The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Is God The Author Of Evil?

Many different views on God’s sovereign control exist within Christendom. I hold to the Catholic view that God is indeed control. But I also hold to the paradox that man has free will. I don’t use the term free will though but human responsibility. More specific, I hold to the view of Jonathan Edwards in that God PERMITS evil but doesn’t directly cause evil. For if God directly caused evil this would make Him the author of evil. Says Edwards:

Edwards says God is:

See: Edwards, “Concerning the Divine Decrees,” 534. and Edwards, “Freedom of the Will” 399.

God has established a world in which evil comes to pass by His permission not His positive agency. Edwards uses an analogy of how the sun brings about light and warmth by it’s essential nature, but brings about cold and dark by dropping below the horizon. Evil is not the fruit of any positive agency or influence of God but arises from the withholding of His action and energy. Why does God allow evil? Again, there are different views and many different reasons God could permit evil. But I go along with R.C. Sproul here:

This is only reasonable. For God is infinite in wisdom and knowledge and sees all of reality while I am finite and limited. His justifiable reasons are infinite. When it comes to logical explanations they are infinite. Especially when we are dealing with infinite wisdom and knowledge. Moreover, relationships are based on trust. Many times I’ve tried to analyze and figure God out with logic that I drove myself nuts. Being infinite in wisdom and knowledge, God’s ways are infinitely above mine. I don’t know His sovereign will until it comes to pass. His sovereign will is His business. My job is to trust Him, clean house, and help others the best I can. And because of the suffering death and resurrection of Christ I have good reason to trust Him. For He brings beauty out of ashes and works everything together for my good because I love Him. My faith is in Him. I therefore have hope. The past is gone and my future is secure. I’m free to live in the present moment.

It seems to me that a law of this universe is that there is always a contrast to something. So because God created good it seems almost inevitable that evil would emerge at some point somehow. It just seems that contrasts always happen. So God didn’t directly create evil, it just appeared as a contrast to good.

Hey Steve!

The way I see it is that God directly created Satan, Adam and Eve perfect by grace since they didn’t deserver to be created. It was grace that sustained their heart’s. For justifiable reasons only known to Him, God removed His grace from their hearts and they acted according to their own corrupt desires and will. They are therefore responsible for their evil actions. Ultimately God is responsible in the sense that He permitted it. It’s like when a couple today chooses to have a baby we give ultimate causality to God for He directly created the first humans. Nonetheless God is at rest from creating and doesn’t directly create things anymore. We can still say He formed the baby in the womb though in an indirect sense in that He permitted the married couple to have a child. He doesn’t directly create evil but permits it (for justifiable reasons) and it therefore not the author of evil.

God is not the author of evil.

The statement “God permits evil” needs some clarification.
Does He “permit evil” in the sense that He allows it, in effect saying to people, “Your doing evil deeds is okay with me. I permit it”?
Or does He “permit evil” in the sense that He seldom does anything to prevent it from happening?
Or does He “permit evil” in some other sense?


He permits it in the sense that He lets it happen. He does not sanction it. For justifiable reasons known only to Himself He let it happen. It’s a type of secondary causation not direct causation. I’m not saying that evil is good but that it is good that evil exist at the present time.

It might be helpful to keep this in mind as well:
“Here is an analogy. Some of us had rotten childhoods but are enjoying very good adulthoods. Suppose Sam is such a person, now age 60. Up to age 23 Sam’s life was on balance not worth living; after age 23 it became worth living. Suppose Sam claims that his life is overall rotten due to his lousy first 23 years. You would point out to him that his judgment is ridiculous and unjust. The quality of one’s life overall depends on the whole of it, not just on part of it. There is also the consideration that there is a surplus of value due to the life’s going from bad to good, rather than in the other direction (bonum progressionis.) Similarly, a just evaluation of the value of life in this world cannot be based solely on what goes on in this world, but must also take into consideration what goes on in the next.” -MavPhil

The POE takes on a different kind of intensity when the WHOLE life of an individual - immortality - is taken into account. IMO.

