Isaiah 45:7 – Does the Lord create evil?
Whenever I tell people that God is good and he is not the One making them sick nor is he responsible for the bad things going on in the world, I can guarantee that I will get two cynical responses. (1) “Tell that to Job,” and (2) “That’s not what is says in Isaiah 45.”
As I have looked at the foolish words of Job elsewhere, today I want to look at the words of Isaiah:
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7)
This is a stunning verse – as we shall see – but it has been used for terrible purposes. “Have you got cancer? God did it. Lost your child? God needed another angel in heaven. There was another school shooting? A deadly earthquake? A devastating hurricane? God ‘allowed’ these things to happen, for he is the author of both good and evil.”
What nonsense. We are supposed to “Ascribe greatness to our God” not evil. His work is perfect and just, not imperfect and bad (Deu 32:3-4).
If you want to know what God is like, look to Jesus who is the exact representation of his being (Heb 1:3). To how many people did Jesus give sickness? When did Jesus ever comfort a grieving parent with useless words? Get your picture of God from Job and you will think that God gives and takes away. But the God Jesus reveals only gives good gifts, and he never takes back what he gives us.
So what do we make of these words of Isaiah about God creating evil? Let’s read them in context:
This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus… (Isaiah 45:1)
When Cyrus the Great arrived at the gates of Babylon in 540BC, he was welcomed by 40,000 Jewish captives as a liberator. One of them handed Cyrus a letter that had been written 150 years previously by the prophet Isaiah. The letter contained the words of the Lord to a man from the east (Is 41:2) – a man who did not know the Lord, but who had been summoned by name:
This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus… I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me. (Isa 45:1,4)
Imagine getting a personally-addressed letter from the Lord written when Abraham Lincoln was president! A letter like that would get your attention.
In the letter God identifies Cyrus by name, calls him “my shepherd,” and says he will rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. According to the historian Josephus, when Cyrus read these words:
An earnest desire and ambition seized upon him to fulfill what was so written; so he called for the most eminent Jews that were in Babylon, and said to them, that he gave them leave to go back to their own country, and to rebuild their city Jerusalem, and the temple of God. – Antiquities of the Jews, 11.1.2
Cyrus is a huge figure in the Old Testament. Not only did Isaiah write to him before he was born, but he’s mentioned in Ezra, Daniel worked for him, and he was instrumental in the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecies regarding the restoration of Israel.
So the first thing to note about Isaiah 45:7 is that these words were not written to you, but to an ancient Persian. This is very important because God talks to this Persian in his language not your language. He uses concepts Cyrus understands but which are foreign to you. Let me explain.
The Persian was not raised with a Judeo-Christian heritage. He was oblivious to the God of Israel. So how does God introduce himself? Not as, “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” for that would’ve meant nothing to Cyrus. Instead, he uses words and phrases that would have made sense to someone raised under the dualistic religion of the Persians. According to Adam Clarke,
It was the great principle of the Magian religion, which prevailed in Persia in the time of Cyrus, and in which probably he was educated, that there are two supreme, co-eternal, and independent causes always acting in opposition one to the other; one the author of all good, the other of all evil. The good being they called Light; the evil being, Darkness.
Persians believed that the affairs of men were governed by two opposing forces, good and evil, light and dark. “Nope,” said God to Cyrus. “It’s just me. I am the Creator of all.”
I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7, NIV)
The Persians brought disaster to the Babylonians and prosperity to the Jewish exiles, but God wanted Cyrus to know who was behind it all:
I will go before you and make the rough places smooth… So that you may know that it is I, The Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. (Isaiah 45:2-3, NASB)
If it hadn’t been for this letter, Cyrus might have thought he was The Man. But on account of this letter Cyrus recognized that he was but a player on a stage directed by the God of all.
This is what the Lord says… who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, “It shall be inhabited,” of the towns of Judah, “They shall be rebuilt,” and of their ruins, “I will restore them” (Isa 44:24-26)
The words of Isaiah are simply stunning. They literally changed the course of history. They prompted Cyrus to free the Jews and fund the restoration of Jerusalem.
But you have to wonder what went through Isaiah’s mind when he wrote them. “Rebuild the temple?” It hadn’t yet been destroyed. “Inhabit Jerusalem?” What disaster is about to fall on Judah? “God creates evil?” But God is good!
