Tag Archives: God

Did God Create Evil?

If we believe that God created a perfect world and He is sovereign, where did evil come from? There are some people who believe that His sovereign control includes the creation of evil, and they base their conclusion on the words of Isaiah 45:7. In that verse, God says, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil” (KJV).

In order to understand what God was saying through the prophet Isaiah, we need to look at the words used in the text of Isaiah 45:7 . Hebrew words often have a wide variety of meanings, depending on the immediate context in which the word is used. The job of the translator is to accurately select the best modern English word that is closest to the meaning of the word used in the original Hebrew manuscripts.

The fact that ra’ is contrasted to shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, helps to give parameters to the meaning of ra’. Shalom, again, is a rich word with broad meaning. Depending on the context, shalom can be translated “peace,” “well-being,” “welfare,” “prosperity,” “safe,” “health,” and “peaceable.” in Isaiah 45:7 makes it evident that different translators interpreted the context of Isaiah 45 in different ways. Five different English translations are compared below.

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things (KJV).

I form the light, and create darkness, I make peace, and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things (NKJV).

I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things (NIV).

The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these (NASB).

I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe, I am the Lord, who does all these things (RSV).

The Hebrew term ra’ has a broad spectrum of meanings. It can mean “wickedness,” “mischief,” “bad,” “trouble,” “hurt,” “sore,” “affliction,” “ill,” “adversity,” “harm,” “grievous,” and “sad.” Thus, as with the interpretation of any word, it is the immediate context that dictates the exact nuance of the word to be translated into English.

The fact that ra’ is contrasted to shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, helps to give parameters to the meaning of ra’. Shalom, again, is a rich word with broad meaning. Depending on the context, shalom can be translated “peace,” “well-being,” “welfare,” “prosperity,” “safe,” “health,” and “peaceable.”

The context of Isaiah 45:7 is a profound declaration of God’s total sovereignty over the affairs of men. God’s stunning revelation that Cyrus, the totalitarian ruler of Persia, was being chosen by Him to be “His anointed” ( Isaiah 45:1 ), the deliverer of the nation of Israel, was shocking to Isaiah’s readers. This is especially true given God’s clear denunciation of idolatry in the immediately preceding context ( Isaiah 44:6-23 ). The irony of this passage is that God reveals how He intends to use a pagan, idol-worshiping dictator like Cyrus to return His people Israel to the land from which they had been deposed by the Babylonian despot, Nebuchadnezzar.

In summing up the gamut of His awesome character and unpredictable ways (see also Isaiah 55:8-9 ), God declares:

I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from Me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged Me, so that 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. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things (Isaiah 45:5-7 NIV).

This is the signature exclamation of the only sovereign potentate of the universe: “I did this!” From the beginning to the end, from light to darkness, from prosperity to disaster, all are the work of His hands. God uses even the most wicked and evil exploits of this world to bring about His glory and divine purposes. That is what is so awesome about God. Only He can take the most wicked, evil, and self-serving intentions and make good come out of them (see also Romans 8:28 ).

Does God create evil? Certainly not. If He was the author of evil, then He certainly would not be a good God that is worthy of worship and praise, much less trusted to have our well-being in mind. The idea of a good God creating His own enemy and the object of His wrath seems inconceivable. It would be inconsistent for a good God to mastermind the idea of evil, will it into existence, and still be considered a good God.

Rather, God created man in His image with the freedom to choose. With this freedom came the opportunity to rebel against Him. Man did rebel ( Genesis 3 ), and the rest is history. The annals of human history chronicle how God uses everything — even the chaos of this world — to bring about His glory and purposes. Those purposes include our growth in becoming more Christlike.

What’s the point of Isaiah 45:7? God reveals His almighty and awesome character to us so we can relax with the confidence that comes from knowing, even in the most dark, desperate, and discouraging times in our lives, God is up to something good for us all the time.

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How Can I Prove to Someone that God Exists?