Good point Dave. Yeah, I see no way out unless universalism or annihilationist is true.

lets for the sake of the argument assume he is !, I would put it to you

(the radical idea)

that GOD wants us to actively oppose him :astonished: and in doing so we are obeying him :open_mouth: I do believe there are a good percentage of believers who do oppose him but in the negative sense, instead of the positive sense :open_mouth:

Awesomely radical.

More in terms of what we think God is, vs who He really is.

Like Jesus saying, “Sure, just let the one among you who has no sin throw the first stone”. At which point all those who were about to obey the law and stone the adulteress hang their heads and walk away.

Jesus started a rebellion agaisnt God right there :wink:

I believe God is in control, but man has a certain amount of rope with which he is allowed to hang himself.

indeed ! :wink: perhaps he deceives us all to some extent for our ultimate good

Hey Stuart!

God’s mysterious heart is infinitely complex and cannot be grasped by our finite and limited mind. He is paradox. Take for instance the evil murder of His Son. In one sense God wasn’t pleased when innocent Christ was murdered. God doesn’t delight in torture and evil in and of itself. What He was pleased in was what Christ accomplished on the cross is showing love and grace to sinners. God’s sovereign will is His business. We don’t know it until it comes to pass. We are to go by His revealed will. The secret things belong to the Lord. This is why often in the Bible God will use evil to judge His people and then turn around and judge those who committed the evil against His people. God’s holy intentions and justifiable reasons in permitting the evil were good. Man’s intentions in committing the sinful acts were evil.

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I do love me some provocative statements, but I need help understanding those two. Could you give me a clue :question:

LOL When Jesus refused to allow the stoning of the woman He was overturning the righteousness of the old covenant and enacting a deeper introspection and a higher accountabilty. This took power out of the hands of men and put the balance between each person and God, making all people priests towards one another.

In a sense(in my sardonic sense) he started a rebellion against God(the God of Israel, the law and the old covenant priesthood).

Ok, I got it!! :smiley:

Well, as I see it the answer to the orginal post question is a resounding “NOOOO!!!”
God is not the author of evil in ANY sense.
He doesn’t create moral evil. He doesn’t use evil people to do evil things in order to bring about a greater good.

I think when the question is boiled down to its essence, it become, "Why does God seldom, if ever, prevent all the evil, all the heinous atrocities that occur hundreds of times daily?—the horrible tortures, the torture, rape, and murder of women and even little girls. Women abusing husbands and children in various ways, useless wars arising out of hate which continuously kill and maim millions of people, certain kinds of people taking monetary advantage of the poor, etc., etc., etc.

This is the great question which philosphers and other thinkers had pondered and debated for ages.

I have never encountered a FULLY satisfactory answer to this question. I think the following is a partial solution.

Moral Evil
God has created man in His own image; this image includes libertarian free will, or simply put, the ability to choose.
God desires all of mankind to submit to His authority and deeper law, which can be summed up in loving God with all of our heart, soul, and mind, and our neighbour as ourself. This love in not merely an emotional feeling, but involves actions. He wants us to actively serve Him, and our neighbour. If God were to interfere with free will, this could never happen. If He were to prevent all moral evil, mankind would cease to be free-will agents, but merely a race of robots.

The tendency to moral evil seems to have been genetically inherited from our first partents, Adam and Eve.

Natural "Evil"
There are earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados, etc. continually take place. Many people are injured and killed from these natural disasters. Why does God allow them? In my opinion, these disasters also result from the Fall. If God were to actively prevent these conditions, would this somehow upset the balance of “nature” as it now exists? These conditions did not exist in the days of Adam and Eve.

We read in Genesis that God gave every plant or herb for man and animals to eat. But particular animals began to attack other animals, kill, and eat them, and developed teeth and claws which were useful for this purpose. People began to eat the flesh of animals, (and a few even the flesh of humans). This was not the original purpose of God, but the result of the Fall.