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)
Don’t let anyone tell you that God is both good and bad, sweet and bitter. Don’t believe the lie that says he is responsible for the bad things going on in the world. He isn’t. Light has no fellowship with darkness. God is all the time good.
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Thank you for this article! I had been waiting for someone to explain this to me. 🙂
Today, I needed this more than ever. My prayer for you is that the clarity for which you see God’s plan for you is never be fogged by the influences of evil in this world. I pray your heart stays near to the Lord, for your words bless and change men, women, and their families. Stay humble.
Please correct me if I’m wrong. Are you saying those words are a figure of speech that are meant to say “there’s only one God and I am he. If you see anything created it’s from me. If you see evil in the world it’s from something I created.” Meaning God created the things that cause evil?
This is one of those passages where I sit back and think, admittedly arrogantly, ‘God couldn’t you have explained this a bit more if you really don’t want future generations thinking you literally create evil around us?’ I trust he extends grace to me like I do my child who lovingly questions the words I used to speak to them. 🙂
I would not use this fragment of a verse to build any theology that suggests, however remotely, that a good and perfect God has anything to do with evil. There are no shadows in the light. His words may not make perfect sense to those of us who are separated from the context by time and language, but I am certain they made perfect sense to the one to whom they were directed.
I agree. one way of seeing this verse that makes sense to me is the idea called ‘judgement by removal’ – it has other names. The idea is that given that Satan is the ruler of this world and no one apart from Christ is seeking God, what little good we see in this world, is all because God is taking part out of mercy and love. When he steps back, the evil that occurs is already there and trying to happen and now it has reign. It’s similar to when God removes his hedge of protection over Israel against invading armies. They already wanted to do that evil but God was protecting his people. Now, in righteous judgment he steps back with the hope and desire they’ll return to God. In a sense he is the one that controls whether evil is able to occur or not, but it’s not his fault evil is there trying to do so. In this way, ‘allowing evil to occur’ is not a statement of God creating evil, giving it it’s purpose and plan, nor desiring that evil occur, but is simply a way of saying there is nothing that he is not intricately involved in in this world.
Blake – In your first comment above__ quote: “Meaning God created the things that cause evil.”
Was there (when God-man, Son), are there times/moments when healing is not accomplished…? When Jesus had already given the power to do it (heal in His name) near the beginning of the Apostle’s missions – even Jesus could not heal people at times? What was in the way?
I am not convinced God allows evil, evil exists – not because Satan was given (but he was given it) dominion on the earth by those who formerly had it – evils exists because man-kind has chosen not to honour God.
And all he asks is, “keep my commands…” The Newer covenant (i.e. Galations) suggests we don’t have the entanglement of the Older Covenant “laws” ( specifically, the plethora of “oral written rules” of the Pharisees & Sadducees – modern leadership of the Church included) any longer – to have to live that lifestyle – also still in the modern organized church, continually being manufactured post OC.
The commands are all in two: “love God”, “love your neighbour as yourself.” The world’s evil is a whole other issue, but the Church (people) is responsible for the evil they choose.
Stephen Meek, honestly I don’t understand your comment. Was all over the place. There isn’t anyone who came to Jesus he couldn’t heal. The only people who weren’t healed were the people room his home town who didn’t come out to him because they couldn’t believe he was who people said he was. If you can anyone who came to Jesus that he couldn’t heal, share the scripture please
good one,but I have to read it again
Where does evil come from?
The first Time I read this, I was astounded, because of my image of GOD. WHEN I meditated on this, this was the image I was given. A housewife/mother was looking at all the fruit she had, and decided she was going to bake a pie…..after some thought she decides……a banana cream pie would be nice. But there were no bananas available….so she couldn’t bake that pie. Evil has to be available in order to choose it…..so in that sense GOD created evil, in order for us to have the option of choosing it. It’s a philosophical argument, NOT a theological description on the nature of GOD. Satan can’t create anything……only use what’s available for his perverted use
He had to learn about the principles GOD created inHIS UNIVERSE, ( Just like us )and pervert them for his destructive use……he won’t attack GOD directly, because he knows he wouldn’t have a chance against such a formidable foe
So he attacks the things that GOD loves……HIS PEOPLE AND HIS CREATION. Incidentally, the Greek meaning of ” evil” according to my English Greek Concordance ( E W BULLINGER ) is
“To have or cause pain.” Evil has to be available for it to be chosen
Neil, in Canada
Great teaching Paul. I am always amazed when we finally look at scripture “in context” how the truth about the true character and nature of God is revealed to us.
