The Answer to the Evil Question

INTRODUCTION

One of the great questions facing those who believe the Bible is the problem of evil. If God is all-loving and all- powerful, then why do we have evil in the universe? Did God create evil? If so, why did He do it? Would that not make Him a bad God? The other possibility is that God is a good God, but does not have the ability to do anything about evil. This would mean that God is a good God, but not all-powerful. So which is it? Is God a bad God and won’t do anything about evil, or is He a good God and cannot do anything about evil? Actually there is a third possibility. God is neither bad nor limited in His power. It is true that if God created evil it would make Him a bad God. But this is not the case. Evil came as a result of sin, and sin is something that God did not want in the universe.[1]

            The above argument and reasoning concerning the existence of evil in the world in reference to God’s relationship to evil answers the question if God is the creator of evil. Indeed evil came as the result of sin and God indeed hates sin; therefore, he punishes sinners to make his moral government in heaven transcendent over human government; in this light, God cannot be the creator of evil; however, there are scriptural passages in the Bible that tend to support the idea that God is the creator of evil based on how the passages have been presented with reference to the misunderstanding of the translation of the Hebrew word, “Ra.” In Genesis, it reads, “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.  And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day” (Gen. 1:26–31 NIV).

THE GAP THEORY AND SCRIPTURAL EXAMINATION

The last verse in this passage establishes the fact that everything God has made from the beginning was good. This was the last day God has established everything including the heavenly bodies and he declared them to be good; however, there are the passages in the Bible that tend to contradict this scripture and present God to be the creator of evil. The passages need to be examined knowing that man did the translation from the Hebrew Bible to the English Bible. In Isaiah, it reads, “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things (Isaiah 45:7 NKJV). I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create evil; I, the Lord, do all these things (Isaiah 45:7 KJV). In Genesis, it reads, “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;  but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you[a] shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16–17 NKJV). These scriptural passages will be examined after we have discussed the gap theory in the book of Genesis Chapter 1:1 and 1:2–31. After the discussion of the gap theory in Genesis, it will make sense to us that God did not create evil but evil came as the result of sin in the world. Theologically, “Gap creationists believe that certain facts about the past and the age of the Earth have been omitted from the Genesis account; they hold that there was a gap of time in the Biblical account that lasted an unknown number of years between a first creation in Genesis 1:1 and a second creation in Genesis 1:2-31.[2]

