Is God the Origin of Evil?

mobile-ed-david-w-baker-old-testament-bundleLast week we had the privilege of working with Dr. David Baker in the Mobile Ed studio, filming a few of his upcoming courses on the Old Testament.

Dr. Baker is a highly respected Old Testament scholar and prolific author. Some of his works include The NIV Application Commentary: Joel, Obadiah, Malachi and the Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch.

Dr. Baker answers the question “Is God the origin of evil?” by explaining the context of Amos 3:3–8 in this video from OT232 A Survey of Amos, Joel, Obadiah, and Malachi:

Watch more video clips from Dr. Baker’s two-course Mobile Ed: David W. Baker Old Testament Bundle, and add these courses to your library today!

Comments

  1. Well put. God is not the source of evil. However in various occasions, He allows the disasters among us as a way to chasten and motivate us towards repentance.

  2. Colossians 1:16 says: For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him (NIV). This and other verses, tend to refute the notion that something can exist outside of God as its origin. The idea that something can exist without God as its creator seems profoundly unbiblical. However, there seems to be a predominant, historical tendency to ignore the logical conclusion that evil, greed, hatred, (you name the unrighteous transgression), can only have originated with the only source of any creation – God. Even perversions or corruptions of good creation cannot exist in a vacuum. The possibility of perversion or corruption of that which is good must also have been created, unless it is suggested that there is another creator other than God. Generally, it appears that bible-believing people try to avoid this origin-of-evil conclusion because perhaps they won’t serve a god who may have created evil. In that case, are they serving the God of the Bible, or some god that fits within their moral comfort zone, or who they think God should be? The God of the Bible is the God of calamity and pain and suffering, just as He is the God of absolute truth, love and peace. Faith says “I believe it all.”

    • Harry Grant says:

      God did not create evil directly, but He did allow a being that He created to exercise opposing thoughts and concepts that resulted in what could be called evil activity. From his own independent will, Satan conceptualized the ideas that “gave birth” to evil thought and intent; and God “allowed” him to not only carry out such devising, but apparently, (from a certain point of view, mind you) wants him to be this way! An example of this can be found in the “fall of man incident as recorded in Genesis, God sets up the entire incident by creating, along with all the other trees, two diametrically opposed trees called the tree of Life and the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. Then He tells Adam that he may freely eat the fruit from all the other trees including the tree of Life, but he is forbidden from eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, because he would surely die if he did. God then allows the serpent (Satan) to come into thier presense and tempt them to eat the very fruit he forbade them not to eat. If this temptation and subsequent fall is so bad (and it is), then why did God allow this? Why did’nt God do something to stop the fall from occuring, unless of course, He wanted it to occur, just as He wanted a being that He created to actually oppose Him! Therefore do not make the mistake of actually believing that God and Satan are enemies, that God is trying to stop Satan from carrying out all the evil that he has perpetrated on the creation; Satan is in fact “an opposing tool of God” that God needs to carry out His plan. The fact that a Being who “can do all things” decided to resort to this, in order to carry out His plan, is disturbing and deeply troubling to me, I am no longer sure if this is for me.

      • Bill Willard says:

        Sorry you feel that way Harry but I can certainly understand your thoughts on this issue. I think we must first come to the conclusion that if God has any need at all as your comment suggests and I quote “Satan is in fact “an opposing tool of God” that God “needs” to carry out His plan.” If this is so God is not God. One who is Omnipotent, Omniscience and Omnipresent cannot possibly at the same time be “Needy” That would make the God of all Creation dependent on the actions of others for His own Will and Purposes and this just cannot be so. What we do have however is God who is autonomous here’s the definition to be helpful…… able to make decisions and act on them as a free and independent moral agent. God Made the Angelic as well as the Human aspects of His Creation this way being Made in His Image is to have similar advantages like Autonomy other wise all you’ve made is Puppets of something Mechanical. Now by allowing and “NOT CAUSING” the fall God’s attributes are made know to His Creation Mercy, Grace Love Compassion and Restoration through Redemption In Jesus Christ all of which is again made applicable “By Choice” The Autonomy that comes with being made in God’s Image comes with Great “Responsibility” and “Consequence”

        • Harry Grant says:

          This is a reply from Bill Willard in response to Harry Grant, who wrote, “God did not create evil directly, but He did allow a being that He created to exercise opposing thoughts and concepts that resulted in what could be called evil activity. From his own independent will, Satan conceptualized the ideas that “gave birth” to evil thought and intent; and God “allowed” him to not only carry” […]

          To Harry’s comment Bill Willard wrote:

          Sorry you feel that way Harry but I can certainly understand your thoughts on this issue. I think we must first come to the conclusion that if God has any need at all as your comment suggests and I quote “Satan is in fact “an opposing tool of God” that God “needs” to carry out His plan.” If this is so God is not God. One who is Omnipotent, Omniscience and Omnipresent cannot possibly at the same time be “Needy” That would make the God of all Creation dependent on the actions of others for His own Will and Purposes and this just cannot be so. What we do have however is God who is autonomous here’s the definition to be helpful…… able to make decisions and act on them as a free and independent moral agent. God Made the Angelic as well as the Human aspects of His Creation this way being Made in His Image is to have similar advantages like Autonomy other wise all you’ve made is Puppets of something Mechanical. Now by allowing and “NOT CAUSING” the fall God’s attributes are made know to His Creation Mercy, Grace Love Compassion and Restoration through Redemption In Jesus Christ all of which is again made applicable “By Choice” The Autonomy that comes with being made in God’s Image comes with Great “Responsibility” and “Consequence”

