In the beginning, the Lord God merely spoke the word and created the heavens and earth. The building blocks of what we see (and can’t see) were all in place across the universe.
When the Lord finished each day of creation here on earth, He said what He had made was “good.” When He finished the sixth day, He said it was “very good.”
The same was true in the highest heaven.
Did God create evil? No. Absolutely not.
Did anything that God later created willfully choose to become evil incarnate? Yes. First, Lucifer rebelled against God and became the Serpent, the Deceiver, the Devil, Satan. Second, a host of angels joined his rebellion and became fallen angels, demons.
Did everyone else who sinned become evil incarnate? No, definitely not. There’s a difference between angels and humans. When Adam and Eve willfully choose to eat the forbidden fruit, evil entered their hearts.
Every moral decision thereafter became a struggle between doing what’s good, just, pure, and righteous versus doing what’s evil, sinful, wicked, and wrong. The same was true for their children and children’s children.
Evil is not defined by Satan, us, or the world. Instead, evil is measured against God’s glorious standard. Compared to His holiness, justice, purity, and righteousness, we all fall short (Romans 3:23). Thankfully, there’s Good News!
What Evil Is Not
1. Evil is not a small trifling matter. “The wages of sin is death.” Let that sink in. Thankfully, the verse goes on to say, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 3:23). What Good News, indeed!
2. Evil is not irreversible. “He [Jesus Christ] gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds” (Titus 2:14, NLT).
3. Evil is not irresistible. “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
4. Evil is not inevitable. “All glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault” (Jude 1:24-25, NLT).
What Evil Is
1. Evil is embedded in the heart of every human since Adam and Eve’s fall (Genesis 3:6-7; Isaiah 53:6; Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9).
2. Evil is expressed a thousand ways, including adultery, bitterness, blasphemy, coveting, envy, immorality, murder, oppression, persecution, pride, racism, rage, stealing, and looting.
3. Evil is fast to ruin us. After years of righteous rule, king David broke half of the Ten Commandments in rapid succession (2 Samuel 11:1-27). The effects haunted God’s people for decades despite his humble confession of sin (Psalm 51).
4. Evil committed by the perpetually unrepentant will be judged by God Himself. “I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened… The dead were judged according to what they had done” (Revelation 20:7).
Biblical Examples to Heed
1. Like Eve, I know for certain that God forgives even the worst of sins (Genesis 3:21).
2. Like Noah, I live a blameless life even if I am the only one who does so (Genesis 6:9).
3. Unlike Aaron, I do not give in the pressure of others to redefine God (Exodus 32:2).
4. Unlike Samson, I will not let myself be ruled by sinful passions and lusts (Judges 16:1).
5. Like Manasseh, I know it’s not too late to turn back to God, repent, and ask for His forgiveness no matter how horrible my past sins (2 Chronicles 33:13).
6. Like Isaiah, I grieve over the sins of my nation and long for many more trust the Lord (Isaiah 6:13).
7. Unlike Jonah, I am glad God extends His love to even the most rebellious of people (Jonah 3:10-4:4).
8. Like the dying thief, I can trust God today and receive forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and a place in God’s family forever (Luke 23:42).
Biblical Commands to Obey
1. I hate what is evil and sinful — and love what is good and right (Psalm 5:5; Psalm 45:7; Psalm 97:10; Proverbs 11:27; Amos 5:14-15; 1 Timothy 6:11; 1 Peter 3:11; 3 John 11).
2. I fear God, do not partner with evildoers, and do not follow their examples (Exodus 23:2; Psalm 1:1; Psalm 18:21; Psalm 26:5; Proverbs 4:14; Proverbs 24:21; 2 Corinthians 6:14-15; 1 Peter 4:4; 2 Peter 2:1-3; Jude 8-11).
3. I forgive those who sin against me (Matthew 6:12-15; Matthew 18:21-35; Ephesians 4:32).
4. I thank the Lord Jesus for dying on the cross in my place for my sins (Isaiah 53:8; Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 27:35; Mark 10:45; Romans 4:23-25; 1 Corinthians 15:3-5; 1 Peter 2:24).
5. I confess my sins to the Lord and ask for His cleansing and forgiveness (Deuteronomy 10:16; Deuteronomy 30:6; 1 Kings 8:30; Psalm 19:12; Psalm 25:7; Psalm 51:2-10; Psalm 79:8-9; Proverbs 20:9; Isaiah 1:18; Jeremiah 4:4; Daniel 9:19; Daniel 11:35; Daniel 12:10).
See also Matthew 6:12, Luke 8:13-14, Acts 3:19, Acts 15:9, 2 Corinthians 7:1, Ephesians 5:26, Titus 2:14, Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 10:2, 1 Peter 1:2, 1 Peter 1:22, and 1 John 1:7-9.
Biblical Truths to Affirm
1. I believe evil has wreaked havoc in this world (Genesis 3:16-17; Genesis 6:5-7; Romans 5:12; Galatians 5:19-21).
2. I believe evil produces countless struggles and sorrows in this life (Genesis 3:17-19; Exodus 34:7; Leviticus 26:18; Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 5:9; Joshua 22:20; Ezra 9:13; Nehemiah 9:33; Psalm 32:10; Psalm 34:21; Isaiah 13:11; Ezekiel 18:20; Amos 3:2; Romans 2:5; Galatians 6:7).
3. I believe evildoers cause believers much anguish and suffering (Psalm 9:13; Psalm 120:5; Matthew 17:12; Acts 8:1; Acts 20:19; Philippians 1:29; 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5).
4. I believe the sins and foolishness of family members and friends can cause needless pain and suffering in someone’s life (Genesis 3:16-17; Exodus 20:5; Joshua 7:24-26; Romans 5:12).
5. I believe my own sins cause needless pain and suffering (Genesis 3:16-17; Exodus 20:5; Psalm 38:5-6).
6. I believe the wages of sin is death (Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:3-4; Genesis 5:5; Numbers 16:38; Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Joshua 1:18; Proverbs 10:16; Proverbs 11:18-19; Isaiah 22:14; Ezekiel 18:4-17; Romans 1:32; Romans 5:12; Romans 6:16; Romans 6:21-23; Romans 7:5; Romans 8:2-13; Galatians 6:8; 2 Peter 2:12-13).
7. I believe Jesus gave His body and blood as a sacrifice for my sins (Matthew 20:27; Romans 8:3; Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 10:10; 1 Peter 2:24;1 John 2:2).
8. I believe Jesus was crucified on the cross in my place for my sins (Isaiah 53:8-12; Mark 10:45; Romans 4:23-25; 1 Corinthians 15:3-5; 1 Peter 2:24).
9. I believe Jesus forgives the sins of all who trust Him (Mark 2:3-12; John 5:24; Acts 10:43; Romans 3:22-26). This is Good News worth sharing!
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/mantinov
The late David Sanford’s book and Bible projects were published by Zondervan, Tyndale, Thomas Nelson, Doubleday, Barbour, and Amazon. His latest book was Life Map Devotional for Men published concurrently with his wife Renee’s book, Life Map Devotional for Women.