Is God the Author of Evil?
Whenever I tell people that God-is-all-the-time-good, I am invariably rebuked by those who say he isn’t. And they’ve got the scriptures to prove it.
- Job 1:21 says God robbed Job
- 1 Samuel 2:6-7 says God makes people poor and kills them
- Exodus 4:11 says God gives people disabilities
- Isaiah 45:7 says God is the creator of evil and darkness
I enjoy unpacking these scriptures and proving from scripture that God is not the villainous Dr. Evil that some people think he is.
Does God create evil?
In fairness, those who say God does evil are usually quick to add that it’s a good kind of evil. “His ways are higher than our ways.” So when we do evil, it’s bad, but when God does evil, it’s good.
Makes total sense.
Let’s not mince words. To be evil is to be “profoundly immoral and wicked” and God is neither.
For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with you. (Psa 5:4)
God and evil go together like light and dark. With that settled, let’s look at three scriptures that seem to suggest that God speaks or does evil.
Is it not out of the mouth of the Most High that evil and good both proceed? (Lam. 3:38, AMP)
No, good and evil do not both proceed out of God’s mouth. Only good words flow from a good God.
Like Job, the author of Lamentations had an occasionally messed up view of God. He said God ignored his cries for help and tore him to pieces like a bear (Lam. 3:8-11). That’s right, like a bear.
God is not the author of evil
We should be thankful that Lamentations is in the Bible, but this is not an accurate portrayal of the character of God. “No one has seen God at any time” (John 1:18).
Jeremiah had a glimpse of God and what he saw he filtered through the lens of the old covenant. Consequently, Jeremiah sometimes portrays God as angry, unforgiving and punishing (see Lam. 3:39-43).
But if you want a better picture of God, you need to see Jesus. “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
Does Jesus ever speak evil? (Remember evil means “profoundly immoral and wicked.”) Is this passage from Lamentations an apt description of Jesus? Then neither is it an accurate description of the Father.
Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it? (Amos 3:6, KJV)
God is not the cause of natural disasters
Since God cannot sin, most commentators are quick to say that the evil here refers to troubles or calamities, which are God’s punishments for sin. Augustine said this “evil is punishment for evil.” In other words, do bad, get bad. Every time there is a natural disaster, bad news prophets are quick to say “God is judging this city.” Except he is not. The cross, not earthquakes, is God’s once and for all solution to sin.
How can God punish us for sins he neither records nor remembers (2 Cor. 5:19, Heb. 8:12)? Since all sin was borne on the cross by Jesus, it would be unjust to punish now what he dealt with then.
Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household.” (2 Sam 12:11)
These are the words of the prophet Nathan to sinful King David. As you may recall, David slept with another man’s wife, got her pregnant, and then killed the husband to hide his secret. It was a heinous crime, and Nathan let him know that God was not pleased.
The prophet Nathan was the embodiment of the law in the sense that he came down hard on the sinner. He said that God would punish David by killing the child. But look at what David did; he prayed that the child would live.
Whoa, surely David was way out of line! How dare he pray contrary to the will of God? Hadn’t this reprobate sinner learned anything?
Then he sat down and wrote this: “Be gracious to me, O God, according to your lovingkindness” (Ps. 51:1). The word for lovingkindness is hesed, which is the Hebrew equivalent of grace. “According to the greatness of your compassion blot out my transgressions” (Ps 51:1b).
Whoa and double-whoa! Who did David think he was? Not only was he praying against the will of God, but he was asking the Lord to treat him according to grace instead of law.
He even had the temerity to ask for his sins to be blotted out!
Make no mistake – David was sorry for what he did and there were consequences to his sin. Yet David ignored the condemnation of the prophet. “You may say God will do evil, but I believe God longs to be gracious.”
And God said that sinful David, not the sinless law-preacher, was a man after his own heart.
God is our Great Redeemer
What happened next? God answered David’s prayers. He took the evil mess that David made and turned it around for good. Bathsheba become the mother of the future king, and all their sins were blotted out by the blood of Jesus.
God even listed David as one of the heroes in the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith.
God is good and everything he does is good. He is so good at what he does that he is able to take the worst mistakes of our lives – the heinous crimes, the regrettable errors, the fatal decisions – and turn them around for his eternally good purposes. “God causes all things to work together for good” (Rom. 8:28).
God is never the author of evil. He is the Good and Great Redeemer who makes everything good for those who love him.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever… (Ps 100:5)
Want to go deeper? Check out the full-length study note, “Is God the Author of Evil?”, now on Patreon.
Why are we prone to focus on one verse that seems to contradict God’s goodness and have no problem ignoring a mountain of verses that proclaim His goodness?
That’s the $64,000 question right there, LJP.
“One verse”, LJP? Surely the OT has God drowning men, women and children, swallowing men into the ground, plaguing Egypt with some nasty problems. We can read the conditions which allow for the rape of captured girls, right there, in the so called inerrant “Word of God”. We read God commanding genocide. “Thus saith the Lord”????
I’m not sure that I understand what you are saying. God is not good?
