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Isaiah 45:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.
Isaiah 45:7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
7 I form light and create darkness,
Here are God’s words to Cyrus (Isaiah 45:4-7):
4 For the sake of my servant Jacob,
and Israel my chosen,
I call you by your name,
I name you, though you do not know me.
5 I am Jehovah, and there is no other,
besides me there is no God;
I will gird you, though you have not known,
6 that men may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me;
I am Jehovah, and there is no other.
7 I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being [peace for Israel] and create calamity [for Babylon],
I, Jehovah, am doing all these things.
Encarta Dictionary: (Evil) (1) morally bad: profoundly immoral or wrong (2) deliberately causing great harm, pain, or upset
QUESTION: Is this view of evil always the case? No, as you will see below.
Some apologetic authors try to say, ‘we do not understand Isaiah 45:7 correctly because there are other verses that say God is not evil (1 John 1:5) and cannot look approvingly on evil (Hab. 1:13), and cannot be tempted by evil. (James 1:13)’ Well, while all of these things are Scripturally true, the question at hand is not: Is God evil, can God approvingly look on evil, or can God be tempted with evil? Those questions are not relevant to the one at hand, as God cannot be those things, and at the same time, he can be the yes to our question. The question is, is God the author, the creator of evil?
We would hardly argue that God was not just in his bringing “calamity” or “evil” down on Adam and Eve. Thus, we have Isaiah 45:7 saying that God is the creator of “calamity” or “evil.”
Let us begin simply. When God removed Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, he sentenced them and humanity to sickness, old age, and death. (Rom. 5:8; i.e., enforce the penalty for sin), which was to bring “calamity” or “evil” upon humankind. Therefore, as we can see, “evil” does not always mean wrongdoing. Other examples of God bringing “calamity” or “evil” are Noah and the flood, the Ten Plagues of Egypt, and the destruction of the Canaanites. These acts of evil were not acts of wrongdoing. Rather, they were righteous and just, because God, the Creator of all things, was administering justice to wrongdoers, to sinners. He warned the perfect first couple what the penalty was for sin. He warned the people for a hundred years by Noah’s preaching. He warned the Canaanites centuries before.
Nevertheless, there are times when God extends mercy, refraining from the execution of his righteous judgment to one worthy of calamity. For example, he warned Nineveh, the city of blood, and they repented, so he pardoned them. (Jonah 3:10) God has made it a practice to warn persons of the results of sin, giving them undeservedly many opportunities to change their ways. – Ezekiel 33:11.
God cannot sin; it is impossible for him to do so. So, when did he create evil? Without getting into the eternity of his knowing what he was going to do, and when, let us just say, evil did not exist when he was the only person in existence. We might say the idea of evil existed because he knew what he was going to do. However, the moment he created creatures (spirit and human), the potential for evil came into existence because both have free will to sin (fall short of perfection). Evil became a reality the moment Satan entertained the idea of causing Adam to sin, to get humanity for himself, and then acted on it.
God has the right and is just to bring the calamity of or evil down on anyone that is an unrepentant sinner. God did not even have to give us the underserved kindness of offering us his Son. God is the author or agent of evil regardless of the sourcebooks that claim otherwise. If he had never created free-will beings, evil would have never gone from the idea of evil to the potential of evil to the existence of evil. However, God felt that it was better to get the sinful state out of angel and human existence, recover, and then any who would sin thereafter; he would be justified in handing out evil or calamity to only that person or angel alone.
Who among us would argue that he should have created humans and angels like robots, automatons with no free will? The moment he chose free will, he moved evil from an idea to a potential, and Satan moved it to reality. God has a moral nature that does not bring about evil and sin when he is the only person in existence. However, the moment he created beings in his image, which had the potential to sin, he brought about evil. The moment we have a moral code of good and evil that is placed upon one’s free will; then, we have evil as a potential.
In English, the very comprehensive Hebrew word ra‛ is variously translated as “bad,” “downcast (sad, NASB),” “ugly,” “evil,” “grievous (distressing, NASB),” “sore,” “selfish (stingy, HCSB),” and “envious,” depending upon the context. (Gen 2:9; 40:7; 41:3; Ex 33:4; Deut. 6:22; 28:35; Pro 23:6; 28:22)
Evil as an adjective describes the quality of a class of people, places, or things, or of a specific person, place, or thing
Evil as a noun defines the nature of a class of people, places, or things, or of a specific person, place, or thing (e.g., the evil one, evil eye).
We can agree that “evil” is a thing. Create means to bring something into existence, be it people, places, or things, as well as something abstract, for lack of a better word at the moment. We would agree that when God was alone, evil was not a reality; it did not exist. We would agree that the moment that God created free will creatures (angels and humans), creating humans in his image, with his moral nature, he also brought the potential for evil into existence, and Satan realized it.
God is indirectly responsible for everything because he created everything and is directly responsible for some things.
If you have a child, and you train and teach that child wisely and provide for him, and he grows up to become a serial killer, you are indirectly responsible because he would not exist if you had not had him. And you are directly responsible for the training, teaching, and provisions. God is directly responsible for the creation, for the exodus from Egypt, for the overthrow of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, the authoring of 66 Bible books, for sending Jesus to earth, and for billions of other things, some of which we know as they are in the Bible, and most we do not know. But God is not directly responsible for the Holocaust, natural disaster, sickness, old age, and death, but he is indirectly responsible because he created the heavens, death, and man. Without those things, bad things would not exist. But the bad things were not his intentions. His intention was to have Adam and Eve procreate and cultivate the Garden of Eden until the earth was a paradise, filling it with perfect people. Satan, Adam, and Eve abused their free will and rejected this. So, we entered into the biggest object lesson there ever will be. What object lesson? Man was not designed to walk on his own. He was designed to be under the sovereignty of God. If you take a street car not designed for off-roading and go off-roading, it will quickly fall apart. If perfect humans are designed to be under God’s sovereignty and abandon him and decide for themselves what is good and bad, what is right and wrong, it will also end badly, as we have seen. Thus, the object lesson.
Everything in creation, light and darkness, the heavens and the earth, and everything in history, to peace to calamity, is subject to God’s control by either his allowing things to happen that are not of his will and purposes or his carrying out his will and purposes. Just as he created the heavens (universes), earth, and man, so he has made peace for Israel many times and calamity for Egypt, Assyrian, and Babylon. God has the power to create billions of universes, and he also can fulfill his prophecies.