            To explain and to support the above theory, we will begin with Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2–31. The first creation references Genesis 1:31 that everything that God has created was good. After the first creation, something happened that brought the existence of evil prior to recreation and after the recreation. In Genesis 1:1 says in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. This is the first creation. In Genesis 1:2 reads, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2–31 there exists a gap in biblical account according to theistic creationism. If everything God has created was good according to Genesis 1:1, why in Genesis 1:2 made the earth to be formless, empty, and darkness coming over the surface of the deep of the earth? The word formless, empty and darkness indicate the presence of evil in the world. That’s being said indicates that something happened before the earth became formless, empty, and had darkness on surface of the deep. From Genesis 1:2–31 talks about the recreation at which God has to use the spoken word to bring about every existence of life on planet earth. Know that prior and after the creation of the earth, Lucifer and the angels had lived in heaven with God. In Isaiah, it reads, “How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!  You said in your heart, I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.[a]will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:12–14 NIV). The above scripture references Lucifer who became pride in heaven and decided to over throw God; as the result he was cast down on planet earth. In Ezekiel, it reads, “You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones” (Ezekiel 28:13–14 NIV). God is speaking through the Prophet Ezekiel to describe the beauty of Lucifer and his habitation in the Garden of Eden. He became pride and rebelled against God; therefore, he was cast down along with the angels that rebelled with him against God. It reads, “The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord God: “Because your heart is proud, and you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods, in the heart of the seas,’ yet you are but a man, and no god, though you make your heart like the heart of a god— you are indeed wiser than Daniel; no secret is hidden from you; by your wisdom and your understanding you have made wealth for yourself, and have gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; by your great wisdom in your trade you have increased your wealth, and your heart has become proud in your wealth “(Ezekiel 18:1–26 NIV). It reads, “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (Rev 12:9 NIV). The above scriptural passages tell us that Lucifer became pride and was cast down along with the angels that joined to rebel against God. The casting of angels from heaven to the earth as the result of pride and rebellion made the earth to become formless, empty, and dark because Satan and his fallen angels called demons were already present; therefore, evil was present on earth. Since God knew that evil was already present in the Garden of Eden, God instructed Adam and Eve not to eat the tree of the knowledge, good, and evil because Satan was already present in the Garden of Eden. The Bible calls Satan the evil one. Does it mean that since the tree was called the tree of knowledge, good, and evil; then, God created evil? No, God created the tree; however, it is the description of the tree based on the choices Adam and Eve could make. Evil was already present in the Garden due to the rebellion of Satan and the angels. God did not create evil spirits, but he created angels; similarly, God did not create Satan, but he created Lucifer. Lucifer and angels became Satan and evil spirits based on the path (evil) they chose in heaven to be like God. Evil is the general description of the opposite of good; therefore, evil cannot be created as books, angels, Lucifer, because it is not a thing; rather, the choice the creatures of God make when it comes to decision making. Had not Lucifer, angels, and Adam and Eve sinned, there would not be what we call evil today. Evil is present in the world as the result of sin. Since God did not create sin and he hates sin; then, he cannot be the creator of evil. Let us examine the three scriptural passages that tend to present God has the creator of evil., “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things (Isaiah 45:7 NKJV). I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create evil; I, the Lord, do all these things (Isaiah 45:7 KJV). In Genesis, it reads, “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;  but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you[a] shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16–17 NKJV).

            The Hebrew word for evil used in the second passage is “Ra. The word for evil used in the second passage and the third passage in Isaiah 45:7 and Genesis 2:17 in the Hebrew is ‘Ra. Ra in the Hebrew has varieties of meanings. Ra in Hebrew means wickedness, wicked, mischief, hurt, bad, favorable, sore, affliction, ill, adversity, harm, naught, noisome, grievous, sad, and often miscellaneous terms. In the passage, “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things (Isaiah 45:7 NKJV). In this new King James Version, the translation for Ra in Hebrew is translated as disaster instead of evil. Looking at the various meanings of the Hebrew word Ra, disaster fits the correct translation of the word Ra to indicate specificity. Evil is the general term that describes the opposite of anything that is good. In conclusion, did God create evil? If so, why did He do it? Would that not make Him a bad God? The other possibility is that God is a good God, but does not have the ability to do anything about evil. This would mean that God is a good God, but not all-powerful. So which is it? Is God a bad God and won’t do anything about evil, or is He a good God and cannot do anything about evil? Actually there is a third possibility. God is neither bad nor limited in His power. It is true that if God created evil, it would make Him a bad God. But this is not the case. Evil came as a result of sin, and sin is something that God did not want in the universe.[3] Why then evil exists? Why bad things happen to good people? Is not God in control of everything? God is not in control of the choices we make; that could make God an unjust God if he infringes on the decision we make; therefore, he is not in control of everything. Does that make God to not be all-powerful God? No, God is all-powerful God; however, he does not use his power against our will because God has made us to be free moral agent; therefore, he could not have prevented sin in the Garden of Eden by infringing on the decision that Adam and Eve could have made; however, they chose to disobey God. Evil exists because sin exists and sin is here. Why then God cannot stop evil? He does not stop it because he does not have control over the decision we make because he wants to remain faithful to the other side of his character of being the just God. The God who had created the heavens and the earth is not a tyrant or the dictator; he is the loving and the just God.


[1] Don Stewart, Did God Create Evil? n.p [26 July 2020], Online: https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_1379.cfm

[2] Ronald Numbers (November 30, 2006). The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design, Expanded Edition. Harvard University Press.

[3] Don Stewart, Did God Create Evil? n.p [26 July 2020], Online: https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_1379.cfm