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“Why Does Evil Exist? (Part #4)”

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SIH STSTA ICON“I Create Evil”

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].(Isaiah 45:7)

[Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:…” (Habakkuk 1:13) 

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  (James 1:13)

In above set of Scriptures, we find one of the supposedly contradictory texts of the Scriptures.  On one hand, from the lips of the Lord Himself, He clearly states that “I create evil”.  Then later in the Scriptures we find Habakkuk, as he speaks concerning the Lord, says [Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:  then, to add confusion to our subject, James states clearly that God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

In this series of lessons, we will be looking into two basic questions, first, “What Is God’s Role In The Existence of Evil ?” and, secondly, “What Is The Purpose Behind The Existence Of Evil ?”

THE STUDY:

Before we begin this portion of our study, let’s pick up with the summary from our studies so far …
1.  “Evil” describes something that causes harm or injury
2.  “Evil” can be referring to harm that is so severe, that it causes total destruction or uselessness
3.  “Evil” can, but not necessarily, involves moral wickedness
4.  “Evil” can describe sin or it can describe the results of sin
5.  “Evil” can describe the direct results of sin
6.  “Evil” can describe the indirect results of sin
7.  “Evil” can describe an act that is morally wicked
8.  “Evil” can describe, not the act, but the result of moral wickedness
9.  Evil is “the condition/act of sin, OR the direct or indirect results of sin, that are harmful, and potentially ruinous, to any part of God’s creation.”  
10.  Our Lord is in absolute control of all things, this principle is clearly presented throughout the Bible
11.  It is only because the Lord is in control of all things that we can place our unwavering faith in Him
12.  The Sovereignty Of God affects: His ability to aid us, His answering our prayers, His ability to save, His prophecies to use
13. The Lord is in control of Satan himself, who can do nothing apart from the Lord’s allowance
14. The Lord is perfectly holy and separate from sin.
15. Satan and Adam are the ones who are responsible for sin’s existence and entrance into this world

If God, due to His holiness, cannot be the author of sin then what did He mean when He said “I create evil”?…

“I Create Evil”… Exactly What Did Our Lord Create? 

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].(Isaiah 45:7)

To understand what the Lord is speaking of we must remember the Biblical definition for “evil”.

Evil is “the condition/act of sin, OR the direct or indirect results of sin, that are harmful, and potentially ruinous, to any part of God’s creation.”

In other words, the term “evil” can describe either:
1. the act of sin
2. OR the result of that sin.

We have already seen that, due to the absolute holiness of God, the creation of sin cannot be attributed to the Lord. Therefore when He says “I create evil”, He cannot be speaking of the act of sin.  However, there is no reason to deny that He was speaking of the results of sin in the world.  As a matter of fact, the Bible makes it clear to us that this is exactly what He is saying.

Following the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, the LORD IMPOSED upon the serpent, mankind and all nature several “evils” in response to the commission of sin by Adam.  These included: the curse upon the serpent, enmity between serpent and man, physical, spiritual and eternal death, the growth of weeds, and the mother’s pain in childbearing and the dominance of man over the woman…

And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.  Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.  And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life;  Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.”   (Genesis 3:14-19)

In these we can see the Lord’s acceptance of the responsibility for these “evils” upon Satan, the woman, the man, and nature by the phrases “I will” and “cursed”.

What about some of the results of sin upon nature?  The evils of tornados and earthquakes, floods, and famines all of which only exist due to the entrance of sin into nature…

Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word:” (Psalms 148:8)

 

The Psalmist tells us that the elements of nature exist at the Lord’s bidding and fulfill His will.  But the Word goes much farther in Job 37:

For he saith to the snow, Be thou [on] the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.  He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.  Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places.  Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north.  By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened.  Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud:  And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth.  He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.

 (Job 37:6-13)

Here, we are clearly told that the Lord is the One that “causeth it to come” and that He then uses these evils of nature “whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.

Throughout the Word we see His origination, control and usage of the many “evils” of nature.  A few well-known examples include:
1. Gen 6:-9: – the worldwide flood of Noah’s day
2. Exo 9:-13: – the many of the ten plagues of Egypt
3. Deut 28: – drought as punishment for sin
4. 1 Kings 16: – rain withheld
5. Jonah 1: – storm to stop Jonah’s flight
6. Nahum 1: – whirlwind and drought used as examples of judgment from the Lord

All of these were created by God, controlled by God and meted out in response to the presence of sin in the world.

What about the physical (medical) evils that comes upon mankind…. Is the Lord in control of these things?  Below are just a few of many examples of the Lord causing, and then using, physical afflictions for His purpose..
1. Gen 19: – men of Sodom smitten with blindness
2. Exo 9: – boils upon animals and Egyptians
3. Deut 28: – boils, hemorrhoids, rashes
4. 2 Kings 6: – Dothan’s army smitten with blindness
5. Acts 9: – Blindness upon Saul
6. Acts 12: – Herod smitten with worms
In the above six I chose, ALL of them clearly tell us that the Lord, or one of His angels, brought these afflictions upon these men. And all of these are related to the sinful condition of mankind.
The Bible clearly tells us that the Lord creates and uses many direct and indirect evils (harmful events) in response to the sinfulness of mankind.  It is, in this sense, that He says “I create evil”
Note: Please keep in mind, the evil results of sin do not always proceed upon men directly from the hand of the Lord.  The example of Job helps us to understand that, at times, the Lord sovereignly allows Satan to bring the results of sin upon man.  In Job’s case, it included both physical sickness, as well as, natural catastrophes as well as others (Job 1:-2:).
Be that as it may, it opposes the clear declaration of the Scriptures to believe that all of these evils come indirectly from the Lord. There are many times in Scripture where we are clearly told that these types of evils come directly from the hand of the Lord because of the sinful condition of mankind.