I don’t know you and you don’t know me. On that, we can agree. Based on your comment alone, I’m fairly certain we disagree on scripture and context. Quite frankly, I’m tired of the divisiveness in our culture. Even if we disagree, we should be able to have a conversation and I would very much appreciate hearing your perspective. If you could cite some of the references you made and how you came to the conclusions you stated, it might help me understand your position better.
Hi Patrick, I’m with you on discussion and openness. I’ll take one step at a time and invite your comment on these verses suggesting a reasonable way to rape a captive girl. Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19. Please be assured, I’m here to defend the true nature of God. AND, I believe the “Word” is inspired by God.
And then, the cross took that righteous rage against sin!
Now, our sins and iniquities He remembers (Judges) no more….see Hosea 9 : 9….
Step 1 is we quit reading the Bible like an encyclopedia. The life is in Him and only He can lead us into all truth. Without Him we are left to interpret what we read from the perspective of man. That’s how we end up with a picture of a punitive God who reacts the same way as fleshly humans. So it is necessary that we read the Bible in fellowship with Him. Jesus is the Word in flesh form. If our interpretation does not represent the nature of Jesus, our interpretation is wrong. Jesus never killed anyone or put sickness on anyone. If you have seen Jesus you have seen the Father. They are One.
Thanks LJP, I especially like what Jesus has to say about scripture which seem to suggest God wanted Israel to kill its enemies. “you have heard it said(by prophets/priests/Kings) to kill and hate your enemy. But,BUT,BUT I say, Love your enemy, bless your enemy, don’t demand justice from your enemy”.
This was “Step 1.”coming from Jesus.
Jesus’ “Step 1” has implications, big consequences, about how we should understand all previous scripture.
“Love your enemy” has been a powerful position from the beginning of time, not just beginning from when Jesus spoke the words, however, Men have preferred gods that are just like them, “Gods after their own image”. Violent, retributive, angry, eye for an eye type gods.
It was through this lens they filtered their inspired understanding of the true nature of God.
The love in our heart is also drawn from Him. We receive from the Vine. We love because He first loved us.
Job 34:10 (New International Version)
“So listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do evil, from the Almighty to do wrong.
Ever since Jesus everyone can see that God is good, Jesus definitely seems to contradiction the literal mountain of verses which suggest God is cruel, vengeful, angry, and wrathful . . .a blood thirsty killer,and destroyer. Surely you can offer a better explanation in defence of the true nature of God.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ forever more!
Thank you bro Paul for that inspiring clarification. More of God’s grace and wisdom upon you.
Paul, thank you for your posts. I’m often very encouraged after reading them. This was an interesting topic and one I’ve had numerous conversations around. I believe God is good all the time and I believe doing evil is contrary to His divine nature. Question: Do you think it could be a slippery slope when we state that some of the words written are inspired while others are just the fallible opinions/perspectives of sinful men? This seems to be the core of the Hebrew Roots movement: whatever doesn’t agree with Torah is just opinion and we shouldn’t read it as inspired or pure. Or, anytime there appears to be a contradiction, whatever we think makes God look nicer is inspired, the other is just sinful perspective. Thank you so much for using your gifts for the Lord.
Amen! Misunderstanding the character of God messed me up so bad for so many years. It was extremely stressful to live with this wrong belief. So much so that I almost “quit Christianity” over it.
I’m forever grateful to God for revealing to me His great and unconditional love for me. It changed everything! Understanding the truth about my Good Father began an unbelievable transformation in my heart that continues to transform me daily!
I read your book. Very uplifting. I have read all Paul Ellis’ books also. The truth of God’s love and goodness and grace changed me from negative, depressed, and suicidal to full of joy and peace because I know that I know I can fully trust God every moment of my life even when I mess up. I know now He is bigger than my mistakes and lovingly guides and teaches me through His mercy, Grace, and goodness towards me. And He never will leave or forsake me. Thank You Jesus for revelation of Your truths. God bless you and Paul Ellis for spreading the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Great post you have opened my eyes to see the Bible in a whole new light and I realized something my interpretation of the Bible was limited to want the church and pastor view of the God and His word which I have seen was a distorted view. Thanks for shining the light on truth
Paul, I, too, am a brother who believes in the ultimate goodness of God, his intentional love, mercies, and grace that saves from the uttermost evil. One of my favorite passages from the O.T. is Exodus 33:18-34:7. God describes himself beautifully, proceeding from that which is closest to his heart, like so many lists given in holy writ. I also believe in a new covenant, enacted on more majestic promises. IN Christ, we can grow into his fullness. and that his ways are so much higher than ours, we can only separate the precious from the worthless by walking in his light, abiding in a reciprocal intimate relationship. That being said, there are valid reasons God owns up to evil, even though there is no darkness in him, no wickedness. All his ways are good and perfect. He cannot precipitate or propagate evil. Yet, he is the God who created each new day, and some are filled with calamity, abounding in evil deeds, lawlessness, and yes, judgments from before the foundation of the world. Our biggest difficulty comes in understanding goodness and evil. Isa. 5:20 Is it evil for Christ to sweep his threshing floor of chaff? Mat. 3:12, Luk. 3:17 Is it evil for God to use the fallen condition of the world as love’s proving ground? I’m sure you can add others.
