Yesterday’s message reminded me of Geraldine Jones and her claim that “The Devil made me do it!”
lol. Well maybe he did, but then again, maybe he didn’t. I say that because in Genesis 6:12 we hear that, “Elohim saw the world and how corrupt it was because all people on earth lived evil lives (Genesis 6:12).
What a sad thing to hear, in fact it is one of the saddest moments in the whole Bible! Previously the Creator looked at everything He had made and declared that it was “exceedingly good!” And here it is, just a few generations later every thing He had made traveled from perfection to utter ruin. That is sad.
What I find most interesting, is that he did not blame the devolution of mankind on the Devil! He blamed it on the “living beings” He created. In other words, everything that God had given life was to blame. Mankind and animals. Now, we prefer to see it as the Devil making us evil, but YHWH doesn’t.
Now, I have a much more in-depth study called, “Where Did Evil Come From,” that may help you understand what I am about to show you. But for now, let me explain it the best I can.
The Hebrew word used in Genesis 6:12 does not mean that they were merely dishonest or impure; that men were lying to each other. It actually means that they were polluted to the point of ruin. Then He says something in verse 13.
“Then God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.’”
But don’t let that go by too quickly because it is rather significant. It makes us wonder who was the source of Evil? Well, the Hebrews sages say a couple of important things about evil that matches what Scripture say far more than what some traditional Christian doctrines on sin and evil purport.
For one thing, the Hebrew sages say we were created with both a good and an evil inclination. In Hebrew, yester hatov and yetser harah. Now notice that inclination means that we possess the capability of choosing one or the other.
Now that is what frustrates believers, but before you send off some angry emails to me, hear me out on this. It is important that you understand what I mean by the concept of God creating evil along with good. I have often said that we simply don’t have words that can describe things of the spirit world. We just don’t have the words that can fully communicate the things of God. When it comes to the origin of evil: how it got here; what it is; how it operates; is one of those situations.
Okay, so for that really big and ugly question: who or what causes evil to happen? Or, even better, who or what is the source of evil? Okay, so let’s look at a verse that I suggest you look up at a more convenient time, and observe the context because there is no way I can do it here:
The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these (Isaiah 45:7)
That sounds OK to us; it really doesn’t bother us much that the Lord who created light and darkness, also causes well-being and creates calamity. I mean, as much as we might wish Scripture didn’t say that Yahweh creates calamity (of which we might be affected) we accept that pretty easily. Oh, if it were that easy.
The New American Standard Bible verse we just read is from a translation method that is called “dynamic translation.” Look now at that same verse in a more literal, direct, word for word, translation: JPS or Jewish Publication Society.
I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am the LORD, that doeth all these things —Isaiah 45:7
Now this one hurts our sensibilities. It says bluntly that the Lord creates Evil. Is that possible? Look at the King James Version:
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
There are four key Hebrew words in this verse: owr, choshek, shalom and rah. So, by substituting those words in English with the original Hebrew, the verse reads:
“I form the owr and create choshek; I made shalom and create rah.”
In a study I created on Genesis, I discusses quite thoroughly the words owr and choshek. But to summarize the study, owr and choshek are words that refer to the spiritual realities of good and evil. Shalom is a very interesting Hebrew word that we could take up the whole study talking about; but, for now, think of it as a sense of well-being, peace, good, godliness and grace that comes from our God — it is a spiritual source that produces shalom. The Hebrew word rah, has a similar, but opposite sense. Rah means evil or bad. There is a principle of opposites that in operates our Universe. Everything has an opposite — no exceptions. So, as this verse and many others will tell us, if God forms light, then darkness comes into existence; if the Lord makes shalom, then evil is also created, if you have an up, you must have a down, if you have faith, fear is also created. On top of that, Yahweh is behind it all, and controls it all, and uses it all.
See, it is only with our more modern translations that we even find the word “evil” oddly replaced with words like disaster and calamity and woe. The Hebrew word “rah” means evil. No exceptions. Now, calamity and disaster and woe can be the result of evil — but rah directly refers to the spiritual sense of evil — it is the opposite of shalom. Don’t think this is some isolated verse; this phrase directly showing the Lord causing evil to exist is scattered throughout the Old Testament.
Shall the horn be blown in a city, and the people not tremble? Shall evil befall a city, and the LORD hath not done it? —Amos 3:6
Out of the mouth of the Most High proceedeth not evil and good? —Lamentations 3:38
Okay, so why does evil exist in our Universe? Because Yahweh created good; and therefore evil came as its natural opposite. This isn’t accidental — The Creator ordered it all that way. Now — and here comes an important concept — Yahweh did not create evil in the sense of God manufacturing or speaking evil into existence. The Lord didn’t turn to His right, and create a pile of good; and than turn to His left and create a pile of evil. Evil was the result of His creating good, transporting that good, that owr, from another dimension and putting that spirit of good into our Universe (a Universe where everything must have an opposite).
Allow me to quote a man of some standing; a man who I believe to have pretty good idea of the operation of our physical universe:
“Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.”
The man who spoke those words was Albert Einstein.
