Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Associating God with Evil (Part 2)

Hi Friends,

Okay, in picking up where I left off, I would like to share with you why I believe that there is a "flow" throughout the Scriptures that tell us that God should not be associated with evil, or be blamed as the cause, etc." One passage that leaps out in this regard is John 10:10a where Jesus states this concerning satan...."for the thief comes only to steal, kill & destroy". This clearly tells us friends that it is the enemy (satan) & not God who comes to steal from us, who comes to destroy us & who intimately seeks to kill us! Yet, so many times we hear people say that God is the cause of their problems....perhaps the reason behind that is this...."well if God is really that powerful & loving, then why doesn't He put an end to my problems".
Well I believe that is a fair question from a person who knows little or nothing about the Bible, don't you? It makes a lot of sense that if God is who He said He is, that He can take care of anything that befalls us. So this leads me to another point in this discussion....."why then does God allow evil?" Now there is a question for the ages! After all, at the end of all this, this is really the "heavy" question isn't it? Because most people I think realize & understand that God is good & that He always wants the best for us, but the best doesn't always happen, so clearly God is allowing some bad things to happen & so there lies that deep question of simply "why". I promise we will come back to that friends, but let's continue to look at why I believe God should not be associated as the cause or source of evil.
If we now go back to John 10 & read Jesus words right after 10:10a, He states "but I have come that you might have life & have it to the full". We also read this in 1 John 1:5: "that God is light & in Him there is NO darkness!" Now that is a pretty clear statement from John friends. In God there is NO darkness, is it a stretch to also say that in Him he can not produce darkness & thus would not have produced the fall of Man in Genesis? I think not! We are further told this by James in chapter 1:16-17: "that every good & perfect gift comes down from the Father of LIGHTS in whom there is no shadow of turning! V.16 tells us not to be deceived, so we must ask, not to be deceived of what? The very next verse tells us, that all that is good is from God, not evil! James is making the point clear that God is a God of light, not of darkness! This goes hand in hand with what we have also read from John friends. Today, we often hear these 2 mutually exclusive words together "God - dam". How did that happen? How did God get blamed for all this, how does He still get blamed for the bad things in life that happen? Now we will visit soon that God can & does use evil for good, this is clear & true, but because He uses something, does not make Him the author of it friends! Here is a statement made by a popular Reformed writer: "If God's chief end is to bring glory to His name and God does whatsoever He desires to do, then the existence of evil must be allowed and decreed by God ultimately bringing glory to his name" This continued phrase by Reformers "God does nothing, but for His glory, or similar statements like "God is all about His glory" must leave some who are examining the claims of Christianity to ponder if God is egotistical no? Scriptures like John 3:16-17 & Phil. 2:5-8 teach us that God is all about us & that we are to bring glory to His name, not the other way around friends! yes, I do believe that God does indeed seek His glory in all circumstances, but not the way some of these Reformers make it sound. For instance a passage like Isa. 43:7 which states: "Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made." is taken to mean that God is only about His glory and yes He created us to have fellowship with Him and for us to glorify His Holy name, but I think this idea of God ONLY being about His glory is a bit out of context.....Now it is also a Biblical truth that God doesn't "share space", just as Jesus doesn't (Isa. 42:8, 48:11, Jn. 14:6) but I think this phrase can be dangerous........and other similar statements like "God is most glorified when".....the fact of the matter is this: The Bible does not clearly state exactly when God is most glorified! That is an assumption, but it is being stated as a fact & that my friends is also dangerous! Just my thoughts here. Okay, we can pick up talking about how God has used evil for good & does, while keeping in mind that satan is the author of death & evil. Satan, not God tempted Eve in the garden & caused mankind to fall! Jesus stated this in His heated discourse with the Pharisee's in John 8:44a "but you are of your father the devil, for he was a murderer from the beginning"
showing us that satan is indeed death's author by bringing sin into the world & we know that sin leads to death. (Rom. 6:23)
Until Next Time,


  1. Al:

    There are two reasons why people believe that God is, in some important way, responsible for evil. To make a case otherwise, you will need to answer each.

    The first reason for believing God to be responsible for evil (albeit indirectly) is that evil occurs within a universe over which God reputedly has *all power*. That is, while he may not be the *originator* of the evil, in permitting it to occur when he could stop it, he must be at least accomplice to/facilitator of the occurence of evil (in the same way that a cop who stands by and watches a rape occur would be).