        • Harry Grant says:

          Good comments Bill, when I used the word “need” in your quote of my words “Satan is in fact “an opposing tool of God” that God “needs” to carry out His plan.” I do not mean that God needs Satan to carry out His plan, in the same sense as I “need” food and water to live, I am well aware that the God of the Bible does not actually “need” anything. God is the only Being that is “Self Existent,” and as such, requires nothing to exist, and Be! It isn’t a matter of actual need on God’s part, as we all know God will “use” a nation to bring down or even destroy another nation that has sinned, could God have destroyed that sinning nation directly by His “own hand”? Of course He could, but He didn’t, He used created beings to bring down created Beings, therefore one could say that God had a “need” to bring that sinning nation down. God does not literally “need” Satan to carry out His plan, but He does “use” him to do so.
          What I am about to say is speculation of course, I don’t know, I wasn’t there to witness it, but let’s say for conversations sake; that God knew before hand that one of His angels whom He had given great power and authority too, was not only going to begin conceiving and thinking thoughts that were independent of His own, but that this angel was going to act upon these thoughts until he became flat out rebellious. And let’s say that God allowed this angel to explore all this without interference from God, because God wanted this angel to become this way as he would be “needed” to not only cause man’s fall, but ultimately play a negative role in man’s deliverance from that fall, (notice that we are all still struggling with sin, in spite of the fact that Christ has delivered us, it is these pesky temptations and sinning that makes us need God and Christ more than ever).
          Since Satan of his own free will conceived these evil ideas and thoughts and began to act upon them, God “used” him in his newfound activity to further His “interests” in building up the pinnacle of His creation, Mankind. Just as He “used” Mary to carry our Lord in her womb for nine months and then give birth to Him, just as He “used” Moses to bring the Children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt to the river Jordan etc., etc.
          If in fact, God does not “need” these things to occur, then why have they occurred at all? As none of these things could occur without His desire to have them performed according to His good pleasure.
          If God has no “need” for a creation, then why does the creation exist in the first place? Why does God “require” His created beings to worship Him? Why does God use angels to deliver His messages? Why does God love us so much?

          There is another statement that you made that I feel a need to address you wrote: “What we do have however is God who is autonomous here’s the definition to be helpful…… able to make decisions and act on them as a free and independent moral agent. God Made the Angelic as well as the Human aspects of His Creation this way being Made in His Image is to have similar advantages like Autonomy.”

          If what you are saying is true, then Jesus as a flesh and blood being who represented you and I, and to whom we must imitate to please God would have been autonomous from God, but Jesus indicated on several occasions that He the Father were one, (one in mind, one in purpose), Jesus did nothing that the Father did not want Him to do, which is why He said out of His own mouth in John 14:9, “he who has seen me, has seen the Father.” So while Jesus could have chosen to be autonomous from God His Father, He never exercised it at any time.
          While we on the other hand, having partaken of the fruit which God told us not to eat have inadvertently taken on an autonomous nature which causes us to be independent from God, which is why we can’t come close to imitating Jesus Christ and His relationship to His Father, in fact, our autonomous nature is hostile to God and therefore cannot conform to God, which is why we must obtain the Holy Spirit and the new birth in order for them to carry us as we go along in this relationship, otherwise we would never make it, without God sustaining us we could not do even the tiniest amount of effort to please Him.

          Yes, while we have the capability to be autonomous, we don’t have the Holy and Righteous character to be able to properly exercise it, for Christ Himself who was Holy and Righteous did not exercise it, God does not want us to be autonomous, at least not in the way we define it, He did not give us autonomy, we acquired that from eating the forbidden fruit. Our lives were designed to be dependent on God in the same way that the life of Jesus Christ was, in His life was displayed a great and marvelous example of who and what we are to be. He is living proof of what we should have become, if we had eaten the fruit from the Tree of Life instead, which was not only there in our presence in the Garden, but was freely accessible to us, as God had not forbade us to eat it’s fruit.

          .

  3. Yes, Yes, Yes. Say it again, only louder!

  4. There is one area in our lives that God does not control. He gave us that gift starting with Adam and Eve. That gift is very often used in bad ways as it was the Adam and Eve. That gift is free will and/or freedom of choice which ever way you want to say it. That is where evil started from on the human side. It can be used in ways to glorify God if we choose to, but in order to do that we have to take the bad parts out which is simple little words, I, me, mine, myself that have big meanings from our worst enemy, which is usually our self. God wanted from the start to fellowship with us and still does if we don't get in the way. He has a purpose for everything, He lets things happen in our lives so that we can grow closer to Him and see that he is in control if we let Him. It's not if something happens, but when! There is going to be an area in all of our lives on this temporary place that we have that we need to be disciplined or suffer some from a detour in our lives that we take. God is our guide if we let Him.

