(Isaiah 45:7) Did God 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, King James Version)
Scripture says, “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Since there is no darkness in God, how then is it possible for Him to produce darkness? It is only possible by Him removing His presence of light; for darkness is the absence of light, therefore the absence of light results in darkness. It’s the same with heat and cold. Cold is nothing but the absence of heat. Darkness and cold cannot be created, but when you remove light and heat, darkness and cold will result.
Jesus Taught that God Alone is Good
“And when He (Jesus) was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to Him, and asked Him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.” (Mark 10:17, 18)
How can God, who alone is good, create that which is not good or evil? By withdrawing His goodness or peace. The withdrawal of His peace results in evil, or as other translations say “calamity” or “disaster.” The Hebrew word רַע (rah), translated as “evil” in the King James Version also carries the meaning of calamity, disaster, misery, destruction, unhappiness, wickedness, etc. All of these are never directly caused or created by God, but do result when His Spirit (presence) is grieved and pushed away. How can one push away God’s presence? By the very fact that God will never interfere with one’s freedom of choice. He only desires obedience from love. He did not create us as robots, programmed to obey His every word. The foundation of His kingdom is freedom and love, not force and coercion.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
Here James confirms that God only gives goodness and that God never changes. He never gives anything that is bad or evil or that produces darkness. But doesn't God say He would repent of doing evil in Jeremiah 18:7-10? For the answer, see the article entitled: Why Does God Say He Will Repent of Doing Evil?
Who is the Author of Evil and Death?
Scripture tells us that God is our life:
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey His voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto Him: for He is thy life, and the length of thy days …” (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20)
All life comes from God. Paul wrote that no one but God is good and righteous:
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12)
And since He alone is righteous, there is no death in God:
“In the pathway to righteousness there is life, and in that lifestyle there is no death.” (Proverbs 12:28, International Standard Version)
God did not create death. He is not its author. The absence of life, which is God, results in death. Since there is no death in God, then He does possess death. And since He does not possess death, then He cannot give death. He cannot give that which He does not possess, just as your employer cannot pay you money if they do not have any money.
Scripture is clear that the devil is the one who has the power of death:
“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He (Jesus) Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Hebrews 2:14, New American standard Bible)
Satan is the destroyer, while God is the Restorer. God is good, the devil is evil. Did God create an evil being? No. Satan was once a covering cherub known as a seraphim with six wings. In Ezekiel chapter 28 God takes up a lamentation upon the king of Tyus. However, the wording suggest that He is prophetically giving us insights into the fall of Satan:
“ … Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” (Ezekiel 28:12-15)
In vision Isaiah saw into the heavenly Holy of Holies where the seraphim (covering cherubim) were:
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!’” (Isaiah 6:1-3)
The Hebrew word for “seraphim” is שָׂרָף (saraph) which means “fiery serpent.” This is why God said, “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God.” He is “that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). This seraph was “perfect in [his] ways from the day that [he] was created, till iniquity was found in [him].” Notice that God did not create this iniquity in Satan. God did not create an evil angel. Iniquity (or lawlessness) was found in him. How was it found in him? He chose to push God away and glorify himself as equal to God, desiring to take the place of God’s only begotten Son – Jesus. He is the great source of all that is antichrist; for he denies that Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 2:22). He denies that Jesus is the only way to the Father and that Jesus is the source of his beauty and righteousness. "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life" said Jesus, "No one (no created being) comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). Notice what Isaiah writes in chapter 14 concerning the king of Babylon, but prophetically speaking of the fall of Satan:
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isaiah 14:12-14)
Only Jesus is like the Father (Hebrews 1:1-5). Just as the king of Babylon and king of Tyrus prophetically represent Satan, the book of Proverbs speaks of “wisdom” prophetically speaking of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:24) who alone came forth from the Father (Proverbs 8:23-30; John 8:42). By choosing to reject God, Lucifer (the fiery serpent now known as the Devil and Satan) became the author of sin and death. “He was a murderer from the beginning” and he is full of darkness and violence (Ezekiel 28:16) because “there is no truth (light) in him” (John 8:44). This is why Paul stated:
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
When Jesus appeared to Paul, just after his conversion, He said:
“… I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me.” (Acts 26:15-18)
Notice the parallelism:
- “darkness” = “power of Satan.”
- “Light” = “God.”
The absence of light results in darkness, thus the absence of God results in the power of Satan, and the power of Satan is “the power of death.” Satan does not have life in and of himself. God is sustaining him even while he, or anyone, is producing evil; “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Thus Satan is perverting the sustaining power of God to do evil.1 Out of His love for us God permits this in order to make sin abound so that we will see its disastrous results and seek His grace.
"Moreover the Law entered (privately into the heart), that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 5:20, 21)
The natural human mind doesn't realize it is in darkness. Man must be taught of the goodness of God so he can repent and be reconciled if he wants to. To do this, God uses His Law to show us sin and its consequences, while offering the life of His Son to write that Law in our hearts that we may enter into eternal life. Again, Paul writes:
“What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the Law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the Law had said, 'You shall not covet.' But sin, taking opportunity by the Commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the Law sin was dead ... Therefore the Law is holy, and the Commandment holy and just and good.” (Romans 7:7, 8, 12, New King James Version)2
Satan has rejected God in the full light of God's goodness, thus Satan will never seek God's grace. He has chosen iniquity, therefore the evil that was found in the midst of this fiery serpent will result in his fiery death:
“Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.” (Ezekiel 28:18)
How is it that God will “cause” all this to happen to Satan? Simply by permitting it. Due to Satan’s persistent rejection of God’s love and mercy, God will tearfully permit the evil, which Satan desires, to devour him.
David said “Evil (not God) shall slay the wicked” (Psalm 34:21). Paul says “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). James says sin (not God) brings death (James 1:14, 15). Why? Because darkness, evil, and death are the absence of God’s light, peace and life.
What will you choose?
1 For more information on this concept see the article entitled: Didn’t God Send Fiery Serpents To Kill the People When They Complained At His Leadership?
2 For a deeper study on Romans 7:7-12 see the book entitled: The Conviction of Sin and Righteousness