One of the most doubtful facts about the existence of God is the existence of evil and pain. If God is able to prevent evil but does not desire to do so, then he is an evil God who does not deserve to be worshiped, and if he desires to prevent evil but is not able to do so, then he is not omnipotent and also does not deserve to be worshiped, and therefore God does not exist, or if he does exist, then he is not capable, or evil and not worthy of worship in either case.
But if God is omnipotent and omnipotent, as Christianity claims, how can evil still exist?
Here the skeptics claim that (assuming that God exists), since God created everything, God must also have created evil. They even cite Bible verses, such as:
- “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7)
- “If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?” (Amos 3:6)
- “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed?” (Lamentations 3:38)
However, evil is not really a created thing. You cannot see, touch, feel, smell or hear evil. It is not one of the fundamental forces of physics, and it does not consist of matter, energy, or dimensions. Do these Bible verses “prove” that God is the source of evil?
The answer is no. The problem lies in understanding the meaning of the verses quoted from the Bible that skeptics use to prove that God created evil.
The Bible did not state that God created evil in the verses above. It used words such as (create calamity), and (woe) which have a different meaning from evil. God did not create something evil, and He is not responsible for evil.
Let’s examine the first verse in (Isaiah 45:7): “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.”
Linguistically, this verse focuses on opposites (things opposite each other). Darkness is the opposite of light. However, the Bible did not use the word “evil” after “peace” as is not the opposite of “peace”. The Bible uses “calamity.” The Hebrew word translated “peace” is “shalom,” and it has several meanings, mostly related to the welfare of individuals. As for the word (ra’a), the Hebrew word translated “calamities” often refers to hardships or hardships, resulting from moral evil, that is, it means the results of evil (which a person does of his own free will) such as grief, distress, and hardships. St. John Chrysostom says: “There is evil that is in fact evil: adultery, prostitution, greed, and other hidden things without number that deserve severe rebuke and punishment. There is also an evil that is not really evil, but is called so, such as famine, disaster, death, disease, and the like; For these are not evils, but they are called that way. Why? Because if they were evil, they would not have become a source of our good, as they discipline our pride and laziness, and lead us to jealousy, and make us more vigilant.” In the same sense, Father Theodore says in the debates of St. John Cassian: “The Bible used to use the expressions “calamities” and “sorrows” in many places, for they are not evil in nature, but were called that because they are thought to be evils for those who did not cause them good.”
Historically, whoever reads this chapter finds that all of the words are directed at Cyrus, who believed in the doctrine of dualism (a god for good and a god for evil), and therefore God stressed throughout this chapter that He alone is God and there is no other than Him, so He assured them that He is the one who created everything. In the case of evil, it resembles darkness in that it also has no physical formation, it is only the absence of light, and yet God says that He created it to confirm that there are no gods for light and dark or good and evil, but only one God.
As for the second verse (Amos 3:6): “If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?”
It is linguistically similar to the first, using the same word (raa) to express the word calamity, and it also means the consequences of evil, and whoever reads the context of the verse from the verses before and after it knows that the meaning of the verse is that God warned them in more than one way of the consequences of evil, but they did not listen. Therefore, these results that God warned them about occurred as a result of their disobedience, and these calamities are from the hand of God for discipline and rebuke (not for their harm).
And in the third verse (Lamentations 3:28): “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed?”
We find the same Hebrew word (raa’a) translated as woe and not evil, so it means the consequences of sins, and here it does not mean calamities that occur in life on earth, but from the context of the verses we find that it means that it is from the mouth of God. God brings judgment out with goodness (in paradise for those who repent) and eternal distress (in hell for sinners). In fact, for sinners this is the greatest evil, as they will be cast into hell forever as a result of their choosing to do so in life on earth.
Historically, Jeremiah wrote this book during the captivity of Judah, and God sent His Word to Judah to warn them and call them to return to God in order to be saved, otherwise let them bear the consequences of their mistakes. Judah chose not to believe Jeremiah, and to continue their evils, and thus the resulting afflictions.
After discussing some of the verses that skeptics or atheists use to prove their claim that the Bible says that God created evil, it became clear to us that the Bible is referring to the consequences of evil rather than evil itself. On the other hand, the Bible is full of verses that assert the goodness of God and that HE cannot be the source of evil.