Thanks for shedding light on this passage. It gives life to the belief that not all the Bible, perhaps even most of the Bible, is not addressed to us, and not meant specifically for us. I believe this but do not have the historical context to back my beliefs. Thanks again.
Thank you for clarifying a part of scripture that I have wondered about.
Although you do a great job of giving the historical context relating to Cyrus the Great, and you remind us we must interpret Scripture through a ‘Jesus Hermeneutic,’ I would also offer this overarching principle for verses which suggest God is not completely good: the Bible is only part of a progressive revelation.
Theologian C.S. Cowles maintains that, “In progressive revelation what we see is … reflective of the human mediators’ growing understanding of his [God’s] character, will, and gracious saving purposes in Scripture. Isaiah, for instance, saw into the mind and heart of God more clearly than Moses when he virtually dismisses the whole sacrificial system that Moses believed to have been instituted by God, instructions that are given in great detail in Exodus and Leviticus. In contradistinction to Israel’s entire temple-cult and priestly system, Isaiah asserts that God does not require ‘burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals,’ and that he took ‘no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.’ What the prophet sees anticipates the dramatically clearer revelation of God fleshed out in Jesus: namely, that God is not impressed by outward ritual but rather inward holiness of heart and life (see Isa. 1:11-18).”
(From “Scriptural Inerrancy? Behold, I Show You A More Excellent Way” by Professor C.S. Cowles.)
I have no idea what I just read Kevin! Maybe I’ll ask Holy Spirit to decipher it for me; since you know he invented ‘hermaneutics’, ‘theology’ and ‘contradistinctions’? Seriously? Do you get people saved with your jargon??? Truth in love – sorry bro.
Okay, Nicholas. Have you ever shared your faith with someone who argues it is hypocritical for Christians to say both “God is love,” and also “God is violent” (using, e.g., God wrathfully drowning almost everything that breathes in Gen. 6)? Someone who rejects God because He seems a bipolar monster to them? How do YOU defend God’s goodness in the face of divine violence in the Bible? (Please google the essay, “Is God Violent, Or Nonviolent?”)
Here is a hard truth—the term “the wrath of God” comes from our inability to distinguish God from Satan. So what are we to make of the term “the wrath of God?” Most people have supposed that “the wrath of God” describes wrath coming FROM God TOWARD man. This presumes the word “of” is an OBJECTIVE GENITIVE. But, did you know that an alternate Greek reading of the “the wrath of God” describes wrath coming FROM man (and Satan) TOWARD God? This would treat the word “of” as a SUBJECTIVE GENITIVE. “The wrath of God” is better understood as a SUBJECTIVE GENITIVE, which means that the wrath described in the Bible is, in reality, OUR WRATH TOWARD GOD. We must be led by the Spirit when choosing our genitives. (From Richard Murray.)
I am trying to strengthen Paul’s argument that God is only good, all the time. There is a 250 world limit on comments.
Excellent addition, Kevin!
Kevins Keep reading and sharing Paul’s blog, life and death is in the power of the tounge and you are your Father’s dearly loved children.
The basis of faith is – God is good.
Thank you brother for a better explanation about this verse. Blessings.
Talk about “rightly dividing the Word!”
Simply awesome, Paul!
Excellent read! Thank you for getting into the passage of a Szeto. I had always simply approached it as does it matter what it says God is good! It’s nice to have an intelligent approach to the matter.
Great explanation of this passage! I had not heard this description before. I really enjoy your posts! Thanks for what you do
Another great explanation. Thanks for clarifying this notion that exists everywhere.
Wow this is wonderful! Just yesterday somebody told me that verse in Isaiah and I was very taken aback. I know God is a good God and I’m so thankful there was a man who was able to allow God to show me that He is good in such magnificent detail. Thank you Paul! And praise the Lord!
The truth of Gods revelation, is that all is of God (Rom. 11:36) is so severe a strain on the faith of some of God’s saints, that they instinctively reject it, excusing their unfaith on the ground that it is repulsive to their spiritual natures. They seek to shelve it by making the devil the source of all evil, yet they fail to tell us how the enemy could originate it, unless the power or capacity were given him by his Creator.
