EVIL!

An interesting session led by one of my volunteer leaders yesterday morning on Genesis 3 on the theme of temptation. The question was raised as to whether Eve would have been tempted given time without the serpent, this led to a fairly deep discussion and the following email from one of my young people, I want to take my time over my response but thought I would put it to the masses for your comment so let me know what you think (all three of you!)

Dear Simon,

Thinking about what you said in 14 Plus today about God not creating evil, but the devil and us misusing the gift of free will, it occurred to me that neither the devil or us can have created evil. After all free will is the freedom of choice, so we CHOOSE to do evil.
According to numerous passages in the Bible, God is pure Light with no Darkness, and therefore he cannot have created evil. But for evil to be a choice something must have created it. Which begs the question, What?
God is supposed to have created everything – but if he cannot have created evil then he did not create everything and hence there must be something on a par with God to have done so. Either that, or God does have some darkness within him (the Old Testament God was vengeful).
It can be claimed that God was vengeful for our own good – but to do this he would also have to be evil. This is perhaps a lesser of two ‘wrongs’ situation, so even God can do evil so he must have some darkness inside him.
If this is the case then the kindly, forgiving God we worship cannot actually exist.

Please could you help explain,

Yours sincerely,

I have removed names for obvious reasons, needless to say this young person is a very deep thinker and a real asset to the group, gets me thinking too!

4 thoughts on “EVIL!

  • October 17, 2005 at 12:26 pm
    Permalink

    Dear X,

    very cool e-mail and an interesting question!

    I think the key is in understanding what “free will” is and means. In order for us to be fully able to love God we have to be free to be able to do this, but that also means to be free not to. It’s this fantastic gift of Freedom that brings the capacity for “evil” (the rejection of God and the results).
    Does this mean that God created evil? I personally don’t think so. I think God created the reality of TRUE freedom but that means risk too. (He could have made a bunch of robotesque pre-determinded Human Beings who would auto-respond BUT they would lack the capacity to love).

    God blessed us with Freedom, life and choice. He also gave us the opportunity to live fully in that freedom, knowing him and living his way. When Human Kind stuffed it up he also gave us a way back through Jesus.

    Hope that makes sense? God didn’t create evil and more than a cook creates obesity …. it’s the mis-use of the gift, the consequence of abusing the gift that creates the mess.

    Reply
  • October 18, 2005 at 10:23 am
    Permalink

    Here is a responce i have had to this one via email:-

    Hi Simon

    Good question! I would suggest that evil is not a “thing” that was created by anybody. As it tells us in Genesis 1 that God looked at all He created and it was very good. No evil there.

    Somewhere between the end of creation and Eve’s temptation evil arrived on the scene. Evil might best be explained as the absence of good.

    The bible doesn’t seem to explain the early origin of evil but perhaps in emanates from sin – when man/angel uses freewill to choose what is in opposition to the will of God. When we choose what is in our interests rather than God’s.

    I suppose the next question is why, if God is in control of all things, does he allow evil to exist. As he obviously does.
    Perhaps in part it is because God has given us free will, with which we need to choose to love Him. An inevitable consequence of free will is making the wrong choices – hence human suffering and sin.
    Perhaps it is also that through evil and suffering that we are bought to a place where we can see the need for our own and mankinds salvation. See Luke 13:2-5. When questioned about the suffering of the Galileans Jesus doesn’t offer an explanation for human suffering, He certainly doesnt suggest they deserved it more than other Galileans but seems to say that we are all sinners, we all will die (somehow or another) and almost that the example highlights the precarious nature of life and thus we should all repent or perish.

    Hope this helps, I cant think anymore as my brain has packed up!

    Reply
  • October 18, 2005 at 10:24 am
    Permalink

    another emailed responce:-

    Hi Simon!

    Wow, that was pretty intense! I gave it some thought last night, and this is what I’ve come up with (I’m sure you’ve probably already thought this, but here you go anyway!)

    Ok, first of all, I don’t think God was “vengeful”, but “just”. He punished people, but didn’t take any pleasure from it. (He didn’t enjoy flooding the world, for example, that’s why he promised to never do it again. Another example, off the top of my head, is the plagues in Egypt: as soon as Pharoah said he would let the Israelites go each plague was stopped. If God was doing it to get revenge, he would have enjoyed seeing the Egyptians suffering and would have let the plagues continue). Can you imagine a world without justice? Evil would rule.

    So did God create evil in order for us (and satan for that matter) to choose it? I don’t think he did… he just gave us the choice between loving God or ignoring him. By choosing to ignore God we cut ourselves off from him, so evil could well be a severe lack of goodness rather than an actual force which God created. Does that make any sense to you? “Whoever is not with us is against us” (I did write that verse down, but forgot to bring it with me… sorry!)

    Let me know what you think… it was certainly an interesting point to think about, and I’m not sure I found a plausible answer!! What other thoughts have people had? I’d be very interested to know :o)

    See you soon Simon, I hope this helped!

    Reply
  • October 19, 2005 at 12:43 pm
    Permalink

    Hi Simon

    I think my response follows on a bit from youthblog.

    God created humankind to be in relationship with him. A real relationship comes out of free choice. To be in relationship we need to have the option to choose otherwise it is dictatorial. When we choose a way which is not God’s ideal for us we are choosing evil, and honestly I think we are naive to beleive that God didn’t give us the freedom to commit sin and be ‘evil’. God created all things and saw that it was good but in free choice he left the door open in his creation for someone to commit evil acts. But that is real free choice!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *