such creatures, like us, the universe had to be almost exactly the way it is, with the laws of nature producing the kinds of suffering that we’re all aware of, such as plate tectonics generating earthquakes and tsunamis, complex events causing famines, etc. So my understanding of natural evil is that it is a predictable, unwanted, but necessary byproduct of the way God had to create the world if God were to have free creatures, loving creatures, like us.”
“To avoid admitting that God created evil sounds like philosophical timidity,” I say with no malice.
“God foreknew that there would be tsunamis, but God does not cause them,” Murphy responds.
“That’s a fine distinction,” I say.
“It’s a radical distinction,” she says.
“God is not intervening to cause the evil directly, I agree, but God set up the laws so that they would absolutely occur,” I suggest.
“God set up the laws so that evil events would occur, but God did not intend that they would occur,” she counters.
“That is indeed a fine distinction.”
“It may sound like splitting hairs to you,” Murphy states, “but I think it’s a very significant difference because it’s a matter of whether you are attributing evil intent and evil action to God or whether you are attributing the permission of evil to God and assuming that God is grieved by that suffering as we are, only infinitely more so.”
Splitting hairs? Here’s what I cannot reconcile. If God is all knowing, then before God created the world, God knew the monstrous evil that would result. And if God is all powerful, God could have created any world God wished. And this is the world we’ve got? If God exists—which because of evil is a bigger “if”—there’s got to be more to this story.
Gregory Boyd, a Christian theologian and evangelical pastor, has a radical explanation for what causes evil. “I would argue,” he says, “that every aspect of creation that doesn’t align with God’s benevolent character is a result of some conscious will other than God’s. … There are angelic beings which also have free will, and just as humans can use their free will for evil, these angelic beings can use their free will for evil—they have ‘say so,’ and some of that ‘say so’ affects creation itself.”
“Are you talking about Satan?” I ask helpfully.
“Satan, the devil; yes—demons too,” Boyd laughs, but he is quite serious. “Many people today don’t believe that there are principalities and powers and demons and those sorts of things. I realize I’m going out on a limb.”
Boyd asserts that if he came to believe that Satan and his demons did not exist, he would have trouble defending the existence of God, as he says, “on the basis of natural evil.” That’s consistent, I thought; I respect that.
“So if Satan is responsible for creating evil and God is responsible for creating Satan,” I ask syllogistically, “doesn’t that make God responsible for creating evil?”
“No,” Boyd answers. “God is responsible for creating spiritual and human beings as free agents, and the very nature of free will means that you can choose to go this way or go that way—simplistically, good or evil. It’s no different than saying that if God creates a triangle, it has to have three sides; if God creates a free agent, it has to have the two possibilities.”
Boyd continues, “God had a choice to make. God could have created a world where humans and angels were programmed to always make the right choices and do the right things or a world where humans and angels had free agency. The advantage of a robotic world would be that there would be no evil; the disadvantage is that it couldn’t have moral virtue and genuine love. The disadvantage of creating a world with free agency is that it is going to contain evil; the advantage is that it can now produce moral virtue and genuine love. … Evil may be inevitable, but that doesn’t make God responsible for it.”
So, according to Boyd, evil is enabled by the free will of humans and devils/demons. But still, if God created everything, how could God not have created evil?
Not to be impolite, I weary with arguments. Maybe Islam says something new.
Islamic scholar Mahmoud Ayoub knows something of evil. He is blind.
“Among the monotheistic religions,” Ayoub begins, “Islam can be said to be the least dualistic; that is to say, in the end, God is responsible for both the good and the evil in the world. Evil, however, has to be differentiated. Natural disasters, however evil they may be, are seen as part of the human trial, in that God is testing people. Evil is a divine trial that people should endure with patience and steadfastness, and those who do so will eventually be rewarded by God.”
I note that, in general, Christian philosophers work to explain how God did not create evil.
“But then who?” Ayoub asks rhetorically. “In Christianity, the problem of evil becomes, in the end, a problem without a final solution. It is sometimes explained somewhat by the idea of original sin and the human fall. This is not in Islam, no. … In the Quran, there are verses which make God completely responsible for every good and every evil in creation. But there are also verses which make God the author of good, but human beings the authors of evil. In the final analysis, I think one would have to say that, the Quran being a book not of theology but of guidance, human beings are co-workers with God, and together they try to make this world a better world.”
Ayoub makes a final point. “Often, natural evil becomes, in the end, a source of good. For instance, I try to do the best I can in life with my blindness. Blindness is an evil, I cannot deny it. But people, according to Islam, must thank God for all things, the good and the evil. And I’m often asked, do I thank God for my blindness, and I say, ‘No, why should I thank God for my blindness? I would like to enjoy art, nature, all these things that remain in the dark for me. But I thank God for the ability to deal with it.’”