Great post! Brought to mind a discussion I had some years ago with the leader of a big international ministry whom I had respected for decades. He was exclaiming how Hurricane Katrina was God’s wrath upon the sodomites in New Orleans. I mentioned the massive flooding of the Red River in Grand Forks, North Dakota (an area known for it’s “God-fearing” population.) It had been the costliest flood in US history prior to Katrina. I asked if that was also God’s wrath, and if so, upon whom? And what about Las Vegas, Nevada? (It’s been known as “Sin City” for over a century for many good reasons.) Why hadn’t God wiped it from the face of the earth? Unfortunately he was unable to explain further, but I’ve often prayed it cracked his eyelids to the craziness of his beliefs.
Haha – and don’t forget San Francisco! The religion of wrath and condemnation makes no sense.
The many ministries who went to New Orleans to help the families who lost everything probably learned that the areas famous for “sin” did not even flood. Bourbon St. is located right in the heart of the French Quarter. While the French Quarter is still below sea level, it is one of the highest elevations in the city and one of the few that did not flood during Katrina. I guess God missed. Haha
Thank you for your insight. Can you also give some insight on Isaiah 45:7? “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”
You’re welcome. You can find a link to an article on that scripture at the top of the post above. Many other articles can be found in the Archives > Scripture Index.
That is why Jesus said ” All those who came before me where thief’s. They came to rob and to kill. ” Jesus came so that we can see the father, everyday.
Great topic, thanks Paul.
2 Samuel 12:15 Then Nathan went home. And the Lord caused the son of David and Bathsheba, Uriah’s widow, to be very sick.
Turns out that the baby dies. David was saved and the baby dies.
Was this the plan of God? Is this an example of God being Good all the time?
Or maybe God is good because under the circumstances things could have been worse.
So God is good . . .relatively speaking.
I unpack that scripture in my article, “Does God kill babies?” Short answer: no.
That’s a great article with lots of interesting comments.
I’m especially interested in the idea that we can now clearly define the difference between God the Father and Satan, the god of this world. Of coarse it was Jesus who defined these clearly for the first time saying it is Satan who kills, steals and destroys. . .Jesus also pointing out that kingdoms cannot be the source of life and the source of death without that divided kingdom falling. This was new information in Jesus’ day and is still news we haven’t received today.
Jesus is the Word made into our reality, we no longer need to define God by the sometimes dim shadowy impressions of inspired prophets.
With the help of the Holy Spirit we can rightly divide scriptures into those inspired by God and those inspired by Satan.
We reject the Holy Spirit if we worship the ink, we truly need to worship Jesus.
Richard, some of your comments are hostile. Surely I tell you, if you worship the God of the New Testament, you are worshipping the God of the Old Testament. He never changes. Jesus is all throughout the Old Testament, in every page, the commander of “Israel’s army”
“The Angel of The LORD”. Ex 14:19 The Angel of The Lord got between the Israelites and Egyptians, you see the cloud (God) do the same, and they kill the Egyptians. He commanded Israel’s army throughout the book of Joshua (Joshua 5:14), and told them how to defeat Jericho.
You have predetermined feelings that prolly no man will be able to talk you out of, but maybe He will be able to correct you… if you seek it.
Richard is ok by me. It’s good for people to question and search for truth.
Hi Tex, I hear what you’re saying, I sometimes cringe when I read my own words, please believe me when I say, I hope not to be written off as “hostile”. However, if you will, I do intend to rub up against my brothers in an “iron sharpening iron” sort of way. To that end please consider that I am in total agreement you. . . “God never changes”.
My whole point revolves around God having always looked like Jesus, therefore the OT is an exact and true record of mans’ trajectory of understanding towards knowing the true nature of God. To be clear, the OT is not a true record of the nature of God but is mingled with the nature of gods made in the image and nature of men.
He 1:3 The Son is the dazzling radiance of God’s splendour, the exact expression of God’s true nature—his mirror image! Every prophet/priest/king before Jesus was a dim reflection of God because they viewed God through their nationalism/tribalism/bigotry/fear/pride to such an extent that when God appears in flesh they reject him. Surely this is a clue that their inspirations where less than inerrant. I agree with you, the OT fully shows/describes/reveals the reality of Jesus, BUT, BUT, is woven in with the gods of mans’ own making.
Jesus wasted no time editing scripture and correcting the mixing of Satan works from the Works of the Father. It was Jesus that said, “Satan kills, steals and destroys” I’m just pointing to it.
“God is light and there is no darkness in him at all”, Tex, this information was all new to Israel, it was an offence to them, they believed then and now that God was the author of good and evil.
Tex, please deal with this 2000 year old, new information, our Father is not a killer.
Richard, it seems you had something you wanted to say all along. A better approach might have been to just write an honest comment making your point. Trolling is usually not the best way to make friends and influence people. Lol 🙂
You might be right LJP, and to be honest half of the people who love me are giving you a gentle nod right now. In my defence, I have noticed that giving people answers(opinions) to questions that are not being asked is a waste of time. In my opinion, answers(comments) do not offer as much incite as the different questions that could be asked.
Please believe me, my questions are honest.
Which leads me to my original question(comment) I asked of you, “one verse“,LJP?.
What are you going do with the mountain of scriptures which would lead any reasonable human to believe that God is an angry, wrathful, nationalistic, genocidal maniac. Let’s just start with the flood and Sodom and Gomorrah. . . did or didn’t God kill people?
