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Is God the Author of Evil?

October 16, 2002

Hi Jane:

Jane, you asked in your letter "Is God the Creator of Evil?" God is not the creator of evil. The Bible says about God:

"Let no one say when he is tempted, ĎI am being tempted by Godí; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." (James 1:13-15)

What God created is free will, free will meaning we have the choice to choose good or evil. Evil is choosing the opposite of what God wants. The Bible says "ĎWoe to the rebellious children,í declares Yehovah, Ďwho execute a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, in order to add sin to siní" (Isaiah 30:1), so evil is anything we do that is contrary to Godís will. If it is contrary to what God wants, then what God wants is the opposite which cannot be evil.

I donít know this minister but if he is a predestinationist (which I am not, see Section 5 Chapter 5 titled "Evangelism? Or Predestination?") then he would believe God is the author of evil. The teaching of predestination teaches that God determined before the foundation of the world those who would be lost and those who would be dammed period. It has nothing to do with whether You want Godís will or not or have received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord or not, it is simply that God says you go to hell and you to go to heaven. It is a historical doctrine of Catholicism, a Christian heresy,  that carried over into many Protestant denominations like Presbyterianism, Lutheranism and the Baptist Church. The denomination called "The Free Will Baptist Church" does not believe this and why they have this title.  Also the Methodist church that John Wesley started did not teach this either.  If You want to know what my view of salvation is, it is the same as John Wesley's.  He taught what is called Perennial Grace.  This teaches that while man's mind is blinded to God's salvation and his will is bound and unable to turn to the Gospel, God, in the course of a person's life, gives that person the grace to recognize that Jesus' death and shed blood is the only answer to their sin and salvation and frees there will in these special times in their life to respond or reject God's salvation through Jesus Christ.  This is my belief and experience in 33 years of doing Evangelism work.

Predestinationists also teach that once saved always saved.  This is a logical step since they believe you are only saved because God chooses you to be saved, it has nothing to do with what you want or do or not do.  However, this is another Christian heresy that is not taught nor supported in the Bible.  See my article titled The Unpardonable Sin and Eternal Security.

People who teach predestination teach this for selfish and passive reasons in their relationship with God, especially as an excuse to not reach out to the lost in Evangelism since their sharing the Gospel or not has no bearing on who will be saved and who won't according to this teaching. Passages which they cite they take out of context and when read in context is not talking about what the writer is addressing at all. For example Jesus said in John 6:44 "No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:44). By itself this sounds like Jesus is saying God the Father decides who He will bring to Jesus to be saved and those he doesnít want to be saved he blinds. However, the next verse is the key to this statement. In John 6:45 Jesus said "It is written in the prophets, Ďand they shall all be taught of God.í Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me." What was Jesusí point in John 6:44? The Jews he was addressing were claiming to be followers of Jehovah, Abrahamís God. Jesusí point to them was if they were they would know He was their Messiah because God the Father always directs people to Jesus, which is a principle of how we know the Spirit of God verses a false god, a demon.  Revelation 10:19 states "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."  If it is the Spirit of God the Holy Spirit will direct and draw us to Jesus. If it is an evil spirit it will direct you away from Jesus, just as the spirits these Jews were entertaining were. The fact of the matter was while they were religious they didnít know Jehovah at all and that was why they didnít recognize who Jesus was, the Messiah and Savior, God the Son in the flesh. In Chapter 5 of Section 5 I cite all the other popular passages these people use out of context to deceive Godís people, and I then show their context to show clearly this is not what the writer is communicating.

Another popular passage is Ephesians 1:5 which states "He ordained-beforehand to adopt us as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will" (Eph 1:5). The Greek Word "Pro-orizo" that we get the word "Predestination" from is a compound word:  "Pro" meaning "before" and "orizo" meaning "to determine" or "to ordain".  What I translate correctly here "ordained-beforehand" they will translate "predestined". The word means "to pre-determine." They will cite this passage as an example of how God has predestined some to be saved and some to be lost. But wait a minute? Lets examine this verse. What has God pre-ordained?  Some to be lost and some to be saved? No. What this verse says God has pre-ordained is that the only way we can be saved and become sons and daughters of God the Father is by coming to him exclusively and only "through Jesus Christ." You see how subtle this is? They focus on the word used "Pro-orizo" while editing out and completely ignoring the rest of the verse. Between the 5 stars below starting and ending is quoted directly from Chapter 5 of Section 5 of my Basic textbook on Evangelism:

*****

Romans Chapters 9-11 is one of the most popular passages of Scripture used to justify the concept of predestination and that God chooses those who will be saved and those who will be damned. Again, it is based on taking certain verses out of context by themselves like 9:15-16.