    • Harry Grant says:

      I am terribly sorry to disagree with several points that you have made in your reply, the first statement that I will take issue with is your opening statement, you wrote “There is one area in our lives that God does not control;” and of course you cited ” the gift of Free Will, as the thing that God does not control in our lives.” In order to address this, I will use the incarnate human, flesh and blood life of Jesus Christ Himself as an example of why free will is not a gift from God at all. When Jesus walked around in the flesh, He never exercised His own will independently from God His Father, in fact Jesus Christ never did anything without complete obedience to the will of God His Father. So even though Jesus had His own will (just as we do), He never exercised it, because He was always doing His Fathers will instead. So what purpose did Jesus as a flesh and blood being need with a will of His own, if He was always obeying someone else’s (His Father’s) will? I submit to you that Jesus Christ, being an example of who and what we are actually supposed to live and be like in our relationship to God, represents proof that we, like Him, are not supposed to exercise any so-called free will that is independent from God, but we were supposed to be obedient and subject to the will of God from the beginning. No sir, God did not give us any so-called gift of free will, we acquired that capability when we ate of the fruit which He told us not too, back in the garden. Our eating of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil actually caused us to be able to determine, what is Good and what is Evil independently from what God had already determined about these things long before we were ever created! So here is Adam and Eve, possessing no actual knowledge about how and why a thing is good or evil, is now (after eating the fruit) deciding such matters for themselves apart from what God has already decided about it! This independent free will thinking processes was introduced to us by the serpent (Satan) who stated that “we would not die if we ate the fruit,” which is diametrically opposed to God’s statement of, “In the day you eat of the fruit you will surely die!” This means that we could now disagree with God’s assessment and determination. Can you imagine what would have happened if Jesus exercised His own independent will and decided to “turn those stones into bread” when Satan told Him too, or, even worse if He decide to not give Himself up as a sacrifice for all of us, but went on His own and continued to live and work as a carpenter for the rest of His natural life, He would have sinned by doing so, and would have disqualified Himself from being able to offer Himself for all our sins!
      Free will was introduced to us by Satan not God, so the question becomes, if we are supposed to live our lives in a relationship with God where we are dependent on God’s will and not our own, (Jesus Himself, living in the flesh is living proof of this), then why would God do nothing while we were being subjected to this temptation, which caused us to become independent from His will and depend on our own wills to carry us, thus bringing sin into the World? God wanted this to occur and He used His tool Satan to set it in motion, I am currently trying to understand why God wanted this.

  5. The concern I have with the notion that a being could independently conceptualize opposing thoughts known as evil, is that the opposing values had to first be created in order to become a choice. How do we “choose” evil unless is was first created as a concept by the creator? To say that Satan independently originated the concept of evil makes him a creator, in my view, which flies in the face of some scripture like Col. 1:16. If we are saying that Satan is the origin of some things, like deception for example, then has he not become the creator of that thing? Personally, I don’t buy it. God, by His son, created all things. John 1:3.

    I think that we are to love God regardless to the conclusion that may be drawn from the notion that He may have created evil. Why? Because, as Paul indicates, I am the clay, He is the potter, I am the workmanship, He is the workman. I do not have the legitimate authority to question the God of the Bible whose ways are far above my ways. As a finite man, I can only perceive to a point. I understand that many who have issues with the concept of biblical faith may oppose this view, but that is not unexpected.

    • Harry Grant says:

      Andre you opened your writing with; “The concern I have with the notion that a being could independently conceptualize opposing thoughts known as evil, is that the opposing values had to first be created in order to become a choice. How do we “choose” evil unless is was first created as a concept by the creator?”
      Your statement assumes that concepts and ideas are creations in and of themselves, and while I agree with you, that concepts and ideas can certainly “become or be manifested into” a created thing, they are however, in and of themselves intangible; unless and until some tangible thing comes about as a result of these conceptualizations. What I mean by this is, If I simply thought about an idea, but never manifested that idea by speaking the idea to someone else, or writing the idea down on paper, or drawing a diagram of the idea, or actually carrying out acts which bring the idea into physical reality, then that idea remains intangible and therefore could pass away into oblivion, with no one (except me and God) ever knowing that the idea ever existed.
      If we think about what you are really saying Andre, you are saying that no being that was created by God could have any ideas, thoughts or concepts unless God had created those ideas, thoughts and concepts first. This would mean that Cain could not have conceived of the idea and reason to murder his brother Abel on his own, unless God had already created the idea of murdering, before Cain ever existed!
      God gave us created Beings the ability to think and reason, but we can use this ability to conceive an idea that is opposed to God’s idea of righteous behavior, on our own, by ourselves; the ability to do this does not make us a creator, at least, not in the strict sense of what that word entails, not in the same sense that God is THE CREATOR! Satan was simply exercising his ability to think and reason, which God gave to him (and us), albeit, he was using it in a way that is contrary to God’s way. So Andre, if what you are saying is true, then no created Being would have to give account for any thoughts, ideas or concepts that he or she may conceive of, we would not be responsible for our thoughts and ideas because we could not have come up with them without God having come up with them prior to our coming up with them. While being judge by God for conceiving such thoughts and ideas, we could defend ourselves by simply stating to God that we could not have come up with these evil ideas if God Himself hadn’t come up with them first! Remember Jesus said in Matt 12:36, that “every idle (or careless) word that we speak, we shall have to give account for in the day of judgment,” in order to speak such words I would first have to think and conceived of them first, and in order to be judged for speaking them, I would have be solely responsible for them.
      When the scripture says that God, by His Son created all things, that does not mean that God created every thought that one of His created beings might conceive or think of, because the scripture also says that all things must be put under His (Christ) feet, in I cor. 15:25, in other words all things must be made subject to Christ, but when you look at Heb. 2:8, it says “You (God the Father of Jesus Christ) have put all things in subjection under His feet. For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.”
      These scriptures indicate that God the Father will eventually cause everything to be subjected to Christ in the future, but at the present time, Paul says that, WE DO NOT YET SEE ALL THINGS SUBJECTED TO HIM.”
      This means that there are things in God’s creation (like thoughts, ideas, and behaviors of His created Beings, that are not subjected to God or His Son Jesus Christ, hence He said to Christ “sit at my right hand UNTIL I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