Hello Richard, you are correct, he certainly is not a killer. You have approached correctly and assumed the fault is with your understanding, and not His character. You have been most humble. Sometimes we see Gods judgement in scripture, and it doesn’t really seem fair or we don’t understand it. Sometimes it’s judgement, sometimes there’s more to whole villages dying than what meets the eye (Gen 6). I asked God one day why His command says not to kill, but why the Israelites were commanded to. There is a righteous answer to this, and I sought it. I asked Him and He showed me in scripture. Sometimes we have to humble ourselves and ask HIM. For the Word says if we seek, we shall find. That goes for His character too. I hope you find what your looking for friend.
Would you please be willing to share with me what God showed you in regards to this?
I apologize, Richard, I had the impression that you had an answer to the question you were asking. Sometimes I joke around to lighten things up, but the tone can get lost on a blog. You’re giving me a tall order to address in 250 words or less. I would recommend searching on Youtube for a message called, “Understand what happened at the flood of Noah – God is not a murderer” by Bertie Brits and “The Truth About Sodom and Gomorrah” by Greg Henry. It is good to ask questions, but it would not be good to doubt God’s goodness until you completely understand every verse in the Bible. I believe a correct understanding of God’s wrath is that His wrath is against what would destroy you. Jesus never came to save us only to destroy us later and God didn’t suddenly go from wanting to kill us to wanting to save us. The great lengths He went to to save us shows what incredible value He sees in us. Steal, kill and destroy is what the enemy does. Your Heavenly Father is into giving you life more abundantly.
Hi Tex, I have come from a self-righteous position within a legalist, very accepting and relational church fellowship, we prayed, and humbly determined ourselves right and correctly placed to receive revelation from the scripture. I understand now that we became the god we worshipped.
We validated every action, thought and judgement from the scripture, we were so correct because of them. Then one day I discovered I was wrong about something, the walls came tumbling down, the silver and gold I thought I built with turned out to be straw. Thank you Father that the foundation was Jesus and from there I was able to receive forgiveness and the power to grow in Grace. I forgave myself for creating a god after my own nature and that same forgiveness overflowed even to the prophets/priests/kings who had been confused like I was about the nature of God as they were inspired to write down their mixed revelations.
We are all like Peter, sometimes hearing with such clarity the word of God such that Jesus and a thousand warrior angels can move on . . . and the next breath we can be speaking on Satan’s behalf.
I will not excuse myself for representing God as a killer because a prophet said so.
I’ll run with Jesus words, “Satan, kills, steals and destroys”.
Hi LJP, I have definitely decided to disregard any suggestion that our Father has killed or ever required anyone to kill in his name for his acceptance. But for the greater majority of believers there is a huge tension between the OT God and Jesus who is the exact image of the unchanging God of creation. It seemed to trivialise the struggle for truth to suggesting that only a few verses might provide a problem. You were correct to assume I have becoming comfortable defending the true nature of God in opposition to common evil alternatives. More often than not I receive blank looks of scepticism . . . those who are already asking different questions are willing suspend burning me at the stake for a bit longer.
Hello Richard, hope all is well. I, like LJP, thought you may have had the answer to your question when you asked. I want to say I’m sorry if I answered harshly. Please forgive me. A person’s tone is not heard through typing, so I take the fault. Sounds like you have a lot of questions, and that’s good! Stay humble in your search, and use the resources at hand.
Michelle, please allow me to get off work before I share my insight on what you asked. My supporting scriptures from my study are at the house. I’ll reply again in a few hours. I suspect though, my insight will be very similar to Paul’s on this topic 🙂
Hello Michelle! A little late, but here are my findings. There is a difference between shedding blood, and shedding innocent blood. (Kill vs murder)
1Samuel19:5, Duet 19:13, 21:8-9. Hope this helps.
Thank you for your findings Tex, but I thought the only innocent blood was that of Jesus.
Very cool of you, Tex, to take time out of your day to do research and write a comment to answer a question and help someone you do not know. 👍🏻
Tex , you’re not by chance a time traveller from the dark ages, your thoughts seem more in line with the Spanish inquisition. If Jesus words are of greater value to you than any prophet/priest/king then you might want to put the brakes on validating the judgements of anyone before him. Israel. . . its prophets priests and kings, went about judging their neighbours and then were called into judgement. They were judged using the same judgements, and they suffered in the same way they had caused others to suffer.Seriously, “because the bible tells me so” is not what Jesus said. “People who killed, stole and destroyed were agents of Satan not Our Father.” said Jesus
I’ll be quiet now, for fear of excommunication.
Hello Michelle! Just now seeing the new comments. Where does it say Jesus’s blood is the only innocent blood? Innocent and righteous blood was shed way before our crucified Messiah (Matthew 23). He was in fact the only one who didn’t sin though if that’s what you mean. Richard- I’m sorry if my words have given you a false sense of character. Do you believe Jesus is God? If He is, how can you accuse him of being not righteous In the OT, and suddenly change or change His mind, and become righteous? If you don’t believe Jesus is God, with your current outlook of Him in the OT, where do you think that places you? We cannot have the Father without the Son, do you think that may be because they are One?
