If ALL is of God (as the Bible says),
then Who is Responsible for EVIL?
Lorraine Day, M.D.
“There is probably no subject that confronts mortals that is more perplexing than the problem of evil. The question of its origin has engrossed the thoughts of Christians generally; to contrive some way whereby evil might have first come into existence, and at the same time clear God from all responsibility has been their chief endeavor.” The Problem of Evil, V. Gelesnoff, Unsearchable Riches, Nov. 2008.
God, in His Scriptures, is bold in His oft repeated statement through the Bible writers that “All is out of God.”
“For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are ALL things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36
“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we live by Him.” 1 Corinthians 8:6
“For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also, by the woman: but all things of God.” 1 Corinthians 11:12
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18
“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.” Ephesians 1:11
“For it was fitting for Him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing (the) many sons unto glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect (complete) through sufferings.” Hebrews 2:10
Most Christians will contend that Evil came from Satan. But is Satan a “god” unto himself? Can Satan do anything that God does not allow? And if God allows it, then is it God’s will?
The Bible readily gives the answer, repeatedly. Satan can do nothing, unless God allows it.
Look at the story of Job
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan (Literal translation: the adversary) was among them.
And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a blameless and upright man, one that feareth God, and shuns evil?
Then Satan answered the Lord and said, Doth Job fear God for nothing?
Have you not made a hedge of protection about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side. Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.
But stretch forth thine hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.
And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold all that he has is in Thy power; only upon his person put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord. Job 1:6-12
Satan could not touch Job’s family or his possessions unless God specifically allowed it.
Later, when Job still remained true to God after Job’s family and flocks were all killed, Satan returned to God stating that if he (Satan) were allowed to harm Job, then Job would curse God.
Satan said to the Lord, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
But stretch forth Thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.
And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. Job 2:4-6
Again, Satan returned to God asking for permission to attack Job personally. Satan has NO power or AUTHORITY except what God gives him.
And if God allows it, then it IS God’s Will! God does not work against Himself.
“If a house be divided against itself that house cannot stand.” Mark 3:25
Samson and Delilah
When Samson became infatuated with a pagan Philistine woman and was determined to marry her, he said to his parents,
“Get her for me as a wife, for she pleaseth me well.” Judges 14:3
His parents did not want to get Delilah for Samson because she was a pagan Philistine who did not believe in the God of heaven. The Bible continues:
“But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the Lord.” Judges 14:4
Delilah led Samson astray, finding out the secret of his strength and cutting off his hair. Samson was then taken captive by the Philistines. Eventually they blinded him by putting out his eyes, and they imprisoned him. He was mocked and humiliated publicly by the Philistines. But in the end, when his hair grew and he regained his strength, he committed suicide by pulling down the pillars of the temple where over 3,000 people were mocking him. All in the temple, including Samson, died.
In human terms, this is not a good ending to the life of Samson. Yet the Bible tells us “it was of the Lord.”
The Divided Kingdom
When the Kingdom of Israel was divided with the ten Northern tribes (called Israel) seceding from the two Southern tribes (called Judah) the army of Judah was ready to march against Israel. But God told the prophet, Shemaiah, to speak to Rehoboam (the son of Solomon) king of Judah,
“Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: return every man to his house; for this thing is from Me.” 2 Chronicles 11:4
The House of Ahab
“The extermination of the royal house of Ahab is another illustration of how evil things are of God (1 Kings 21:19-29). The accomplishment of it is detailed in 2 Kings 9 and 10. It is a sickening tale of cunning, truce-breaking, treachery, cruelty, barbarous butchery, and yet it was the carrying out of God’s purpose. In 1 Kings 21:21, God says,
“I will cut off from Ahab any man-child restrained or forsaken, in Israel.”
“According to the narrative in 2 Kings 9:1-10, 28 Jehu was the perpetrator of the awful deed, and yet it is plainly recorded that God was in it. He intended the crimes and wickedness of men to subserve His own purpose, and He brought good out of them in the end.” Ibid. pg 255
Israel repeatedly turned away from God and worshiped pagan gods. We learn that the Lord hardened the heart of the Canaanites that they should come against Israel in battle, that He (God) might destroy them utterly.
