Did God create evil
By: The John Ankerberg Show
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|If God exists, why is there evil in the world? What is evil? Where did evil come from? Why doesn’t God intervene and stop all evil? How can physical evils such as earthquakes, tornadoes and cancer be explained? Is there a good reason for the existence of hell on which even some atheists would agree? What about those who have never heard the Gospel?
Copyright: 2003, Number of Programs: 8, Cat. No. EVL
Keywords: Origination of Evil, Reality of Evil, Source of evil, free choice, Habakkuk 1:13, Revelation 4:8
- Ankerberg: Alright, let’s try to get a handle on this thing. If God is all good and He is all powerful and He is all loving, when He created, He would only create something good, okay? And we’re saying that evil is real. Did God create evil?
- Geisler: That’s a good question. If God created everything and evil is something, it would look like God created evil. So we’re in a painful dilemma. If we deny the first premise – that God created everything – then we’re not really Christians, we’re dualists that believe good and evil are eternal or something. If we deny the second premise, it would look like we’re pantheists – that we don’t believe that evil is real. So, the dilemma is real for a Christian. If God created everything and evil is something, then God created evil. But the Bible says God cannot even look on evil (Hab. 1:13), He is so pure. “Holy, holy, holy,” the angel sings. [Rev. 4:8] So what do we do?
- Ankerberg: Alright. Well, that is the question. How do you handle it?
- Geisler: Well, St. Augustine struggled with this way back in the 400s. He was a part of a Manichean cult where they believed that evil and good were both eternal. And he struggled with it until he came to the conclusion that evil is a privation, it’s a lack in something. Evil doesn’t exist in itself. It’s like a parasite – it exists in something else. For example, evil is like rust to a car. You have to have iron to have rust. So you have to have something good for evil to exist in it. It’s like a wound in an arm. You can’t have a wound unless you have an arm or a leg or something to have a wound in. Evil is like rot to a tree. You have to have a tree before it can have rot in it.
- So, evil doesn’t exist in itself. It only exists in something else. So the answer is God created everything and everything He created was good. And so God created every good thing, but evil came and corrupted those good things. He didn’t create the corruption. He created the uncorrupted thing that the corruption later came to.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. Let’s slow that down for people, because let’s say that in one sense we’re saying that evil is real, but it’s not a thing. So that’s hard for them to get a handle on. And let’s slow that down. The fact is, when God made a perfect man, okay, He also gave him choice. And this is where the possibility comes in for evil taking place. Take it from there.
- Geisler: Yeah. I think the first thing we need to say, John, is that a privation is the lack in something. It’s an absence of something that ought to be there. It’s not “nothing” – it’s real. For example, it’s real to be blind, but blindness is a privation of sight; it’s a lack of sight. It’s real to be maimed. Tie your arm behind your back and walk around for a day and you’ll say, “That’s a real handicap.” Or close your eyes and walk around for a day and you’ll say blindness is real. So, evil is real, but it’s a real lack in something that ought to be there. Then the question is, “Well, how did that lack get there?” And that answer is, I think, free choice. God made us free creatures. Freedom makes evil possible. God made us perfectly good. He made us with the capacity to choose. We are the ones who brought evil in.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. I like going back to the privation, the lack. You used the word parasite. And I think that helps us. You also have an illustration where you talk about, you know, a blind man and a rock. Both can’t see, but the blindness in the man, he’s lacking something that should be there, okay? The rock doesn’t have it but it shouldn’t be there. So the fact is that this thing that should be there, which is lacking, that’s the privation. And that’s what you’re saying this evil is: that you had a perfectly good creature. All the stuff that should be there was there, okay?