Does God create evil? The theological implications for evolution and otherwise

Do you think “chaos” and “evil” are synonymous?

No, but it would still suggest that everything is under God’s control, if he made both order and chaos.

Are you guys implying that order and chaos are some kind of animate force or being? It seems to me that they are nothing more than necessary relative attributes like light and dark, or soft and hard – and these particular ones are a little vague. To make the universe sufficiently complex for the development of life required that there would have to be a full range of both chaos (disorder?, randomness?) and order (structure?, simplicity?, organization?, purposefulness?).

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Not at all, I don’t even know where you see that.

It is suggested by this treatment as a separate thing that God can either create or not create. The explanation followed in the comparison with light and dark as well as soft and hard. How can one exist without the other. Now I don’t think this applies to good and evil, for I do not agree that evil must exist in order for there to be good – though I probably would say this of things like pleasure and pain, joy and suffering, and especially life and death. The possibilities for good and evil go hand in hand with life or free will, but not the actualities.

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@Reggie_O_Donoghue, I think you treat the “chaos” at more length elsewhere (tohu wa-bohu)–do you have a link for that? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tohu_wa-bohu

I remember Lamoureux saying it’s sort of like the sea all around them, I think (not sure now)–fearful. thanks.

Here is my attempt to reconcile this with orthodox christian theology.

God creating evil/chaos means that God deliberately made humans and angels with the ability to do evil, in order to give them free will. It does not mean that God causes all evil in the world.

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That sounds similar to Ken Miller’s view in Finding Darwin’s God. He argued (if my memory serves me correctly) that that level of free will was required if we could ever choose God. (*cue Calvinism/Arminianism debate :stuck_out_tongue: *)

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Natural evil is also part of God’s plan, in order to stimulate human progress, as Irenaeus and Hick argued.

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God never does evil Himself. He stands behind it indirectly, but He directly stands behind good. The Lord can never be blamed for evil, but evil does not take place apart from His decree. We cannot finally explain how this can be, but the Lord’s ability to ordain evil without being morally responsible for it shows His greatness. He can ordain evil without compromising His character; that is impossible for us to do. Surely, His ways are past finding out. Let us therefore worship Him.

Would that be similar to Lamoureux’ “horrid natural realities”? --so this is not really evil, but something for which we have extreme natural (survival) distaste?

Chaos and evil are not synonymous or the same at all. In fact, chaos is part of the dichotomy of order versus chaos. If you were familiar with the work of Jordan Peterson, you’d know what this means mythologically – order is that which is familiar, what you understand, strict, defined, regulated, etc, whereas chaos is the unknown, creative, that which you confront, etc. Some chaos is in fact evil (like the archetypal devouring mother), but some is good (fertility is mythologically depicted in the realm of chaos, creativity also belongs to this category, etc) and order is not only good – order can just as easily be evil. Concentration camps are ‘order’, the archetype of the tyrannical king in the tower is ‘order’.

Neither order nor chaos are ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and in fact, mythologically speaking, you set out to live the life that has balances the two ‘forces’ (don’t misinterpret that) throughout your life, without either one overtaking the other.

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@Paul_Allen1, Thank you for your comment. I am curious what you would define as evil? Thank you.

You are correct, but I still say that the Israelites believed evil was normal part of the ordered cosmos, which God intended to be. Psalm 78:48-49 states that God uses his angels to send pestilence and war, 1 Samuel 16:14 says that God sends an ‘evil’ spirit to torment Saul, Isaiah 45:7 claims God creates evil.

Maybe people would be more amenable to the idea that God destroys as well as creates. He brings order and he causes chaos. As is his prerogative in his world. “Evil” in many people’s minds has a definite component of cruelty, which would be antithetical to God’s essence as love. Also, we are talking about divine action, not a creative product when we are talking about evil. Evil isn’t made, it’s done. I think that was why Mitchell was seeing when he said:

You are correct, but I still say that the Israelites believed evil was normal part of the ordered cosmos, which God intended to be. Psalm 78:48-49 states that God uses his angels to send pestilence and war, 1 Samuel 16:14 says that God sends an ‘evil’ spirit to torment Saul, Isaiah 45:7 claims God creates evil.

I’m going to point out that you’ve shifted the discussion from your original point. It seems you agree with me about the interpretation of Genesis. Anyways, what do you mean these verses claim God sent an ‘evil’ spirit or created ‘evil’? I’m not familiar with 1 Samuel 16:14 here (perhaps you can enlighten me), but I sure am aware that the only translation that says God creates evil in Isaiah 45:7 is the 17th century KJV. More modern and reliable translations say God creates, not evil, but ‘destruction’ or ‘darkness’;

Isaiah 45:7 (NASB): The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.

There seems to be no problem to me with saying God punishes people with calamities or pestilence. That’s just part and parcel of judging evil people. It’s no worse (as in not bad at all) then what God did when He judged Egypt, or when he exiled His own people during the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions into Israel, etc, etc, etc. And the Day of Judgement is going to be rather brutal for unbelievers, I might add.

Starting with the notion that the ESSENCE of LIFE (i.e. ‘God’, or ‘Source’) is LOVE_and-JOY, which implies that there can ONLY be variations on said ‘code’ or ‘theme’ and nothing else, it follows that what we/anyone defines and so ‘sees’ as being EVIL is at most really ONLY a ‘mistaken’ execution or ‘misdirection’ (i.e. 'perversion) of THAT.