      Created Beings like Satan and us as well, can and do conceive of ideas and thoughts that are not created by God, but are created solely by us, It was Satan (or Nebuchadnezzar, if you prefer), who conceived of the idea which lead him to say in his heart, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit upon the sides of the North, I will be like the Most High.

  6. Harry Grant says:

    I am well aware that I am the clay, I am nothing, I get it, as to having any authority to question the God of the Bible I completely agree that I have none, however having said that, like you, I am a son of the God of Heaven and as a son I can and will continue to question God my Father whenever it suits me, I am trying to understand who and what God is just as a son might do with his earthly father.

  7. Rick Ziesmer says:

    Isa. 45:7  I form the light, and create darkness:
    I make peace, and create evil:
    I the LORD do all these things.

    The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Is 45:7). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

    • Harry Grant says:

      Good work Rick, It is good of you to bring this particular scripture into our discussion, many people use this scripture to qualify and support the “God created evil argument”, which is mainly based on the use of the word Evil in the KJV; but other translations of the Bible use words like “calamity” NASB, the Net Bible, and ESV; the Amplified Bible has, “…I make peace [national well-being] and I create [physical] evil (calamity); the CEV uses the word “sorrow”; the HCSB uses the word “disaster”; as does the NIV and the NJB; the Jewish Tanakh has the word “woe”; to name a few, only the KJV and the Douay-Rheims Bible (the Catholic Bible) translates the Hebrew transliterated word rǎʿ into our English word evil.
      So let’s take a closer look at this word rǎʿ, to see if we can pinpoint why these different translations use different English words for the Hebrew rǎʿ. According to Biblical lexicons and Dictionaries, the Hebrew transliterated word rǎʿ, does mean evil, bad, wicked, fierce, etc., in most contexts. Here for example, is Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages studies, David W. Baker’s take on the word rāʿ; “As a result of humanity’s wickedness and wicked nature, the good but holy and righteous God will send judgment, which, from the perspective of the one who is its object, is dreadful, the results of evil actions, causes evil to fall upon the perpetrators, these are understood as calamity, disaster, or harm, in prophetic passages this falls on Israel’s enemies (Isa 47:11; Jer. 2:3; 48:2, 16; 49:37), as well as Israel itself or members of it in other texts (Deut. 31:29; Judg. 20:34, 41; 2 Sam 17:14; 1 Kings 22:23). It is in this context that one reads Isa 45:7. God is the creator of all things, light, and well-being on the one hand, and darkness and woe or disaster on the other. This is exemplified by God’s use in this passage of his anointed servant, the pagan Cyrus, to bless some nations and punish others by bringing God’s disaster on them.” New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis, page 1156.
      rāʿ b. Harm, Gen. 4816 Isa. 31:2 45:7 (parallel with šālôm peace, wholeness. A state of well-being or health), Mic.11:2, Psalm 12:17, 140:12, Job 31:29, Ludwig Koehler et al., The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Leiden; New York: E.J. Brill, 1999), page 1252.

      (raʿ). Bad, evil (noun). The masculine noun raʿ often is set in contrast with ṭôb (good) as opposite poles of the moral spectrum. Sometimes šālôm (peace) is given as its opposite. The noun is further defined as being that condition or action which in his (God’s) sight is unacceptable (Jer 52:2; Mal 2:17; cf. Neh 9:28).
      Starting with the purely secular meaning of the noun, one finds that raʿ denotes physical injury (Jer 39:12), or times of distress (Amos 6:3 and the famous verse, Isa 45:7 “I bring prosperity and create disaster” NIV), but mostly denotes unethical or immoral activity against other people, whether by speech (Ps 41:3 [H 6]; 73:8; 109:20), by practice (Mic 2:1; 7:3), or by offering improper sacrifices (Mal 1:8).
      G. Herbert Livingston, “2191 רָעַע,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 855.
      No Rick I am afraid that Isa. 45:7 is not referring to God creating moral evil, at all, as we have seen, this word and this verse is actually referring to “an affirmation that God is ultimately sovereign over his world, including mankind and nations. In accordance with his sovereign will, he can cause wars to cease and peace to predominate (as he was about to do for his exiled people through Cyrus), or he can bring disaster and judgment on nations (as he was about to do to Babylon through Cyrus)”.
      Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2006).