Paul starts off this passage talking about his love for his fellow Israelites, how if possible he would even himself be damned that they might be saved (9:1-5). Israel was not rejected because they were predestined to be rejected, they were rejected because Godís kingdom is received by faith through Godís promises (9:6-8, 31-32), the righteousness of God (10:1-4); not through the works of the Law, our righteousness. They were trying to come to God on their terms, not Godís terms. We become sons of God through believing Godís promises, not through works.

"That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants." (Rom 9:8)

Sarah was beyond the age of having children, 80 years of age, so Sarah gave Abraham Hagar, her maid, to bear children for her as a surrogate mother. In doing this, Abraham was trying to fulfill Godís promise through his own efforts rather than believing Godís promise of a son through his own flesh, his wife Sarah. God promised that it would come through his own flesh, from his own body, that is through his wife Sarah. It was because Abraham believed this promise of God, this work and miracle of God, not Abrahamís, that God declared Abraham righteous, saved (Genesis 15:6).

Paul tells us in Romans 9:8 that it is not the children of the flesh, meaning by the initiative, works or strife of the soul through obedience to the Law that are Godís children, but the children of the promise. It is those who believe on Godís promises that are declared Godís children.

What is Godís promise? It is stated in Romans 10:9,

"that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved."

What does it mean to believe God raised Jesus from the dead? It means that we believe that God accepts Jesusí death for our sins in our place through his death on the cross and not through any works of our own. Godís proof and witness to us that He does is His bringing Jesus back from the dead. Paul wrote in Romans 4:25, "He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification." The resurrection is Godís witness, promise and proof to us that he does accept Jesusí death as payment for our sins in our place. When we believe this work of God, we are saved (Rom 4:25, 10:9-10).

In Romans 9:15-16 Paul wrote,

"For He says to Moses, ĎI will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.í So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy."

This is an example of a passage that predestinationists use to try and prove that God chooses who He will save and chooses who he will condemn, but is this what Paul means by quoting this passage here? Not at all. In Romans 9:4 Paul tells us that it was through the Israelites that we received the law, the temple service and even Jesus through the flesh. Paul then goes on to explain to us in context that salvation does not come through obedience to the law but through believing Godís promises about his accepting Jesusí death in our place just as Abraham was saved by believing Godís promises. Abraham was not saved by living perfectly according to the law of which he had no knowledge; this was because the Law came through Moses 400 years later, not through Abraham.

Paul is telling us that the antagonist is saying that God is unjust because he rejects his own people trying to come to him through obedience to the Law, which He gave to them in the first place, rather than accepting Godís free gift of Salvation through simply believing His promises about His Son. It is in this context that Paul is quoting this passage and saying that if God chooses only to accept those who come to him by faith in his promises rather than through the works of the Law, who are we to question God? He states in Romans 9:30-32,

"What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone."

If God chooses only to have mercy on those who come to Him through Faith in His promise and not by Works, who are we to question God? That is the meaning of this passage and the totality of Paulís argument in Romans Chapters 9-11.

*****

The idea that God is the creator of evil comes as a result of an incomplete understanding of the context of statements in the Bible like I just cited. No, Jesus said that God is good. God did not create evil, evil is the result of sin. As James said in James 1:13-15,

"Let no one say when he is tempted, ĎI am being tempted by Godí; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." (James 1:13-15)

You said you spoke up and said this is not true, that God is not the author of evil, but then commented that God does not need Your defense.  God does need our defense. If we donít speak up about what is true, then men and women are bound by what is false. The Bible says "Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil" (Ecclesiastes 8:11). Jesus said "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).  Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:5 "We are subverting computations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." 

    Okay you asked me about these other passages they cited as evidence that God is the author of evil:  Isaiah 45:6-7, John 1:3, Ps 78:49, 1 Corinthians 6:3, 2 Peter 2:4.  Let's examine them one by one:

"That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am Yehovah, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am Yehovah who does all these."  (Isaiah 45:6-7)

God, through the prophets, told Israel that because of their wickedness that he would use nations more evil than themselves to correct them. For example, the Prophet Habakkuk was grieved by the violence and lack of justice going on in Israel in his day.  He cried out to God in prayer:

"How long, O Yehovah, will I call for help, and You will not hear? I cry out to You, ĎViolence!í Yet You do not save. Why do You make me see iniquity, and cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; strife exists and contention arises. Therefore, the law is ignored and justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore, justice comes out perverted." (Habakkuk 1:2-4)

