If God is sovereign, is He responsible for evil?

Posted: 18/07/2013 in Law of Spiritualism

What is sovereign?

  • Greatest in power, authority, or rank;
  •   Paramount or dominant.
  •   Greatest in importance, degree, significance, character, or achievement.
  •   Ultimate; final

Hence here we can conclude that God is supreme ie he has the final say for everything laid down beneath HIM

Does God create evil?

Isaiah 46:9-10Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I …

Aligned to the above some says: God is certainly sovereign over evil. There’s a sense in which it is proper even to say that evil is part of His eternal decree. He planned for it. It did not take Him by surprise. It is not an interruption of His eternal plan. He declared the end from the beginning, and He is still working all things for His good pleasure

But one must realize that God’s role with regard to evil is never as its author. He simply permits evil agents to work, then overrules evil for His own wise and holy ends. Ultimately He is able to make all things-including all the fruits of all the evil of all time-work together for a greater good. One may take a closer look at the words in Roman 8:28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose

Bible affirms the essential goodness of everything that exists. God created everything that exists and everything God created is created good. Since only God and his creation exist, everything is good (Rev 4:11).

However, from Genesis 3 to Revelation 22 the Bible also affirms the existence of evil. ‘The whole world is under the control of the evil one’; ‘this is the present evil age’; ‘every inclination of [man’s] heart was only evil all of the time.’ Therefore evil has no independent existence but is a perversion and corruption of what is good; sin is the greatest evil and is the root of all evil. This fact makes evil all the worse than it would have been if it had an independent existence.

Still a clear line is not able to be drawn.

Some quoted Isaiah 45:7I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things and claim it proves God made evil as a part of His creation: “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things”

A rebuttal to the above from the New American Standard Bible gives the sense of Isaiah 45:6-7 more clearly: “There is no one besides ME. I am the Lord, and there is no other, the one forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.” In other words, God devises calamity as a judgment for the wicked. But in no sense is He the author of evil.

Does sin and evil are born in conjunction of God’s creation?

John MacArthur quoted in his blog that Evil originates not from God but from the fallen creature. He states that sin is not itself a thing created. Sin is neither substance, being, spirit, nor matter. So it is technically not proper to think of sin as something that was created. Sin is simply a lack of moral perfection in a fallen creature. Fallen creatures themselves bear full responsibility for their sin. And all evil in the universe emanates from the sins of fallen creatures.

A supportive passage from Genesis 1:31 – the Lord had declared that “everything that he had made . . . was exceedingly good” Whence, then comes this wickedness to man, that he should fall away from his God. Here man had corrupted the pure nature he had received from the Lord. God had clearly stated what had he created and what was solely from his mind. All those evil effects of sin continue to work in the world and will be with us as long as sin is ie Roman 5:12Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned

 If God is all-powerful, why will he allow sin and suffering to eternally exist in hell?

God basically put us through test like how in Genesis 22:1 as ‘God did tempt Abraham.’ Chronicles 32:31 says about Hezekiah ,God left him to test him and to know, ‘everything that was in his heart.’ In Timothy 1:20 Paul hands Hymenaeus and Alexander ‘over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.’ (i.e for their good). Similarly, in Corinthians 5:5 Paul commands regarding a sinful brother, ‘hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed.’ This seems to be somewhat of an extreme measure used by God; hence Jesus instructs us to pray, ‘lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one’’

According to the Pentecostalism (some Christian movements group) He does not control evil. He does not cause disaster. He does not decree wickedness. And suffering occurs outside his ‘intended’ will. In fact, since God is perfectly good he cannot be all-knowing, nor all-powerful. He did not plan the world to be as it is today. No, God created people free to choose their destiny. He does not (or cannot) now override their freedom. But our sin and the awful consequences of our choices are never his intention. He does not control us and therefore nor does he control the future. Hell is simply inevitable and heaven his last miracle.

Is evil a punishment or divine permission over men?

According to Joe Towns at Talking Pentecostalism | Pentecostal Belief, the Holy Spirit & Evangelicalism Evil acts are encompassed by God’s active providence, yet humans are accountable for them.

God’s ultimate purpose for evil is the magnification of his own glory. Proverbs 16:4 says, ‘The LORD works out everything for his own ends-even the wicked for a day of disaster.’ The everlasting nature of hell is a testimony to God’s commitment to his purpose of making his glory known through punishment as well as through everlasting grace. These are one form of judgment God giving sinners over to their own evil (Rom 1:21). Judgment is an expression of God’s goodness and his faithfulness to himself.

Evil does not proceed from God but does depend on his decrees. Human actions do not take place independently of God even when those actions are wicked. This fact is clear early on in Biblical history (e.g. the story of Joseph, Genesis 50:20 ‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good;’ the accounts of the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, Exodus 9:12, ‘the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses’).

According to Theologians, when humans do what is evil, God is not at work in them to will and to act according to what is good. For example, God ‘left’ Hezekiah to test him. However, when humans do what is good, ‘it is God who works in them to will and to act according to his good purpose.’ This highlights the asymmetry of God’s relationship to evil and good. God stands behind good causing it directly; God stands behind evil indirectly by decreeing secondary agents to cause evil. God decrees the future. He knows what will happen because he controls what happens and directs history to its destination. Proverbs 16:9 puts it clearly: ‘In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.’ This verse suggests that at the level of intention humans bear responsibility for their actions, but whether or not intention comes to fruition is the decision of the Lord.

According to Joe Towns

The argument does not answer or ‘solve’ the ‘problem’ of God, evil and sovereignty. But what we can do is to rethink our theology, to hold together God as both absolutely good and completely sovereign.

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