“For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might destroy them utterly, and that they might receive no mercy, but that He might destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses.” Joshua 11:20
The Bible also tells us that it was of God that King Amaziah should reject the word of God.
“But Amaziah would not listen; for it came from God, that He might deliver them into the hand of their enemies, because they sought after the gods of Edom.” 2 Chronicles 25:20
When the Israelites were living in Egypt, it was God who took responsibility for turning the hearts of the Egyptians toward hating the Israelites.
“Then He made His people exceedingly fruitful; and made them more plentiful than their foes.
He (God) turned their heart (of the Egyptians) to hate His people, to plot against His servants.” (Psalm 105:24,25
The prophet Isaiah confirms God’s hand in all of this, when he says,
“Who has given Jacob to the robber? And Israel to the plunderers? Is it not the Lord, He against whom we have sinned? For they would not walk in His ways, neither were they obedient unto His law.” Isaiah 42:24
Joseph and His Brothers
Joseph, as a young boy, was the object of intense hatred by his half brothers (the sons of Leah) because Joseph was his father’s favorite. He was the first-born son of Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel, the younger sister of Leah.
First, Joseph’s brothers planned to kill him, then they put him in a pit to starve to death, then they sold him into slavery, then they put animal blood on his coat, took it to their father and lied to him saying Joseph was killed by a wild animal.
Joseph, now a slave in Egypt, never saw his mother again, he was falsely charged by Potipher’s wife and, narrowly escaping the death penalty, he spent years in prison, his father grieved for him for years, and his brothers lived with their horrible guilt, but in the end ALL of them were changed.
When the brothers had come from Canaan to Egypt for food, Joseph revealed himself to them.
“And Joseph said unto his brothers, Come near to me, I pray you, And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
“Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. . .
“And God sent me before you to preserve you a remnant in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
“So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God. Genesis 45:4,5
Jacob was reunited with the son he thought was dead, the whole family moved to the land of Goshen in Egypt and became the beginning of the nation of Israel. When Jacob finally died, the brothers feared that now Joseph would seek revenge and kill them for their dastardly acts against him. But Joseph’s response was very different.
“And when Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will perhaps hate us and may fully repay us all the evil which we did unto him.
“And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,
“So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brothers, and their sin: for they did unto thee evil, and now, we pray thee forgive the trespass of thy servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
“And his brothers also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.
“And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
“But as for you, ye intended evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
“Now therefore fear ye not: I will provide for you and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spoke kindly unto them.” Genesis 50:15-21
The Cross of Christ
“Let us now take a glance at the way the Scriptures view that crime of crimes - - the crucifixion of Jesus. With the champions of a heartless orthodoxy it is a stock argument to prove the necessity for unending torments: they point out that there can be no mercy for the perpetrators of such awful deeds.
“But the apostle tells that they did what God’s hand and counsel determined before to be done, and that Christ was “given up in the specific counsel and foreknowledge of God.” Ibid. pg 257
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Acts 2:22,23
God Confirms that He is the Creator of Evil
“I am the Lord and there is none else, there is no God beside Me: I girded thee, though thou has not known Me:
“That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting in the west, that there is none beside Me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.
“I form the light, and create darkness. I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” Isaiah 45:5-7
“This passage is disposed of by theological casuists, who have been trained to make the Bible subserve the interests of their systems. It is claimed that the Hebrew word ra means inflicted evil calamity - not moral evil. But a glance at a Concordance shows this explanation to be a makeshift of theorists. The tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:9,17) cannot possibly mean inflicted evil (calamity).
“The fact is, the original word is a generic for all evil, and is used hundreds of times throughout the Hebrew Scriptures to denote wickedness and wrongdoing; and there is no reason, so far as language is concerned, to give it any other meaning here.
“I create evil. . .”
“We don’t need to apologize for Him. He assures us that absolutely nothing takes place but His hand is in it, that there is no power that can act independent of Him or unknown to Him. If there was, God’s government could be entirely upset sometime.
