Why Evil Exists

In our consideration of this topic we have first of all to establish what 'evil' is. The fact that there is evil in the world is not disputed but from where or from whom does it come?

"I form the light and create darkness. I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things." (Isaiah 45:7)

This shows that evil is created, or brought about, by God. There is a difference between 'evil' and 'sin'. Sin is brought about by man as shown in James 1:13-15:

"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God for god cannot be tempted of evil neither tempteth he any man. But man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. And when lust hath conceived it  bringeth forth sin and sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

Also, in Romans 5:12:

"Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned."

Therefore, sin comes from inside us. It is our fault that we sin. We are all descended from Adam and have inherited our sinful nature. God brings evil, or disaster, into people's lives. Let us look at a few examples:

"Shall there be evil in a city and the Lord hath not done it?" (Amos 3:4)

"But evil came down from the Lord unto the gate of Jerusalem." (Micah 1:12)

Job was a very faithful man and yet 'evil' or disaster came to him. He said:

"Shall we receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil."

The 'evil' that came to Job was the loss of everything he possessed, including his family.

"And they bemoaned him [Job] and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him." (Job 42:11)

God is the source of, and permits, all problems and disasters (evil) but Job's attitude was this:

"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."   (Job 1:21)

We think of the many disasters in the world - famines, earthquakes, disasters of air, land and sea, floods, disease, etc. Yes, God does use them all to achieve His purpose and to encourage spiritual growth in those who acknowledge Him. "Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth..." (Hebrews 12:6) and the succeeding verses outline where it takes us..."it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness."

Now let us consider the evil deeds done by man - violence, muggings, theft, speaking ill, lying, deceiving, etc. Such a list is found in Romans 1:28-32 and the end result is outlined in Romans 2:7-8:

"To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life. But unto them who are contentious and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil."
"For from within out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication, murders, thefts, covetousness, uncleanness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile the man."   (Mark 7:21)

Such evil comes from following the desires of our sinful nature. Evil has malice and forethought and the punishment for evil is death.

"You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil. With you the wicked cannot dwell ...for surely Lord you bless the righteous." (Psalm 5:4,12 NIV)

God hates evil and delights in righteousness.

Let us summarise our findings:

  1. God brings about evil (disaster).
  2. Sin comes from inside man as a result of our sinful nature inherited from Adam.
  3. Disasters are brought about to encourage spiritual growth.
  4. Man's evil deeds are not pleasing to God. They come from within man and result in death.
  5. God has shown us a better way - the way of righteousness.

Psalm 37 is a wonderful description of the contrast between good and evil:

"Turn from evil and do good. Then you will dwell in the land for ever." (v.27)

In this article we've tried to show what the Bible says about this topic - please apply for our Learn to Read the Bible Effectively Course so that you can do this for yourself with other topics.

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