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To know the purpose of evil is the question that confounds the wise, but it can be known and to this end is the paper written, declaring the sovereignty of the Lord our God. We can indeed know the purpose of evil.
I should be aware that countless papers and books have been written, countless debates and discussions engaged, and countless questions have been asked in our history about the purpose of evil. No doubt there have been many answers and conclusions. I think that the most prominent conclusion has been that we cannot truly understand or know. This conclusion is a false one.
Evil was there before the fall of Adam and Eve.
Isn’t it written that while it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, it is the honor of men to search these things out (Proverbs 25:2)? I have not found out the answers of my own power; instead, in my searching, He has decided to give them to me, and I am eager to write these things for others so they can be edified and comforted. Of course, only those to whom it is given will understand and rejoice.
The standard doctrine of men goes that evil is there because man chose to sin, with the fall of Adam and Eve. But evil was there before the Fall, else how could there have been the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? The doctrine continues, contradicting itself, saying, “There was evil before the Fall, when the serpent was cast out of Heaven.”
But was the serpent cast out of Heaven before creation? In Genesis 3:1, it says, “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.” The serpent was created on the sixth day, so how could the serpent have been in Heaven to begin with, much less kicked out, before creation?
The argument continues: “Well, Satan was cast out and entered the serpent to take vengeance on God for kicking him out, by causing man to fall!” (This is guesswork, speculation, and the stuff of fables and fairytales for children.)
Was Satan cast out of Heaven before the Fall? Do we not read in Job 1 that Satan was among the sons of God in Heaven, who were presenting themselves before the Lord? Was not Job after the Fall? And how is it that Satan was permitted access after being cast out? These arguments simply do not wash.
Jesus said Satan was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44).
Furthermore, the Scriptures refer to Satan as the serpent, and not just as one who entered or used a serpent.
Another point: Jesus said, “I saw Satan, as lightning, fall from Heaven” (Luke 10:18). Was He referring to a time before the Fall? Was He not rejoicing at a present happening as His disciples, by faith, were preaching the good news, healing, casting out devils, and working miracles? Satan’s power was being effectively challenged in a way it never had been before. For this cause Jesus came, to destroy the works of the Devil (1 John 3:8).
Satan had never been a “good angel.” He was created on the sixth day of creation, and he was created the way he was. Jesus said he was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). Some say that Satan is Lucifer and Lucifer is Satan. Please read Isaiah 14, where alone is mentioned the name Lucifer, and see that the name refers to a man, not an angel.
The point is that there was evil before the Fall, which was not because of Satan rebelling. Read The Origin and Identity of Satan.
Now, if there was evil, and there was, and it was not because of a creature that introduced it, then it would have been God Who created it with purpose. After all, creatures do not create, they are created. The Creator creates. He is the One by Whom all things are made, and for Whom all things are made (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17). That includes evil.
“God created evil?!” you may exclaim. “Blasphemy! Heresy! God is a good God; He is Love! He would never ever create evil!” Yes, He would, and did, and does. Again, how does one explain the presence of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in a pristine garden? Who put it there? Who created it? The Creator did, of course.
“Yes, but that was only the knowledge of evil, not evil itself!” one may argue. Oh? Would God have given the knowledge of something that did not exist? Was it only the knowledge of good as well?
Man chooses to believe that his Creator would only do good to him, never evil.
No, God created both good and evil. Isaiah prophesied: “I am the LORD, and there is none else; forming the light and creating darkness; making peace and creating evil. I the LORD do all these things” (Isaiah 45:6-7).
This notion that God created only good while Satan introduced evil is nowhere substantiated in Scripture. Man has conceived such a notion because he cannot bear to accept that his Creator, God of all, would do such a thing. He chooses to believe that his Creator would only do good to him, never evil.
It is like children who prefer to believe that their parents would never spank or discipline them. Well, good parents do discipline their children; they do give their children that which their children do not want. God has ordained it that way because God Himself is that way.
Children view discipline of any form as evil, and men count the chastening of the Lord as evil. Did not Job fear these things? Did he not count those things which befell him as evil? Yes, he did. He exclaimed to his wife: “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil too?” (Job 2:10)
Now if God created evil as well as good, why did He do so? The Book of Job demonstrates the answer quite clearly. He did so as a necessity in His wisdom for the perfection of His creation. Evil is an integral part of everything. The Scripture says He made us subject to vanity (Romans 8:20).
How can we know hot without cold, positive without negative, light without darkness, right without wrong? We cannot know one without the other. It is the law of relativity. It is the law of opposites.