  8. Harry Grant says:

    I wonder if everyone who has commented in this thread, realizes that if you say that God created evil, and by this we actually mean moral evil, then you are also saying that God is morally evil, because that would mean that God is the source of moral evil, that God Himself conceived of and produced moral evil. if that were true then God would certainly have to let all of us in on it, because there is nothing that indicates that God Himself is the source of evil. Instead we are told that a being called Satan is the perpetrator of evil, therefore if God is not the source of evil, then someone is, since evil exist, and had to begin at some point, as I am almost certain that it is not eternal.

    I believe that God cannot be the source or creator of evil, because God cannot and will not be opposed to Himself, since evil is diametrically opposed to good, if it were so, this would indicate that there are two “sides” to God, each side in direct opposition to the other, I am afraid gentlemen, that this is simply not possible with God, who cannot be divided into parts. No, someone or something that was created by God, who was given the ability to think and reason by Him, took upon themselves the notion that they could be like God, this notion gave birth to ideas which consisted of this being, actually attempting to carry out such an endeavor, thus the birth of evil. I don’t know, I wasn’t there, but once this being began to act in an attempt to bring these ideas to fruition, maybe God had to allow it to be, not in the sense that He had no power to stop it, but in the sense that maybe He would have been wrong if He did, and God cannot and will not do any wrong. Maybe in His divine wisdom, He had to allow this being a certain amount of time to bring it’s desire to be like God about, if it could, although God knows that this is not possible for a created being to achieve, He nevertheless had to allow it, since the created being itself doesn’t realize that such a task is impossible, due to it’s intense desire to achieve such a goal.

    My problem with all this, is that I am extremely disappointed in the whole thing, I just cannot believe that the God of heaven, Who can do all things, had to let it come to this, you mean to tell me that God could not do all this in a different way, that this is the only way that God could bring about His Creation, you mean to say that God could not carry all this out, without there being evil, without the need for man to fall, without sin, without the need to save us, where we were perfect like Jesus from the beginning. Isn’t all this going to culminate into that very thing when it’s all said and done, when God is going to make a new heaven and a new earth, there will be no more Satan, no more sin, no more hunger, no more tears, no more pain.
    If we never fell in the temptation, none of this present world would have ever occurred, there would be no sin, no need for Jesus to come and deliver us, I personally think that God should have “nipped Satan’s evil devising in the bud” right as it began, he should not have been allowed to do as he did, but then, what do I know, I certainly don’t know like God knows, I’m just another creature amongst billions of other creatures that God created.

  9. Helpful insight. God is always working in our best interest, even though sometimes this may seem difficult for us to understand.

    • Harry Grant says:

      You are right in saying that these things are difficult to understand, I don’t know about you ‘all, but don’t you ‘all find it strange that there is no direct testimony in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) concerning the origin of evil? The two main references that most of us refer too in the Hebrew Bible is in the 14th chapter of Isaiah and the 28th chapter of Ezekiel, but these references are so subtle (like the serpent himself), as to almost be imperceptible as an actual reference to “the fall of Satan.” In fact most modern scholars and experts “appear” to have abandoned the idea that these scriptures are referring to such a fall at all; to them these passages are simply discussing human kings who became caught up in Hubris (self exaltation to God-like status). Personally I believe that, while these particular scriptures are in fact talking about Human kings and their self exaltation, they are also describing the original self exaltation of a powerful angelic being, who believed and thought things about himself just as these human kings did. In fact, this rebellious and powerful angelic being represents the attitude and pattern that these human kings (and anyone that follows this pattern, for that matter) were imitating. No one can prove this by using these scriptures, in fact, the actual instances where the name Satan is even mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, 1 Chron. 21:1, the first and second chapters of Job, and the 3rd chapter of Zechariah, reveal nothing about evil’s origin, these scriptures simply indicate that there is a being called Satan that exists, and that he opposes God and His people.

      In the Christian Bible (the New Testament), however, we find more references to Satan, and some scriptures which indicates (but does not prove beyond a reasonable doubt) that Satan, a created being, was the originator of evil. Examples are, John 8:44, here Jesus says that Satan was a murderer and liar from the beginning, this particular scripture appears to indicate that murder and lying had their origins with Satan and no one else; notice the specifics in Jesus language in this passage, He said “Whenever he (Satan) speaks a lie, he speaks from his OWN NATURE, for he is a liar and the father (conceiver, originator) of lies.” In 1 John 3:8, we get another indication that Satan is the originator of sin, when it says, “…for the devil has sinned from the beginning.” Contrary to all those modern experts, Jesus said out of His own mouth in Luke 10:18, that He watched Satan fall from heaven, like lightning, and in Rev. 12:9, the Apostle John was inspired to write, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”
      We know that Satan endeavored to be like God, and actually achieved some measure (though, insignificant as it actually is) of this, when we hear testimony from Jesus and His Apostles saying things like; Satan being in possession of his own kingdom, Matt 12:26, that he is the “ruler of this world” in John 12:31, that he is the “god” of this world in 2 Cor. 4:4, that he is the “prince of the power of the air” in Ephesians 2:2, and of course we also hear this, from Satan himself during the temptations of our Lord in the wilderness, “And he (Satan) led Him (Jesus) up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish,” in Luke 4:5–6.

