Q: #25. Did God create evil?
A: (Isa 47:5)(KJV) I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.
(Amos 3:6)(KJV) Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people be not afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?
It sure does look like God creates evil, doesn’t it? While I love the KJV Bible, it has incorrectly interpreted the Hebrew word “ra” to say evil in these verses. “Ra” can indeed mean evil, but it can also mean a number of other things, just as a word we use today can have various meanings:
For example: the word “right.” We can say:
My right hand.
That answer was right.
Women won the right to vote.
He wasn’t in his right mind.
If something is leaning, we may right it.
His political views are to the right.
The KJV Bible is the only translation to use “ra” in this way. Nearly every other major translation correctly translates “ra” in these verses as “calamity” or “disaster.” A closer look at these verses in context certainly shows this to be the proper interpretation. For example, in (Isa 45:7), what word better expresses the opposite of peace? Is it evil or calamity/disaster? I think most agree it isn’t evil. In (Amos 3:6), does it make more sense to say God brings calamity/disaster (i.e. judgment) on a city, or “evil” on a city?
We have other verses in the KJV which support using the word “ra” to mean things other than evil.
(Ps 27:5) For in the time of trouble (ra) he shall hide me in his pavilion:
(Jer 11:12) Then shall the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble (ra).
*** Note: The word trouble has a footnote in the KJV version at the bottom of the page which states that “trouble” could also mean evil, meaning that the writers realized there were alternate interpretations for “ra.” (Also see footnotes at bottom of Jer 11:14, Jer 2:28 for others)
(Ps 10:6) He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: For I shall never be in adversity (ra).
(Ps 107:39) Again, they are minished and brought low Through oppression, affliction (ra), and sorrow.
(Deut 6:22) and the Lord shewed signs and wonders, great and sore (ra), upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household.
(Ezek 14:21) For thus saith the Lord God; How much more when I send my four sore (ra) judgments upon Jerusalem…
Here are also some verses in the KJV which more clearly show that “evil” should be translated “calamity/disaster” and not “evil.” In each case, we can see that “calamity/disaster” is associated with judgment, which God brings for disobedience.
(Jer 6:19) Hear, O earth, behold, I will bring evil (ra = calamity/disaster) upon this people… because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.
(Dan 9:12) And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil (ra = calamity/disaster): for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.
(Jonah 3:10) And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil (ra = calamity/disaster), that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
The Bible clearly tells us that God is not responsible for evil (James 1:13-15)(Jn 8:44)(Lk 8:12)(Hab 1:13)(Mt 13:24-43)(1 Jn 3:8). In (Deut 30:19) we are told, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore CHOOSE LIFE, that both thou and thy seed may live: (caps emphasis mine).
God has given each of us free will. We all have choices to make in many areas of our lives regarding the Lord. We can choose life or death, blessing or cursing, good (His way) or evil (Our way). We can choose to believe in Him or not, to love Him or not, to worship Him or not, to serve Him or not, to spend eternity in Heaven with Him or not, etc…
God could have forced us, or programmed us, to always make the right choices, but true love demands that a choice be given. If God forced us to make these choices regarding Him, it would not be love at all. Let me ask you, do you consider it love if someone forces you do to something you don’t want to do, or imposes their will on you so that you have no choice? We might use the words slavery or rape or brainwashing to describe this…
God did not create evil, but instead, the Bible says that all things God created were good (Gen 1:4,10,12,18,21,25,31)(1 Tim 4:4). We have evil in this world because each and every one of us has failed to live according to God’s good ways. We have corrupted that which God made for good. We are all sinners (1 Jn 1:8,10)(Rom 3:23)(Eccl 7:20). We all fail. This is why Jesus gave His life for us on the cross, to pay for our sins, and cleanse us from our unrighteousness.
From Adam and Eve, to us today, we have all suffered from our failure to choose God’s good ways. Individually, many of us have suffered at the hands of others who have chosen evil over good. Adults abuse children, women get raped, unborn babies are slaughtered daily, people are maimed and tortured, etc… These things occur because people abuse their God given free will. Over and over, we hear people say, “Why didn’t God stop that from happening?” They believe God should have forced them to do the right thing or stopped them from making that evil choice. However, what they are failing to see, is that when they are saying that God should force Himself upon someone to stop them, they are telling God to do the same evil thing that the one who caused the harm did. The evildoer forced himself on the someone, and they want God to force Himself on someone. God does not do so, for that would be wrong.
What God WILL do, is to help us through our suffering and trials, if we will turn to Him through His Son Jesus Christ. In Jesus, we can be delivered from this evil world (Eph 1:4). If we trust in the Lord, we need not fear what anyone will do to us (Ps 56:3-4). Our Lord will keep us in our suffering (2 Tim 1:12), give us rest (Ps 37:7), and comfort us (Ps 23:4).
Do not let your suffering be in vain (Gal 3:4). The Bible says that we can comfort others who are going through the same trials we have been through, because we have been there ourselves (2 Cor 1:3-7). While we may have suffered greatly at the hands of another, because of their evil choices, we CAN bring something positive out of the suffering, if we use it to help someone else!
One day, all evil will end (Mt 13:41-43)(Rev 21:1-8)(Rev 20:10)(Ps 34:16). Until that day, let us, “abhor that which is evil; (and) cleave to that which is good” (Rom 12:9), and, “Be not overcome of (by) evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21).