    The second reason is that *the Bible itself* claims that God is directly responsible for certain evils, such as the refusal of Pharaoh to free the Israelites:

    "But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go" (Ex. 10:20, ESV).

    I suggest that it is not enough to quote scriptures which appear to contradict these two points, as you have already done, since for many people, that will only mean that some Bible verses contradict others. Rather, you will first need to explain, logically, how God permitting evil to occur when he could stop it does not make him at least partially responsible for evil; and second, to explain why the Bible would describe God as the direct cause of some particular evil ("hardening Pharaoh's heart", for example), if he weren't.

  2. Tal,

    due to size, I have to answer in 2 posts.
    Thanks for posting, as usual I appreciate your input :) Okay, is the police officer exmple valid? For instance, a cop who stands by & does nothing is certainly a person who is in "cohoots" with the evil being done, however you have not considered this incredibly valid point....Let's go back to the garden of Eden. God rightly told Adam this "in the day that you eat of the tree, you shall surely die". God forewarned Adam of the consequences of such an action! If my son kept going to the stove & placing his hand over it & I kept warning him not to do that & when I was out of the room, sure enough he touched that hot stove & got burned, does this make me an accomplice to the evil done him? So unlike the Cop who simply stands by, God gave us due warning & WE choose to disobey & so now we suffer the consequences, so I would respectfully disagree there. In short, the warning makes all the difference & I say this without getting into a Philsophical argument that you can't have good without evil in this world if you give your creation freewill/choice. For more on that I recommend the book "God, Freewill & Evil" by Alvin Plantinga.

  3. (2)
    Okay, you beat me to the punch of future posts by mentioning Pharaoh, so let's visit that in it's proper context. Did God do evil to Pharaoh, or perhaps is it possible that Pharaoh brought evil upon himself? At the point that God hardened his heart & I fully agree that He did! For God can do anything, but let's look at the kind of person Pharaoh was. I do this because "turning over" a person who is a reprobate is quite different from bringing evil upon a righteous person! I quoted earlier that God does not place evil upon people & thus should not be associated with that, however when a person turns away & does evil to God & others, then I believe the "sowing & reaping" principle settles in! That it is indeed just for God to "turn them over" to their wanton lusts & deeds, etc. This is what I believe God did with Pharaoh, this is why we need to see the context & not just say "God did evil to him" period, which I think is your claim here. Up to this time, here is just a bit of what Pharaoh was doing......so we need to go back prior to Ex. 9:12 & just look at the list! Pharaoh was an exceedingly wicked individual, he enslaved people, murdered people & I could go on & on here. The Hebrew word for defining the Almighty in this chapter which is not coincidental is "Elohey" which is also interpreted as "defender, supporter & protector" of the Hebrews, so for God not to come to their aid would actually be contradictory! (*-it should be noted that God has continued to come to their aid as well, e.g. the 6 day war, 1973, etc.)

    Last, you mention how God must be in some way partially responsible for evil by permitting it. Since I already mentioned Pharaoh let's tackle that here. Once again I think Eden in Genesis sheds much light on this. It is well documented in Scripture that one day in the New Jerusalem, the world will be as God had originally intended it. It will be a world where the "lion will lie down with the lamb". It will be a place where death will be no more as we read at the end of the book of Revelation, as well as suffering, tears, etc. This was God's original intent, this is what He had in mind from the outset & because He is God, He has foreknowledge, so clearly He did know what was going to happen in Eden & yet he still allowed it to take place, there can be no question on that. But here is where I would differ.....sin, all sin is a direct result of OUR rebellion against God, in other words, WE caused this to come upon us! So the easy way out is to now blame God because He is all powerful, but when we say that, we forget that He is also just & Holy! Sin according to God's Word had to be paid for, so what did God do? Did He sit back & do nothing? NO! He then sent His only Son to b cursed, spit upon, tortured & eaten on OUR behalf. This does not sound like a irresponsible God who sat back quietly & did nothing, no rather He proactively did something & lest we forget....He (God) suffered to when His Son was on the cross dying for all mankind. if He would of done nothing, then I would fully agree with you that He is responsible, but thanks be to God who provided for YOU & ME a way of escape through Christ Jesus :)