God answers Habakkuk and tells him that He will raise up a nation more wicked than Israel:  the Babylonians, the Chaldeans to correct Israel.  What did God mean? Did he mean He was the author of that evil? No, He means that He simply steered that evil that already existed in the hearts of the men of Babylon to accomplish His just purpose. Romans 8:28 states "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." So what is God saying in Isaiah 45:6-7? He is saying that while men choose to do evil in their hearts, He steers their evil to accomplish His will and for a good and just purpose. Proverbs 21:1 states "The kingís heart is like channels of water in the hand of Yehovah; He turns it wherever He wishes." God is doing this right now with the world. Europe and America have been viciously trying to eradicate God from all of life and society. We have taken him out of our law making, out of our courts, out  of our schools. Now there is no justice in the land, good is called evil and evil good. "Those hate mongering Christians who speak against those homosexuals and a womanís right to use her body as she chooses." Now Murder is good and to try and stop it is evil.

Romans 2:4 states "Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?" God with incredible patience and restraint, according to human terms, has tried to reach us through soft pats on the hand: the economy, flooding, tornados, droughts; all to no avail. So what is He doing now? Now he is using a godless Satanic religion: Islam, to chastise us, to get our attention, to make us realize our total dependence on him. So illusive is this enemy that the only way we can over come him is by coming back to God, by turning to him for help. So what do we do in response? We take God out of the pledge of allegiance, a further smack in his face. What is Godís judgment upon us?  He causes godless politicians confusion among themselves so they cannot agree on passing the needed home security bill, so the president canít take decisive action at the threat of terrorism and put restraint on evil. "Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil." (Ecclesiastes 8:11). The Bible says in Proverbs 21:30 "There is no wisdom and no understanding and no counsel against Yehovah." So is God making the wicked decisions of the leadership of this land? Is He causing these Arabs to follow a false religion created by Satan? No. What is he doing? He is using the wicked decisions of our politicians and a false religion by directing their paths to chastise a world that has turned away from Him and rejected Him and His just ways. He has encouraged the evil in the hearts of our politicians to confuse their path and counsel among each other. God is not the author of evil, He simply uses the evil that exists to bring about good, so that something worse might not come upon us.

God has no desire to send anyone to hell. He says in his word:

"ĎAs I live!í declares Adonia-Yehovah, ĎI take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?í" (Ezekiel 33:11)

"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)

God is not the author of disease, disease is the result of man severing himself from God, Jesus, who is LIFE! Only Jesus can keep our genetics in line and maintain our complicated physical beings that he created to live forever, never to die. He said to Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:17 "But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil from it you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it dying, you-shall-die." This is a literal rendering of the Hebrew text. It doesnít say "you shall die," it says "dying, you shall die." First, they died spiritually; second, slowly they died physically. Adam lived to be over 900 years old. After the flood when the water canopy above the earth was removed and radiation from the sun and galaxies poured in unfiltered, manís physical life slowly grew shorter and shorter. Shem, Noahís son, lived 100 years before the flood and 500 after to the age of 600. Eber his immediate descent lived 464 years. Reu 237. Serug 230. Nahor 148. Terah Abrahamís father 205. Abraham 175. Moses 120. Finally David wrote in the Psalms that God gives man 70 years except for strength, meaning those of exceptionally good genetics by today's standards live longer.

But you see that is the message of the Gospel. The Gospel is God through the death and shed blood of Jesus Christ reversing the results of sin for those who believe:

"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this corruptible will have put on the incorruptible, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ĎDeath is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?í The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:52-57)

I said all this to share this example: I had a friend who loved his father very much. His father was stinkingly healthy all his life. When he went for his annual checkup the doctors told him he was throwing his money away coming to see them. This man was an atheist all his life, proud, self made. He said over and over "I donít need any god!" Well six months before he died he was struck with cancer, I mean struck! It went through his body so fast the doctors couldnít do anything about it. Finally, lying in a coma in the hospital room dying, his son took his fatherís hand and said "Dad, can you hear me? If you can, squeeze my hand." His dad squeezed his hand. He then pleaded with his father to confess to Jesus his sins and to receive Him as Savior and Lord. His dad squeezed his hand several times. He asked him if he was indicating that he received Jesus as Savior and Lord to squeeze his hand again. He squeezed his hand again.