While I sympathise ,Paul writes that the creation was not subjected to vanity voluntarily. It had no will or choice in the matter. God is subjecting it against its will (Rom.8:21). And the reason is not far to seek. It is only temporary. It is in expectation. Our sufferings will lead to an overwhelming glory, for which these sufferings are essential.
Another way to look at this isn’t evil, as in the entity or spirit, but rather, through his sound judgment that was due upon man before the cross, he brings/creates adversity before sin was dealt with once and for all. The contrast is to PEACE in v. 7. Look at these other translations of “ra’ ” in scripture:
– ra‘ = evil
hurt, Gen 31:29
ill favor, Gen 41:21
adversity, 14 times
mischief, Prov 6:14, 12:21
sore travail, Ecc 1:13, 4:8
It’s not about did he create all evil we experience today, but rather before the cross was evil taking place all around in contrast to peace? I would say yes. We cannot consider God’s righteous judgment for sins before the cross on the same basis as we would think today. Today we can be sure it’s not God’s wrath or judgment that causes evil things to occur. But that was not the case before the cross, right?
To put it simply (I hope), ’cause I ain’t no theologian. Lucifer, like us, was a created being. Like us, he was given ‘free will’ – yes or no?
The original sin was not in the ‘fruit eating’ was it; it was Lucifer’s choice to attempt equality with God which could not be allowed; ergo, Lucifer becomes Satan?
So, God created Lucifer who chose evil; ergo, God created Lucifer, not evil.
Am I making any sense at all?
The way I understand the scripture is that before the cross, the Lord brought calamaity or disaster to people who continue in hard hearted rebellion towards Him. (the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, the pleagues on Egypt, Israel’s captivity on multiple occasions by turning from God to worthless idols, etc.)
When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?- Amos 3:6
It doesn’t say that God has brought moral evil into existence, rather it reiterates a common theme in the bible, ” I set before you blessings and cursings, life and death, choose life!” God is certainly not the author of moral evil but He does allow us to choose something other than Himself, because free will is a necessary component of love.
My understanding of that phrase was that the Hebrew word for evil meant adversity or calamity. So God created a response for sin that when you cheated on your wife it would bring adversity or calamity into your life. Shoot the neighbors dog for barking to much! He might shoot yours for fun. Not so much that God killed your dog but sowing and reaping did.
Didn’t Jesus Himself say that a divided house cannot stand? Religious people had accused Him of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub. It’s an extreme insult to assign a good work (miracle) to a devil; likewise, it’s blasphemous to assign an evil work like sickness to a good God. Thank you for the article
Hans Fenske – Thank you for that simple answer. I quoted you on fb. Now you are famous.
Thanks for clarifying this. God bless.
Wow! You are blessed beloved. Often i read your articles and learn something new.
This will be a post that will be controversial although it’s a good one to tackle and chew on. Nobody should base their theology on one verse but the idea of a sovereign God being in control of both good and evil is certainly prevalent all through Scripture. Was God ‘good’ or ‘evil’ to the Egyptians when He hardened Pharoah’s heart for the express purpose of being able to reveal the Gospel message within the plagues for those with eyes to see them? Did God not also harden others heart and even send evil spirits at times to people?
Too often people try to ‘let God off the hook’ by saying He is sovereign, yet at the same time He really doesn’t have anything to do with evil that happens and you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. For someone to have the ability to stop a mass shooter in a school yet stands on the sidelines and simply watches instead is a horrifying thought yet it’s an attribute that gets ascribed to God all the time.
Do all things work together for God’s glory, Christ’s exaltation and mankind’s ultimate good? Absolutely, but we go too far to say that God is not intimately connected with all things both good and evil.
Shon, I no longer believe God hardens hearts, or sends plagues or evil spirits. On the contrary, He woos people to repentance with lovingkindness; He warns people of danger; He heals and casts out evil spirits. He is about life, Satan is about death (John 10:10, Hebrews 2:14-15). I think the Bible is only part of a progressive revelation of the goodness of God, as I discussed in another comment above.
As theologian, author, and criminal defense attorney Richard Murray has said, “Old Testament saints wrongly included Satan in their functional definition of God. Whenever there was temptation, destruction, wrath, and death, all activities which the New Testament would later assign to Satan, the Old Testament would instead attribute these destructions to God Himself. They would not pray against the wiles of the devil, the way the New Testament instructs, but would rather beg God to stay His own wrathful hand. Satan was nowhere in their causative equation. God was the ONLY cause of both good and evil…. Jesus, it could be argued, IS the DYNAMIC DIFFERENTIATION of God’s image from Satan’s image.”
