Is God the creator of evil?
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” Isaiah 45:7
Atheists use this verse to claim that God is the creator of evil? Is this true? And How can we, Christians, respond to this claim?
Before we examine this verse, we need an accurate definition of “evil.” Evil is not a thing God created because everything God made is good (Gen. 1:31). Instead, evil is a loss of good.
I do not mean to say that evil is “nothing” or that it is illusory in nature. Evil is real, but it only exists as corruption or loss of good, the way darkness only exists as the absence of light.
Now, let’s take a closer look at how the word for evil, rah, is used in the Scriptures.
The Hebrew word for evil “Rah”, translated as “calamity” in the NKJV, is used in many different ways throughout the Scriptures. It occurs 663 times.
431 times it is translated as “evil”, and 232 times as sorrow, adversity, affliction, trouble, calamity, and misery. Consider the usage of the same word in:
- Lamentation 3:38 “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That woe and well-being proceed?”
- Psalm 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.”
Additionally, the context of the verse is dealing with natural phenomena (sun, light, dark), It is not speaking of moral evil; rather, it is dealing with calamity, distress, etc. This is consistent with other scriptures. For example,
- “So the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?” (Exodus 4:11).
- “If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the LORD have done it?” (Amos 3:6).
Moreover, notice the contrasts in the verse:
- “light” and “darkness,”
- “peace” and “evil.”
In the context, we are seeing two sets of opposites: Light and dark, peace and non-peace. The “evil” that is spoken of is not ontological or moral evil, but the evil experienced by people in the form of calamity.
“If He allows calamities to exist, it is always for a good overarching purpose according to His sovereign will. He works all things, including trials and tribulations, together for good to those who love Him” (Romans 8:28) | Answering: Is God the Creator of Evil?.
The Scriptures never attributes the creation of moral evil to God because it is impossible for God to act against what He is—goodness itself. The Scriptures tell us in many places that He alone is good (Mark 10:18), and that all the works of His hands “are verity and justice” (Psalm 111:7). When He finished His creation, He saw everything and declared it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). He is light and in Him is there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).
“He is light and in Him is there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). | Answering: Is God the Creator of Evil?.
If He allows calamities to exist, it is always for a good overarching purpose, according to His sovereign will. He works all things, including trials and tribulations, together for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
By: George Bassilios | Deacon at St Antonius Coptic Orthodox Church ~ San Francisco, California USA – #timelesstruth
Delivered to you by COPTICNN™ | Coptic News Network on 2020-11-13 from California, United States of America
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