So the Islamic God is responsible for both good and evil. I like that. At least Islam’s God and the world of evil seem internally consistent. That doesn’t make Islam’s God exist, of course—but internal inconsistency would be an instant defeater.
Eastern religions have a radically different view of evil. Hindu physicist and philosopher V.V. Raman asserts that “from the Hindu perspective, God is beyond the categories of good and evil, up and down, and so on. From God’s perspective, there is no such thing as good and evil as we perceive them from our perspective. But it does not follow from the Hindu vision of God that there is no such thing as good and evil or virtue and sin. Quite the contrary. What it says is that we run into contradictions when we try to transfer these enormously significant but human categories to the almighty and to the divine.”
He continues: “At the same time, our view of God, as with most religions, is one of absolute goodness, absolute mercy, and so on. Now these qualities cannot be there without their opposites. And therefore, if there is to be a God with these attributes, and if that God is the creator of everything, then such a God cannot but help create the opposite attributes also.”
Raman says that “from the Hindu perspective, just as there are laws of physical nature, there are also laws of moral nature. These are explained in terms of the law of karma, which means actions, good or bad, that have an impact either on one’s self or on others. Now the suffering that we see, or the good fortunate that we enjoy, all these are results of what we, ourselves, have done previously.”
Does “previously” imply a previous life? I ask.
“That is the extension of this hypothesis, if you want to take it that way,” Raman responds. “The idea of reincarnation is closely linked to the idea of the law of karma.”
Karma as natural law, requiring consequences for evil, has appeal. But I see no credible evidence for reincarnation. I do like the Hindu God being beyond good and evil, which seems consistent with God’s transcendence. But if God is so aloof from evil, how could God be all good? And if subject to the karmic law, all powerful?
Can anyone rise above religious traditions? Christian philosopher Keith Ward’s take on evil cuts against the traditional grain.
“If you think that God is the creator of everything in the universe,” Ward begins, “then I think you just have to bite the bullet and say God created evil. So evil, if it’s real, and I think it is, is created by God. So the notion of creation involving evil is no longer a problem. Because you just say, well, that’s it: God created evil.”
Ward suggests that “it’s the notion of goodness and omnipotence that causes the problems.” The way he approaches it: “Although the idea of God’s goodness is perfect beauty, perfect worth, perfect value, this does not require a universe without imperfection,” he says. “So the goodness of God doesn’t require that God is kind to everybody. Goodness doesn’t equal kindness. Goodness is just inherent perfection. If you think of it that way, it may help by saying ‘from the perfect imperfection can spring.’ Why? Well, because imperfection might be necessarily implied in different sorts of perfections. An example is mountain climbing; part of the reason I enjoy it is that it has risk. If it didn’t have any risks, I wouldn’t enjoy it. Now, risk means somebody is ultimately going to be killed. And so why should people like dangerous sports? The point here is there’s something intrinsically good about that sort of existence that you wouldn’t get in an existence without any risk at all.”
Must we then assume that God is not capable of creating a world with all of the things that are good without bringing along this enormity of evil?
“Putting aside the enormity of evil,” Ward replies, “I think God is not capable of creating a world roughly like our world with us in it without creating quite a great deal of suffering. For example, if you take the evolutionary account of humanity, then destruction is involved essentially. Unless animals die, you’re not going to get new sorts of animals evolving. So evolution presupposes death.”
But what about that enormity of evil? I do not forget it.
“Assuming God is good,” Ward says, “then I think what you have to say, considering all the suffering of conscious human beings, is that there has to be a life beyond the life on this earth. All victims of evil must be given a good which overwhelmingly outweighs the evil they have suffered.”
Ward concludes by asserting that “God is justified in actualizing any world in which no individual suffers evil which cannot ever lead to good. I don’t mean that evil is a means to good. I mean that once they’ve suffered evil, their lives must achieve goodness. So ‘creatable universes’ are universes which may contain a great deal of evil, but that evil is never unredeemable. And I myself think that our universe is just about on the edge of a creatable universe.”
Evil exists. That’s for sure. If God exists, God either created evil or did not create evil. That’s simple logic. If God did not create evil, and if God is all powerful, all knowing, and all good, there’s heavy explaining to do.
Free will is what’s usually invoked to save God from this awkward predicament.
The prophet Isaiah said of God, “I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am Jehovah, that doeth all these things.” There are rebuttals, of course, as with all in the Bible (the Hebrew word translated as “evil” may not mean our modern sense of evil). And many who believe in God do not accept the Judeo-Christian Scriptures.
My personal sense is that if God exists, then God did create evil. I see no other way to get closer to truth.

