A Philosophical/Theological Commentary
Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that “God” actually exists.
Let us, then, go back in time; to the dawn of time; on a hypothetical journey to the time before time even began; to that time referred to in Scripture as “In the beginning.”
At a certain point during our imaginary journey into preexistence, we will come across God deep in thought mulling over the idea of creating the very universe in which we humans now reside.
A blink of an eye later and we will witness God begin the process of devising and creating the material and immaterial substances that will comprise the theist view of a super-Intelligently designed, perfectly engineered, and lovingly-created cosmos.
At an intensely critical juncture during this process, and armed with the supernatural foreknowledge of the catastrophic results that the creation of evil will bring about, God, nevertheless, will proceed to use his own free-will to not only conceive, design, and create a perfect form of evil in all its vulgar manifestations, but deliberately do so, and then move on to unleash it upon hapless, defenseless, man without mercy—when he had the option not to.
Now what could possibly be more evil?
The answer? There can be NO greater evil in all of existence than the Creator of evil. End of story. _Greywolf’s* 1st Dictum
Mainstream Christianity’s Viewpoint
In the preceding section we took an imaginary excursion into preexistence from the viewpoint of an atheist watching a supposed God “invent” evil. But that is not how most Christians surmise evil came into being.
By chance, I came across an editorial titled The Origin of Evil and Suffering in a mainstream evangelical magazine recently.** The author asks, then answers, the question of where evil and suffering originated. His response is very typical of Christian publications dealing with this issue. Let us, then, explore the author’s analysis and see from where mainstream Christians are led to believe evil originated.
In a subsection titled “Where and how did evil begin.” the author immediately begins by quoting Jesus; citing John 8:44:
“[He was] a murderer from the beginning” adding that “[He is] a liar and the father of lies.” The author then goes on to say, “Here Jesus identifies the origin of evil and suffering, a being who initiated lying, deceit, hatred and murder—the enemy, the adversary of mankind, the devil” [Lucifer].”
And in his summation the author concludes with the words: “He [Lucifer the Devil]] was the first criminal, a being whose mind and thinking grew corrupt, twisted and perverse. He introduced evil into the world. Humanity has struggled against evil ever since.”
“He introduced evil into the world,” this editorial writer categorically says of Lucifer, that he was perfect until iniquity arose from within him. But from where, dare we ask, did this iniquity originate? And how could “inequity” enter into a being created “perfect” by a God? From where did Lucifer derive the substance that makes up evil? And how could Lucifer have possibly “introduced” evil anywhere without God’s “blessing”? Just how would that have been accomplished within the confines of God’s perfectly created existence?
Is this not effectively declaring that God created one astoundingly imperfect “perfect” being?
Fact is, the author’s conclusion can hardly be correct if viewed from a biblical perspective. For Isaiah 45:7 states directly that God creates/created evil! (And other translation attempts to tone it down by translating “Rah” as simply “woe” does not account for moral evil which we all know actually exists.)
John 1:3 declares that God made everything in existence that exists. And Colossians 1:16 proclaims this includes everything both seen and unseen. These are ultra-critical scriptural passages dealing with the origin of evil that the writer simply ignores. And not only he, but countless other Christian exegetes struggling in their attempts to pinpoint the origin of evil; apparently finding God being the author of evil too unpalatable to even contemplate: hence the placing of blame squarely on Lucifer.
The bible cannot make it more plain, however: the God Jesus created evil. And through the vehicle of our imaginary journey into preexistence made in the first half of this article, we find God did so deliberately; with the free-will not to. There is no escaping this conclusion if one is going to insist the bible is inerrant. And there is no exonerating God from obvious malfeasance and “sinful” conduct simply because He is “God” either. For even God believes evil to be abhorrently evil himself—if one accepts that the bible is truly the divine word of God.
The Free-Will Argument
There are those within the Christian community, of course, who readily accept God created evil. But they insist that He did so as part of a divine plan we humans have no right to moralize over or contest. These God-created-evil believing Christians maintain that God did not want to simply create mindless human robots or zombies with no capacity for freedom of choice. So he bestowed a “gift” to mankind; that gift being “free-will”; the ability to say “No” to evil; and, thus, the gift to be truly human.
There are, however, inherent problems with this “gift” to mankind:
● The very act of creating evil is, in itself, a malevolently evil act. It is an evil endeavor to deliberately create evil and thus impossible for a being perfect in love, mercy, and goodness to undertake.
● God had the ability to endow mankind with the free-will, the freedom of choice to do anything — excepting just two choices: the ability to think or do evil.
● God had the ability to instantly destroy evil once He recognized it for what it was but chose not to do so. What does that tell one about the moral character of God?
I bring up this last point because it has been, and continues to be, the ultimate aim of every single Christian who has ever taken a breath of air on planet earth to end up in God’s heaven in the hereafter. And what is the singular most attractive draw about entering God’s heaven apart from eternal life and happiness? That’s right! The absence of evil.
God is set to eradicate every trace of evil once and for all at some future date, we are told. But does that not then beg the question as to why God created evil in the first place? For does that not mean that heaven will be comprised of nothing but mindless robots, mindless zombies worshiping God in incomprehensible bliss for all eternity? Or are all of God’s people “upstairs” going to still “enjoy” having the free-will to think and do evil?
Why create Evil in the first place? I’d ask his Godness, if he were real. Why not truly have heaven here on earth minus all the agony, anguish, suffering, and misery evil entails? “Why put your “children” though such unspeakable torture when you didn’t have to?,” I’d ask his “Holy” Almightiness. Why be so monstrously sadistic?
We are not to question God on such matters, say the Christians. Okay. Then explain why anyone in their right mind would love, worship, and adore such a fiendish creature with all their heart and soul?, I respectfully ask. We atheists are all ears. Well, at least this one is.
So does that mean that I believe in the existence of a God that is evil? Hardly. There is no more proof that an evil God exists than an infinitely good one does. (But if I were forced to pick which one has the closest chance to being “real”, I think the reader can guess which God I think has a distinct edge.)
Greywolf’s 1st Dictum: There can be no greater evil in all of existence than the Creator of Evil. (Assuming such a Creature actually exists, of course.) The conscious, deliberate, act of creating evil is, in itself, inherently evil. End of story. Most theists, then, actually worship and adore the Creator of evil – albeit in a roundabout, unwitting way. Ironic, to say the very least, I submit. Or am I off-base here?
Greywolf’s 2nd Dictum: If if happened, God wanted it to. If He didn’t, it would never have happened.(Assuming such a Creature actually exists, of course.) Note: This would include every human tragedy, every evil to befall man. Would it not? – A sobering conclusion that needs to be honestly addressed by every brave, uncompromising, free thinking mind in search of the truth.
** Ashley, Scott. “The Origin of Evil and Suffering” The Good News: A Magazine of Understanding Vol. 4, 3May/June 1999 Web.3 Jul 2009. <http://www.gnmagazine.org/issues/gn22/editorialorigin.htm>.