Did God Create Evil?
The short answer? No, God did not create evil.
But wait, you say, didn’t God create everything?
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (NIV)
At first glance, it appears that God must have created evil, in the midst of the all things. Yet knowing and believing the character of God to be good, we must ask ourselves, would God have created evil with the intention of creating the sin, pain and hardship that comes along with it? To answer this question, let’s take a look at the definition of create.
Dictionary.com defines the word this way: Create
- To cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.
- To evolve from one’s own thought or imagination, as a work or art or an invention.
Basically, when something has been created, it means that first an idea has been fathomed and then second that same idea has been formed into concrete existence. In the beginning, when God created the heavens, the angels, the earth and mankind, all of what He created was declared to be good:
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (NIV)
God’s creation, what He fathomed into existence, did not include evil. If it had, everything that God had made could not have been declared to be good. With this in mind, we need to go one step further and take a closer look at God’s actual creation, in particular the celestial beings and humanity. We know from the story of Adam and Eve that mankind was created in the image of God. The first man and woman lived in harmony with God, in direct communion with Him, and they were given instruction on how to live. We also know that they, along with the angels, were given something very important: free will. Evil is mentioned as early as Genesis 2:8, in reference to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and its placement within Eden, and then correlated with God’s command to Adam to refrain from eating the fruit of said tree, in verse 15. Evil makes another appearance shortly thereafter, when Satan is speaking to Eve in the Garden of Eden, questioning her logic in refusing to eat the forbidden fruit:
"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Clearly we have good and evil existing as separate entities, face to face in the Garden of Eden. We also find Satan right there in the midst of it, leading Adam and Eve astray, and we can’t possibly have a discussion about the origin of evil without including Satan. Satan, also known as the devil, that old serpent, the father of lies, the prince of this world, the accuser of the brethren, the dragon, the enemy, and Beelzebub. Contrary to popular belief, Satan is not the nemesis of God. He is merely a created being, an angel, albeit an extremely powerful angel but still an angel none the less, and he was not created to be evil. Of all the names by which this dark and sinister being is known, names which rightly depict the darkness of his character, there is one that stands out in stark contrast: Lucifer. Lucifer was created and ordained by God as a guardian Cherub angel, more beautiful than any other and full of wisdom, and given a name meaning ‘bearer of light’, which correctly defined the character of Lucifer at the time of his creation by God. What went wrong? I believe the answer to that question lies in Ezekiel:
'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “ ‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.’ ” (NIV)
You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you…Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.
Even the devil himself was created by God as the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. Surprised? Along with these blessings, Satan was given the same privilege enjoyed by all beings created by God: He had free choice. He was not forced to love the God who brought him forth into existence and blessed him with beauty and wisdom, and he did not have to fulfill his Godly calling if it wasn’t his chosen path. God did not create any of us, neither angels nor mankind, without giving us the freedom to choose whether or not we will follow Him. It was this same choice that was presented to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, when they chose to disobey God and instead follow the lies of Satan.
Let’s tie it all together now. All of God’s creation was declared to be good, therefore evil did not come into this world as a result of its express purpose being created by God. It did however exist from the beginning, as a choice within the decision making ability of all created beings. Because of this, it could be said that while God did not create evil itself, what He did create was the potential for evil. It existed within the freedom of choice, then evil itself was made manifest within the heart of Lucifer, and he became Satan.
Why would God allow for even the mere potential for evil to exist? Because if He hadn’t, he wouldn’t have angels and people who serve him out of love and by their own free choice, he would have had nothing more than non-intelligent beings who followed along at his heels not because they loved and honored him, but because they wouldn’t have had the capacity to do anything else. Where’s the enjoyment in that? Though Satan wreaks havoc both in the seen and the unseen realms, he is nothing more than a fallen angel, and a damned one at that because of his deplorable behavior and his sin against both God and mankind. His days are numbered. The heart of the perfect angel created as Lucifer became prideful, and in turn he became wicked, and he chose to sin against God, and in doing so he gave evil birth.
There you have it.
Evil is the result of any choice made against God.
Visitor Question: Why in isiah 45:7 does it say what it does king james version? I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Visitor Name: Mike
Faith's Answer: Great question. The Hebrew word 'ra' is what has been translated as 'evil' in the KJV, it means "adversity, affliction, calamity, distress, misery." Many hebrew words can have various meanings, we have to look at the context of which they're spoken in to best determine what the scripture is speaking. This is why the word 'ra' is translated with the various meanings in other translations of the bible. For example, in the NIV, the verse reads: I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.
To understand how God could 'create' disaster or evil, its important to understand the context of this scripture. God is speaking to his people, who are living on the fallen earth which has become rampant with evil, evil which God may use as a punishment for his enemies, or to accomplish a greater good in teaching his children. In this way, He may 'create' disaster on earth. This verse is not being spoken of as the creation of moral evil.