Maybe an easier way to think about all of this is when we can envision that evil is everything that The Creator didn’t command or instruct. It is the opposite of what is called good. Allow me to draw an admittedly imperfect (but I think reasonable) analogy for you — expanding on Professor Einstein’s thought. When we walk into a room, and flip a switch, electricity flows to a filament in a light bulb, it glows, and presto, we add light to the room. However, when we turn the switch off, and the light goes off, the room goes dark. Did we add darkness to the room? Did the current in the light bulb reverse, and somehow sucked the light out of the room? Or, was the darkness manufactured just like the light was manufactured? No, because darkness is simply the opposite of light. If light isn’t produced and present, then the result is its opposite — darkness. Darkness is not something that is made, per se; it is simply the absence of light. In the same way, evil is simply the absence of good.
Now, when mankind was created, He was given a will; from man’s first breath, man had a will. There was never a time when man didn’t have a will. If man didn’t have a will, we simply would have been flesh and blood robots; pre-programmed to a certain behavior, a literal slave to our creator.
But, what’s the purpose of a will? What does a will do? It makes choices. Our wills are that part of our being which gives us the knowledge that there are choices to be made, and that we can make those choices. And, how was the concept of choice created in the first place? By our Creator creating a Universe in which everything had an opposite: that is the very nature of a choice — choosing one or the other — isn’t it?
Consider the Fall of Man — that fateful moment when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Yahweh creates Adam and later Eve, each complete with a will. From all the information given to us, Our Creator puts nothing off limits to the first couple; everything is for them — translation: there is no way to go against God. No rules or laws or commandments are laid on them. Nothing they can do is immoral. They can’t break rules, because there aren’t any rules to break. They can’t make a bad choice, because there are no moral choices (again, we’re not talking about preferences).
Ah, but there was created one thing about which they could make a moral choice; one rule they could break; and that created thing was the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the rule was they were not to eat from it. In other words, without the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the restriction against eating its fruit, there were no moral choices for them to make. Without the existence of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and without The Creator telling them they could not eat of it, there would have been no reason to even have a will.
Now, did Adam and Eve have any concept of good and evil before the Fall? It would appear not. Did they have any concept of morality? It would appear not. Things just were as they were; they made no differentiation because they didn’t know there were any differences. However, when God set the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil before them, and told them NO! — Now they had an opportunity to exercise their wills. Even more, by choosing to disobey, they gained a knowledge of good and evil that they had never before encountered. I think it’s fair to say they never even considered the possibility of disobeying God; nor did they have any idea that by doing so, evil was the result. Why? Because they had no knowledge of the difference between Good and Evil. But, by means of Satan’s deception and temptation, and at the decision of their own wills, they chose to go against God’s one moral rule — not to eat of that tree — and the first transgression against The Creator by humans occurred. We call a transgression against God, sin. Sin now entered the world. And, what is sin, but an act of evil.
Now, think about this:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any wild animal which Adonai, God, had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You are not to eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman answered the serpent, “We may eat from the fruit of the trees of the garden, but about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden God said, ‘You are neither to eat from it nor touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “It is not true that you will surely die; because God knows that on the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
So was the “serpent” lying when he told them that their “eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”? No, he wasn’t it. Because without choice there can be no sin. Where he lied, was when he said, “It is not true that you will surely die . . .” This has a direct correlation to a much later time in Scripture, when Moses is given the Torah, also called the Law, on Mt. Sinai. Listen to what Paul says, and as you do, think about the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
. . . for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation —Romans 4:15
Remember that in the New Testament, the word Law (capital L Law) usually refers to Torah. Where there is no Torah, there can’t be violations against Yahweh. Now, please catch this: The Torah was to Israel, what the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was to Adam and Eve. The primary difference is that Adam and Eve only had one regulation in their Torah: don’t eat that fruit! The Torah, The Law, given to Israel on Mt. Sinai had many more regulations — but with exactly the same effect. It was through those rules, Israel gained a knowledge of good and evil.
Listen now to Paul as he further explains this phenomenon about choice in the next chapter of Romans:
. . . for until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law —Romans 5:13
In other words, did sin and evil exist before the Torah was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai? Of course it did. But, until God set down His regulations for Israel, there were no regulations to break. In a manner of speaking, Israel lived as Adam and Eve; the Hebrews had wills, so now they needed choices set before them so they could use their wills. Once God set down His rules, His Law, His Torah, Israel had moral choices as defined by God. And, they could choose whether to love Him, and demonstrate it by obedience to His Torah — or they could choose not to love Him, and demonstrate that by disobeying His Torah.
All of which causes Paul to conclude this:
Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made —Galatians 3:19
This verse is often stated to mean “Why the Law, then? It was added to create transgressions . . .” And, that’s true. If man has a will, he must also have moral choices set before him. The Law provides for those moral choices.
Let’s go full circle with this. Back to Genesis 6, and apply what we have learned. God did not blame Satan for ruining the earth with evil; He blamed men and all other living creatures. Now, were these men that He blamed 100% evil? No. Anymore than Noah and His sons were 100% good. This is our condition. It is an utter misreading of the Bible texts to say that men are 100% evil. We do have good in us — good in the sense of the yester hatov — the good inclination. But, without Yeshua in us to direct the use of that good, then our motives will be impure and wrong, and even our good can easily be turned into evil. How does that happen? By using our good intentions in a way that’s not God’s will. And, what isn’t God’s will is by definition evil.
This explains why Jesus declared, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God (John 3:17).
Now I have probably over-loaded you with information, and maybe you didn’t understand it all. But here is the reality. Our Creator has determined that all of us are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God desires for us, He did it for us! Out of sheer generosity He put us in right standing with Himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we were in and restored us to where He always wanted us to be. And He did it by means of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:23).
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list.