Origin of Evil

The existence of evil in our world is and has been one of if not the strongest argument against the existence of God. For centuries, Jewish and Christian scholars, as well as those from other religions and even secular philosophers, have struggled with the so-called problem of evil.

Theological Problem:

Many feel that the existence of evil is incompatible with an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God. Hence, theologians and philosophers alike have termed this conundrum the “awkward trilemma” or “inconsistent triad.” That is: 1) God is good and loves us, 2) God is all powerful, and 3) evil exists and its amount is staggering.

Ever since the emergence of monotheism—Jewish-Christian-Islamic tradition—scholars have wrestled with how to incorporate all three statements into one coherent concept of God. But as futurist, Robert B. Mellert notes, “attempts to accomplish this task” have always met “with questionable success” (Robert B. Mellert, “The Future of God,” The Futurist (October 1999): 31). Therefore, these scholars have tried everything they can think of to either distance God from evil or diminished one of the above three “triad” components. All of which, as we shall see, is highly problematic.

What Scripture Says:

Shockingly for some, Scripture, clearly and plainly, presents evil as part of God’s plan for this world. Moreover, it also teaches that God is the origin of evil.

  • “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1f) . . . .
  • “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).
  • Part of his original, pre-Fall, and “very good” creation was the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:8).
  • “In the middle of the garden” was evil, in the form of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2:9), as well as the opportunity to partake of it (Gen. 2:17), and the tempter himself, Satan (Gen. 3:1f).
  • Moreover, God proclaims that “I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD have do all these things. Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it” (Isa. 45:7-8 KJV – italic mine).
  • “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected . . . .” (1 Tim. 4:4).

This literal, biblical fact of the presence of evil in God’s original creation and his continuing acts of creating evil are the crucial points totally missed, ignored, or denied by almost every writer in a literature review conducted by John Noe, and in most, if not all, of the greater body of writings on this subject. Christian Overman provides an insightful and emblematic example as he insists on the following:

  • “Things are not the way God originally made them to be. God’s good creation has been abused, misused, and warped. . . . the earth and all it contains has suffered since the day of the first sin. . . . These are the harsh realities of a fallen world.”
  •                                (Overman, Assumptions That Affect Our Lives, 118.)

But evil and sin are two different things. And God is not the origin of sin. Big difference. Sorry to say, numerous theologians have come up with all sorts of other explanations.

Elaborations:

  • Noe’s Literature Review
  • Side-stepping Solutions—Conservative
  • Side-stepping Solutions—Liberal
  • No Consensus
  • Theodicy
  • Eschatology
  • The Purpose of Evil

Sources:

  1. Why Not Evil? (future book – est. 2014) by John Noe