Robert Lawrence Kuhn speaks with Nancey Murphy, Gregory Boyd, Mahmoud Ayoub, V.V. Raman, and Keith Ward in “Did God Create Evil?”—the eighth episode in the new season of the Closer To Truth: Cosmos, Consciousness, God TV series (47th in total).
The series airs on PBS World (often Thursdays, twice) and many other PBS and noncommercial stations. Every Thursday, participants will discuss the current episode.

P.S. Click here to visit our Closer to Truth archive.

Category: Closer to Truth


12 Responses

  1. aj says:

    I guess none of the people you talked to have read the bible. If they had they would know that God did not create evil.

    1 John 4:8 says that “God is Love”. God created the universe and us in it because he wanted to share his love with others. I love my children and I do whatever is best for them, and that included giving them the greatest gift of all, life.

    De 32:4 tells us about God “The rock, perfect is his activity, For all his ways are justice. A god of faithfulness with whom there is no injustice, Righteuous and upright is he”. So all the things that God made were perfect and upright (James 1:16-18). It also says that whatever is happening now is related to his sense of Justice.

    So the question can be asked, how did we get into the state we are in today. Again the bible answers that question.

    If you believe that the account in Genesis is true then it is easy to figure out what happened. God put Adam and Eve in a beautiful garden and told them to be “Fruitful and become many, and subdue the earth” (Gen 1:28). God gave Adam and Eve free will so that they could do what was right according to their own will, instead of having robots who had no choice. After all who wants to be told by a robot that they are loved, instead of a child who means it.

    However, one of the angels in heaven, who also had free will, decided that he wanted to be worshipped instead of God and arranged to deceive Adam and Eve to go against God (James 1:14,15). Satan’s own wrong desires tempted him to do something against God and to get Adam and Eve to follow him.

    Satan was careful and disguised himself to mislead our first human parents (Rev 12:9). He said that not only did God not have the right to decide what is right and wrong, but that he was withholding something good from them (Gen 3:1-7). Notice in this scripture that the punishment for disobeying God was death, if Adam and Eve had not sinned, they would not have died.

    Jehovah could easily have killed the troublemakers but it would not have answered the question that Satan raised, “Does Jehovah have the right to tell his creation what is right and what is wrong?”. At that point, all the other angels were looking on and one of them could have raise the question again later. So the decision was made to allow the children of Adam and Eve to live on and for us to be redeemed by the life and death of Jesus (Gen 3:15).

    Satan did not stop there, according to Gen 6 and Rev 12, he persuaded other angels to leave their jobs in heaven and come to the earth. The result was greater level of violence on the earth to the point were Jehovah had to destroy the wicked people with a flood (Gen 6).

    If you take a look at De 32:5, the bible is very clear that the source of evil is not from God, the defect is that of the people (angels and humans) who used their free will to go against Jehovah’s leadership.

    Fortuantely according to Revelation, that situation is soon to change and according to Rev 21:1-4, soon “morning, outcry, pain and even death will be no more”.