We can’t throw out the OT. Every righteous man quoted it in the NT, “It is written” every time Jesus confronted Satan, His reply was OT. Isaiah 40:8. Peter quoted it 1Pet1:24-25. What was the word of God to Isaiah? Has the Word of God changed? Are the very words given to the prophets by God not true?
Kind words LJP!
Richard, I missed something you said and forgot to include it. Yes Israel was judged.. harshly. Do you know why? Please use scripture.
Hi Tex, to answer your question.
Israel was judged harshly because they judged others harshly. Mt7:1 Do not judge, or you will be judged.
Within a few generation after Israel entered the Promised Land they found themselves doing the very things they had judged and condemned in others.
The tabernacle system provided a way to be relieved of guilt and the impact of accusations, but this only worked if Israel understood their own guilt. Instead of suffering the guilt and condemnation that would have driven them to the altar of sacrifice they actually believed they were doing God a service by executing Gods will . . . the fact was they were executing their own violent, retributive will to steal the homes, possessions, vineyards, wives and daughters of others.
They had concluded “God is on our side”, God was not on their side to be against others so their self righteous pride placed them outside of the protection God had provided.
The accuser demanded they be judged in the same way they had judged others.
And Israel suffered according to the will of the accuser.
I acknowledge Jesus is the express image of God and that before Jesus no man had seen the Father.I believe Jesus has the last word on scripture, so when Jesus says “Love your enemy”, I know that everyone (whether they be prophet priest or king) representing God as a killer of men has filtered Gods Words through their own nature. Words written in the bible requiring the faithful to kill, steal or destroy are inspired by Satan. . . Jesus said so. . . so who are you going to believe? I don’t seek to throw out the OT, I seek to filter it through Jesus. Every man who is said to be righteous in OT is righteous because they believed God, NOT, because they were perfect or correctly understood the true nature of God. Jesus gives us all permission to rightly divide scripture.
If you ask for a list of scriptures where Jesus divides the Satan inspired words from the God inspired Words I’ll supply them.
Richard you wrote, “Jesus also pointing out that kingdoms cannot be the source of life and the source of death without that divided kingdom falling. This was new information in Jesus’ day and is still news we haven’t received today.
Jesus is the Word made into our reality, we no longer need to define God by the sometimes dim shadowy impressions of inspired prophets.”
Thank you, I enjoy your comments. This website is amazing.
2 Samuel 12:15 . . . the Lord sent a deadly illness to the child of David and Uriah’s wife. I know our great God is only good! Why are phrases such as these part of His Word for us?
I have written an article on that scripture. If you are interested, you can find it in the Archives > Scripture Index > Old Testament.
Hello Michelle! I noticed you conveniently left out the first 15 verses for proper context and as well the fact that the SECOND child grew up to be a man of God… Soloman. Thus proving righteous judging. Does our God judge? Absolutely. What would you do if he let a unrepentant Murderer of Christians into heaven? Would he still be a God you want to serve? Could he blame you? Might want to check out John 7:24. After reading John 7:24 ask yourself, does your righteousness line up with His?
Tex, My righteousness is filthy rags, isn’t that why we need the innocent blood of Jesus Christ to cover us?
I didn’t want to be too verbose. I am just looking to find the truth.
Michelle I know what you mean… but, if you believe that Jesus is your Saviour, then your righteousness is Jesus Himself….and is not filthy rags.
Yes Leanne, I guess what I mean is when I look only at what I have to offer it is filthy rags, but when I look at what Jesus has provided for me it is purer than gold!
Under the Old Covenant, there was no mediator between God and man. No Finished Work that paid for the sin of the World. There was no Jesus making intercession. There was no New Covenant. Even in spite of all this, we can still see God’s goodness abound in the Old Covenant. I’ve done many studies on God’s all the time goodness and never did God arbitrarily just send judgment or put sickness or calamity on anyone.
I do see passages where we see God administer judgment on wickedness but it is only after much warning and pleading for people to turn back to Him, this being before Christ came. Under the Old we see many times individuals brought calamity upon themselves. Even when judgment came, we can never see God placing sickness or disease on anyone. He allowed things to occur but that’s because the Law of sin and death was in effect but Jesus came and His perfect work of redemption brought freedom
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death Rom 8:2
The Earth is a fallen and fractured creation. But God is not the author of evil, calamity or tragedy. Never has been and never will be.
Wow! I do much love your comments brother John. I couldn’t agree more with every point you’ve made here. Our God is very good and gracious. How could He be said to be wicked, when He himself warns us never to pay evil with evil? People bring evil upon themselves, by their evil deeds, and God has nothing to do with it.
John W Read – There is no telling where a person lies on Yahuah’s (GOD) paradigm to regenerate the spirit of those He chooses – He does not mystify, confuse nor send anyone down a rabbit-hole, who desires Him. Yet, many will continue to kick the goad (Son-Man) that would freely give them a regenerated spirit; where they could say, I was once blind… but now I see with whom evil, calamity & tragedy resides.
Would it not be for mans’ refusal to honour Him (Yahuah) from the beginning of this Age – we would not soon be facing an end to it.
