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Question of the Week 4 - If God didn't create evil, where did it come from?

Breakpoint Parents Guide 1

 

 The answer presented from BreakPoint is: Evil exists because of humankind's refusal to accept the good that God offers. God is not responsible for evil. We are. . . . The biblical answer to evil is not that God created human beings intrinsically flawed or sinful or incapable of choosing the good but rather that evil entered and marred that good creation. . . . [T]he universe God made was good and that a traumatic, ruinous, cataclysmic, disruptive change took place when sin entered as a result of humanity's choice to rebel against God's authority. Our choice threw creation out of joint. It distorted and disfigured the work, bringing in death and destruction.

The point in this argument is that God created man and that because man, with that gift of reason given to man by God, decided to sin then man not God is responsible for evil. This convoluted argument is similar to that in the earlier answer about did God created evil? God created something, man, that willfully decided to do something that God had said should not be done (eat from a particular tree) and so evil now exists.

The passing of responsibility for evil from God to man is rather interesting. This does not conform to the Biblical story of the origin of evil and the behavior of man. The following excerpts are from the King James Version of the Bible.

Genesis 2:9, And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 3:1-5, Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?  And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Adam and Eve ate the fruit and then they realized they were naked. Before eating the fruit they did not know evil and good but after eating it they did. What an amazing fruit! (This means beforehand they were unable to reason, to discern any moral values. If they were unable to reason, the mythical Adam and Eve must have been mentally incapacitated in some manner. This makes no sense if they were truly human beings, not a caveman and cavewoman of thousands of years ago. This is obviously a mythical story. What is unclear is whether there could be any historical events that have been passed on by our ancestors within this odd story. Several verses in Genesis refer to the gods, plural not singular. God is clearly talking to Adam and Eve, even walking among them. In this story the supernatural God has taken a physical form.)

After God discovered that Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit, he became angry and banished them from Eden.

Genesis 3:22-23, And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

The Biblical story is rather interesting, especially as it relates to the BreakPoint article above. This is the sequence of events recorded in Genesis:

1) God created Eden with the many trees including a tree of life and a tree of knowledge of good and evil.
2) God created man and He also created the serpent.
3) The serpent’s sales pitch to Eve was that eating the fruit of the forbidden tree will open her eyes and she will be like a god, knowing good and evil.
4) After Adam and Eve ate the fruit, God was angry, that man became ‘one of us’, knowing good and evil. Clearly, God already knew of good and evil but somehow, according to this mythical story, eating from this tree of knowledge enabled Adam and Eve to learn of the same.
5) God banished Adam and Eve from Eden so that they would not try to eat from the other forbidden tree, which would allow them to live forever.

Clearly evil existed before man. Man came to learn of evil after being tempted by the serpent, another creature created by God. Since the coaxing by the serpent lead to the eating of the forbidden fruit, a person could suggest that Adam and Eve would not have eaten that fruit but for the serpent. If the serpent had not been placed in Eden by God, Adam and Eve would have been fine. The Biblical world view often mentions a master plan. It would seem that God intended this outcome because He would have known that Eve would have listened to the serpent.

God is clearly the source of evil when reading the Bible.

However, ignoring the Bible, it must be recognized that good and evil will always be present in our lives. There cannot be good without evil.

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_Week4.htm)


created - Dec. 2004
last change - 12/31/2004
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