Tag Archives: evil

Why Did God Create Evil?

“Since God is the highest good, He would not allow evil to exist in his works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil. This is part of the infinite goodness of God that He should allow evil to exist, and out of it produce good.” Introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas pg27

Summary:

God allows evil to exist so he can demonstrate his supremacy and ultimate goodness by making good out of evil.

Interpretation:

The entire play of events that proceeds from Genesis to the end was a demonstration of Gods ultimate goodness and power to produce good from evil, before its final judgment.

Or

The entire play of events from Genesis to the end is God seeking to redeem good from evil rather than to simply judge evil. A lesser god in power and goodness could only judge evil, but a greater god in both goodness and power could redeem and transform evil and make good of it.

Problem:

If man has the ability to do both good and evil he can both work for and against God. Furthermore, if man can work for God of his own ability than he is equal in ability with God. Therefore, it must be understood that man can work evil in his own ability, but he can work good only by quickening of God’s Spirit in him. God as the prime mover is the only one to act in pure goodness in and of himself.

______________________________

 

Did God create evil?

It would seem that the highest good, God, is the cause of evil. Introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas, pg 274

Isaiah 14:5, 7 “I am the Lord, and there is no other God, forming light, and creating darkness, making peace, and creating evil.”

Amos 3:6 “Shall there be evil in a city, which the Lord hath not done?”

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No More Sea.

Throughout the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, the seas and oceans represented Chaos and wickedness. These large and deep bodies of water are host to the mighty unknown, and reckless and destructive power. Even in our modern age our titian vessels and ports cannot withstand the devastating power of the seas. Only God has the power to control the mighty seas. God separated the waters of the Red Sea, and closed them on the invading army. and when Jesus calmed the storm that was about to swallow the disciples as they were on the water, this was the major turning point for them to recognize Jesus as God.

God spends 3 days ordering and separating the waters in Genesis chapter 1.

Day 1: The Earth is formless and void, and the Spirit of God was moving over the waters. Gen1:2

Day 2: God separates the water to form the sky and the seas. Gen 1:6&7

Day 3: God gathers the seas and lets dry land appear. Gen 1:9

*It is interesting to note that God is never recorded created the waters. The waters are just there, just as evil is there in the Garden of Eden to tempt mankind after creation.

The waters represent chaos. However, God does not remove the chaos, but he organizes and separates it, causing good to rise from it. Like all things evil seeks to destroy God can use to form life. Jesus claimed “I am the resurrection and the life,” a claim the God of the Old testament establishes on many occasions. God gives life to the barren womb of many, and springs of living water in the midst of the desert..

Furthermore, it seems like from the beginning God did not intend to destroy the chaos, but to order it. To me this parallels God’s allowance for man to choose evil that was provided in creation. Although evil was not God’s intention for man.

Then at the time when mankind’s choice for chaos and wickedness had almost overwhelmed his love for God, God released the waters of chaos unto the earth to cleansed it and humanity. God used the very representation of the thing man was seeking for in place of God to bring his judgment. The flood also used to foreshadow the coming judgment fallen humanity will face before the Holy God in 2 Peter.

However, when all is said and done. Once evil is finally destroyed. The waters of chaos will also be done away with.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.”

(Revelation 21:1)

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How could God allow evil to exist? Not your typical answer!

Refer to these two posts for a background of this argument, and the traditional Christian responses.

https://saintdisillusion.wordpress.com/2009/07/01/the-problem-of-god-the-existence-of-evil/

or a similar article…

http://christianelements.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/how-can-a-loving-god-allow-evil-and-suffering-to-exist/

In this entire conversion, a distinction must be made between Pre-Fall World and Post-Fall. Mankind, and the created universe was completely changed Post-Fall. So we are only speaking of what we hypothetical know of the Pre-Fall universe. Furthermore, we are only looking at mankind, and not angels or demons. It can be seen that Satan was operating with evil intentions before man, however, the universe only seemed cataclysmicly effect when mankind chose evil.

Option A: God did not create evil… or did he?

The same logic that says if you chose not to make a choice means you still made a choice, also means by the mere fact that God did stop the option for evil to exist, although he did not create evil man did when he disobeyed God’s order and design for creation, means that God is still the hidden creator of evil. For example if a biologist created a bacteria with the ability to both help and harm, is he not still the creator of the harm, although he intended only to help?

Even if you argue that evil is not a created “thing” with the previously outlined logic God still created the man with the capacity to “do” evil. Therefore, he is still the creator of evil, because he could have created man without the possibility to “do” evil.

Conclusion to option A: it seems the answer to this question of why God allows evil to exist is more related why does he allows good to exist. Man ability for evil is the same in his relation to do “good”(pre-Fall). So it seems that God allowed evil to exist in the hope that the good would triumph over evil. So it seems to match up with the narrative of the Bible, that evil is an option, but with the intervention of God evil is crushed.

Follow up Questions:

Why did God create evil only if he planned on destroying it?

Does evil need to exist for good to exist?


Or option B: Evil is not a created “thing.”

The Bible does not explain the origin of evil, but rather only the origin of evil within the created world. And since evil is not a thing, just as love is not a thing, both are wills and intentions of the heart/mind; they are ways to use things, rather than things themselves; then God merely made man with the capacity to operate on either the network of love, or on the network of evil. We were in one sense beings with free roam capabilities. However, God is a being that exclusively works on the network of love, and although he intended us to function lovingly, man does not always do so.

