Did God Create Evil?

February 14, 2017

Did God create evil?

People who ask themselves this question follow a certain logic. That logic is if God is all-powerful and almighty, therefore, He could stop evil; and if God is all-knowing, then He certainly knows there is evil; and if God is truly love, then He wouldn’t want us to live with this evil. Thus, they come up with two conclusions. The first one is that God doesn’t exist and the second one is that God is the source of evil; and if He is the source of evil, why would we worship such a God? However, the Bible tells us a completely different story. It tells us that God is truly love and He loves us unconditionally. It says that God is without sin, and this was demonstrated through His incarnation, when He came on earth, which was recorded in the four Gospels. Therefore, when God created the creation in Genesis, chapters 1 and 2, He saw that everything was good, and even very good when it came to humanity. However, the devil swooped in and came in with a different notion. He convinced Eve, and therefore Adam as well, with something else, something that was evil, something that was outside of God. Did God create “this source of evil”? Not necessarily. Now the question is: who put the devil – that came with this notion of evil – there?

To respond to this question, we have to understand who God is, who we the humans are, and who are the angels and the demons, so we know that God is truly and unconditionally love. Because He created us humans in His own image, then we are able to be loved and to love others, although partially because we are not God, but we have tasted this love. We hence know, from experience, that we cannot force anyone to love us. This means we have the free will to choose to love someone, or not, regardless of if they love us back or not. When God creates an intelligent creature, whether it’s an angel or human being, He creates it by giving it a will. A will to choose to love Him, or not. Let’s look at what Ezekiel 28:14 says: “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you, you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back-and-forth in the midst of fiery stones.” This means that the devil was created as a cherub (cherubim). In other words, as a good creature, an angel. The creation of a good God is always good, so God did not create evil. Continuing with Ezekiel 28:15, 17, “you were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you… Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.” So who brought this iniquity in him? The devil himself. The cherub became the devil. He became full of himself because he saw his own beauty, and this is what humanity has as a choice: do we choose to love ourselves or to love God? Isaiah 14 confirms that the devil fell because of his pride, and in the book of Jude, it is confirmed that other angels fell with him.

Saint Basil (Hexaemeron, Homily 2:4-5) confirms this understanding by writing, “Again, it is impious to say that evil has its origin from God, because nothing contrary is produced by the contrary. Life does not generate death, nor is darkness the beginning of light, nor is disease the maker of health.” In other words, he is saying that light is not the source of darkness, nor is life the source of death. Thus, only good things can come from a good person, and bad things from a bad person. Nonetheless, Saint Basil continues, saying, “that in the changes of conditions there are transitions from one condition to the contrary. In Genesis, however, each being comes forth not from its contrary but from those of the same type. Accordingly, they say, if it is not uncreated nor created by God, whence does it have its nature? No one who is in this world will deny that evil exist. What, then, do we say? That evil is not a living and animated substance, but a condition of the soul which is opposed to virtue and which springs up in the slothful because of their falling away from good.”

In brief, Saint Basil is saying that evil is not a nature in itself. Evil happens when there is lack of good. When I step away from God, I stop praying, I stop reading my bible, I disconnect from him, I sin and evil starts in me. Evil itself is the condition of the soul because of me being away from God. In the case of the devil, he became completely evil at the purest level. Continuing again with Saint Basil, he adds, “Do not therefore contemplate evil from without, and do not imagine some original nature of wickedness, but let each one recognize himself as the first author of device that is in him.”

Remember know your faith, live your faith and teach your faith


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