The universe presents overwhelming evidence for God’s existence (Psalm 19:1). But no one can be forced to believe in God. In fact, God’s infinite nature makes it impossible to apprehend Him directly (1 Timothy 1:17; 6:16). Because God is Spirit, conclusions about the ultimate beginnings of the universe need to be drawn from the created world and God’s actions within it. Here in the created world, the evidence for God’s eternal power and divine nature is so overwhelming that belief in Him is the only reasonable option (Romans 1:20). While some aspects of God’s nature–His holiness and love, for example–have been obscured by the Fall (See the ATQ articles, Why Would an All-Powerful God Permit Evil? and Why Would God Allow Bad Things to Happen to Good People?), it is disbelief in God’s existence and power that is irrational, not belief.

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To assume that the universe is just a cosmic accident goes against the grain of everything we experience. Everything that we have ever encountered with our senses has a cause: why not the universe?

There is a remarkable human tendency to ignore the obvious. We all take many of the most important things in our lives (security, family, health) for granted. Similarly, we all tend to take the universe and its mysteries for granted. Instead of asking the obvious questions “Why is there a universe and why am I here?” and “How does the universe happen to exist at all?” we allow a superficial smattering of scientific knowledge to divest us of an appropriate sense of wonder.

The Bible offers us the essential truths about God:

  • He was there “in the beginning” before anything else existed (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 33:9; Isaiah 57:15; John 1:1-3; 1 Timothy 6:16 ).
  • He has no beginning or end, and He is unbounded by time and space ( Psalm 90:2, 4; 93:2; Isaiah 40:28 ).
  • Everything else that existsminerals, water, plants, animals,angels, demonsis on a lower plane ( Psalm 33:6; Isaiah 45:12; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11 ). Only God is an eternal Spirit, uncreated, other, of an entirely different order.

God made human beings in His image (Genesis 1:26-27 ), but we are still part of the material world. Each of us had a specific beginning, and are bounded by three-dimensional experience and passing time. Being immersed in time and space, we become overwhelmed and confused when we try to understand an eternal God (Job 36:26 ;Isaiah 40:28 ).

Many people simply ignore the overwhelming experiential and natural evidence for God’s existence. Ultimately, faith comes down to a decision of the heart. A mind darkened by a rebellious heart is incapable of perceiving God (Isaiah 44:18,20; Romans 1:18-23).2

The eternal God is transcendent, not part of creation. God’s existence cannot be “proven” in the way that science can prove or disprove a fact about the material world (Hebrews 11:1). We are spiritual beings, created in God’s image, aware of our own existence, and capable of choice. Choosing to believe that there is no God and that the universe is just a fantastically complex accident will inevitably lead to the conclusion that life is absurd and without meaning. To live without meaning is a hopeless struggle at best, and always ends in despair. But if we believe in the God of the Bible we not only have a reason to live, but the assurance of seeing the kingdom of God with our own eyes.

For the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity and whose name is holy says, “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15).

Also go to, 10 Reasons To Believe In The Existence Of God.

  1. There are many biblical examples of willful people ignoring the most spectacular demonstrations of God’s presence and power. Consider these: Pharaoh ( Exodus 11:10 ), the Israelites ( Exodus 32:1-4 ), Ahab ( 1 Kings 18:38-39 ), Jesus’ enemies (Mark 3:22 ). Back To Article
  2. Today the ideology of naturalistic evolution is losing ground. Both laymen and scientists are growing increasingly aware that the universe and the life within it are much too complex to have been a mere accident. The so-called “Big Bang” (mentioned over 3,000 years ago in Genesis 1:3) set in motion a series of creative events so complex and perfect that all of man’s accumulated scientific wisdom is just beginning to explore them. Within the limited time frame of merely 15-20 billion years (if current estimates are accepted), a feat of cosmic engineering has occurred on such a vast scale that objective observers are being silenced and humbled, just as Isaiah was humbled by his vision of God’s inconceivable greatness ( Isaiah 40:21-23 ). Back To Article
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