      It is quite strange that something like the origin of evil, which has had such a terribly negative effect on the entire creation, should be “shrouded” in such mystery, one would think that something of this magnitude would be out in the open in full view for all to clearly see, but then, one could also say the same thing about Jesus Himself and the work that He performed in full view of us; is also still “shrouded” in mystery (to most of us), we still do not fully comprehend everything that Jesus was, when He appeared to us in the flesh that first time and we still do not fully understand all that He actually accomplished for us, for the creation, and for His Father, during His first fleshly visit, in spite of the fact that, the Apostle Paul, (who was given insight into most of these things by God) went into detail about all this in many of his letters to the churches that God started through him. .
      I, of course have a theory about all this, I seriously believe that many things have been deliberately held back from us, (not by God, so to speak), but by men, men who endeavored to “control” every aspect of the information that the scriptures revealed about God, Satan, angels, etc., in so doing, “these men” literally shaped and “controlled the very concept that we, the readers of the Bible now believe about God, Satan, angels, etc., I know that this is a serious accusation, and will be hard, if it ever gets accepted at all, to be acceptable to the majority of us believers. I will give an example of why I think this, let’s take the concept that we have of Evil, which we have gleaned from the Bible, we just finished pointing out that the information about evil’s origin is scant to say the least, very little is revealed about this subject, now let’s suppose that the real reason that this is so, is because, if the actual origin of evil was fully disclosed in the Bible, it may “cast” God in a bad light, (not that it actually would, but to many of us, reading it, it would). It may place God in a position (in our minds at least), where we would begin to blame God for “allowing” such a thing, it may also cause us to say things like; maybe God isn’t in as much control as we previously thought. This, of course would eventually lead many of us to begin questioning everything about God, from His attributes to many of His activities with man and the creation! This caused a group of men, over time who sat down with the scriptures, and engaged in what experts call redaction (editing); where statements, words and ideas that the scriptures in the past may have contained, were altered to control what a reader of these redacted scriptures thought after they read them, and how these redacted scriptures might be interpreted by the reader, this was done until a consensus of the effectiveness of these changes was reached by them!

      There are considered (by experts) to be four sources, that produced what is written in the Torah (the Pentateuch, or first 5 books that Moses wrote) that we presently have in our modern Bibles today.
      These sources are 1. J, or Yahwist; due to it’s use of the divine name of Yahweh, “Starting in the last part of Gen. 2:4, this source includes much of Genesis and parts of Exodus and Numbers (Campbell and O’Brien, 91–160). Originating from the southern kingdom of Judah (Friedman 1987, 61–67), it was written about 850 B.C.”
      2. E, or Elohist, due to it’s use of God being referred to as Elohim, starting from Gen. 1:1 to the first part of 2:4, then beginning again in Gen. 15, “it covers material similar to J. It arose in the northern kingdom of Israel (at times also designated “Ephraim”; Jenks; Friedman 1987, 61–67) around 750 B.C. These two sources, difficult to distinguish from each other on stylistic grounds (Noth, 20), have a flowing narrative style. Refugees from Israel brought them together in Judah when many from Israel were exiled to Assyria in 722 B.C.”
      3. D, or Deuteronomic, “which was dated to 621 B.C. and was a product of Josiah’s reform (2 Chron. 34:3–35:19). It is restricted to the book of Deuteronomy itself and does not play a major role in the process of distinguishing the other sources, except as regards to their relative dating.”
      4. P, or Priestly, “covering material from Genesis 1 through the notice of Moses’ death at the end of Deuteronomy (Campbell and O’Brien, 21–90). It is the latest source, coming from a fifth-century postexilic context. It is not a continuous narrative like the others but a collection of different genres of material of interest to the priests. It shows an evolutionary development of religious practice leaving sole authority in priestly hands. For example, while the patriarchs erect altars apparently at will in earlier sources (Gen 12:7–8 [J]; 22:9 [E]), P places cultic functions firmly in the hands of the priests (e.g., Lev 9).
      D. W. Baker, “Source Criticism,” ed. T. Desmond Alexander, Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 801–802.

      It is worth noting that this entire “sources” idea is referred to by experts as the Documentary Hypothesis, and as such, is of course a theory, these are some of the problems that are beginning to emerge out of all this; “Implications of the Documentary Hypothesis. A Pentateuch composed along the lines proposed by the Documentary Hypothesis raises several implications that cause concern. First among these is the issue of historical accuracy. What is the place of Moses in the compositional process? As usually formulated, the DH would have no place for Mosaic involvement of any of the material at any stage. This would imply that statements to the effect that Moses wrote at least some of the material arose either through ignorance or distortion. The same applies to historical claims made within the Pentateuch. Writing is usually understood to reflect the period of composition more than the period about which it claims to report. In this case, it is possible to say that the *tabernacle never existed in Israel’s history. Its inclusion in the P document was simply a reflection of the priests’ interest in cultic matters, being in particular a retrojection of the later temple, specifically called “a historical fiction” (Wellhausen, 37, 39). This type of historical nihilism can be seen to have expanded to the entirety of the OT, since today some question whether anything at all can be historically determined through the Bible (cf., e.g., discussions in Long, Baker and Wenham). This has serious ramifications for a Judeo-Christian understanding that God works in human history (see 1 Cor. 15:12–19).
      D. W. Baker, “Source Criticism,” ed. T. Desmond Alexander, Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 802.