I recall as a younger man, thinking about mosquitoes and how they suck the blood of animals and people in order to produce eggs which hatch into “wrigglers” which develop into adult mosquitoes. Because of my beliefs about the Fall, I came up with the hypothesis that before the Fall, mosquitoes sucked the juices of plants in order to produce their eggs. Just a few weeks later, I read in a science book that an experiment was done in which mosquitoes were isolated in a greenhouse-type structure with no opening of any size so that no mosquitoes could either leave or enter the structure. There was a variety of plants in the structure. The mosquitoes sucked the juices of the plants and developed their eggs just as readily as if they had sucked blood. At the time, I felt that the experiment supported my belief about the Fall.

It is also the case that purely carnivorous animals such as cats, dogs, wolves, and foxes, will also eat bread, porridge, and other such products, if meat is unavailable. But yet, herbivorous animals such as cows, goats, sheep, and deer never eat meat. Did these animals somehow escape the effects of the Fall?


I agree that if an unbeliever starts with the facts of suffering then they will carry a lot of weight. But for those of us who have tasted the holy love of God through experience or Biblical revelation, we will know that God must have justifiable reasons for permitting evil and suffering even if we can’t say at the moment what they are. We don’t see into the future or all of reality like God does. We don’t have infinite wisdom and knowledge like God does. We don’t know God’s sovereign will until it come to pass. I can affirm with certainty that God knows the justifiable reasons for suffering and evil though. God is holy, infinite in wisdom, infinite in knowledge and sees all of reality in the past, present and future. Such a God ALWAYS has justifiable reasons for ALL suffering even if we do not know it. We do not always know why because we are finite and limited in our knowledge. Relationships are about trust and God wants us to trust Him and do mercy and justice. I can trust Him even when I don’t know why because I know He does. I don’t try to read the infinitely complex mind of God when evil and suffering come. I am moved to help. Moreover, even if we are going to go by the evidence, the argument from suffering is just one piece of evidence. We must look at the TOTAL evidence like historical evidence for the suffering death and resurrection of Christ along with Plantinga’s 24 other theistic arguments for God. When we do that I think the scales tip in favor of Christianity.

perhaps the best inkling I could give you is he is too clever for us all :wink:

indeed ! perhaps he deceives us all to some extent for our ultimate good

You can make a strong case that God created Satan as Satan, not that he evolved from Lucifer. The support for the Lucifer transformation from Isa 14 & Eze 28 is questionable.
If God created Satan as Satan , most folks would consider Satan as the incarnation of evil.

I think there is a strong case, either way. I havent really come to any conclusion on it.

“I created the destroyer to destroy”

"See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc; Is 54:16 NIV

I think the relationship between Satan and either view of his origin(created as evil or chose evil) that is most critcal tho, is the issue of man’s permission.

In the garden of Eden and on the mount of temptation, we see this view of Satan tempting man, and the whole conclusion of the matter with all its assorted consequences hinges on man’s permission. Created or fallen- Satan must have man’s permission.

Just as Jesus knocks, so also does Satan. “The spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience”. Is this primarily because he is working in them? Or is it primarily because they are disobedient?

Either way, God is creating a new harmony out of the chaos of the old always. This is the mind of Torah among the Rab’s on Genesis and is, in my opinion, the essence of Romans chapters 1,2, 7, 8 - concluding in Romans 11:32, “God has shut up all in disobedience that He might have mercy upon all”.

God cast an irregular stone into the swirling crucible to keep the mix activated and avoid stratification (to keep death from becoming completely inert).

So the way I see it at the moment is, created evil or fallen, Satan needs an okay from man to operate. Adam gave it. Christ did not. Satan is knocking, so is Jesus. This places the heart of man at the fulcrum of good and evil, again, in either case.