Isn’t God Responsible for Evil?

“If God created the devil and put the tree in the garden to tempt man, isn’t God responsible for the evil in the world?  Furthermore, if God can stop all the evil and doesn’t, isn’t He then doubly responsible for it?”

Sounds like a pretty open and shut case against God doesn’t it?  This is a tough issue for a short answer but let’s see what we can discover God is guilty of.

When God made man he was faced with a choice.  If He made man incapable of rejecting God, incapable of choosing evil, then man would also be incapable of truly loving God or others. Love can never be forced.  Love demands options.   For man to be capable of truly loving it was essential that man also be able to truly not love and even hate.  Of course, God knew man would choose this selfish route and it would bring great evil into the world.  Then why did God go ahead and make man knowing the problems He would cause?

This world is not primarily about man, rather all creation is about bringing glory to God.  How much does it demonstrate God’s love to love only the lovable?  Not much.  God instead chose to demonstrate His great love and mercy by loving a creature totally unworthy of His love.

Furthermore, to demonstrate His unfathomable love God chose to humbly suffer the anguish, the pain, the grief, the loss of being rejected by His own creation. He chose to suffer the sacrifice of His own Son. He chose to give man liberty to destroy Himself and destroy with sin all of God’s glorious creation.  He did this to demonstrate His love for us without regard to our response to that love.  “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”   Romans 5:8  What a God!

Critics would say the existence of evil proves God is either unloving or impotent.  How can He be loving and allow so much injustice when He could stop it with a single word?  If He cannot stop it then He is impotent and no real God at all.  But we see that, far from proving the non-existence of God, evil exists in the world precisely because God is good. Goodness and Love demanded man be created with the option to invite evil into the world. And because God is all-powerful He runs no risk of evil ultimately triumphing.

Furthermore, we must remember that God also chose to share in this suffering that man’s poor decisions would create. He did not approach this world of pain as a pristine visitor to a concentration camp who stands aloof and observes the wretched victims from a safe distance. He dove in, clothed Himself in flesh and drank deeply of the same agonies, rejections and grief known only to the most miserable among us. He voluntarily embraced more suffering than most of us will ever have nightmares about enduring. He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3)

But why doesn’t God stop men such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, these evil mass murders? Ultimately He does and ultimately they pay the price for their crimes against God and humanity. None of those men are still on a rampage today though new villains regularly take the place of fallen ones. But to criticize God for injustice in these situations is like reading half way through a novel and criticizing the author for not resolving the conflict. Until the last page of Time’s novel is completed, we dare not cast accusations as to what justice or injustice has been done.

Furthermore, if God did choose to intervene and stop such evil, where would we, in our wisdom, be content with Him drawing the line? Should he strike down every murderer or only after they have killed a set number? Who among us would be all-knowing enough to determine that number? The number would likely be “one” if the victim is a person we know and love.

What about rapists and child molesters, drug dealers and modern day slave traders? Would it be just to allow them to continue in their evil when he stops murderers? If He stops them, then is He to allow thieves and liars to continue hurting people? And if He is to stop all thieves and liars, where would that leave each of us. I don’t believe there would be one of us who could say, “I have never told even a tiny, “white” lie nor taken anything, no matter how small, that did not belong to me.” If we are not content with where God has chosen to draw the line and with His timetable of justice, then who among us is wise enough to instruct Him as to where He should draw the line?

Furthermore, should he punish man based upon what God knows a man is going to do? “I know Hitler will slaughter 6 million Jews and Mao will kill more than Hitler and Stalin combined (some estimates say 70 million Chinese) so to prevent that I will bring them to justice before they harm anyone? And can that be called justice, to punish before an offense? Obviously not, justice demands each person be allowed to fill their cup of iniquity so when they stand before God they have no grounds to declare Him unfair or unjust in His judgment.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, it is God’s goodness and God’s justice that demand evil have a period of free reign on earth. It is precisely because God is good that there is evil on earth.  Yes, God is guilty.  Guilty of love in the first degree.


13 thoughts on “Isn’t God Responsible for Evil?

  1. Isn’t G*D responsible for evil?

    Sounds like a pretty open and shut case against God doesn’t it? This is a tough issue for a short answer but let’s see what we can discover God is guilty of.”.

    Hello, my name is David and I just wanted to say a few things
    about this questions and answers piece. First I would like to say that I will never judge G*D for it is not my my place to do so. That said, here are my two cents for what they are worth.

    I believe that G*D created everyone and everything that ever was is and ever shall be. Good and Evil, light, day, darkness, night, positive, negative etc,. I further believe that Man has given G*D many different names as time has unfolded due to our seperation from Him/Her,

    “GENESIS 1

    26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

    The point I am trying to make is that everything has already happened,
    (G*D has everything under control) so why worry? Things are going to turn out the way he created it no matter what we do because he already created it that way Including the evil ones and things.