      With evidence concerning all this building, if it is true, the question would then become, Did God allow man to tamper with His word, to the point that we are hearing here, and if so, why would God allow us, who seems to “screw up” everything we get our hands on, to delve into this kind of thing.

      I am sorry, if I have offended anyone by bringing all this up, and would like to apologize to anyone, that these statements may have effected in a negative way, but these things are going to rear their ugly heads at some point, and we need to prepare for all this, as the time is getting short. In my research, for the last 10 to 12 years ( out of a total of almost 40 years of studying the Bible), I have found many things in the Bible to be problematic at best, as I look into this Documentary Hypothesis, I am beginning to possibly understand why, maybe it isn’t problematics with God at all, but maybe, just maybe, it is mankind’s endless tampering with the words in the scriptures that is the cause of each and every difficulty that we encounter in God’s Holy written Word.

  10. Hamilton Ramos says:

    Good morning, God bless you all:

    I want to congratulate all writers in this thread, as all sincerely express and explore important topics.

    It is the glory of God to conceal things,but the glory of kings is to search things out. (Proverbs 25:2)

    All of you have shown conduct becoming of a prince (in training to be kings).

    I am no expert, but I like theological topics like the one discussed here. Be patient with me as I share my quasi understanding of the issue.

    There was a time when God was all alone… the self-existent.
    It seems that God decided to have company, and proceeded to create a Kingdom.

    It was so vast, that princes were appointed to rule the different regions.

    (Notice that in God’s Kingdom, there was no evil, no suffering, no death, just pure love, joy, good will, worship, koinonia, etc.)

    Suddenly, there were news that in a particular region of the Kingdom, a rebellion broke out: Heylel (light bearer),could get no satisfaction… allegorically, the Bible says about this being: “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. (Ez 28:15)

    So one of the primary manager / being in charge, failed miserably, and was basically fired and kicked out.

    The Righteous King (God), had an idea: “I will create children of mine to be the new appointed rulers of my dominions in my Kingdom”.

    But looking at what has just happened (conduct unbecoming of a servant leader), God knows that the children to be created need to be tutored, and taught wisdom, so they can perform well when appointment to office time arrives.

    God’s creation should reflects the moral character of the creator: Goodness, mercy, justice, compassion, love are imperatives of the Kingdom, but it turns out that would be rulers need to know well the difference between good and evil…

    Welcome to bootcamp Earth. How can a child of God tell the difference of a good versus a bad woman, if does not ever know the bad one?

    So before creation, God in omniscience, could tell how many of his created beings would choose being on the side of God if they were given free will, and how many would reject God.

    Based on that previous knowledge (discernment) Jeremiah 1:5, God wrote in the book of life those names of the created being that would side with God, and God prepared good deeds before the foundation of the world so that the chosen ones would walk in those good deeds.
    (like Einstein said, God does not play dice with the universe).

    God knew also there was going to be betrayal, but God was going to use the fact to teach wisdom and fear of the Lord to the created children:

    Matthew 13:24-30. Wheat being the children that sided with God, and Tares the ones that did not.
    Matthew 13:36-43. So there are different vessels: Romans 9:21.

    Acts 7:51, John 8:42-45, Luke 11:13.

    Make sure that before trying to figure out all things of God, you have the Holy Spirit, as the H.S. is what differentiates the children of Light from the children of darkness.

    Eventually children of Light will come with Jesus to take care of business, and to destroy all that haughtingly stands against God and God’s rule in the Kingdom. Revelation 19:11-16, Malachi 4:3.

    Much of what is written in the Bible is to give us clues of what is going on: Joseph before becoming prime minister in Egypt (type of Jesus), had to go through the school of hard knocks first. And so will many of God’s children.

    Remember that the Bible is just a Love letter from Father, to witness to Father’s existence and power, and to remind us that we are to be formed to Jesus’s image to bring glory to God, and to be ready for what will happen in the future.

    If I had on one side the favorite Bible (e.g. Thompson), and on the other side the Being described in Revelation 1: 10-20, I would run to the Being, and hold tight to His thigh, and when He asked what I did with the love letter He sent (Bible), I would point to my head, and then to my heart.

    Do not miss the forest by looking so hard at the trees, blessings.

    • Harry Grant says:

