Did God Create Evil (Isaiah 45:7)?

Did God Create Evil (Isaiah 45:7)?

The problem of evil is one of the arguments commonly brought up when talking about the existence of God. Atheists often ask, “If a morally upright God exists, why doesn’t he stop all bad things from happening?” Often people claim that God Himself created evil.

And you know what? They even use the Scriptures, particularly Isaiah 45:7 (KJV) to support this claim. What? No way! Does this verse really teach that God created evil?

In this post, we will look at this verse more closely and figure out how to properly respond to this question.

Is God the Creator of Evil?

One passage of Scripture that seems to teach that God did indeed create evil is Isaiah 45:7. The King James Version of the Bible says this, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.”

But does this mean that God is the creator of evil? If so, then He isn’t a good God after all. So, how do we explain the following verse in Genesis?

Does the Bible Teach that God Created Evil

If everything God created was “very good” then how can He be the creator of evil? Is evil something very good? How are we supposed to explain these seemingly contradicting statements?

Making Sense of Difficult Passages

Christian apologist, speaker, author, and pastor of Calvary Chapel Signal Hill Don Stewart, gives us three possible ways in which Bible-believing Christians should address this passage.

Incorrect Translation of the Hebrew Word

It is important to note that only the King James Bible uses the word evil and in this case, some people feel that the Hebrew word was incorrectly translated based on the context of the passage. The word translated “evil” is the Hebrew word ra, which also means calamity, disaster, sorrow, afflictions, and adversity.

Modern Bible translations have translated the passage with a different English word. For example, the New International Version reads:

“I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7 NIV).

Here we have the word translated “disaster.”

Interestingly, the New King James Version uses the word “calamity. It says, “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7).

Therefore, the Scriptures do not teach that God was the originator of evil. Rather, what this passage is saying is that on occasion God brings calamity or disaster to the world but that He did not create evil itself.


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God Created the Conditions for Evil

Although others believe that the Hebrew word does not actually mean that God creates evil, they usually understand it in the sense that God creates the conditions for people to commit acts of evil. In other words, God creates circumstances where people have the choice to either do good or evil and that people sometimes make the choice to do the latter.

So, in a sense, God creates conditions that people can do evil but these conditions also allow people to do what is good. In other words, it is not that God created something evil but rather that He created the conditions for evil to become a possibility.

By giving human beings a choice, God opened up the possibility that humans would choose evil. Adam and Eve did exactly that. They chose to rebel against God and brought sin into our world. Therefore, in one sense, God did create evil by allowing the conditions for evil to originate.

But at the same time, God did not force Adam and Eve to choose evil. To do evil was something they chose to do.

God Allows Evil to Exist for His Own Purposes

Scriptures tell us that God is good, all-powerful, and sovereign. This is why we must recognize that no circumstance escapes His watchful eyes. In other words, God allows things to happen; He permitted evil to infest His creation.

Now, why is that? How could God just sit there and watch evil destroy His creation? When it comes to the problem of evil, the Bible leaves some things unanswered. But one thing it does tell us: God uses evil for His own purposes.

God uses everything for His purpose

We see this in the story of Joseph and his brothers. What Joseph’s brothers did to him was evil. Yet, God used their evil for good – to preserve the lives not only of their family but of the nation of Israel. You can read more about it in this article.

Another example is the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, in several instances such as that in Exodus 7:3 by God, and other instances (Exodus 8:32) by Pharaoh himself. God said this happened not only so that He might show His power in Pharaoh but also for His name to be declared in all the earth (Romans 9:17).

And let us not forget the evilest event that God allowed to happen – the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son (Acts 2:23). All the evil things that the participants in the crucifixion did have been ordained beforehand by God. And yet, the moral blame rested on the people who crucified Christ.

Indeed, God did not create evil. But He uses evil to accomplish His purposes for His own glory and for our good.

Bottom Line

Sure, the Bible recognizes that evil exists. But God did not create evil. We must reiterate that Isaiah 45:7 does not teach God created evil. God is not the originator of evil. The origin of evil lies with humanity. When God created man, i.e., human beings, He gave them free will – the choice to obey or disobey.

