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Wordwise Insight, Issue #133
September 14, 2015


BIBLE INSIGHTS (and Reader Q & A): Did God create evil?

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God and Evil

QUESTION: Please explain Isaiah 45:7. Why did God create evil?

ANSWER: Thank you for an excellent question. To answer it (at least as far as is humanly possible with our limited knowledge) I need to deal with several points.

1) First, there's the reference you mention. It says, in the Authorized Version (the old King James Version), "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

The Hebrew word translated "evil" there, by the KJV, is ra. It has a number of meanings. Sometimes it can refer to moral evil (wickedness). But many other times it is better translated by such words as trouble, disaster, or adversity. In Isaiah 45:7, the New King James (NKJV) has "calamity," the New International Version (NIV) has "disaster."

In other words, the word does not necessarily have a moral content. It can simply mean something painful or unpleasant. In Psalm 112:7, the same Hebrew word (ra) is used when the writer says that the one who trusts in the Lord will not be afraid of "evil [ra] tidings"–in other words, he won't be afraid of bad news, distressing news.

This helps us understand Isaiah 45:7. God is saying that there are times when He blesses His people with many good things, but other times when He brings trouble upon them, as a chastening for sin. Notice vs. 9 in the context: "Woe to him who strives with his Maker." If we fight against God, or rebel against Him, we can expect trouble. He will discipline the wayward person. But that is not sin on God's part. His discipline is an evidence of His love (Heb. 12:5-7).

2) The Bible is overwhelmingly clear that a righteous, holy God does not, and cannot do what is morally evil. Here are a few passages that relate to that. "You are not ...

(To read the remainder of this article, click on God and Evil.)


Come and Pay Us a Visit!

I have developed a blog that is called Wordwise Hymns. As the title suggests, it is about hymns, and church music in general.

But as many of you will know, a blog is especially designed to facilitate a conversation on its particular subject. Readers can easily post comments about what they see, and I'm able to reply. I hope you will take part in the discussion!

Through 2010, almanac entries dealt with what happened in hymn history on each day of the year. Beginning in 2011, I hope to analyze hymns from a biblical standpoint, linking to the material that has come before.

My hope is that the blog will add to the value of the website and this newsletter, and promote some profitable exchanges on the subject of sacred music.

What happened on this day in hymnology? To find out, click Wordwise Hymns.

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