To take the whole Bible “literally” can be a dangerous excuse to loose sight of the whole story. Jesus finally came to make known the Father. I see a progression, an “evolving” if you will of mans understanding after the sin of Adam. Remember how profound that was. He was the Lord of the creation until he gave the lordship to Satan. Man was so blinded and only a remnant really believed God was good but the majority of man, Israel understood God through blinded eye with no ability to spiritually connect. Remember Jesus promised to send the holy spirit to lead us into all truth, and Paul continued to reveal how great God is. It is a progression of revelation in the Old testament. Not saying the prophets were not inspired and that the OT is what God wanted written, but you have to understand peoples perspective back then. I once was taught that the OT attributed evil to God was an “Hebrewism” and every time I attributed bad to the devil. Evil that was sent because of disobedience is a way to be corrected but not the best way. Evil came when people did not listen to God because He was trying to protect from what the devil would do. God never wanted evil in His creation and soon it will be erased for Eternity
I still see the source of the evil that fell on OT people coming from the devil. Notice there is hardly any mention of the devil in the OT except vaguely in Job and with David. But if evil came and there was no cross, I don’t think it came from God, but God had to let the enemy have his way. God is not all powerful. He cannot lie for instance. He cannot break His Word or break commitments. Saying God administered judgement still tarnishes Gods good nature. You might say HE had no other choice or way before the cross but to let the devil administer judgement or consequences. It was easy for the OT prophets to confuse God with gods, because no one knew the true nature of Gods grace until the arrival of Jesus who revealed the God”s nature.
God’s Word describes Him as all powerful. Perhaps His power includes the ability and wisdom to always stay holy and righteous.
Fred I don’t believe evil ever came from God. I didn’t say that. What we can’t do is ignore Scriptures from the Old where judgment fell. The fact is death reigned from Adam to Moses. God at times was angry at sin and evil, that is injustice, and judgment fell. I do agree that it isn’t God’s fist of retribution coming down. If that was so, goodness, who or what would be left? I see from Hebrew that He allowed the judgment to flow not caused it.
But be careful saying the OT Prophets were “confused” or misinformed or misled, or didn’t know God. That contradicts the inerrancy of Scripture. If Isaiah, or Amos, or Joel or Ezekiel were whacked out old guys who confused the truth with lies, then why believe anything they wrote? Why is Isaiah right when he speaks of the future Finished Work, the righteousness of the believer, and healing in redemption but suddenly misinformed or following a demonic voice or lie when he also spoke of judgment?
God allowing judgment to fall because there was no Cross yet, sounds harsh, but God sent prophets to warn people long before said events would occur. Ezekiel showed He longs for mercy but there was no intercessor, now Jesus is that intercessor. These prophets actually prove His goodness and mercy.
John, I’m positive you wouldn’t say that Jesus was confused, misinformed or misled. . .yet Jesus said, “no one besides him has seen the father” John1:18; 5:37, Moses wrote that he had. I’m sure Moses didn’t think he was lying, but he was wrong none the less.
Jn5:38-48 Jesus again stands in opposition scripture where he states the polar opposite to the prophets, priests and kings who were presumed to speak and act on behalf of God.
To the scripture 1Jn1:5 “God is light and there is no darkness in him at all” do we add a caveat, “except when he requires men to conduct a genocide, or mass drownings, because of anger and/or judgement”.
James 1: 12-17 let no man say God has any connection with evil. . .only good and perfect gifts come from the Father. Are we all to agree that evil is good so that the inerrant scriptures might be wrestled into agreement. What comes next?. . . calling good evil. . . Like right now where many might call me evil for filtering the scriptures to show where Satan has influenced them. This much should be obvious ever since Jesus said “Satan is the god and ruler of this world” John 12:31, 1 John 5:19 and that’s why many have mixed revelations. You suggest if any part of scripture is found to be inspired by Satan then we can’t be led by any of it. Until Jesus separated Satan and his kingdom from his Father most assumed Satan was just doing Gods will. . .they were wrong and had a poor filter in place which we can now rightly divide between.
I don’t think Moses was confused about what happened. Specifically Moses did not see God’s face, he was covered by something and saw Gods ‘back’ or whatever. Exodus 33:19-23
Moses was the one who recorded this detail.
Hi Sara, I’m suggesting that Moses had a perspective of God that was not clear or unhindered, a view of God that was moulded and formed through his own life experience. It is through this filter he wrote, spoke and acted. Moses was the same as all of us, he misrepresented God from time to time. Like all of us, he thought his perspective was clear enough to write, speak and act on Gods behalf. A clear view of his unclear perspective was when he twice struck the rock after rebuking the people. We can go on to discuss the problem with the image Moses created . . . it’s enough to say if Moses was not clear here, he was likely not clear elsewhere. And so it is with ALL men, it is very easy to overstate the clarity of our vision.
Jesus said he was the only one to have a clear and full perspective of God and his true nature(Jesus was face to face with our Father). Jesus goes on to say, that everything he does and says is from the Father. We can ignore the implications of Jesus words and continue to value the words and actions of prophets priests and kings as if they are equal to Jesus or we can filter them, via the Spirit, into words inspired by others and those inspired by our Father.
Jesus said, “Satan kills, steals and destroys”. “the god of this world. . . the father of lies and murderers”
Bible worship will allow men to say, “God kills steals and destroys”.
