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THE CREATION OF EVIL

 

Scripture references are to the King James (Authorised) Version unless stated otherwise.

 

Q. Isaiah 45:7 reads: ‘I form the light and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.’ Does this verse teach that God made evil?

 

A. The ‘evil’ referred to in this verse is not the equivalent of ‘sin’, though the same word does sometimes imply sinful behaviour or moral badness on the part of people. The Hebrew word here translated ‘evil’ is (rah) and is rendered in other texts variously as ‘ill-favoured’ or ‘ugly’ (Gen. 41:27), or ‘mischief’ or ‘malice’ (Psa. 28:3).

The New International Version (UK edition of 1984), puts it this way: ‘I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.’ Other translations convey a similar theme of contrast or opposites – light vs. darkness; peace vs. disruption; prosperity vs. misfortune.

In the case of ‘darkness’, it is evidently the absence of light, a fact which affords a clue to the meaning of the other components of v. 7. That is, the existence of one implies the existence of the other, as in sweet vs. sour, hope vs. despair, etc. Viewed as positive and negative, we might say that light is positive and darkness is negative. The same applies to peace and evil. The presence or absence of the one creates (brings about) the other. Obviously there are occasions when calamity ‘comes about’ as the direct consequence of an individual’s sinful behaviour.

The contrast between the positive good of ‘peace’ and its negation, ‘evil’, appears to be an assertion that the world of human existence and experience in it is the result of God’s will and power – ‘I, the Lord, do all these things’. That is, everything which exists flows from the outworking of the Divine plan, as implied in v. 6: ‘. . . from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other’ (Authorised Version). God’s Plan of the Ages is intended to teach humanity all the lessons it will need in order to gain the promised salvation from sin and death.

Does God create sin? No. The Apostle James tells us that God does not and cannot tempt one to sin (Jas. 1:13). Sin arises from the circumstances into which the human race is born and which are due to the fall of the race from its original perfect created state. Recognising this deficit, God in His justice makes allowance for our own unrighteous behaviour, having provided the offset of our sins through His Son, by whom we are justified by faith.

Looked at it in the broad view, the implication of Isa. 45:6, 7 is that Jehovah alone is the Omnipotent One. All things operate under His direction and influence and no other or arbitrary force can interfere with His control. He alone is ‘good’ in the supreme meaning of the term (Luke 18:19).

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November 2016. No copyrights. ukbiblestudents.com

 

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