    ” Genesis 3 (King James Version)

    Genesis 3
    1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

    2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

    3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

    4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

    5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

    6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

    7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

    8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

    9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

    10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

    11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

    12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

    13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

    14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

    15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

    16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

    17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

    18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

    19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

    20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

    21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

    22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

    23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

    24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

    Many ancient cultures have pieces to the puzzle, one of which is called life. If we could only all put our pieces back together again without bickering, I believe we (as a species) could slowly find the true path back to our Creator.

    I apologize for the length of my comments but not the content 🙂


    • Hey, David.
      Thanks for your comments. They brought a couple of questions to my mind that might be interesting topics for thought. I would welcome other readers to jump in with their thoughts as well.

      DAVID SAID: The point I am trying to make is that everything has already happened, (G*D has everything under control) so why worry? Things are going to turn out the way he created it no matter what we do because he already created it that way Including the evil ones and things.

      QUESTION: So you are saying, nothing matters – If I live right or live wrong, if I serve others or only serve myself – it ultimately makes no difference in the world, in my life or regarding eternity? Also, Everything has already happened and it was according to God’s will and plan. The starvation of millions due to corrupt governments, the slaughter of millions under Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, the human trafficking and sex slave industry, rape, incest, all manner of human atrocity against other humans – all these are products of God, created by Him? I know there are folks who take that sort of stand, just didn’t know if that is really what you were saying.

      DAVID SAID: Many ancient cultures have pieces to the puzzle, one of which is called life. If we could only all put our pieces back together again without bickering, I believe we (as a species) could slowly find the true path back to our Creator.

      QUESTION: Are you saying that, as of yet, man still does not know “the true path back to our Creator”? It is something we must “find”. Parts are scattered across the globe, each culture having a small piece and we will only find the route if we can all come together. If that is the case, then Jesus was some sort of nut who thought he actually knew the way to God. He said, HE was the way, the only way. But you are saying the way is hidden in the cultures of the world and we may never find it if we don’t come together and share our pieces. Is that what you are proposing?

  2. Have you ever thought why God created the world?
    My opinion is that God shouldn’t have created the world at all or anything. There would be no goodness nor evil. No Satan, Angels, Demons, People, World, Love, Hate…….nothing.

    God is a complete sufficent God (common held belief)….He or She (God doesn’t necessarily have a penis or vagina….no sex…so I think we should call God…just God) doesn’t need human beings or anything for that matter. So why go through this fiasco of creating the world? It is kind of silly.

  3. You know Saul/Paul (what was the point of changing from Saul to Paul….seriously….it was one letter change) was like Hitler in a lot of aspects cause Saul/Paul persecuted MANY Christians……then why in the hell did God have a divine intervention in Saul/Paul at Damascus and not Hitler (assumption….maybe God did intervene in Hitler’s lifetime)?

    Paul became the founding father/prophet of Christianity and God picked a man almost 100% against Christians, their beliefs, and dare I say God….even though Paul seemingly sounded like he respected God when God talked to Him/Her in Damascus……(yet God had no mercy on Satan…and picked him as His/Her prime advesary and banished Satan to Hell)

    So that being said… you think Saul/Paul went to after he died…… Hell or Heaven?
    How about Hitler?

    You can’t just say…oh yeah…Hitler is definitely in Hell because he killed loads of people….so did Saul/Paul. God had that divine intervention in Saul/Paul’s life and God chose Saul/Paul to be a follower/sufferer for God. I doubt (though I don’t have video footage of 100% of Hitler’s life for me to see with my own eyes) God chose Hitler to follow to spread the message about God and His/Her “Son”.

    God is responsible for everything…..EVERYTHING. There is no doubt about that….either indirectly or directly. God is responsible for all the “good” and “evil”…..and everything else… cell phones, hugs, rape, computer keyboards, sacrifice, holiness, idolatry, jealousy, righteousness and every other word in the dictionary and perception of known and unknow concepts that the mind can perceive and not perceive (honestly…how do you judge good and evil….didn’t God commit genocide to the world with a flood because the whole world was bad, but only Noah was righteous……so Noah never in his life did a bad thing or his family…..or he was “better” than EVERYONE else in the world….) and there is no questioning that God is responsible for everything.. If God never created anything, then nothing would happen,

    I kind of find it funny and sad when people say “God is good all the time.”…..what I think they should say is that “God is everything all the time…meaning God is good and bad and every other perception all the time. God is responsible for the good and evil in the world and that is that.

  4. By the way Rick, this is an excellent blog. I’m sorry if I sound like I hate you, but I don’t. I like reading all of these posts and helps me to open my mind and see what other people think…which is great because they view different things in different ways

  5. Long before God made man, animals suffered and died. What did they do to eat and be eaten, to starve and to get sick and to die?