In our next lesson… Why does a loving God allow sin to take place and why does He bring to pass the evil results of sin upon mankind?

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

What we have seen in our study so far….

We have attempted to come to a very basic understanding of the term “evil” as used in the Bible.  We have come to see that:

1.  “Evil” describes something that causes harm or injury
2.  “Evil” can be referring to harm that is so severe, that it causes total destruction or uselessness
3.  “Evil” can, but not necessarily, involves moral wickedness
4.  “Evil” can describe sin or it can describe the results of sin
5.  “Evil” can describe the direct results of sin
6.  “Evil” can describe the indirect results of sin
7.  “Evil” can describe an act that is morally wicked
8.  “Evil” can describe, not the act, but the result of moral wickedness
9.  Evil is “the condition/act of sin, OR the direct or indirect results of sin, that are harmful, and potentially ruinous, to any part of God’s creation.”  
10.  Our Lord is in absolute control of all things, this principle is clearly presented throughout the Bible
11.  It is only because the Lord is in control of all things that we can place our unwavering faith in Him
12.  The Sovereignty Of God affects: His ability to aid us, His answering our prayers, His ability to save, His prophecies to use
13. The Lord is in control of Satan himself, who can do nothing apart from the Lord’s allowance
14. The Lord is perfectly holy and separate from sin.
15. Satan and Adam are the ones who are responsible for sin’s existence and entrance into this world
16.  The Lord is the author and sovereign controller of the results of sin upon mankind

 

May the Lord bless you as you continue to seek His truth.

For The Free Study Guide For This Series:  .pdf format    .docx format

 

 

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16 Comments

  1. Terry says:

    thank you so much Rob

  2. Truth2Freedom says:

    Reblogged this on Truth2Freedom's Blog.

  3. jacksaunsea says:

    Something I find interesting, is that the act of sin, created the product which was the knowledge of good and evil. We tend to want the good and hate the evil, but of course, without the knowledge of good and evil (product of sin), we wouldn’t have either good nor evil.

    • Rob Barkman says:

      We had all good and no evil before the fall. Good existed, but we simply did not understand many aspects of it. It was only with entrance of sin in the world that we came to understand more fully the nature of good (compared with evil), many of the blessings that accompanied good, and the great harm that would take place with the loss of those blessings. This what was meant by man coming to “know” good when the fruit would be eaten.

      I guess an easy summary would be this…. sin did not bring good into existence (good existed prior to sin), sin simply revealed more about good than was previously known.

      Thanks for your comment and visiting SIH blog.

      • jacksaunsea says:

        Thank you for your response! I truly appreciate discussion and hope to see more of it on this platform to hopefully deepen our understandings and love for one another.

        You see – and this is perhaps a problem of linguistics more than anything else – to say that there was “good” without evil being present is quite impossible as we have no idea of what good is without the comparative evil,

        We might say that good existed before the fall (ex. God made this and said it was good…) but we did not have the capacity for making a judgment of good and evil. We were simply alive, which is quite marvelous 🙂

  4. SLIMJIM says:

    Thanks for your teaching! This approach to this passage in Isaiah, with it being conscious of the meaning of evil in the Biblical language (from part 1) is something I’ve not thought of before; I like your nuance of it being “evil” as the Lord bringing the consequences to man

    • Rob Barkman says:

      I have come to the conclusion that to understand this subject, like all others, we must get the context right on all these things. That is why this series (as well as some others) are so long. Although some would rather I “get right to the point” of the study, it is much more difficult to understand “the point” without understanding the basis for “the point”. I really feel the need to lay a basis of principles down before we can proceed with a study. This is the way I have taught over the years, and I am convinced that more long-term fruit is borne in this way.

      The definition of “evil” is a good example of this. Thanks so much for understanding who all of these lessons are beginning to fit together. It’s an encouragement for me and very important for the reader, especially as we progress in the final parts of this study… everything will be based upon what we have already studied in this series.

      Lord bless you SJ! Thanks again.

  5. Thanks for a clear explanation of this verse which is often thrown at us. It is basically the way I have responded, but you state it so clearly.

    • Rob Barkman says:

      The whole issue of “Why does the Lord cause/allow evil?” is a continuing sincere question that is brought up by those who are hurting and confused. As mature Christians it is important we can understand this whole issue so we can share kind words of comfort and hope, just as you have done. Over the years, I have come to be thankful to the Lord for the painful times in my life because, when I look beyond the pain, I see the many blessings that were direct results of the pain.

      Lord bless you Angela. Thank you for your testimony for the Lord and your encouraging words. May the Lord continue to bless you and Myles. My prayers continue.

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