In a world where we are led to believe that God is loving, righteous, and omniscient, the question of why evil exists becomes difficult to answer. The existence of evil challenges the idea that all things are under God’s control. If He created everything, did God create evil as well? If He loves us, why doesn’t He prevent evil from happening?
According to the Bible, when God finished His creation, He declared it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). He did, however, give humans the ability to choose, which is known as free will. Evil arose as a result of sin, and God did not intend for sin to exist in the universe. Evil came as a result of the selfishness of man. So, did God create evil? Or are humans the ones who have brought evil into the world?
Did God Create Evil?
Christianity recognizes that evil exists. The Bible teaches us in both testaments that the world is presently in an evil state. But one of the questions we always ask is, “Did God create evil?” The answer is that God did not create evil, and the Bible confirms this numerous times. James 1:13 reads, “God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” “God is light, and in Him, there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).
However, one passage of Scripture claims to prove that God created evil. Isaiah 45:7 states, “I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil; I, the Lord, do all these things.”
This, however, is not what the original Hebrew says. The New American Standard Bible clarifies the meaning of Isaiah 45:6–7: “I form the light and create darkness; I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.” In other words, God creates disaster as a punishment for the wicked. But He is not the author of evil.
What Is Evil And What Evil Is Not?
What Evil Is:
- Since the fall of Adam and Eve, evil has been ingrained in the nature of all humans, which is evident in Genesis 3:6–7, Isaiah 53:6, Isaiah 64:6, and Jeremiah 17:9.
- Adultery, bitterness, blasphemy, coveting, envy, immorality, murder, oppression, persecution, pride, racism, rage, and stealing are just a few of the most heinous things that occur in this world, and they are all forms of evil.
- Evil is working hard to destroy us. After years of righteous rule, King David quickly broke half of the Ten Commandments (2 Samuel 11:1–27). Despite his humble admission of sin, the consequences haunted God’s people for decades (Psalm 51).
- God will judge the unrepentant for their evil. “I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened… The dead were judged according to what they had done” (Revelation 20:7).
What Evil Is Not:
- Evil is not a trivial matter. “The wages of sin is death.” Think about that. Fortunately, the verse continues, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus” (Romans 3:23).
- Evil is not irreversible. “Jesus Christ gave his life to save us from sin, to purify us, and make us his people, dedicated to doing good things” (Titus 2:14, NLT).
- Evil is not tempting. “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can hold. But when you are tempted, he will make a way you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
- Evil is not unavoidable. “All glory to God. He will keep you from falling. He will bring you with joy into his presence with no single fault” (Jude 1:24–25, NLT).
What Does The Bible Say About The Origin Of Evil?
In the Old Testament, the word “evil” is used in two different ways. The Hebrew word “ra’ah” means “calamity,” “disaster,” or “misfortune”—those aspects of life that we consider “bad” because they hurt us or cause us to suffer in some way. The second type of evil is “rasha`,” meaning moral wickedness or “a morally wrong, bad, or wicked person.”
The Hebrew word used by the Lord when he says, “I make peace and create evil,” is ra’ah. The translation of the New King James Version says, “I make peace and create calamity.”
On the other hand, the Bible never attributes the creation of rasha`, or “moral wickedness,” to God. Instead, it repeatedly reminds us that He alone is good (Mark 10:18). All of His works are “truth and justice” (Psalm 111:7).
“He is light, and there is no darkness in Him” (1 John 1:5). If He creates calamity in the world, it is always for a reasonable purpose within the grand plan of His eternal and sovereign plan.
For various reasons, God may weave ra’ah, or hardships, into the fabric of human experience to be one of God’s great instruments in continuing to reveal to us our ultimate dependence on him and our ultimate hope in him, despite our circumstances. He, on the other hand, is not and cannot be the author of rasha`.
Is God Responsible For All The Evil In The World?
God created evil, but he is not to blame for all the evil in the world. God creates evil so that we can recognize and appreciate good. We cannot appreciate light unless we have experienced darkness. We cannot appreciate the good if we are oblivious to evil. We would not appreciate good health if we had never known sickness.
In short, God creates evil so that we will recognize him as the good, merciful, and compassionate God that he is. He creates evil in order to perfectly redeem it. He revealed wrath in order for God’s redemptive works to be revealed (John 9:3).
Is Humanity Responsible For Evil?
God is not to blame for the evil in the universe. God gave mankind something very special when He created them. Humans were given free will to make their own decisions based on their own desires.
The direct choice of individuals is responsible for much of the evil in the universe. Murder, theft, and rape cannot be blamed on God. These are examples of moral evils in this fallen world, and people choose to do these things and must be held accountable for their actions.
Natural evil refers to evils caused by nature, such as mudslides, earthquakes, plagues, and other natural disasters. Phenomena are natural, but disasters are produced by human activity. Humanity is indirectly responsible for natural evil due to the collective actions of humans.
The Bible acknowledges the existence of evil, but God did not create it in the moral sense but instead in the natural sense. Humans brought evil upon themselves by choosing their way over God’s way.
God has given us the ability to choose between good and evil, and when we choose evil, He allows us to suffer the consequences of that choice, as do those around us. God’s role in the face of evil is never that of its author. He simply allows evil agents to operate before overruling them for His own wise and holy ends.