So, it begs the question, which is also Volume 1 of the Simple Christian Podcast: Why did God create evil?
I’m Dr. Ty and I’ve wondered this myself. I mean, it really doesn’t make sense according to worldly thinking. If there was no evil, the world would be an amazing place. There would be no crime, no bad thoughts and the worse that would ever happen would be a pandemic or some sort of natural catastrophe.
Without evil, we wouldn’t need police or courts. There would never have been such a thing as slavery.
The story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4 is well known in Christianity, but let’s look a little more closely at it, because there is something that astounds me about this story: Cain talked directly to God. He knew God personally, and he knew exactly what would and would not please God.
But Cain let jealousy and greed get the better of him. We are supposed to bring our “first fruits” to God, which means the best of what we have is supposed to go to Him. And Cain knew this, because this wasn’t the first time he had made an offering to God. If nothing else, he had watched his parents do it for years. He knew exactly what to do, but he got greedy and wanted the best for himself.
Then, in Genesis 4:5, we see that God did not look kindly on Cain’s offering; God knew it was not Cain’s “first fruit” and he saw the greed in Cain’s heart. But God liked Abel’s offering, so Cain got jealous.
Have you ever seen that before? Maybe two people you know apply for the same job or promotion. One gets it (of course), and the other becomes mean and spiteful to that other person, even if they were friends before.
But Cain took it a step further. His jealousy (an internal bad emotion) turned to murder (an external evil emotion).
And that certainly is not the only place in the Bible where we see evil. The Egyptians enslaved the Hebrews for 400 years before Moses showed up. And the something like half the Hebrews, when Moses went up to the mountain, turned and started worshiping a golden calf. But not just that, they acted in evil ways. It wasn’t just idol worship, it was much more. So, even as Moses was coming down the mountain with tablets on how to do good in the sight of God, almost half of the people there were doing evil.
But one time of the Israelites always stands out to me when I think of this subject, the time of Judges. In the book of Judges, the quote “The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the lord” is documented at least 8 times.
But what really is the definition of “evil?” in modern times, Some people think that their ex is evil and the anti-Christ. Driving down the road, one driver may think that a person is evil for going too slow while another may think the tailgater is being evil.
One author on a web site states that evil is a side-effect of love (https://www.allaboutgod.com/faq/why-did-god-create-evil.htm). The author believes that without evil we would all be robots and have no real choice, or free will, in the matter of loving God. And that is a good assumption.
Another author states that God did not create evil, but that evil is just an absence of good (https://www.gotquestions.org/did-God-create-evil.html).
But I don’t believe this assumption is Biblically correct. If this statement were true, then both Matthew 19:26 and Mark 10:27 would be completely wrong. They both state that “… all things are possible with God.”
So, what does the Bible say about the definition of good and evil? Is there anything in there that tells us whether God created evil and why?
Personally, I think there is. I believe that God did create evil and I think that he did it on purpose.
The Bible tells us:
Matthew 19:17 – “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
Psalm 34:8 – Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
And there are more. What these passages say is that God is good (and don’t roll your eyes and give me a “duh” yet). I don’t mean that God does good things, God is the definition of Good.
But, if God created evil on purpose, why would there be scripture like
Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Why would God say that if he created evil? If God wants the best for us, why not let us know what evil is but not let us experience it?
Well, God gives us free will. How else will he know if we are freely willing to worship him, rather than just being robots?
Now, to be specific, there are no Bible passages that say God gives us free will. But, if He did not intend for us to have free will, why would there be passages like in Jeremiah that I had already mentioned, and:
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Without free will, it would not be necessary to rely on God for anything.
Consider these passages:
Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord GOD, and not rather that they should turn from their ways and live?… Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord GOD. Turn, then, and live. (Ezek. 18:5,9, 20, 23, 31-32).
God is specifically telling us that our salvation is completely up to us. He wants us to live in Heaven with him, but it’s up to us to decide to do so.
And we are not the only ones, he gave free will to the angels as well. Otherwise, Satan and his followers would never have fallen. But I’ll be talking about Satan more in a different volume.
So, free will cannot exist without the ability for humans to know of evil and decide to act in evil ways.
And that’s also the deception of the new age movement. If God is the definition of good, but we take God out of the picture, then “Good” becomes whatever each individual decides it is. And one person may think that something is good because it feels good in the moment, but they are not thinking of the possible cost of that thing to other people.
There is no way to have a general definition of what good is, and what evil is, without God. And, since God is the definition of good, then the basic answer is that evil must be anything that does not please God.
That doesn’t mean that we have to spend our entire lives chanting scripture relentlessly, or even praying the rosary like some Christians do. I’m not saying that doing so is bad, but what’s the reason behind it?
Look to the 10 commandments and you can learn all you need to know about what evil is in the sight of God.
Or, just follow the teachings of Jesus (in my opinion, the most difficult thing he taught): Love one another. Love your enemies. I can tell you that I struggle with that, sometimes on an hourly basis.
Please leave me a comment. I’d like to know what you thought of this volume.
And remember to rate and review this podcast on your favorite podcast player.
This is Dr. Ty, thanks for listening and I’ll talk to you soon!