“According to popular theology the Adversary has already done that very thing. He invaded God’s universe and entirely upset His work; and though God evolved a so-called ‘plan of redemption’ to repair the damage, yet He is not able to cope with the situation, because God is “unable” to win all of His children back from this daring invader - Satan.” Ibid. pg 258, 259
The Purpose of Evil
The Scriptures assert that God is the sole Creator of all things, and that evil is His servant. If God is the Creator of evil, then it must be that He has created it for a good purpose under His guiding hand.
We find the answer in the book of Romans.
“For the premonition of the creation is awaiting the unveiling of the sons of God.
“For the creation was subject to vanity (sin evil), NOT voluntarily, but because of Him Who subjects it, in expectation that the (entire) creation itself, also, shall be delivered from the slavery of corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
“For we know that the whole creation groans and travails (like a woman with birth pangs) all together until now.” Romans 8:19-21
This is the purpose of God’s creation of humanity and the introduction of evil. The whole creation is groaning and in pain awaiting the revealing of the sons of God. The creation was subjected to vanity the fallen state not of its own will, but by the will of Him (God) who subjected it in expectation of ALL (the whole creation) being delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
It is through pain and suffering that we develop character. It is through pain and suffering that we finally recognize our need for God to run our life. It is through pain and suffering that we finally seek God and desire that He change us into His image. That is the process of sanctification.
In God’s realm, the end does justify the means a precept that man cannot follow because man cannot change his own heart or the heart of another. When God kills He also makes alive, when He hurts He also heals; but man can neither heal nor make alive and is thus forbidden to destroy what he is unable to restore. In dealing with evil, man is overcome by it, whereas God overcomes by means of it.
“It is the goodness of GOD that leads us to repentance.” Romans 2:4
“NO ONE can come to Me unless the Father DRAWS him.” John 6:44
God works ALL together for Good
The previous and following passages in Romans tell us the good ends to which evil brings us. This allows us to understand the purpose of evil.
“All things work together for Good to them who love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
“For even as you once were stubborn toward Go, yet now were shown mercy (loving kindness) at their stubbornness, thus these also are not stubborn to this mercy of yours, that now they also may be shown mercy. For God locks up ALL together in stubbornness, that He should be merciful to all.
“O, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways! For, who knew the mind of the Lord? Or, who became His advisor? or, who gives to Him first, and it will be repaid Him? Seeing that out of Him and through Him and for Him is ALL: to Him be the glory for the eons! Amen!” Romans 11:30-36
God is Operating All
“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who worketh ALL things after the counsel of His own will.” Ephesians 1:11
“Good and evil proceed from the same Author; they cooperate for the same ends; they are included in the same vast chain of causation.” Ibid. pg. 262
“We glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance produces character; and character produces expectation;
“And expectation does not disappoint: because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts by God’s breath of holiness which is given unto us.” Romans 5:3-5
It is trials and tribulations, mostly caused by our wrong decisions, that build character and make us into a “new Creation in Christ.”
“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, ALL (things) are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“The typical view of the Christian life is that it means being delivered from all adversity. But it actually means being delivered in adversity, which is something very different. . . If you are a child of God, you will certainly encounter adversities, but Jesus says you should not be surprised when they come.
“In the world you WILL have tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“He is saying, ‘There is nothing for you to fear.” God does not give us overcoming life - - He gives us life as we overcome. The strain of life is what builds our strength. If there is no strain, there will be no strength.” My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers, August 2.
Indeed, God has taken responsibility for sin by the act of Jesus dying on the cross to “take away (all) the sin of the (whole) world.” (John 1:29)
The Old Testament civil laws given by God confirm God’s responsibility for sin in the world.
“And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein:
“The owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money unto the owner of them: and the dead beast shall be his.” Exodus 22:33,34
It was God who “dug the pit” by putting the serpent in the Garden of Eden who tempted Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve sinned and thus were the “ox” who fell into the pit.
So, God by His own rules holds Himself responsible for subjecting the human race to sin, and Adam and Eve and their progeny, the whole human race, will eventually belong to God “the beast shall be His.