This might be a tough pill to swallow. Let’s see how to get there.
Today I invoke heaven and earth as a witness against you that I have set life and death, blessing and curse, before you. Therefore choose life so that you and your descendants may live!
Deut 30:19 (NET)
Choose Life! Fairly blunt. Also in this verse is the concept of blessing and the curse, life and death.
What we are going to discuss here goes something like this: where did Life come from? Well, from God of course, you would say. Where did death come from? You pause. Some can actually say “from God” and others will say that it is the opposite of Life; that death is something that came when the devil tempted Adam and Eve and got them to sin, to twist and dement Life.
Another question would be to look at “blessing and the curse.”. Or perhaps we could ask about goodness and evil. Where did they come from? Goodness? From God, of course. Easy. Evil? Big pause. It is the absence of Good. It is Good twisted and demented.
I’m going to coin the term “contrary existence” to refer to such teachings that God created light, and contrary to that is darkness. It teaches that darkness is the absence of light. In other words, darkness exists only because there are places that the created light is not. It is defined to be something that simply exists as the antithesis, and absence, of that which was created. In other words things that were not created by God or otherwise.
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was without shape and empty, and darkness was over the surface of the watery deep, but the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the water.
Gen 1:1-2 (NET)
So from this we see that God created the framework for what is: the heavens and the earth. Darkness exists at this point. It does not exist strictly contrary to light, since light does not yet exist. This leaves us two possibilities: (1) when God created the heavens and the earth He created them in a created darkness; or (2) darkness existed prior to the creation of the heavens and the earth. If we choose the second then we must ask: who created the darkness? Scripture tells us that God created everything:
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, 16 for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him – all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers – all things were created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him.
Col 1:15-17 (NET)
Jesus is God. And “by Him all things were created.” Note: all things. Everything. God created everything that exists. He created light and He created darkness. Oh, you say, but darkness is just the absence of light. Let me get silly for a second: God created a brick. What is the absence of a brick? Well, you say, there is no such thing as the absence of a brick! Exactly! God did not create such a thing. But there is the absence of light: it is called darkness. And darkness is something – it is a thing. And how many things were created by God? All of them. All things, including darkness.
Another way to look at it is this: how many things did God not create? Well, scripture tells us that He created all things, so that doesn’t leave anything that He did not create. Colossians puts to rest the concept that something, anything, exists that He did not create. It is just that simple.
Another thing that would be said to be such a contrary existence would be the curse – said to exist where the blessing is absent.
This simply is not scriptural. Let’s take a look again at the Colossians verses just discussed. He is the creator of all things. All things, visible and invisible, in heaven and on earth, everything; it was all created by Him. Is the curse a thing, visible or invisible, in heaven or on earth? If so, then it was created by Him.
But that would mean evil was created by Him, you would say.
So who do you think created evil? Did the devil? No, the devil is not a creative being, my friend. He cannot create something that does not exist and make it exist. No, this idea simply does not stand up to biblical scrutiny. And we see from Colossians (and Isaiah 40:26, Ephesians 3:9, Revelation 4:11 to name just a few) that God (Jesus) created all things. All. What does ‘all’ leave out, my brothers and sisters? ‘All’ is pretty inclusive of, well, everything.
Need more proof?
5 I am the Lord, I have no peer, there is no God but me. I arm you for battle, even though you do not recognize me. 6 I do this so people will recognize from east to west that there is no God but me; I am the Lord, I have no peer. 7 I am the one who forms light and creates darkness; the one who brings about peace and creates calamity. I am the Lord, who accomplishes all these things. 8 O sky, rain down from above! Let the clouds send down showers of deliverance! Let the earth absorb it so salvation may grow, and deliverance may sprout up along with it. I, the Lord, create it. 9 One who argues with his creator is in grave danger, one who is like a mere shard among the other shards on the ground! The clay should not say to the potter, “What in the world are you doing? Your work lacks skill!”
Isa 45:5-9 (NET)
God is the only God. He created (v7) light and darkness, peace and calamity. “I, the Lord, have created it” (v8). He made it all. Let’s look at it in the Amplified Bible:
“I make peace [national well-being] and I create [physical] evil (calamity);”
Isa 45:7 (Amp)
The CEV says “happiness and sorrow.” The word in the Hebrew is ‘רע’ or ra’, rah. The literal meaning is as follows:
רע (ra’, rah)
– bad or (as noun) evil (natural or moral); affliction, bad, calamity, distress, evil, grief, sorrow, wicked (-ness), trouble.
In the Hebrew verse 7 tells us that God created not only darkness but He also created evil.
Now I know that some who read this are shaking their heads and saying: “No. Evil is the twisting of Good.”. God is good and cannot touch or have created evil. They say that the devil demented what God made as good and made it good for nothing.
But there is absolutely no scriptural support for this. Scripture clearly tells us that God creates darkness (and we’ve shown it existed prior to light) and it tells us here that God created bad or evil or calamity or wickedness. (It never tells us that He wields evil, just that He created it.)
Let me return to my example of a brick. There is no opposite of a brick. Doesn’t make sense. This is because God did not create the possibility for an opposite for a brick. Further, let me ask you to turn a brick into a loaf of bread. You can’t. Why? Because when God created a brick He did not give a path or possibility for that brick to be converted to a loaf of bread. This is an impossible path. If we, or the devil, wanted to make this twist, this demented move, we couldn’t; it simply is not a possible path.
When we see this in the context that God created everything, all things, each and every thing, then there is no other conclusion. When we acknowledge that the devil is not a creative being and could not have created evil, then there is no other conclusion. And when we admit that we cannot turn something into another thing that God did not allow a path for, a created end for, then there is no other conclusion.
God did not make a path for Good to be changed. We only have choice to choose what already exists. And what exists is only what God created to exist.
And finally I want to return to the truth that scripture clearly states that God created evil. I am not coming to some form of deductive or inductive conclusion. It clearly and emphatically says this in Isaiah 45:7.
And the reason that God created it is simple: choice. Go back to the first verse I quoted, Deuteronomy 30:19. God says “I set life and death before you. I set blessing and the curse before you.”
That simple. He didn’t wait for the devil to create or dement good so that He, God, could set it before you. No. God created it for a purpose: your choice. He gave you a free will to choose between good and evil, and ultimately to choose Him, through His Son, Jesus Christ. If all there was before you was good, then the choice would be a no brainer. In fact, it wouldn’t be a choice at all.
God wanted you to choose. So He created a world of juxtaposing choices, of good and of bad, of blessing and of the curse. He created it so that you have a choice to make. And then He steps in and gives you the answer to the open book test: Choose Life.