I’m suggesting everybody else is wrong and Jesus is correct.
“This is a great website” , yes its an armoury and a place of peace at the same time.
When it comes to being “skilled in the word of righteousness” Paul is the most skilled person I know. The discipline he demonstrates towards dismantling misunderstood and misused scripture and instead showing their true meaning pointing to our identity as the “beloved sons of God”. He reminds me of a certain “mighty man”, who took the weapon off the enemy. . .and then using it in a far more devastating way against the enemy. Leaving us to stand open faced before our Father, holy, justified, and righteous.
Paul turns the work of the enemy into even greater understanding of our Fathers unchanging Love for us. Just don’t tell him. . . it might go to his head.
Thank you, Richard, for the kind words. I promise they won’t go to my head, but I might whisper them to my wife. 🙂
I think Jesus demonstrates, with the women caught in adultery, that God doesn’t seek to accuse or judge. God seeks to disarm the accuser, his default position is “neither do I condemn you”.
However if an accuser is present and a judgement is compelled, then the accuser administers the implications of the judgement. God provided ways of deflecting judgement i.e covenants, tabernacle sacrifice systems, and more recently righteousness through faith in Jesus, and the opportunity to be born again under the first born Jesus. We are now second born after Jesus. No longer second born after Adam.
Men attribute anger to judgement, but there is no anger. . .righteous judges do not respond with anger, maybe faulted men filter their judgements through anger. The gods of mens’ imagination respond out of anger, wrath, retribution and nationalistic favouritism. . . that’s not who our Father is.
I am a fan and patron and very much enjoy reading your posts. They have been a much needed continual reminder for me and corrective for me in the path God set me on back in ‘94. I too easily forget his grace and begin to look to myself. 😊
In the scriptures you list at the beginning, it seems like you are overstating the oppositions position in the verses you listed, when if each verse is taken in context, they don’t actually mean those things.
Also, why are you using a translation that uses “evil” in place of “calamity” or “disaster”? I don’t think that the opposing view would ever say that God does “evil” in the sense of “wrong things” but they would say that he allows “bad things to happen” which is more what these verses are saying.
The Bible is full of statements that God uses at best and causes at most ‘calamity’ or ‘disaster’. (I would love to learn more about this, because it is a struggle for me, but this article didn’t help me much because it wasn’t argued fairly.)
The Lamentations verses need to be used more in context because right in around and through, the prophet explicitly states placing his hope in the unfailing love of God.
These were the most of the concerns I had with the article. I welcome more conversations about these things.
Hi Sara, thanks for your comment and question. Why do I cite a translation that uses evil? To show that some people believe that God authors evil. It’s true that a better translation would be calamity, and many certainly blame God for natural disasters. As I say in the article above, some interpret calamities as God’s punishments for sin. This is wrong, for reasons I explain here.
Thank you for the Escape to reality messages you tirelessly send out to enlighten the hearts of many. I believe I got a brother I agree with in you as far as Our Loving God is concerned.
I pray that the people of God especially those who accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will come to realize that every word in the Bible was very well recorded but not every word was spoken by God.
We need to ask ourselves who was speaking, because every one that is born of man is full of imperfection and every word spoken and works done for God, Jesus should be the measure/standard.
The only image we have of God is Jesus the Word Of God. He alone is the measure or standard of life thus whatever we say or do should 100% in agreement with this Standard of life at all.
Bottom line is God is the restrainer of satan (evil). He can release evil to accomplish what He is trying to do or restrain it, such as in the case of Job where satan tells God that theres a hedge of protection around him. When He releases evil such as in the case of Israel being punished by God by releasing His protection over them and allowing evil enemies to annihilate her. Yes, God gets angry, just as any parent would be angry if their child is being self destructive but, He gives chances and those who dont repent, arent willing to repent, are haughty, proud, God knows the condition of their hearts and the Lord uses evil to either punish them, kill them or snap them into reality of their sinful ways. God is good either way because He is after our eternal salvation, not into enabling…
Which is akin to saying God is directly responsible for evil. No, Jesus called the devil a thief and “a murderer from the beginning.” If Satan had the Lord’s permission, he would not be a thief and a murderer. Jesus never describes Satan as anything less than an enemy acting contrary to the will of the Father. This idea that Satan is the Lord’s sheepdog on a leash is unbiblical. As for that hedge of protection – that notion comes straight from the father of lies, as you say. Never trust a liar.
Satan cannot overpower God though. So he has been given some free reign temporarily.
Free reign? That sounds as though God gives him permission. In fact, the blame lies squarely on King Adam’s shoulders. The Bible says Satan is in control of the fallen world order (see 1 John 5:19), and he is because Adam gave away what God gave him. The good news is that another kingdom (with a Greater King) has invaded this fallen one.
Praise Jesus Christ !!!
When our “bottom line” is that Jesus is the exact image of God we will rightly divide the words and intents of prophets, priests, kings and Christians who would presume to represent God our Father. When our “bottom line” permits us to allow God to be a mix of the gods of our own making and nature of the enemy, misrepresenting the Father is inevitable.
The longest standing question of man is “what is the true nature of the gods”, Jesus must be the answer to this question or we will be left somewhere on the trajectory of understanding between Abraham and John the Baptiser.