  2. Iron_pizza says:

    I like the following Bible quotes of love myself:

    Kill Nonbelievers

    They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

    Death for Adultery

    If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)

  3. Confronting the problems of our world, the limitations of our ethical conception are self evident, war for example, and human moral potential limited by human nature itself. So to consider evil is to recognize the limitations of our understanding of what is Good and our inability to realize those ends. Within the human condition there is no moral foundation of understanding to our being. We remain a prisoner on a painful learning curve. Thus within our own limited moral construct, we are the authors of whatever evil exists. The intention of the first incarnation, an event that failed because of human pride still evident today, was to provide that perfect foundation of righteousness, learning an integrity by which to ‘lift’ us outside our evolutionary limitations and beyond ‘evil’. Two thousand years on, that process has already started all over again. http://www.energon.org.uk

  4. hms says:

    Concept of God in Islam

    Every language has one or more terms that are used in reference to God and sometimes to lesser deities. This is not the case with the word ‘Allah’. Allah is the personal name of the One True God. Nothing else can be called Allah. The term has no plural or gender. This shows its exclusivity when compared to the word ‘god’ which can be made plural, i.e. ‘gods’ or feminine, i.e. ‘goddess’. It is interesting to note that Allah is the personal name of God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus (p). The word Allah is a reflection of the unique concept that Islam associates with God. To a Muslim, Allah is the Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, who is similar to none and nothing is comparable to Him. The Prophet Muhammad (p) was asked by his contemporaries about Allah. The answer came directly from God Himself in the form of a short chapter of the Qur’an that is considered the essence of the Unity of God or the motto of monotheism. “Say: He is Allah, the One; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten, and there is none like unto Him.” [Al-Qur’an 112:1-4]

    Some non-Muslims allege that the concept of God in Islam is that of a stern and cruel God who demands to be obeyed fully. He is not loving and kind. Nothing can be farther from the truth than this allegation. It is enough to know that with the exception of one, each of the 114 chapters of the Qur’an begins with the verse: “In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful” In one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (p) we are told: “God is more loving and kinder than a mother to her dear child.”

    Besides being Merciful, God is Just too. Hence evildoers and sinners must have their share of punishment and the virtuous their rightful reward. Actually, God’s attribute of Mercy has full manifestation in His attribute of Justice. People suffering throughout their lives for His sake and people oppressing and exploiting other people all their lives should not receive similar treatment from their Lord. Expecting similar treatment for them will amount to negating the very belief in the accountability in the Hereafter and thereby negating all the incentives for a moral and virtuous life in this world.

    The following verses from the Qur’an are very clear and straightforward:

    “Verily, for the righteous are Gardens of delight in the Presence of their Lord. Shall we then treat the people of Faith like the people of Sin? What is the matter with you? How judge you?” [Al-Qur’an 68:34-36]

    Islam rejects characterizing God in any human form or depicting him as favoring certain individuals or nations on the basis of wealth, power or race. He created the human beings as equals. They may distinguish themselves and earn His favor through virtue and piety alone.

    The concept that God rested on the seventh day of creation, that God wrestled with one of His soldiers, that God is an envious plotter against mankind, or that God is incarnate in any human being are considered blasphemy from the Islamic point of view.
    The unique usage of Allah as the personal name of God is a reflection of Islam’s emphasis on the purity of the belief in God. This belief in the Unity of God, is the essence of the message of all the Prophets of God. Because of this, Islam considers associating any deity or personality with God as a grave sin that God will never forgive if the person dies without repenting.

    The Creator must be of a different nature from the things created because if He is of the same nature as they are, He will be temporal and will therefore need a maker. It follows that nothing is like Him. If the maker is not temporal, then He must be eternal. But if he is eternal, He cannot be caused, and if nothing caused Him to come into existence, nothing outside Him causes Him to continue to exist, which means that He must be self-sufficient. And if He does not depend on anything for the continuance of His own existence, then this existence can have no end. The Creator is therefore eternal:

    “He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Immanent: and He has full knowledge of all things.” [Al-Qur’an 57:3]

    He is self-sufficient or self-subsistent or, to use a Qur’anic term, He is Al-Qayyum. The Creator does not create only in the sense of bringing things into existence. He also preserves them and takes them out of existence and is the ultimate cause of whatever happens to them.