Job had only known his own righteousness, and he walked in it wholeheartedly. Evil was brought upon him, by God’s direction, through Satan, God’s servant for evil, to lead Job to a higher level, to another righteousness, the only one of true value, God’s righteousness.
Jesus learned obedience from the evil He suffered.
Job’s life was a classic allegory, a vivid demonstration of what each of us must experience in our own way and time, to whatever degree. Yes, we must experience evil to know good. That was the purpose of the Fall.
Now you may ask, “Why would there be need for correction if there were no evil in the first place?” But we read that even the Son of God, Jesus Christ Himself, the Pattern Son without sin, learned obedience by the things He suffered at the hands of men. He was constantly persecuted by the Jews, and with purpose. He learned obedience from the evil He suffered.
When someone trains a horse, that horse goes through a period of discipline against its own will. Jesus had His own will, separate from the Father’s. He had no sin; He did not choose against the Father’s will, but He learned obedience – He learned to submit His will to the Father’s – by suffering (Hebrews 5:8). He suffered at the hands of men who were given to do evil to Him.
About the things he suffered at their hands, Joseph said to his brothers, “You meant it for evil but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20). Joseph learned obedience by the things he suffered. The things he suffered were the design of God, not Satan.
When Jesus stood before Pilate, and Pilate asked Him, “Do you not know that I have power to execute you?” Jesus replied, “No man can have power except it be given from above” (John 19:10-11). So Pilate’s power to do evil was given him by God, and Pilate heeded the demand of the Jews and turned Jesus over to be crucified.
Was that evil? Yes, it was. Was it necessary? Yes, it was. Whose idea was it? Satan’s or God’s? When Peter stood up to speak at Pentecost, he said:
“Men, Israelites, hear these words. Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by powerful works, and wonders, and miracles, which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know, this One given to you by the before-determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken and by lawless hands, crucifying Him, you put Him to death” (Acts 2:22-23).
God is sovereign; all things are in His hands, evil included.
Now seeing that God created evil – seeing He purposed it in His wisdom, telling us explicitly that all He had created was good (Genesis 1) – we know that we can give Him credit for evil. Don’t blame me for what the Bible teaches. If you don’t believe it, do evil and throw away your Bible. Or do even more evil and believe and teach that the Bible doesn’t teach what It does. By misrepresenting what the Bible teaches, you will be serving Satan, His servant for evil.
Or do good, believe the Scriptures, and rejoice in the Lord. Why? Because you know that He is sovereign, that He rules over all things, and that all things are in His hands, evil included. How else could Paul exhort us, saying, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)?
This is the wonderful truth, the emancipating truth. My God is big, and I mean much bigger than the one (small “o”) of whom (small “w”) they teach in the nominal “Christian” populace. The god they worship in nominal “Christendom” is a fake, a counterfeit, a loser, a poor concoction of the carnal mind, which supposes to take the place of its Creator by devising a different god. How does substituting man’s corrupt conception of God for Him, the Truth, benefit you? It doesn’t.
Either evil is there because it is necessary, and therefore created by God, or it is an aberration of creation, brought in by rebels, messing up at least 90% of mankind permanently, as the false teaching goes.
Evil is God’s vehicle to bring us to the knowledge of Him as our Savior.
And where did men get their rebellion anyway? If God is the First Cause, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, then He created evil. He is the Author of it.
But I know, by knowing Him personally and by the testimony of the Scriptures, that He is a good, faithful, truthful, loving God. Therefore, evil is ultimately for the purpose of good. It is His tool for instruction and His vehicle to bring us to the knowledge of Him as our Savior and Redeemer.
Man teaches from the highest pulpits of the world that by the “free will” God granted to those He created in His image, a huge majority of mankind will perish. If what He created was good, how could it go so bad on its own? Does that make sense?
If a good creature, created by a good and perfectly wise God, goes “bad,” and God arranges redemptive plans for that creature, will not His work turn out good after all? But in comes man’s reasoning, in his “badness” from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, from which he was commanded not to eat, though not prevented from eating.
The reasoning goes this way: God gave man a “free will,” to decide whether he will obey God and see things His way. By this power, man rendered that which God created good, evil. God’s initial good work did not prevail.
His contingency plan did not work, either, for the most part! The “theology” says that by “free will,” some good-hearted, discerning, and humble choice few “accept Jesus as Savior” and live with Him forever, while the vast majority rejects Him and perishes.
You know what this says? That there is some virtue, some trace of righteousness, in man (or in some scarce few). The “free will” doctrine suggests that by man’s virtue, he can choose right.
There are no good ones. All choose evil.