Shortly after his dad died. For months my friend was distraught. He missed his father very much. One day while visiting him, being burdened over his pain, I laid my hand on him and prayed for something for him I had prayed for myself for many years and have never received: "Jesus, grant my brother a vision of heaven and allow him to see his father there and that he is better off now than he ever was on earth." To my amazement not only did God grant him a vision of heaven, but he saw his dad and his dad spoke to him and said "It was your faith that made it possible for me to cross over. Your faith gave me the faith to believe and I am here today." He said some other things, but my friend afterwards said to me, "Dale, how can a good God allow such suffering as he did in my dad before he died? How could a good God allow him to be struck with cancer?" I said to my friend

"Because he loved him." He looked at me like I had betrayed him, so I explained to him, "Friend, you know how stubborn and proud your father was. All his life he saw no need of God. Well friend, God didnít want your father to just die when his time came and go to hell, so He had great mercy on him and allowed cancer to strike and ravage his body. As he lay there, life ebbing out of him, he came to realize he was not God or immortal, he was going to die. The suffering caused him to consider God and when he was ready you came along and showed him the way and through Jesus Christ he crossed over. God didnít hate your dad, he loved him! And had great mercy on him."

Evil and suffering is the result of free will sin, and as James says God cannot be tempted by evil and He does not tempt anyone with evil. God doesnít desire anyone to go to hell, so much so that He became man and dwelt among us, fed us and healed us. And when they beat him, they literally pulled the beard out of his face so that Isaiah Chapter 53 tells us that you would not be able to recognize him if you saw Him walking on the street.  What was Jesus', God's, response?  Finally, when we tried to get rid of Him by nailing Him to a cross, did he take revenge? No, he said simply "If you will believe that this is Me hanging on the cross for your sins, I will forgive you and give you eternal life and receive you into heaven." God is good.

What about those who donít know Christ, who donít have the Gospel preached to them? If all Christians obeyed Godís command to go out and preach the Gospel to men, the world would have been Christianized centuries ago, there would be minimal evil in the world today through the restraint of the knowledge of the word of God. The plight of our age is not Godís lack of goodness, but the churches lack of obedience to Godís command to GO THEREFORE! and preach the Gospel to men and women. And so people pass into darkness without Christ. My knowing and understanding that 33 years ago forced me to commit my life and free time to the spread of the Gospel. I can play when I get to heaven. I can have five new Porsches then forever. Okay, taking a vacation now and then is all right and spiritual, but I am just trying to make a point, getting away from your question, sorry.

John 1:3 is talking about the physical creation that he created. There reading into this something that isnít there. They are ignoring the free will of man to receive or reject God. Ps 78:49 "He sent upon them His burning anger, fury, and indignation, and trouble, a band of destroying angels." Is Bush evil because he sent our military, a band of destroying angels, to destroy the Al-Quida? He would be evil if he did not. Godís love demands Godís justice.  1 Corinthians 6:3 "Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, matters of this life?" See the Discipleship Letter The Three End Time Biblical Judgments.

2 Peter 2:4 "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment." God is a just God, he must punish unrepented sin. As I already shared so opposed is God to sending anyone to hell that He did all he could to prevent this, even took on a human nature and allowed us to torture Him to death and kill his humanity, and yet still he said to us "If you will only believe that is Me hanging on the cross, I will forgive you." In light of Godís sacrifice of Himself ("Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God [Jesus is God] which He purchased with His own blood." (Acts 20:28)) He tells us in Hebrews 10:26-27 "For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries." In other words, in light of the total sacrifice of Himself to free us from having to spend the rest of our lives seeking His forgiveness, if we then reject His free gift of salvation through the death and shed blood of Jesus Christ and refuse to repent, we bring Godís wrath upon ourselves all the more. Why? Because He has paid the ultimate price to keep us from hell so we will repent and return to Him.  However, if instead we reject His free gift of salvation for us through Jesus Christ and refuse to repent of our evil deeds and say instead "No! I will continue to do evil," If we do this, this will bring Godís wrath upon ourselves all the more. God is good, he didnít ask for a sacrifice from us for our sins, He sacrificed Himself. Jesus said "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his soul for his friends" (John 15:13).

No, God is not evil, cannot be tempted by evil and tempts no one with evil.  In the Old Testament Israel had become so wicked and apostate that they were sacrificing their own children to the false god of Baal.  God said to them in response:

"And they built the high places of Baal that are in the valley of Ben-hinnom to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I had not commanded them nor had it entered My-heart that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin." (Jeremiah 32:35)

God says to Israel that these evil deeds that they were doing never entered His mind or heart, that they were completely foreign to Him.  However God's Word said about man's heart just before passing judgment upon man in the universal flood "Then Yehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the imagination of his-heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5).

Evil is the result of man's free will to reject God's reign over him.  When he rejects God's reign, the Bible says "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12).  God is our source of life.  Apart from Him there is no life.  Therefore, to reject God's reign over ourselves is not for God to do evil to us, but for us to do evil to ourselves.  Jesus said,

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.... Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.... If anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved and shall go in and out, and find pasture." (John 10:1-9)

Satan and Man are the author of evil, not God.

Sincerely in Jesus,

Dale P. Kruse
Pastor Evangelist

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