What is the relationship between God and the evil in the world?
Does God actually cause the evil actions of people do? Does then God become the author of sin? Does God approve of sin? Wayne Grudem in ST pp.322-330
These are the questions facing us today in light of the wickedness in this world and most recently the Westgate attack.
1) God uses all things (even evil) to fulfill His divine and holy purposes – so as bring glory to Himself and good to His people (Gen 50:20; Prov. 16:4; Romans 8:28)
Consider the life of Joseph: Gen 50:20
v Joseph’s brother sinned – for they were jealous (Gen 37:11); hated him (37:4, 5, 8); wanted to kill him (37:20); they did wrong to cast him in the pit (37:24) and to sell him to Egyptian slavery (37:28)
v Yet later Joseph said to them, “God sent me before you to preserve your lives” (45:5) and
v Yet they were responsible: “You meant it for evil...” (50:20)
v But God was in it for “God meant it for good…” (50:20)
Here we have the combination of evil deeds brought about by sinful men who are rightfully held accountable for their sin and overriding providential control of God whereby God’s purposes were accomplished.
Consider Pharaoh: Rom. 9:14-24
God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Ex. 4:21) Why? In order to show His power in him so that His name may be proclaimed in all the earth. (Rom. 9:17)
You may also consider:
1. The destruction of the Canaanites during the conquest by Joshua (Josh. 11:20; Judg. 3:12; 9:23)
2. Samson’s demand to marry a Philistine woman (Judg. 14:4)
3. David sin of conducting the census (2 Sam. 24:1-17; cf. 1Chron 21:1)
4. The Story of Job (Job 1:12-22)
5. God put lying spirit in the mouths of Ahab’s prophets (1Kings 22:23)
2) God never does evil and is never blamed for evil
Consider the Lord Jesus Christ: Acts 2:23; 4:27-28
When the Jews joined against Christ it was exactly as per God’s “definite plan and foreknowledge”(2:23) so that all they did was “whatever God’s hand and plan had predestined to take place” and so accomplishing God’s purpose!
Jesus Himself combined the predestination of God for Him to be crucified with the actions of men: See Luke 22:22
In terms of the woes or evil in the world this Christ said they are going to be there, but “woe to the man by whom tell the come” (Matt. 18:7)
v James warns us against blaming God for the temptations we experience – James 1:13-14
3) God rightfully blames and judges moral creatures fro the evil they do
The blame for evil is always on the responsible creature whether man or devil and the creature responsible deserves the just punishment of God. God us just and righteous to punish evil and sin.
v He blames sinners for choosing their own ways Isaiah 66:3-4
v This is because He made man upright, but man willingly does evil, without Him coercing them since He created a responsible being as opposed to a killer lion like the infamous Man-eater of Tsavo. See Ecc. 7:29
v If you ask, why does God blame us for evil, the answer is in Rom. 9:19-20
4) Evil is real, not an illusion, and we should never do evil, for it will always harm us and others
The bible consistently warns us against doing evil and threats of punishment are clear. We are to seek to correct and bring back those engaging in evil, abandoning the truth (James 5:19-20) and also to oppose those who do it. So we pray that God may deliver us from evil (Matt. 6:13).
We must never forget that there are things that right for God to do as He is sovereign that are evil and wrong for us to do. Therefore He reserves the right to use evil to accomplish good purposes but He does not permit us to do so! A parent can use a sharp knife but will not permit his child to use it. (H. Bavinck)
5) We do not understand how it is that a Holy God ordains that His creatures do evil deeds and yet hold them accountable for them and not be blame Himself.
We do not know exactly how this works with God and so we have to content with this problem remaining a secret for us and only belonging to the Lord our God (Deut. 29:29).
Why does God bring evil?
v To discipline His own people
v To lead unbelievers to repentance
v To bring judgment
How then will all work out for God’s glory and man’s good?
v God’s purposes will be accomplished
v God’s power, justice and holiness will be demonstrated
v Men’s eternity is sorted
v Sin is punished
- The Mystery of Providence &
- All things for Good