Hi Kevin, even those closest to me are lately hearing me say “the bible is not true”. I totally believe the bible is true, but I am questioning what is it true about. Your phrase “progressive revelation”, could be changed to “progressive understanding”, our own preconceived ideas are. These ideas are like sacred cows that no one dares to approach, ideas that are supported by superstition, ignorance and tradition. It’s no wonder that Israel confused the works of Satan with the works of God because they saw everything metaphysical as coming directly from the one and only God, of coarse it must have been God who else killed the first born and hardened pharaohs heart.
Satan is only mentioned a handful of times throughout the OT. By contrast the NT has every writer and most books describing the works of Satan. This was all new to Israel, they now could identify or “differentiate” the works of Satan from the works of a God who was now seen as Father. Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy. . . that’s the works of the enemy, NOT GOD.
The idea that God is both good and evil is seeded directly from Satan himself.
As we grow in Faith we will understand God is good all the time.
Getting the historic-contextual hermeneutic right is so awesome. Makes being a believer so much simpler ….and freer
I do not see my first commentary to this new study. To continue comments I was looking forward to see the points I had previously made. I am wondering, is there a reason for this action, or was it an oversight? If so, may I be informed, please. Thank you.
Please note that we do not publish comments that exceed the 250 word limit. This includes lengthy comments split into parts. Thanks.
Paul, Before the cross, death of the flesh was bad, after the cross: death of the flesh is good. Death leads to life. In the life right now, I long for death of the flesh, because I know that the goodness of God (as already seen on the cross) waits for me in full view there.
So, you say that God does not “allow” things, yet, Christians are still getting sick and dying everyday. I don’t think God is unaware or unable to answer all the prayers he hears. I don’t think he’s sending Satan on certain disease missions. I don’t think he’s sending disease or death, nor that the purpose of them is punishment. However, I accept in my current form, I do not know what is ultimately good and bad, with heaven being the reality that awaits on the other side of the flesh.
Do you want to justify the flesh over the Spirit? Do I want to claim healing of the flesh is what God desires, when the seeing of the evil could produce a change in one’s heart to become saved? If pain or suffering helps us to see our unrighteousness more, then so be it, so that He may be glorified, and men not. I would rather go through something painful, if it brings me closer relationship to the Lord and able to relate to other humans better, than have comfort, perfect health the rest of my life on earth.
God does not need sin and it’s effects, death and decay, to draw people into a closer walk with him. It is the goodness of God that inspires repentance not the horribleness of evil, suffering or sickness.
I’m sure he doesn’t need it, but I think that humans do. Is it not the contrast that between the two that allows you to say those statements? When I see human kind, contrasted with God I appreciate his goodness more. If I see no problems, then my forgiveness and grace received is very small. Grace received is the amount of grace we can then give. Sin is a BIG deal, but GRACE is a bigger one.
What I am daring to say here is, God does not have to will for everybody’s human body to healed to be good, because the cross and its spiritual healing is so much bigger than death of our bodies. If it is still going on after the cross, it is part of the plan, so that as many as possible can be saved.
Paul ellis, my friend, you have mentored and built a solid foundation for me indeed. I have copied all your posts in my notes and I now preach them radically and demonstrate God’s nature. I write a book now titled; One Thing You Lack. When copying and reading this article, God gave me deep revelation about truth you were conveying but don’t know how to present it. You have blessed and many lives here in Nigeria, I love you
“Hey Christian, go kill your child.” Or, “Hey Abraham, go kill your child.”
*Context* directly shapes *definitions*. Once again we cannot escape the immediate context of this discussion and God’s statement to Cyrus about “the Persians brought disaster to the Babylonians”. As with Abraham and God’s confronting him right where he lives there inside of culture milieus and mindsets soaked through with child sacrifice, and God’s end-game of revealing a radically different God to Abraham up on that mountain of sacrifice, we cannot stop too soon in our moves amid contextual definitions.
God does *not* command us to sacrifice our children, and yet God *does* meet Abraham right where he lives and first confronts, and then reveals, and then conquers all the misguided mindsets involved.
So too here with Cyrus.