    “Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is the Guardian and Disposer of all affairs. To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth: and those who reject the Signs of Allah,- it is they who will be in loss.” [Al-Qur’an 39:62-63]

    “There is no moving creature on earth but its sustenance dependeth on Allah: He knoweth the time and place of its definite abode and its temporary deposit: All is in a clear Record.” [Al-Qur’an 57:3]

    God’s Attributes

    If the Creator is Eternal and Everlasting, then His attributes must also be Eternal and Everlasting. He should not lose any of His attributes nor acquire new ones. If this is so, then His attributes are absolute. Can there be more than one Creator with such absolute attributes? Can there be for example, two absolutely powerful Creators? A moment’s thought shows that this is not feasible.
    The Qur’an summarizes this argument in the following verses:
    “No son did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with Him: (if there were many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others! Glory to Allah! (He is free) from the (sort of) things they attribute to Him!”
    [Al-Qur’an 23:91]

    The Oneness Of God

    The Qur’an reminds us of the falsity of all alleged gods. To the worshippers of man-made objects it asks: “Worship ye that which ye have (yourselves) carved? But Allah has created you and your handwork.”[Al-Qur’an 37:95-96]

    “Say: ‘Do ye then take (for worship) protectors other than Him, such as have no power either for good or for harm to themselves?” [Al-Qur’an 13:16]

    To the worshippers of heavenly bodies it cites the story of Abraham: “When the night covered him over, He saw a star: He said: ‘This is my Lord.’ But when it set, He said: ‘I love not those that set.’ When he saw the moon rising in splendor, he said: ‘This is my Lord.’ But when the moon set, He said: ‘unless my Lord guide me, I shall surely be among those who go astray.’ When he saw the sun rising in splendor, he said: ‘This is my Lord; this is the greatest (of all).’ But when the sun set, he said: ‘O my people! I am indeed free from your (guilt) of giving partners to Allah. For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah.” [Al-Qur’an 6:76-79]

    The Believer’s Attitude

    In order to be a Muslim (i.e., to submit oneself to God), it is necessary to believe in the Oneness of God, in the sense of His being the only Creator, Preserver, Nourisher, etc. But this belief, later on called Tawhid Ar-Rububiyyah, is not enough. Many of the idolators knew and believed that only the Supreme God could do all this. To acquire Tawhid Ar-Rububiyyah one must add Tawhid Al-Uluhiyyah, i.e. one acknowledges the fact that it is God alone who deserves to be worshipped, and thus abstains from worshipping any other thing or being.

    Having achieved this knowledge of the One True God, man should constantly have faith in Him, and should allow nothing to induce him to deny the truth. When true faith enters a person’s heart, it impacts the person’s outlook and behavior. The Prophet said, “Faith is that which resides firmly in the heart and which is proved by deeds”. One of the striking results of faith is the feeling of gratitude towards God, which could be said to be the essence of Ibada (worship). The feeling of gratitude is so important that anyone denying the Truth is called kafir, ‘one who is ungrateful.’ A believer loves, and is grateful to God for the bounties He bestowed upon him. He is aware of the fact that his good deeds are far from being commensurate with Divine favors, and therefore he is always anxious to please God. He remembers God often. The Qur’an promotes this feeling of gratitude by repeating the attributes of God very frequently.

    “Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god; Who knows (all things) both secret and open; He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god; the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace (and Perfection), the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme: Glory to Allah! (High is He) above the partners they attribute to Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms (or Colors). To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names: whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare His Praises and Glory: and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” [Al-Qur’an 59:22-24]

    “Allah! There is no god but He, the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory).” [Al-Qur’an 2:255]

    “O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity” : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.” [Al-Qur’an 4:171]

  5. twilight says:

    The first person who replied say’s I guess they never read the bible, if they had they would know God does not create evil. (this person is full of it)

    God created satan, demons, the beast, all horrible things that decieve everyone. Even Job of the bible was ripped with pain and sorrows by God and Job was the only person of that day who walked perfect with God.

