Is God responsible for evil

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by Edm, Jun 29, 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Edm

    Edm Puritan Board Freshman

    This topic was brought up and I'm trying to reason it out. No I do not believe God does evil, or invented it. If one takes the definition that evil is the absence of good, you can explain its authorship. My question comes from the definition of responsible. I am under the impression that if God is the able to end all evil, and He chooses not to, then the evil is permitted because He allows it. Therefore He is responsible for the fact that evil can happen. If lightning strikes your house and it catches on fire, the lightning is responsible for the fire. If I am standing there with a hose and decide not to put it out, and I can put it out, I am responsible for you not having a home. Am I making sence or am I just wrong? This is confusing me.
  2. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    We can't, of course, reason this out on our own resources.

    If you seek to reason within Scripture, which is the only proper way to reason in humility, you should look at WCF 3 and its Scripture proofs. God does indeed ordain whatever comes to pass but is not the author of sin. How this all works we leave to the mind of God which is, as WCF 2.1 and elsewhere says,"incomprehensible."

    WCF 3.8 makes it clear (in citing passages like Rom 9:20, 11:33, and Deut. 29:29) that this is not given to us for speculative purposes but so that we may be assured of our eternal election (recognizing that we otherwise have no hope). All of this section is so that we will praise, reverence, and admire God and be encouraged (those that sincerely obey the gospel) in humility, diligence, and abundant consolation."

    Think prayerfully and carefully about this and rest it in His hands.


    P.S. I also preached a sermon on James 1 last night that addresses this in part, making it clear that, while God superintends and brings trials, He is not the author of evil, but the giver of every good and perfect gift. It is easy to be muddled in our thinking about this. This is why James says, in v. 16, "beloved, do not be deceived." It should be posted on SermonAudio soon.
  3. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    "Let God be true but every man a liar." (Rom. 3:4)
  4. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Thomas Aquinas makes the necessary distinction with helpful brevity:

  5. Edm

    Edm Puritan Board Freshman

    See... I agree with the above. But, isn't God, as the allower of evil, responsible for it being able to happen? Not for the act of evil, but for its allowed existence?
  6. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Responsible to whom?

    Of course evil would not exist if God did not allow it. The only way around that conclusion is to deny that God is the creator. But I don't think we should be interested in avoiding that conclusion. As Thomas went on to say:

    At this point, we trust in God's goodness. We remind ourselves that we can know that what he has done is right and good, because he did it. The thought that we would have done things differently shouldn't function as an indictment of God, but as a grateful reminder that he is the judge of all the earth, that he is goodness itself, that (in a word) he is God, and we are not. And so where we cannot explain or where we do not understand, we can still rest. And God has given significant help to the weakness of our faith in this regard by making clear that he is not the author nor the approver of sin.
  7. chuckd

    chuckd Puritan Board Sophomore

    I remember reading a good analogy one time. Say a judge ordains the execution of a man for murdering a 10 year old boy. An executioner carries it out. What if the executioner is the boy's father and carries out the sentence as an act of revenge with resentment in his heart? The judge ordained something good to maintain justice, but the executioner sinned.
  8. Edm

    Edm Puritan Board Freshman

    I think my problem is with the definition of responsible. I don't use it as being held accountable to someone. I am meaning it is the result of His action. I need to go back and clarify that point in my discussion with the people. Thank you.
  9. Miss Marple

    Miss Marple Puritan Board Junior

    Like we have sins of omission? If I can stop evil, and don't, I've committed a sin of omission. Yet God can stop evil, apparently in some way does not, and He can't and does not sin.

    I don't mean to be a lightweight in this discussion but I think you might be missing the concept of justice. It is actually evil to let sin go unpunished. The existence of evil in our world is a result of our sin (Adam's, and all of ours), is it not? For God to not allow any repercussions would, it seem to me, be wrong. And He can't sin! I hope I don't overstep.
  10. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Reason is necessary to take stock of the terms being used. While the terms remain undefined they are next to useless.

    What is evil? If it is the absence of good, and God is acknowledged to be all good, it is a contradiction in terms to ask whether God can be responsible for evil.

    The answer to the question must be, God forbid!
  11. Nicholas Perella

    Nicholas Perella Puritan Board Freshman

    I see that at times also. Good point.

    Also, just thinking about what others wrote, there is a limitation to how we may think after God's thoughts for God has a limitation to what He has revealed to us, i.e. His written Word.

    In relation to God's saving of His people His mercy is demonstrated.
    In relation to God's punishing of the reprobate His justice is demonstrated.

    Each of those as to what God is demonstrating and thus revealing of Himself is holy and righteous. His mercy in His being a merciful God and His justice in His being a just God. Both of these characteristics of God are good. Yet, if God only demonstrated mercy then we would not be revealed His good character of being just. And, if God only demonstrated justice then we would not be revealed His good character of being merciful.

    Each time we are only revealed the goodness of God in His justice and mercy. The nuances of evil and why sin is here, why a wicked world, and so forth is not fully revealed by God, and Pastor Strange explained this very well as to why in his post. Only His goodness and control, i.e. not allowing evil to ever have the upper hand and to have its way (control).

    In this case (topic under discussion in this thread), when we read the word "permitting" in regards to God we should only see in that word His justice and His mercy. Obviously His justice and His mercy are of His glory for He is truly a good God, and we may praise Him for revealing this, as to who He is, to us.
  12. Potter

    Potter Puritan Board Freshman

    God is the first cause of everything but he is not the author of evil.
  13. michaeloris

    michaeloris Puritan Board Freshman

    How do I post something here?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  14. crixus

    crixus Puritan Board Freshman

    God is not responsible for evil, but He let's it happen. And we all have to answer for our evil acts. :judge:
  15. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    We know of God He “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph 1:11). We also know “the LORD is upright . . . and there is no unrighteousness in him” (Psalm 92:15), and that “The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works” (Psalm 145:17).

    What is the most evil thing that ever happened upon the earth (or in the entire universe)? Was it not the murder of the Holy One, the Creator of heaven and earth, and all that therein are? And yet of this it is written, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23).

    God delivered and determined Christ to be slain. It will not do to say He but “allowed” it, for He determined it. Yet He is holy in all His works, and righteous in all His ways.

    When what we call evil God means for good, His purpose overrules our categories and value judgments. In the eschaton, when all is said and done in this age, and we are on New Earth with Him, we shall see that all that happened we thought evil—experienced as evil—was not evil to Him as He worked out our glory and everlasting joy by it.

    Note that this does not exculpate men who do evil, nor absolve them of responsibility for what they have done. But whatever God does truly is holy, just, and righteous. It is that His ways are not our ways, and they are too high above us to comprehend. So we trust Him. When we suffer, we trust Him. We may hold men accountable, and see them punished. But God we trust, for we know He loves us with an everlasting love (Jer 31:3). This is what godly men and women have helped me to understand. I think this is right.
  16. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior


    Gen. 50:19-20:

    Belgic, article 13:

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page