All definitions must  flow from and  satisfy the far wider canopy that is Scripture’s singular metanarrative. And, in case me miss the obvious, all such vectors sum to this: Christ
Joseph Price says; All Scripture is for us [the believer] but not all Scripture is written to us.
This passage is a good example.
Rightly dividing the Word of Truth!
Very good work bro. Paul! I have never responded to your writings though I look forward to reading them all. I appreciate your work, the Lord uses you!
LOL, Very good retort, I would suggest municipal committee meetings.
Would it not be correct to say the following logic. God says to Cyrus, I created both good and evil. He is correct, God created Satan, who fell from grace, and through the gift or rather the abuse of the gift of Free Will, essentially creates evil. So God did create both, just that when Satan fell away and caused man’s fall into Sin, he moved away as not to be part of the sin, and through love and Grace gave his Son as the path back to him?
Seems logical to me,
Given volition, a possible tie-in you’re looking for between the ground of all reality (“Being Itself” / God) and reality is (perhaps) foreknowledge. Not causation. If God creates, causes to be, the (truly) volitional being Lucifer void of Privation (Evil), and, if Lucifer then volitionally (true volition) dives into Privation, into Evil, then God neither creates nor causes Privation (Evil).
“According to the free-will theodicy, God is justified in permitting evil and its consequences because He has to do so if he is to bestow on some of his creatures the incommensurable privilege of being responsible agents who have, in many areas, the capacity to choose as they will, without God, or anyone else (other than themselves), determining which alternative they choose. When Adam partakes of the fruit in Genesis 3, the most severe charge brought against God is not that he caused Adam to sin, but that in making Adam significantly free God brought about the possibility [not necessity] that Adam might misappropriate his freedom…. God is not responsible for Adam’s choices given that Adam was endowed in creation with self-determining free will. The ground for denying God’s causing evil is that human freedom is conceptually incompatible with divine determinism (not divine sovereignty).” (Evans, Jeremy A. The Problem of Evil: The Challenge to Essential Christian Beliefs).”
Just as God cannot create round squares, so too God cannot fashion reality after love’s irreducible Archetype (Trinity) void of (irreducible) volition. There’s no such thing as one-sided love.
Hi Paul, thanks so much for conveying to us the wonderful revelation God has given you, I really appreciate your gifting & generous heart, bless you Just a couple of questions Paul, I am a patron…
Hi Tony – I’ve just sent you an email answering your questions.
We’ll leave to the side the fact that the “metonymy of the subject” makes it obvious that there is no “sending” here, but rather “allowing/permitting”. We’ll also leave to the side what “evil spirit” may or may not be when guided by other similar uses in other similar contexts.
That said, more definitions:
In all such instances we find such to be God “Causing Judgment”, and that is “In Response To” what is always a string of, series of, volitionally rejected opportunities by Man, and, therefore: Will we declare and insist that  “God Causing Judgment” just is on ontological par with  “God Causing Evil”? Even “Evil as Privation” (which is scripturally sound) makes nonsense out of such a false identity claim for that which is already in Privation cannot be caused to be in Privation by God. When it comes to “Judgment” via God we cannot (rationally) conflate it for, or equate it to, “Evil” via God. Those are the sorts of unthinking conflations and false identity claims which lead us into all sorts of misguided conclusions about the nature of both God and reality. “Evil” is not necessary in all possible worlds, but, *if* evil, *then* (God being love) we *will* find at some seam somewhere judgment of this or that form manifesting in this or that context.
All such vectors (Judgment) are at once satisfied and obliterated inside of the Singularity that is both Perfect Justice and Perfect Mercy – namely Christ.
Excellent point in pointing out that the context of a text is not just the textual context only, but includes the cultural context and to whom the text is directed. Cyrus was a dedicated Zoroastrian who believed in the fundamental equality of power of the two Gods of light and darkness, and that it was necessary for Good men to choose the side of Light to help tip the balance: this passage was a very UN-PC declaration from the One True God that there is One God that encompasses both concepts. Surely, Cyrus would request the rest of the book of Isaiah, which also gives the passage on the created origin of Satan. Since the created could not possibly be greater than the Creator, Cyrus gets the assurance that the Side of Light is the sure winner, while Judaism obtains from Zoroastrianism the ***hypothesis*** of a created being choosing to be the Avatar of Evil and Darkness that explains that particular passage of Isaiah (and others).