But this is entirely contrary to the testimony of Scripture. The apostle Paul repeats the Psalms in saying to the Romans:
(10) As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
(11) There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God.
(12) They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one.
(13) Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
(14) Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
(15) Their feet are swift to shed blood:
(16) Destruction and misery are in their ways:
(17) And the way of peace have they not known:
(18) There is no fear of God before their eyes.
It is manifest that every man would destroy himself by his own “free will,” and not even a few good ones would make it by choice, because there are no good ones. All choose evil. “Free will”? I don’t think so! There is no mention of “free will” in the Scriptures. Choice, obviously, but those who are slaves to sin have no “free will.”
Just think! Man, made in the image of God, Who is good, will choose by his “free will” that which God would not choose, and thus he goes down to eternal destruction. What utter contradiction and hogwash!
What do you do with the Scriptures that declare all shall know Him, from the least to the greatest, that the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea, and that every knee shall bend and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord?
Yes, evil exists, but not without good purpose. Paul said to the Romans: “For the creation was not willingly subjected to vanity, but because of Him Who subjected it on hope, that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:20-21).
Only the self-righteous believe they would choose Him.
It is written that there was a multitude in Heaven that no man could number (Revelation 7:9). That hardly sounds like Heaven will be mostly empty except for a few self-righteous do-gooders or choose-gooders while all the rest of creation jampack the Lake of Fire and burn forever.
It is also written that no man can confess Jesus as Lord except by His Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3), yet every person will confess Jesus as Lord (Romans 14:11). How can men receive and manifest His Spirit of Life if consigned to hell forever?
It is only the self-righteous who believe they would choose Him while the majority rejects Him. His own people rejected Him. Those He chose rejected Him. Now those who did not choose Him receive Him:
“But Isaiah is very bold and says, ‘I was found by those who did not seek Me, I became known to those who did not ask after Me’” (Romans 10:20 MKJV).
And why do they receive Him? Because there was something good in them? No; “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…” (Titus 3:5 KJV).
The purpose of evil is to correct and discipline those created in His image.
But His choice is not good enough for those who claim to have chosen Christ. “Since you rejected His will,” they say, “now you must fulfill His will by your own. God has nothing to do with it! You initiated the evil, and now you must initiate the good.”
If God did not create evil, then evil cannot be explained. But if God is Sovereign, as the Scriptures declare, and He is, then He did create evil because He has a purpose for it. The purpose of evil is to correct, direct, chasten, teach, and discipline those created in His image. “Though being a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8 MKJV).
When we build, we cut boards and stone; we drive nails into wood, piercing; we hammer, pound, chisel, dig, and mess. It is part of the whole, along with joining, fastening, erecting, filling, coordinating, and unifying. Diamonds are cut, to be shaped into something of value; gold is refined in fire. First the night, then the day; first the sorrow, then the joy; first the chiseling and cutting and hammering, then the combining and placing, to an end, a desired result.
It can all be so very simple. We must receive the Kingdom as children. Think of the Gospels, the Sermon on the Mount; it is all there! Jesus referred to all things in the very same way: God rules over all, is Initiator of all, Engineer of all, Master of all. It is all there! He was saying, “The Father is here, in all things, you of little faith (of little sight and understanding and knowledge).” If you knew and believed the Truth, what would there be to worry about? “You of little faith” – you don’t perceive Him here and now.
He will finish the job, and evil will have fulfilled its purpose.
What is faith? It is knowing God and His ways, knowing that He is over all things, both good and evil, and trusting Him in all things. Yet even the apostle Paul himself feared and fainted at times. We are tested, tried, our “Tree of Knowledge” senses telling us otherwise than how it truly is. We are purged, strengthened, and changed into His image little by little.
Good and evil began in the Garden of Eden where God began to create man in His own image. He will finish the job, and evil will have fulfilled its purpose. Praise the Lord! Isn’t it wonderful to know that the evil coming our way, and present with us (“Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof,” said Jesus), has good purpose?
Of those who live in constant fear of evil and think that 90% of originally-good creation will perish, it is written:
“To the pure all things are pure. But to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure, but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God, but in their works they deny Him, being abominable and disobedient and reprobate to every good work” (Titus 1:15-16).
Of those who have been given grace to know the One True God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and His ways, it is written:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
We also know what that purpose is, in which evil now plays its part: The Scriptures declare that, in the fullness of times, God will redeem all men, including those who are defiled and unbelieving, who deny Him and are abominable, disobedient, and reprobate to every good work. After all, Jesus Christ came to save sinners, not the righteous.
“And they shall not each man teach his neighbor, and each man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more” (Hebrews 8:11-12 MKJV).