Evil came as a result of humanity’s choice. We must recognize that much of the evil in the universe is due to the direct or indirect choice of individuals. Lying, stealing, murder, and the likes cannot be blamed upon God. Each person is given a choice to do good or evil. And when they choose evil, they must be held accountable.

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Recommended Resource: Why Does God Allow Evil?: Compelling Answers for Life’s Toughest Questions by Clay Jones

“If you are looking for one book to make sense of the problem of evil, this book is for you.” – Sean McDowell

Grasping This Truth Will Change Your View of God Forever

Why Does God Allow Evil?: Compelling Answers for Life’s Toughest Questions by Clay JonesIf God is good and all-powerful, why doesn’t He put a stop to the evil in this world? Christians and non-Christians alike struggle with the concept of a loving God who allows widespread suffering in this life and never-ending punishment in hell. We wrestle with questions such as…

  • Why do bad things happen to good people?
  • Why should we have to pay for Adam’s sin?
  • How can an eternal judgment be fair?

But what if the real problem doesn’t start with God…but with us?

Clay Jones, an associate professor of Christian apologetics at Biola University, examines what Scripture truly says about the nature of evil and why God allows it. Along the way, he’ll help you discover the contrasting abundance of God’s grace, the overwhelming joy of heaven, and the extraordinary destiny of believers.

8 Replies to “Did God Create Evil (Isaiah 45:7)?”

  1. In all respect you are not answering the question.

    You cant have God as the creator of all and then say it was his creation that created something he isn’t responsible for. If in the beginning there was nothing and God created EVERYTHING!!! You can not then turn around and say “everything but evil”

    It has also been said the evil isn’t a thing of substance so it can’t be created. If this is the case then nor is good, but we are told God created that.

    I think if the the question can not be answered more clearly than your answer then it should be left as unanswered.

    1. Hey Simon,

      The question of whether God created evil has been answered in the article.

      But let me say that again; God did not create evil. Evil came as a result of man’s choice to disobey God and rebel against Him.

  2. To add to your comment that God didn’t create evil. He uses Satan to punish evil.

    Now on the account of Job, Satan said, (paraphrasing)Job was successful because God put a hedge of protection around him but take away his success and he will curse you but God said, you can attack him but do not kill him.

    Job was faithful even though his livestock and children were killed, and he never cursed God even though his wife told him to curse God and die.

    All through scripture God used evil to punish evil. He didn’t create Satan; he fell on his own but God uses him to punish evil but in hopes people will repent and come to Christ.

    1. Thanks, Pat, for sharing your thoughts on this seemingly controversial issue.

      Indeed, at times God uses evil to punish evil. Satan was created as an angelic being but as a result of his rebellion, he eventually became God’s greatest enemy.

  3. Satan was originally an angelic being but became usurp.

    After Satan’s (the fallen angel) eviction notice was served, he was then identified as the entity (a serpent in the Genesis account) that tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden and was thus the catalyst for the fall of humankind.

    When Adam and Eve were disobedient to God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth and everything in it, God’s original plan was altered, and sin entered and changed the world forever.

    Evil was a direct result of the decision Adam and Eve made and still today it is the direct result of our decisions.

    We purposely decide to engage in evil acts just as Anais and Sapphira did, they plotted to be deceptive, to lie, and to be selfish and corrupt.

    1. Hi Frankie,

      If you read the article from beginning to end, the answer to your question is right there.

      Where did evil come from or who created evil?

      Evil came as a result of man’s free will.

      When God created man, He created him with the choice to obey or disobey God. God is good and when we choose to obey God, we do good things.

      But when man chose to disobey God — that is how evil came about. In other words, evil came as a result of man’s choice to disobey God. This is because evil is the opposite of good. Thus, evil is the absence of God because God is the standard of good.

      Just like how there is really no such thing as darkness because darkness is the absence of light. Hence, evil is the absence of good (God).

      As I said in the last part of the post, “Evil came as a result of humanity’s choice.”

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