Paul:Can you please clarify the notion that Cyrus is the offspring of Ester and Ahasuerus and would therefore be familiar with the Jewish religion? Thank you. Shalom, Bill
Wow, thanks for the explanation. Somebody once tried playing the Isaiah 45:7 card on me.
I have a question. Since we have the word of truth and the Gospel of grace is there a need of prophets today? This is something that’s bothering me as I’ve been seeing a lot of prophets claim they have these extraordinary gifts.
The gift of the prophet is to reveal the kingdom of heaven on earth. It’s bearing witness to the age to come by living it here and now. We definitely need this gift! What we don’t need are false prophets preaching a perverted gospel that distorts the message of grace and portrays our heavenly Father as angry and double-minded.
Every prophet new and old has the handicap of their preconceived ideas through which they filter the true picture of God. Every person has cultural bias due to environment and nurture, as a result we present the God of our own imagination and making. That’s called idolatry. Vengeful, angry, wrathful, retributive, are descriptions of our nature that we have put onto God. . . the God of our own image.
Jesus said,”Men of old said. . .this and that. . . BUT I say. . . Something totally different.
Jesus said,”if you want to know the true nature of God look at me”
Men of old struggled to describe the true nature of God, and so does the men right here and now.
God is love and God is good all the time, start there. Ink on the page isn’t Truth Jesus in person is.
(Sorry about the paraphrases)
H1254 bara’ “To form or fashion”. God always has the last say with my disaster’s. The Lord does not do evil, but God saves the day!!! Does God take what is evil, mean’t for harm and then forms it for his own purposes? Is this what is being said here?
What about what God said in Lamentations 3:38; Amos 3:6 ; 1 Kgs 14:10; Ezek 6:10; 2 Sam 12:11 ?
Hi Sandy, These questions haunted me too, so please consider this.
Men have said, that God said. . .”all sorts of things”.
Fortunately Jesus said a bunch of other things that corrected any notion that God kills steals and destroys.
Why did we ever think it’s an equal contest between the words of OT prophets, priests and kings and the words of Jesus. . . there should be no contest. (this is a serious question)
OT men sometimes confused the inspirations of Satan with the inspirations of God, just like Peter did.
Men easily overstate the clarity of their inspirations . . . we all do at times . . .we are told to judge. . .we are told to rightly divide the Word. . .Reading the Word is death if we don’t let Jesus influence how we read it.
Please let’s not undervalue the Words of Jesus when he teaches us, “There is no darkness in the Father”, and “I, (Jesus) AM the perfect representation of the Father”, and “Evil and good cannot come from the same kingdom without that kingdom falling”.
Will you rate Jesus Words more correct than any other? Even Jesus ranked John the baptiser to be the greatest of all prophets, will you say they were all equal? If you do then you worship the bible, worshipping Jesus is something different.
If Jesus Words are valued then “God said love your enemies” from the beginning of time, but since the beginning of time men have concluded that hating/killing their enemies is Gods plan.
Either Jesus is our answer to the question “what is the true nature of God” or the gods of our own making will fill the knowledge gap.
Here’s some input on the first two sacraments (which Luther also agreed on!).
1) Baptism — Jesus and the disciples started this, and both Catholics and Protestants continued it. If there’s one area of disagreement personally, it’s that I believe that faith in Jesus takes care of sin (even original) and gets us into heaven, not baptism. I know this because of the many verses on faith alone (John 3:16, Romans 3-4), not to mention that the thief on the cross accepted Jesus and got into paradise — AKA heaven (Luke 23:43). Also, the HS itself “baptizes” into us upon accepting Jesus. Even then, great outward sign for inner commitment (or set-apartness).
2) Eucharist (AKA Communion) — That’s the bread-breaking and wine thing done in both Protestant and Catholic churches to commemorate Christ (1 Cor 11:26). Pretty cool! My advice is to remember its purpose rather than getting caught in the motions. Remember Jesus’s love shone during the cross and resurrection.
What do you think about it?
If I were a boy from Babylon whose family was killed by King Cyrus and after some time I read Isaiah 45: 7 the conclusion I would come to would be this: God killed my family through Cyrus. So God creates evil.
I would disagree. You might just as easily say “God created Satan, therefore God created evil.” You might just as easily blame God for everything that ever happened. But I don’t.
Your knowledge of the Scripture is worth gold Paul thank you so much for sharing them with us all. Marco
Thank you, Marco.