How does one explain things like ‘greed’ and ‘hate’ in that case?

Not as EVIL but, quoting from Chapter 1 of my treatise (I am currently composing Chapter 2) titled, What Jesus REALLY Meant: “To mention some of the more common, ultimately disaster-spawning emotional ‘sinks’ which such [mistaken-n-misdirected] folks are prone to getting sucked into: fear, greed, and hate are essentially just demoniacally warped (by selfishness!) gestalts of insecure, dissatisfied and disappointed Love.”

For those who wish to contemplate ‘the human predicament’ in SUCH ‘light’, in said chapter, I go on to say:

" People who thus, more or less ‘blindly’, not only fail to beneficially seed and nurture but also unduly detract from and unconscionably degrade the quality of Life’s LOVE_and-JOY flow present those of us who wish to holistically optimize and augment said process with troublesome issues to philosophically diagnose and situationally resolve (to whatever extent they may be able to pragmatically do so) as well as with potential impediments to circumnavigate (to whatever extent said issues remain intractable). In either case, the ‘task’ at hand – opportunity for soul maturation, really – being to develop and implement the wisdom ( self-mastery, really) necessary to do so without getting side-tracked (by the temptations of selfishness) from and losing sight of (hence the idea of ‘lost’ souls) LIFE’s indigenous* goal, which is to maximally experience and express Love and Joy in the context of worldly, i.e. multi-nodal, existence.

  • [* “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34)]

I highlight the complexity of the workings of our universal program so readers (or hearers) of this LOVE_and_JOY ‘message’ don’t naively think that just sharing whatever means and avenues to ‘greater’ LOVE-and_JOY they and/or others have personally discovered with everyone will result in the establishment of some kind of utopia. It won’t, anymore, say, than simply ensuring that everyone has a well-paying job or a livable income without one, or similar ‘equal opportunity’ measures, will in and of themselves result in the creation of a harmonious, environmentally sound, “heaven on earth” kind of society. The fact is that souls have to ultimately learn for themselves, by considering the possible relevance (or irrelevance) of their own and others’ observations and experiences and ideational constructions relating thereto, as well as experimentally exploring various hypotheses in said regards, what will and what won’t serve to optimize and augment their and others’ LOVE-and_JOY experience and expression in co-relation to and with one another. Our multiprocessor system set-up is such that, though one may certainly transmit information pertaining to the merits and demerits of various ‘ways’, as well as, to some degree at least, help to open ‘avenues’ whereby others may move ahead and close others whereby they may regress in this regard, and though one may experience spiritual fulfillment oneself in the process of doing so, no one can ever actually ‘see’ or ‘walk’ someone else’s Love and Joy path for him or her!"

God created everything in perfect order. He also gave free will to man.After this He gave man ACOMMAND NOT TO EAT THE FRUIT OF THE TREE OF GOOD AND EVIL. tHIS WAS ATEST OF MAN’S CHARACTER. Man failed and as aresult, man brought all the evil as well as curses upon himself and the entire world. We will not be able to appreciate what good is if there is no evil in the world. We cannot have good without evil. God is not the author of evil. Evil began even before man;s creation when the chief of oall angels rebelled against God out of mere Pride. His pride set up his own fall and the anger and revenge are the sources of evil in the world today.

I reject this kind of thinking utterly. You might test things if you are creating tools and don’t quite know what this takes, so this certainly does not fit with the believe in a knowledgeable competent creator. But life serves no purpose in the creation of tools. Creating life only makes sense if what you seek is a relationship with others, i.e children, and you do not test children in this manner. This god you describe is lacking both competence and moral integrity, and I would never worship such a thing no matter what its threats and promises. Instead I would oppose this monster indistinguishable from the devil with every fiber of my being.

However, it is perfectly natural for a parent to give a commandment like this, “stay out of the street or you will die.” It a necessary part of the process by which you get children to be responsible for their own well being. Parents do not give such commandments in order to test their children but in order to guide them with every hope that the children will do what they are told. Mistakes is a natural part of a child’s learning process, and so making this about obedience is reprehensible. But even though some consequences of disobedience are irreversible, like the child being hit by a car, we do not say they got what they deserved for running into the street. But regardless whatever the parent dictates in response to this is to make things better and certainly not a vindictive reaction to them daring to disobey – a parent who does that belongs in prison.

I certainly agree that the point of this story is to explain how evil came into the world. It came from Adam and Eve and not from some imagined rebellion of the angels. But also do not believe either evil or knowledge comes from a fruit, and I don’t believe eternal life comes from a fruit either. Nothing shouts symbolism in the Bible louder than the names of these two trees. And, by the way, the name of the tree was “tree of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil.” Explaining this name is considerably more difficult since the idea that God would oppose gaining such knowledge is opposed to one of the principle purposes of all the major religions (though I have explained this elsewhere on the forum).

Evil is not necessary in order to appreciate good. Evil is essentially parasitical and cannot exist without good, but good does not require evil.

However, with both good and evil already within us, sometimes we have to have our noses rubbed in evil in order for us to see the need for change and separate ourselves from it.

No, I do not believe this. I reject the book of Enoch and this teaching of a rebellion of the angels before creation. A god who cannot create servants capable of obedience has no business bringing children into this mess which is the result of it.

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