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Question of the Week - Did God create evil?

Breakpoint Parents Guide 1

The BreakPoint answer provided (but link is lost):
The answer must be no. God did not create evil. The absolute goodness of God is a first principle of Christian thinking.

What is evil? I believe most people would agree that killing another person is very evil. However, if I fall asleep while driving and the car subsequently kills other people, maybe even passengers in my car, we would consider this a tragic accident but not necessarily evil. The distinction between an evil action and just an accident is whether the act was willful. If I intentionally drive my car into a crowd to kill people that is evil.

The determination of evil rests on the decision to perform the action. An evil action is typically one that harms another human being.

The related question here is: what is good? I believe that most people would agree that sharing with another person is good. However, if another person retrieves something from my garbage that is considered neither good nor sharing. The difference is whether the action was willful.

The determination of good rests on the decision to perform the action. A good action is typically one that benefits another human being. Sharing is considered a good action when the person has a choice - either to share with another or not to share, keeping whatever to one’s self - and the decision is to share. There is an obvious correlation between these standards for good and evil - both are based on the conscious decision to perform the action.

Having established a very simple baseline for good and evil, did God create it?

The Biblical world view implies God created the universe that follows His master plan. In this master plan, God created many things, including people. In the Biblical world view, God will intervene in the usual human affairs, based on prayer and other circumstances.

People possess an intellect. From this intelligence comes reason, the capability of making a decision based on the circumstances and one’s values. Animals possess a brain but are not considered to possess reason; their actions are based on just learned behavior or inherent behaviors called instinct.

The dilemma presented in the Biblical world view is the concept of the master plan - where God is all-powerful and He knows everything. Does a person’s decision to perform good or evil rest on the human’s reason or does it occur just because it is in God’s plan? In the Biblical world view, both causes of evil are God. In the first case, God created mankind, which can do evil (or good) so God created evil. (In another BreakPoint article, mankind is considered inherently evil). In the second case, all actions follow God’s plan so God planned for such evil events.

If the same rules for determining good or evil in human behavior are applied to God then God is also evil. There are Biblical stories of death and destruction, such as the Deluge where only Noah and his family are saved or the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah where two cities are destroyed except for Lot and his family. These actions are not accidents but are described as decisions by God to kill people for their disobedience.

In a practical sense, there cannot be good without evil. Good is identified in relation to evil and one cannot exist without the other. Similarly there cannot be light without darkness, up without down, left without right. For there to be no evil, human reason would have to be eliminated so that a person could not choose to perform something evil. In so breaking the human spirit, a person would also lose the ability to choose to do good.

The BreakPoint web site offered a number of columns that present the Biblical world view by a Christian fundamentalist. A number of responses are presented by the Breakpoint Topic Group. This topic was in response to the Parent’s Guide Part 1 group in the Breakpoint site.
The original link in case the article ever returns to Breakpoint:

(http://www.pfm.org/Content/ContentGroups/BreakPoint/Columns/ Worldview_for_Parents/200311/Question_of_the_Week.htm)

created - Dec. 2004
last change - 12/30/2004
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