    God killed some of his family and even the innocent animals and let satan touch him so that he broke out with sore boils.

    Here are some of the verses in the bible that clearly shows how evil God can get, these verses come from the King James Bible one of the old’est bibles.

    You sin and don’t repent you pay the price bigtime either now or in the afterlife … even if you repent there is no sure thing that you will get away. God even plans evil for innocent people who are not even born yet even thou their forefathers did repent.

  6. Ron Krumpos says:

    While researching various views on “conscience,” I read “Jung on Evil” (Princeton University Press 1995). He offers an unimpassioned view of evil which is totally dependent on humans.

    The editor, Murray Stein, summarizes Carl Jung: When humans adopt a more disinterested viewpoint, they transcend the categories of good and evil to an extent and view human life, human behavior and human motivation from a vertex that sees it all as “just so.” Human beings love each other and we hate each other. We sacrifice for each other and destroy each other. We are noble and base. And all of this belongs to human nature. The judgments we make about good and evil are bound to be biased by our own interests and tilted if favor of our pet tendencies and traits.

    In my e-book at http://www.suprarational.org I wrote a short paragraph: Evil and deliverance. Many orthodox religions personify evil as Satan, the Devil, Iblis, Mara, or other demonic forces. Most mystics hold us responsible for our own evils, not an external source. Some say that evil exists only in rejection or lack of awareness of good, or to balance good in the apparent dualities of this life…not in unitive eternal life. Mystics have to eliminate personal wrongs to realize divine oneness. Deliverance comes by overcoming the selfishness of our egos, ignorance of our minds and stubbornness of our senses.

  7. The question of evil always bugged me, so I decided to go straight to the top and ask the Creator-In-Chief himself.

    “If you’re perfectly good, and you created or invented all things, how could you in good conscience invent the concept of evil?” I asked.

    This is the response I got:

    “Just because the Wright Brothers invented the airplane, does that make them an airplane?”

    Then I saw a picture in my mind of a jet fighter parked on a runway with the word “EVIL” painted on its fuselage. As long as it just sits there, it does no harm. Only if we choose to jump in and go for a ride do problems arise. Especially if we don’t know how to fly, or want to drop a bomb on someone’s head.

  8. castel says:

    “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so,.. righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.”

    If only the good is allowed in our existence, there would be no way of knowing what good is, in the superlative sense… If the good alone existed it would remain as dead. If the evil alone existed it would remain as dead.

    God has offered us the chance to obtain the knowledge of good and evil, which knowledge of good and evil is the same as the knowledge that the gods possess and in the which they have triumphed to their everlasting joy. We accepted God’s offer.

    But there is a law incident to the obtaining of the knowledge of good and evil. Those who do good will inherit the eternal rewards for their choice of the good, and those who do evil will be disinherited and will get only the crumbs that fall off the master’s table, or perhaps the worst.

    Did God create evil? No. God has no direct hand in evil. But God righteously allows and uses evil for the time of probation for all mankind, until the lesson is learned and everyone is proved with the seals and tokens of their own actions in the time of probation.

    Did God create Satan? No. According to the scriptures Lucifer was a son of God – a son of the morning, one of the elder sons of God. Lucifer was a son of God until he (not God) made himself the father of all evil and so was thenceforth called Satan.

    When God fulfills the laws that bring about pain, sorrow and even death – the wrath of God so-to-speak – is it evil? No. God’s fulfillment of the laws are just. The laws are righteously upheld, for otherwise the order in the existence will cease.

    It is logical to say that the choice between good and evil always existed. The concepts of the good and of the evil always existed. But God and the gods choose the good.

    God did not create the actual evil. God created free-agent beings that can freely choose between good and evil. And those free-agents who choose the conceptual evil created the actual evil…

  9. First of all it seems to me that God did create world without evil, however this went out the window when God created human beings, who are the only being we know who can intentionally inflict suffering on others for no good reason.

    Thus it would seem we must either rid the earth of humanity, which according to Genesis God considered doing at one time, or changing the way humanity thinks and acts, which is what the rest of the Bible is about.

