Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Did God create evil?

Have you ever heard someone ponder how a loving God could allow sin/evil to be in the world? Recently, it was suggested to me that God actually created sin so that He could show just how gracious, merciful and forgiving He is.


But it got me thinking..
Before just attacking a stance that I disagree with (which I did – whoops), I should step back and see what the Bible has to say on the subject.

"And everyone who has this hope in Him [God] purifies himself, just as He is pure. Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:3-6, 8)

Ok, so I get that. God is pure, holy, and absolutely without sin. This passage defines sin as lawlessness, which is having motives and behavior contrary to God's law. God's law in Exodus 20 is a reflection of His character and this 1 John passage clearly states that there is no sin in God.

The 1 John passage explains that sin came from the devil. God created Satan so does that mean that God created sin? No. Check this out – "You [Satan] were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you." (Eze. 28:15) Ok, so now we're getting somewhere. Satan was created perfect but then became flawed later. Satan rebelled at some point in history (see Isa. 14:12-15) and that's when he started being a sinful being.

But if it's true that God created everything, isn't it logical to reason that sin, by its very existence, was created by God?

Think of it like this. God didn't create dark. He created light. You can't make dark. Dark is simply the absence of light. Same thing with cold. Cold is the absence of heat. Or silence, which is the absence of noise/sound.

Here's the key. God created beings, both angelic and human, as creatures of free will. God could have created robots that were programmed to automatically love Him and obey Him but that wouldn't be true love, right? True love is only love when there's choice involved. After all, forced love is merely rape. So, God decided to create beings with the capacity of free thinking. When created beings choose to disobey and rebel against God, the rebellion by definition is Sin. God didn't create sin. God created Choice. Choice that's contrary to God's character of sinless holy perfection is defined as Sin. God didn't cause Adam and Eve to sin, nor does He cause any of us to sin. James wrote, "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God,' for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.'" (James 1:13)

Adam and Eve decided on their own to rebel against God and this is how sin entered our world. Rom. 5:12 explains this concept.

Although it was a well-meaning Christian that posed the erroneous idea that God created sin, I've heard atheists argue that the existence of sin/evil in the world is proof that God doesn't exist. It goes like this:

1) If God exists, he is omnibenevolent [totally good].
2) If God exists, he is omnipotent [can do anything].
3) An omnibenevolent God would not permit evil to exist.
4) An omnipotent God would have the power to prevent evil's existence.
5) Therefore, if God exists, evil does not exist.
6) Evil exists.
7) Therefore, God does not exist.

The problem is point 3. The Bible teaches that God is totally 100% good but that He still allows evil to exist. Allowing evil to exist does not mean that God is responsible for it, nor ok with it. When I was a child, my mother often asked me to clean my room. I usually didn't obey. My rebellion against my mother's instruction did not mean that she was responsible for my sin, nor that she caused my sin.

Sin is serious stuff, Folks. Sin is what separates us from God. When I look around this screwed up world and see all the evil that has poisoned it, I don't blame God because it's not His doing. God has allowed the evil to exist but only temporarily. He is showing tremendous patience with mankind so that everyone will have many opportunities to turn from their evil ways and turn to Him. One day soon, however, God will put an end to evil. I'm thankful that God has showed His incredible love for me though. He paid the penalty of my personal evil as He shed His blood on the cross so that I could be in a right standing before Him.

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