  6. Quick Response to Anony above: If you believe the Biblical account, there was no death prior the sin of Adam. So, long before God made man, animals did NOT suffer or die. Death entered the world through the sin of 1 man (which, by the way, is why it is totally right and just that righteousness – or deliverance from sin – also entered the world through 1 man)

  7. For Jeffrey
    Wow! Just saw your posts. Don’t know how I missed them or I would have responded sooner. Sorry. Let’s see if I can touch upon at least of couple of your comments.
    1. I do believe God knows everything. We call it omniscience. But there are many who limit God to only knowing things that have happened in the past (this is a simplistic definition but they call this openness theology)
    2. You are absolutely right, God creating the world makes no sense. Just like most things related to love, they make no sense. Why would a young man want to share his paycheck, turn over the keys to his prized car, give up the total freedom to come and go as he pleases, share his room, his life, everything! with someone. It makes no sense until … until love is figured in. Love causes people to do things that do not add up mathematically. As John says in 1 John – Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called the children of God! Wow. Makes no sense so it had to be due to his overwhelming love.
    3. You are right, God is not a he or she but speech requires the use of pronouns (or at lease pronouns make communication much easier so I’ll use the generally accepted term “he” when referring to God.) You and I understand that does not make Him male.
    4. Saul vs. Paul. God often changed names to demonstrate an inward change. Jesus called Simon by the name Peter. Jacob became Israel, etc… Names are much more important in many cultures than they are in ours. Note how many Muslims carry the name Mohammed.
    5. If Hitler is in hell it is not because he killed anyone. Many Bible heroes killed people – often many people. The only reason anyone goes to hell or heaven today is based upon whether they accept or reject God’s plan. Jesus said no one can get to God except through him. Those who accept that live. Those who reject that (no matter how good they may be or how many good deeds they do) die and go to hell.
    6. I disagree that God is responsible for everything. I assume you are saying that because He created everything in the first place but I disagree that that makes him responsible. For example, I have three children that my wife and I “created”. By your logic (and it has a hint of truth in it) you could say any good or evil they do, I am responsible for it. But we don’t recognize that to be truth. If my child takes a life, I am not arrested, nor is my father who created me, nor my grandfather and you could trace that all the way back to God. We would not say God is responsible (unless you would also say my great grandfather is responsible.)
    7. regarding Noah. The Bible never indicates Noah never did anything wrong in his life. Actually, it says “Noah found grace”. Just like we become acceptable to God today by his grace, not by our performance. Noah was acceptable to God because he found grace in God’s sight, not because he never sinned.
    Plus, the flood was actually an action of God’s mercy. We see that the human race had become contaminated and for the Messiah to be born and rescue all mankind it required a pure human race. Had God allowed the contamination of Human and Angelic beings it could have made it impossible for a Savior to come. His destruction of mankind at that time was necessary to save mankind in the future. See Genesis 6 and the Nephilim for more info on what I am referring to.

    I know that doesn’t answer all your thoughts but should be a good start. I hope it helps.

  8. Sorry, that doesn’t cut it. Everything we do was already known ages ago by God. So the idea of “free will” is an illusion perpetrated by those who don’t think God should be held accountable. A child with a hereditary disease is the victim of God’s creation of faulty DNA. A little girl raped is the victim of a God who, knowing what is coming, allows her to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. If He is responsible for ALL that is GOOD, then HE HAS to be responsible for all that is bad. You can’t have one without the other if you claim to be all-knowing, all-loving, omnipotent God. You have to take both or neither. You can’t have it both ways. God won’t accept it from us, but we’re supposed to accept it from Him? And that “he lived as man” is pathetic. He suffered for what, a few days? Let Him come live my life and see if He still thinks He should be so worthy of praise.

  9. You are making a jump in logic assuming that foreknowledge is equivalent with causation – If God knows something is going to happen:
    1. He is then responsible for it
    2. I have no free will
    I would disagree with both those propositions.
    Knowing something will happen does not mean I am responsible for it happening.
    Knowing what someone will do does not remove their free will decision to do it.
    1. I know the sun will rise tomorrow but I certainly can’t take credit for it happening. Knowing something will happen does not make me responsible for it.
    2. I know my spouse and can pretty accurately predict how she will respond to a particular situation. But that does not mean she has no choice but must respond the way I predict. My knowledge of her is imperfect so my predictions may be wrong now and then. God’s knowledge of us is perfect so He can predict perfectly our responses. But it does not mean we have no choice in it – any more than my wife had no choice if I predict she will like or won’t like something.

    It is obvious you have some deep pain that you are holding God responsible for. I hope you are able to find peace with Him. If you would like to continue the discussion I would be glad to if you are interested in doing it. I don’t have time for rants and arguing but if you want to seriously look into this more, let’s talk.

  10. Blessings :))
    Bad decisions get bad results ( most of the time ).We are givin free will God didn’t create robots he created man in the image of himself,with the ability to be loving nurturing kind hearted. As tough as it may be all we have to do is smile at each other and go about our own business

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