Therefore, the question as to why does God allow evil to exists is unanswerable with the information given. The question and focus becomes not where did evil come from or why is it here? But on how does God intend us to live. This also coincides with the narrative of the Bible, which is that God steps into creation to redeem creation so it has the power to resist evil.

Follow up Questions:

If evil is not a “thing” can it even be created? And if it cannot be created has it then always existed, and apart from God?

More to this thought:

God never intended man to understand “good” and “evil.” It was the forbidden fruit. God only intended us to operate on the network of love, and man in his first act of evil sought to understand both “good” and “evil.” After eating our eyes were open to what evil is.

If this is true, then it presents another serious question. Man’s first act of evil/sin proceeded his understanding of what evil really was. Therefore evil must have existed before man sinned, and the fruit of the tree only represented man falling victim to penalty of that understanding… judgment.

Before the fall, the question of evil is irrelevant. For man righteousness and judgment was only based on one rule, “do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” If man obeyed righteousness was obtained.

So man could have done acts we now know as evil, but he would not have been judged for them. (If they would have this is not certain, there eyes had not been opened to seeing these things) Paul writes to this effect in Romans, that those judged without the law are judged apart from the law. They are judged by their own standards. (But no man can even live up to his own standards, so we are all guilty of at least breaking our law.)

Therefore, the question of How does God allow evil to exist is not a question at all. The reality is that the more we know about evil and good, right and wrong, the more we become accountable for those actions. The more evil a man does with understanding the more judgment he comes under. So with this, it is understood that God is both bothered with evil, as he punished it, and with our understanding of it because the more we know the guiltier we become and the more evil we seem to do.

In the end the answer to the original question is unanswerable, but to say that God does not like evil, that is why he punishes it, and that he never intended us to know evil and therefore its hurts and pains.

To phrase it another way:

As to the origin of evil or why God allows evil to exist, it is beyond our understanding. What is known is that God never wanted mankind to experience or participate in it.

Maybe it had always existed?

It could be said that because evil or love is not a created “thing”… it has always and always will exist as an option, because as it is not a “thing” only an intention, so as long as that intention is a possibility, “evil” will exist. Before creation there was only God. God is love, in Him there is no evil. Therefore evil was not presently visible. But when the created world was formed, evil was given a facility to operate and became a present visible reality. Both evil and love are only “made” or become visible and real when when someone chooses them (for example man).

If in my life I never chose to love… this does not mean love did or does not exist, just that I never chose it. This same principle applies to evil. Before the creation evil was not seen because God never operated with evil intentions. But after man was formed evil is made visible because man chose to operate in evil.

So the question of who created evil is the same question as to who created the ability to be generous, rude, kind, or mean. These are not “things” they are ways to use and treat things/others so before there was things and others, none of these characteristics were possible, for there was only God. The created world only gave these non”things” a platform to operate within.

However, this then presents another serious objection for option B. If the created world opened a “Pandora’s box” of evil. Then why did God create at all? If the created universe was only going to give a pathway for evil to be made visible why make it?

Maybe… it was worth creating because God wanted to make a community, who  like the triune God, could live and share love. Maybe… in love God created so that others could experience love, but first they would have to reject evil. Maybe, this is why God was willing to send his own son into the world so man could be redeemed from evil and the Holy Spirit could be with us, empowering us, de so that we could live in communities of love.

Conclusion for option B: God wanted others to experience the love in community only the godhead had experienced up to that point.  So he created the universe in love, which gave pathway for evil. Then it was either let evil destroy creation or step into creation to rescue and redeem it? The Biblical account testifies God chose the ladder option, and by stepping into creation God defeated evil and prepared the way that we could once again live in a community of love.

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The problem of God & the existence of evil.

evil and god

There seems to be a contradiction by the affirming of all four of these propositions:

•    God exists
•    God is all-good
•    God is all-powerful
•    Evil exists

Because is God is real, all good and all-powerful, then evil would not exist.
Or God is real, all good, but not all-powerful and this is why evil exist.
Or God is real but not all good, so in power he created evil.
Or lastly God is not real and evil therefore exists.

Or are they all right!?

The problem with this argument has to do with the arrangement of this argument. “Evil” is spoken of as a being, as a thing. But evil is not a thing or a being.

“Things are not evil in themselves. For instance, a sword is not evil. Even the stroke of the sword that chops off your head is not evil in it’s being—in fact, unless it is a “good” stroke, it will not chop off your head. Where is the evil? It is in the will, the choice, the intent, the movement of the soul, which puts a wrong order into the physical world of things and acts—the order between the sword and a neck… Augustine defines evil as disordered love, disordered will. It is a wrong relationship, a nonconformity between our will and God’s will. God did not make it we did.”
(this quote and the one above were taken from Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics, by Peter Kreeft & Ronald K. Tacelli, Pg 45,46.)

God cannot create evil, because in him there is not evil, there is no disunity in his persons. God is holy, united, perfect love. However, as created beings we are not perfectly united with our creator, we live in relationship with Him. In that relationship there is an ebb and flow. The further our relationship grows apart from God the more “evil” we become in our heart, minds, and actions. Likewise, the closer we draw to God, and unify ourselves with him, the less evil we become in our heart, mind, and actions, or the more holy our heart, mind, and actions become.

Evil will always exists until man becomes perfectly united with God.

This is why Jesus prayed, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:20-23

*So in one sense God did create evil, because he did create something different than himself, which opened Pandoras box for evil. However, looking at it from another direction God did not create evil. He created us and we created evil…  So can we really blame God?

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