MONDAY MINUTES With Pastor Chris McCool (October 26, 2020)

One of the primary arguments against the existence of God that is advanced by many atheists concerns the existence of evil in the world. The argument goes something like this: If God truly exists, and He is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnibenevolent (all-good), then why does evil also exist in the world?

At the outset, let me make this disclaimer: this argument is a philosophical argument that would take hours to deal with from a philosophical perspective, and quite frankly it is not primarily my job as a pastor to philosophize, but rather to preach. Moreover, I will not be able to alter anyone’s thinking in a few paragraphs in this devotion. However, there ARE some basic assumptions about God and His relationship to evil that underpin this argument, so what I CAN do is try to set forth a proper understanding of the biblical position on this relationship. Perhaps by looking at what the Bible actually says about God and evil, we can at least come to a deeper understanding about where evil comes from, and how God deals with it.

In this post, my purpose is to demonstrate that God is NOT the creator or originator of evil. Some theological camps promote the idea that God created Satan as he is today, and that therefore the devil is “God’s devil.” Nothing could be farther from the truth! We certainly believe that God created all things (Gen. 1, John 1); however, God did NOT create all things as they exist today. In regard to the Devil, this means that God did NOT create the devil AS the devil; rather, in the wise words of Elder Sonny Pyles, “God created that which BECAME the devil!” That is, the being that God created was not originally wicked and evil, but rather was created as an angel – one that apparently had special duties regarding earth – but who later was lifted up in pride and was therefore cast down (see Ezek. 28:11-19; Luke 10:18; Jude 6). Satan fell through pride, and brought temptation into the Garden of Eden.

This brings us to an extremely crucial point: it was not God Who brought sin and death into the world, but rather Adam. When Adam ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he died just like God said he would (Gen. 2:17). His physical death was protracted (he ultimately lived to be 930 years according to scripture), but his spiritual death was instantaneous – he and his wife were immediately separated from God! And according to the Apostle Paul, “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin,” and thus began the cycle of evil, sin, and death that continues until this day (Rom. 5:12-21). Thus, according the to Bible, evil originated NOT with God but rather with man through the temptation of Satan.

Adam was created in the image of God, and thus he possessed a true “free will”: Adam, unlike his progeny, was able to freely choose to honor and serve God, or freely choose to disobey and dishonor Him. He was our perfect representative, chosen by God to be the federal head of the human race, but he exercised his free will to sin against God. The consequence of this was that evil entered into the world, and immediately began to be manifest in the actions of Adam’s descendants – the very first generation after Adam committed the most heinous of sins (murder) (Gen. 4), and ultimately things got so bad that God poured out His wrath on the earth in a world-wide flood (Gen. 6). More importantly, Adam’s descendants lost the “free will” that Adam possessed, and instead became indentured to their nature – only AFTER being born again does any of Adam’s race have the ability to choose to serve and please God. Prior to the new birth, all righteousnesses. are as “filthy rags.” (Isa. 64:6; 1 Cor. 2:14).

No, my friends, God is not the creator of evil! In fact, He is the great Enemy of evil! God hates sin and wickedness so much that He did something about it: He sent His Son to pay the sin debt for His people. If you ever wonder how much God hates sin (evil), take a look at the Cross: if He EVER were to overlook sin (evil), wouldn’t it be in order to spare His beloved Son from the Cross? But Jesus came to die – He HAD to die – to put away sin (evil) so that we can be with Him in heaven.

And Jesus did just that on the Cross: He saved His people from their sins (Mat. 1:21). Praise God, when He cried out, “It is finished’ (John 19:30), Jesus meant what He said! Every single sin of every single one of His children had been paid for, and each one of the precious children that He died for were assured of an eternity in Heaven.

What is God’s relationship to evil? He did NOT create it; in fact He hates it! And one day He will return to set things right by taking us to our true Home, where there is no sin, no hurt, no pain, no evil. I look forward to that wonderful day!

May the Lord bless you today and every day.

Pastor Chris McCool