Abraham permitted himself to believe God could and would ask for his son as a sacrifice because all the gods around him were known to require such. John the Baptizer pointed to and identified Jesus better than all other prophets before him, yet didn’t really know what form the kingdom of heaven would take. . .a tabernacle renovation, a military takeover, maybe a revolution. If our “bottom line” doesn’t hold up Jesus as the fullness of God we will fill the knowledge gap with gods of our own imagination.
Excellent write up
Re God creates evil….Isa45:9
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was in Eden…how did it get there? God created it!
Why? We could not choose it if it wasn’t available to select! And God puts high value on the freedom of choice…..choose A or B….NOT….CHOOSE A ONLY
Hi Neil . . . It’s true God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, however, I can’t see anything wrong with the tree, the tree was not evil, the tree could give you the knowledge to know good and to know evil . . . remember that everything was good in Eden “And God saw everything which he had made and it was very good.” . . . so the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was very good . . . in the same way, the Law is good and through the Law we know good and evil, but we will never be like God by keeping the Law so something good can become something bad . . . so the sin was not the tree, the sin was trying to be like God by knowing good to do it and evil to avoid it and as we all know our lives are not based on the tree of knowledge (the Law), but on the tree of life which is Jesus.
Grace and Peace
Juan . . . in Spain
I’ll be brief. You ‘re a moron. Walt Davis, Boise, Id.
I’ll be brief too. God loves you, Walt.
Can you please help me with ezekiel 14:9? Doesnt it plainly say that God deceives?
The blood of Jesus was obviously after the cross. How did God who is constantly love and not change treat them under the old covenant so that offended were punished, while some were stoned to death by the law and Egypt was plagued. How do we explay that sir?
Paul..you may have covered this…but many do not understand that God made a specific contract with the Jewish people….if you do this i will do that ..and if you dont do such and such…then here is the result…it looks like God is mad or evil on surface.and makes him misunderstood…
But it was a contract and you reaped the benefit or loss.
..he didnt want it that way he wanted the one on one relationship..but they wanted a king and rules etc. ..and he lovingly complied. And it had its misunderstanding thru the ages that God does evil…he was simply honoring the contract……that the Jews willingly agreed to. He was always loving and still is today
What sort of contract did God have with the people in the time of Noah?
Did Egypt have a contract?
Maybe thousands died from snake bite in the wilderness because they had a contract?
Did the tribes of the “promised land” unwittingly make a contract with our forever good God that resulted in the killing, stealing and destroying of their sons daughters wife’s and fathers.
I don’t think the contract is the problem, it’s the inevitable outcome when we relate to God and others from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Maybe God’s “jealousy” is actually people misunderstanding His intense pursuing love.
Shall we call evil good to protect our image of God.
My point is, God’s love is not like our love – everything about God is elevated, sometimes beyond a person’s understanding at the moment.
I think you make a great point, Michelle. We have a tendency to interpret God’s ways by human ways of the flesh. Most of us have been taught that God’s judgement is against people, when His judgement is against that which would destroy His people. Thanks for your comment.
Yes, for sure, God’s love is a bit of a mystery.
I don’t think God causes that mystery or cloaks his love in any way. We receive insight and revelation of life and restored relationship at the tree of life, then gather in large groups inder the shade of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Dividing our time between these 2 trees causes mystery. . . And judgement and self awareness and self sufficiency follow.
Thankfully the Holy Spirit will teach us the difference between old wine skins; our favourite old security rugs and our righteousness in Christ
We mix our time between 2 trees without realising and mystery follows.
Dear Friends, Have you noticed the refractory nature of these comments over the span of several years? This may suggest that the insight and unanimity we hanker after in faith and worship is not available. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. A vital faith seems to sweep away the contradictions, but they remain stubbornly in scripture nonetheless. Folks don’t get saved by seeking after rational theology, but by sincere prayer, devotion and good works. Ultimately, we therefore are forced to choose: either the path of objectivity or the path of grace through the passion of Christ and His apostles. There is nothing wrong with the exclusive study of the Bible. It has led many to profound happiness. But be wary of trying to gain support through reason, argument and philosophy. These modes of thought are incommensurate with the rudiments of belief. To see what happens when we pursue the path of criticism, the ambitious may wish to delve deeply into Appearance and Reality (1893), the classic by FH Bradley. Having then surveyed the field, the choice must remain with you. Most folks in their wisdom vote for St. Paul, not the sages of Athens. Woe to those who will never be content unless they possess both. Thank you, dear God, for allowing these hard-won words. May they open the eyes of your people.
See this is an old post, but looking at a perennial issue. This question, and a whole ‘bunch’ of related questions are all born out of the traditional [mis] interpretation of the Old Testament that paints a picture of a Wrathful God.
But in very recent times, thanks to some great schoolers using the lens of the Hebrew writers, and second temple Theology we now get a totally different perspective which we can consider. So we can now get a totally different view of Old Testament events, like for example, why a man Picking up Sticks was Stoned to Death.
We’d guess that the ‘views’ may not be comfortable, or even accepted as they challenge some of what is foundational to some doctrine, but nevertheless, there are answers to consider. Answers that show a very different God.