Friday, November 9, 2012
Where Did Evil Come From
Evil. Did you know there are two types of evil? And the fact is, both types of evil abounds in the world. It is mentioned often in the Word of God. In general, evil is described and defined by my dictionary as ... "profound immorality, wickedness, and depravity; in the supernatural realm it is associated with the forces of the devil."
This describes the most common perception of evil ... the evil of sin. But evil is sometimes described as ... "something that is harmful or undesirable" ... which I will call ... the evil of nature.
Most people instinctively know and recognize evil when they see it. But what does the Scripture say about evil.
Isaiah 45:7 ... "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."
Now remember, this is God making a statement about Himself through His servant Isaiah. What's He saying? I believe it is this ... He is declaring that as the creator of the universe, He is the author of all things of every kind, which also includes this word, "evil" as used in this scripture.
But let me clarify one thing ... God is not the author of sin, so the word "evil" as used here ... is not speaking of the evil of sin.
The evil of sin is always either of men or Satan. Man's sin is allowed (or if you prefer) permitted by the Lord because of man's free will. When I say that sin is allowed or permitted, I am in no way saying that God wants or desires man to sin. He does not. God hates all sin. This scripture does not prove that God is the author of moral evil or sin, and such a sentiment is abhorrent to the general strain of the Bible and to all just views of the character of God. He is simply honor bound to let man choose the evil of sin because He gave man free will.
The Hebrew meaning of the word "evil" in the above scripture is simply ... something bad ... which may allude to the following: adversity, affliction, calamity and distress.
God can bring punishment for sin. He did all the time in the Old Testament. Does He yet today? What about famine, pestilence, natural disasters or even war which is usually brought on by the effects of sin ... all of which are permitted by God. All afflictions, adversities, and dare I say, diseases, come under the same name ... "evil" ... and can be of God. These are some of the things that the word evil in this scripture was speaking of.
Augustine said ... "Evil, which is sin, the Lord hath not done; evil, which is punishment for sin, the Lord bringeth."
"I the Lord do all these things." Does God direct judgments, disappointments, trials, and calamities? Does He have power to afflict nations with war? Does He preside over adverse as well as prosperous events?
Amos 3:6 ... "Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?"
I think Amos is saying basically this ... "If it happens, God has done it."
Amos evidently believed that the "so called evil," the things that life in general brings our way were directed from the hand of God. And personally ... I have no problem with that belief.
"Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it" ... which is not to be understood as the evil of sin, of which God is not the author, because it's contrary to His nature and will; and though He permits it to be done by others ... He never does it Himself.
Evidently the Apostle Paul also believed this because he said ... "God works all things ..."
Ephesians 1:11 ... "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will."
The word "worketh" in Greek is "energo" (pronounced en-erg-eh' -o) and means ... "to be active, involved in all things."
The word for "all" is really all things; it's the Greek "pas" and means ... "all, any, every, the whole thing, with nothing left out."
The affirmation here is not merely that God accomplishes the designs of salvation according to the counsel of His own will, but that He does everything. God's work is not confined to only people and their salvation. Every object and event ... is under His control ... and is in accordance with His eternal plan.
God is the author of all things but sin; of the works of creation and providence, of grace and salvation; and who works all these things according to His will, as He pleases. Am I repeating myself? Yes I am ... I intend too. God is good, but God is also Holy. We tend to forget that sometimes.
In the Providence of God, (governing and controlling all things) man is allowed to do that which he wills, but suffers evil because of his actions. It has been said ... "Natural evil is the punishment of moral evil. God sends the former when the latter is persisted in." So by this we see the difference between sinful evil and some of the things in nature that we think of as evil.
Job once said to his wife ... "What, shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips."
Let me say that the source of all these dealings with Job is not related to Satan's accusations, but rather came from God Himself. God sets all things in motion. When God demands of Satan the question ... "Have you considered my servant Job" ... it was because He Himself had. Satan was but an instrument to bring about God's purposes with Job, and still is today.
Solomon was also a wise man who asked this question as a statement of fact in ...
Lamentations 3:38 ... "Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?"
The Amplified says it this way ... "Is it not out of the mouth of the Most High that evil and good both proceed [adversity and prosperity, physical evil or misfortune and physical good or happiness]?"
Does not evil or trouble come out of God's mouth from His direction, thru providence ... as well as good? Certainly they do; they both come to pass as God and His will have determined, either immediately by His own hand, or by the hands of those He employs. Whoever are the instruments, God is the principal agent. Out of His mouth both good and evil proceed.
According to the Word, these things are all by His appointment; He determines what kind and nature they shall be; how far they shall go; and their duration ... how long they shall last.
And so all things come from God, even all temporal things. Everything in God's providence have their purpose and being ... even nature's evil ... meant to be for our good. These are all according to the appointment of God, and the determination of His will.
John Wesley says ... "God by his wise and holy providence governs all the actions of men and devils, and the affairs of earth are much the subject of the counsels of the unseen world. That world is dark to us, but we lie open to it."
I know this isn't a popular teaching anymore, but it's Scripture ... and at least for me ... it makes me learn to trust God in all things.