Did God Create Evil?

By Wendell Tenison


God is not evil, but he created it. When God created law, punishment for transgression is the penalty we pay whether ethically or spiritually. The apostle Paul says, whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap, Gal.6:7. We say, it is evil to transgress or sin against his law and if not forgiven, punishment will follow. The afore mentioned might be properly called the "the knowledge of good and evil", which is no different from other institutions God created such as marriage, kingdoms and governments for self rule and the law of sin and death. It is for certain God created the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" and without any controversy, he is the author of both good and evil. So far as we can tell, this is where it all started.

Together, the "tree of life" and the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" which were in the midst of the garden, were the epitome of God's nature of life eternal and all knowing character. Before Adams' sin, the knowing of good and evil was limited to the God-Head and those about him, but after Adam ate of the tree, God said, he had become as one of us, Gen.3:22. The Serpent made a similar statement to Eve in that if they did eat of the fruit, she and her husband would become as gods, knowing good and evil, Gen.3:5.

Now after Adam ate of the tree, he took on the nature of God's likeness, but not all knowing. The ethical bad side of the tree (evil), brought to Adam a new sense of consciousness of shame and fear. Of course, the ethical good side of the tree bears its own fruit also, the one in total opposition to the other such as love and hate, which are fruits of the same tree. All of the descendants of Adam inherently posess the essential qualities of the tree, thereby, posing our greatest challenge to manage them.

When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, a subtle change occurred within the heart and mind. If God did not create all of the five divisions of the mind within Adam from the beginning, the intellect (learning center), memory (good and bad), will (stop and go), emotions (stove pipe) and the conscience (court room), he certainly made some major changes to accomodate the presence of good and evil. Another aspect of how we are made in the image and likeness of God, as he created law and judgment for his children, so does the father create the same for his off-spring to abide by. As the Father chastises his children through his word, Hebrews 12:5-10, so earthly fathers do the same.

Man has always been notorious for changing God's definition of good and evil that it became a part of their speech. We see this everywhere we look in America and it is destroying the very fiber of our nation.

Isa 5:20 "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"

Not only does man suffer the consequence of sin spiritually, but physically. To name a few: disease, heartache, imprisonment, body impairment and the deterioration of the marriage covenant. These along with others are called an "evil disease."

Psa 41:8 "An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more."

Eccl 6:1-2 "There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men:.....A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease."

The word evil has many different meanings as do other words that are hard to be understood such as spirit of which is the most difficult. Without some working knowledge of this word as it is used in the testaments, we become perplexed to understand why God did certain things.

If you are a serious bible student, you should have a Hebrew-English Lexicon with Strong's numbering system. This does not mean you have to understand Hebrew or Greek.

Listed below are some of the renditions of the New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon for the word evil.

Strong's #7451, pages 948-949: somtimes not easy and opinions differ.

adj. bad, evil:
disagreeable, malignant; of poisonous herbs; malignant boils; unpleasing in the eyes; diseases; fierce messengers of God; of the divine spirit as producing an ecstatic state of frenzy and violence.

Ethically bad:

Eccl 12:14 "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."

n.m. evil, distress,misery, injury, calamity:
Adversity; fear evil; murmering respecting distress; whether prosperity or adversity; day of calamity.

Ethical evil:

Deu 30:15 "See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;"

n.f. evil; misery; distress; injury:
Injury; wrong; for harm; in thy mischief; for mischief.

Ethical evil:

1 Sam 12:17-19 "Is it not wheat harvest to day? I will call unto the LORD, and he shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking you a king......So Samuel called unto the LORD; and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel......And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king."

By this time our understanding of evil should be greatly enhanced by the interpretation of the scriptures themselves. The following will open the eyes of our understanding to more fully appreciate how God conducts his business to the good pleasure of his will.

God's Employment of Evil Spirits:

Isa 45:6-7 "That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else......I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

Job 2:10 "But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips."

Job 42:11 "Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold."

Jer 18:11 "Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good."

Judg 9:22-23 "When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel,.....Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:"

1 Sam 16:14-16 "But the spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him......And Saul's servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee......Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well."

1 Sam 16:23 "And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him."

Psa 35:5-6 "Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase them......Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them."

Psa 78:49 "He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them."

Ezek 18:23 "Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?"

Ezek 18:32 "For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye."

Ezek 33:11 "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"

God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather they should return unto him.

Psa 147:11 "The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy."

This is what God does take pleasure in, those that fear him and do his commandments.


All that has been said can be sumed up into two verses:

Eccl 12:13-14 "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man......For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."

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© 2004 by Wendell Tenison