    For me the problem of evil is very closely associated witht he problem of death. Without death humans would not suffer, but humans are finite, mortal creatures, which is good because they live in a finite physical universe.

    Without death humans would not need to reproduce in order to replace themselves. Without death we would not need to eat to live and to work to pay for food, shelter, and clothing. We would not have to think in order to survive. Indeed we would not have to do anything because we would have no problems or needs.

    Is death evil? Not really because it is necessary and it makes people make decisions on how to live their limited time on earth. Also Christianity takes the ultimacy out of death by the promise of eternal life.

    Pain and suffering are warning signals. They are not evil in themselves, but warn us that something is wrong in our bodies or community. The cure for pain and suffering can also be painful.

    The goal in life is not the avoidance of pain and suffering, but the creation of a society where love and justice overcome hatred and greed, which cause unnecessary and meaningless pain and suffering.

  10. Xavier says:

    This is something that has been a thorn in the flesh for me. In the last 5 years, I have wrestled with this issue while I earnestly sought to get closer to God and understand His ways.

    Having grown up in a heavily worshiped pentecostal religion, I always suspected that there was some knowledge about God that I was missing.

    What I have discovered is that God planted a tree which contained the fruit which “POSSESSED” the knowledge of good and evil. Evil, is the very first word that is used in Genesis to describe the “HIDDEN” knowledge in the fruit. Therefore, it is suffice to say that God already possessed the knowledge of good and evil.

    It is clearly evident from the account in Genesis, that this fruit containing the knowledge of good and evil are “inseparable” meaning that if you are going to have knowledge of what is good, you will you are going to have knowledge of evil.

    We are living in a world of evil today that resulted from the consequence of having that knowledge primarily because of the presence of sin which has enslaved us. Sin has used that very knowledge in our conscience to cause us to desire things which are evil and unnatural instead of what is good.

    The very fact that God possesses the knowledge of evil means that it derived from Him because he is greater than all. The scriptures clearly teach that God does manipulate evil for His good purposes. Whether it is to inflict suffering, plagues (mosquitoes, roaches, or rat), hunger, war, God inflicts all these evils primarily to test our hearts and most obviously, because of man’s sin. Evil is “not” sin. God in not a sinner; He is God and according to the scriptures, in Him dwells no darkness. But God inflicts man with evil because men commit evil. As the scriptures declare that “God REPAYS evil with evil”. How in the world can God DO something He did not create.

    God does indeed kill people, so does that make God evil? God forbid! That is an evil act for us because God has given us laws.

    The Christian may still contend that God did not create evil, but that the devil did. There is no such scripture in the book that they highly regard. Instead, all evidence points to God himself.

    God bless you

  11. Aris says:

    In response to aj: FROM YOUR OWN BIBLE.

    Isaiah 47:7- ” I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”

    So, in conclusion: Also from YOUR OWN BIBLE,

    Matthew 7:3- “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

  12. Aris says:

    In response to the Original Post Itself:

    God is all things. That also includes Fear. –which is an amazing and underestimated tool of growth, experience and wisdom. It shapes us. And through Love we can understand it in which we move forward. If there was no push to our pull, we would have no “movement” and be stagnant within this realm of infinity. Although infinity itself shows that we aren’t actualy moving anywhere but UNFOLDING within ourselves. Fear creates motion within..–A stir of our senses. This is how God is Omnipotent and Omnipresent.. God is Source energy of all vibrations and non-vibrations of both polarities and void.

    This also answers the question where people ask “Well, if God is love, then why doesn’t he just save all the homeless and starving people in Africa?” –Well, precisely this. There is no interference in BEING. An omnipotent, omnipresent being does not pick and choose who to help. It is an unfolding of events and things that be. –And in which God is experiencing ALL of that which is suffering as well. It is not that “someone in the sky is watching suffering”, but that that ‘someone’ is experiencing on every level because the experience itself IS God, (too). lol

    BTW, I am not a Christian (anymore), just someone who now observes. I don’t like to label myself or go by any particular category of belief system, but rather experience, observe and apply ever-changing details of my life’s pattern.

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