      Good work Hamilton

      excellent analogy, let’s look at some of the points that you made. you wrote “Make sure that before trying to figure out all things of God, you have the Holy Spirit, as the H.S. is what differentiates the children of Light from the children of darkness.” I am almost certain to be in the latter category, as the last 12 years or so of my life has gravitated toward the dark side, (this does not mean that my faith in the existence of God has ever changed, just my point of view concerning Him and His creation, all that the scriptures proclaim about who and what God is, has not changed due to this gravitation or “road” that I find myself on, all that I learned from God, or from my own analysis and examination of the scriptures, doctrines etc., have not waned in the least, in fact my belief in God and all that He encompasses, have grown stronger than ever), dark in the sense that the last 12 or so years, I have essentially “put God on trial,” so to speak (as if I who is nothing, could do that), I still nevertheless began to examine God’s role in many many events that have occurred throughout the Biblical record of the history of God’s dealing with man.
      When you and all believers study a particular “story” or event that is recorded in the Bible, for example, you see the failings of mankind, the sin, let’s say, but you also see the positive aspects also, you could then use the story to learn what not to do, what would be displeasing to God, or what to do (what is pleasing to God), this would help you grow in your spiritual life and relationship to God.
      Now contrast that with my present state, I could study that same story, and after examining it, come away with a completely different point of view that would place God in an unfavorable light, unless of course I discovered nothing in God’s action that warranted such a conclusion! I know that this is terrible, and I know that I will be one of the ones who will be destroyed, just as you specified in your post, when you wrote, “Eventually children of Light will come with Jesus to take care of business, and to destroy all that haughtily stands against God and God’s rule in the Kingdom. Revelation 19:11-16, Malachi 4:3. I am well aware of all scriptural warnings against such behavior, as I have indicated here, and yet, I continued to walk down this path toward destruction. Can a man judge God, of course He can’t, we are nothing but dust, chaff blown by a strong wind, but somehow I do, I do not of course, make the kinds of judgments about God that only God Himself could carry out with us and His creation, (God can determine whether I should be saved or condemned, God can bring me into His bosom, or cast me into the second death, In other words God can determine what should happen to me according to how I have lived.
      No, the judgment that I “placed” God in, was whether His own behavior and role in a given situation was in conformity to His described Holy and Righteous Character! This is just as bad, I perceive, but when my examination is complete, and “this trial” that has been going on for over 12 years has reached its end, I will, if the “verdict” remains on the negative side, (which is where most of my “evidence” presently lies), completely abandon all that God and Jesus Christ has done for me, and prepare for my ultimate doom, on the other hand, if the verdict is positive, (there is still much evidence to support this side too), then I will still prepare for God’s righteous, but terrible judgment, in either case Christianity and all that it entails is beyond my reach, I cannot go back now, not with what I have learned, there is no repentance on this road, I do wonder though, why I am allowed to retain so much clarity on doctrinal issues, You would think that God would have taken all that away.

      “Suddenly, there were news that in a particular region of the Kingdom, a rebellion broke out: Heylel (light bearer),could get no satisfaction… allegorically, the Bible says about this being: “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. (Ez 28:15),

      So one of the primary manager / being in charge, failed miserably, and was basically fired and kicked out.

  11. Hamilton Ramos says:

    God bless you all:

    Believe it or not, when I read what you write Dr.Grant, in my mind it is like Jacob wrestling with the Angel of Yahweh.

    I find valid your concerns, and you are not the first, nor will be the last, to put God on trial, for different valid reasons.

    I am not an expert, but all I can say to you, is that if you sincerely study the Bible, and try to understand it, and ask God for illumination to gain correct insight, from my point of view, God cannot hold it against you if you find that He seems guilty of conduct unbecoming of the “Godly nature” most Christians assert Him to have.

    My only warning is, try to base all your presuppositions on some of the propositional statements of the Scripture (e.g. Acts 17:22-31), and do not let any strange theory (gnostic, etc) shape your assumptions when trying to interpret the Scriptures.

    By doing so, God will see with good eyes your sincere attempt to get to the truth of the matter, and most likely will spare you from any unwanted end (i.e. second death).

    By using as criteria Biblical propositional truth, you cannot be found to follow the line of the children of darkness who uses the criteria of their father the lier and murderer from the beginning.

    To me you seem to be a child of light with valid questions, and doubts, but of the light none the less.

    blessings.

    • Harry Grant says:

      Thank you Hamilton, I am astounded at your answer, very good insight, I thought you may say something like, “I’m sorry that you feel this way, I will pray for you,” or “I can’t imagine any so-called believer engaging in such nonsense, this is absolutely dangerous ground, you are treading on, even angels don’t do what you are doing.”
      By the way Hamilton, I noticed you referred to me as Dr., I am sorry, I am not a Scholar, or holder of any PhD or degree, etc., I am uneducated, I did not even finish high school, I got my GED, I was an Aircraft Mechanic for almost 30 years, 4 years in the U.S. Air Force, and 25 years as a civilian in the department of the Navy, working on Warplanes.

      • Hamilton Ramos says:

        God bless you all:

        I call you Dr. again because from my perspective that is how God sees you: just like Peter, James, John, and the rest of the children of Light.

        Jesus was very joyful because God’s amazing truths were given to simple and undeserving children like you and me.

        Keep up the good work, and never doubt that God our father loves you very much, and is training you to be a ruler over the so called “knowledgeable, and understood” of this world.

        Blessings.

  12. For God so love the world that He gave His only Son Jesus Christ came to this world and died, that who ever believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life Jn 3:16. The Word of God revealed the Originator of evil or sin is none other than Lucifer himself who envy Jesus's rightful ownership and authority in the government of heaven. And there was war in heaven and Michael and His angels fought Lucifer and his angels and were thrown out from heaven down to this earth, Satan the devil took control over planet earth and he has set up his kingdom ever since. Thank God for the plan of redemption fulfill on the cross and Jesus Son of God, Son of man defeated Satan all along when He was here on earth. "Behold, the Lamb of the takes away the sin of the world". God is not the originator of evil, Lucifer called Satan the devil was the originator of evil.