Question:

You said in a writing, that all good things come from God. I can understand this and agree with it. But what I don't understand is if by that same logic don't all things come from God directly or by proxy, including all the bad and evil in the world? I don't understand this and would like to know what the Bible says about it. I always thought God was not responsible for any thing bad.

Thank you for your time.


Answer:

You are probably referring to an answer to a question I asked Mr. Hamilton a few years ago: Can a person do good without God allowing him to do so?

There are things which God says He cannot do. He cannot lie. “In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” (Titus 1:2). He does not have a choice, it is not a part of His nature to lie.This is why we believe Scripture works in perfect harmony. It must go together because God can only tell the truth. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:16). Thus, there is no contradictions in His word.

God also cannot do evil. “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:12-15). God cannot sin, nor does He promote sin.

All good comes from God because God made us good. “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31).
By good, the Bible means we were made perfect. God made man righteous and without when we were made.

Even after the fall of mankind, due to Adam and Eve, we are still made perfect when we start out life. “Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes" (Ecclesiastes 7:29).

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Psalms 139:13-16).

God made us the way He wanted. He put us together! God brought every human being into existence making them living beings. What God makes is good. As noted in James 1:12-15, God does not tempt anyone with evil, so God makes us righteous.

"If I have despised the cause of my male or female servant When they complained against me, what then shall I do when God rises up? When He punishes, how shall I answer Him? Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?" (Job 31:13-15).

Job is an amazing book. His life is quite encouraging. One of his arguments here is that he is a righteous follower of God. If he has done something wrong (sin) to another fellow man, and since they are made by the same God, how can he answer God if he is guilty of sin? Because God made both of them, he should not show injustice or partiality to another because we are all made in God’s image, and all are made righteous. When we do fall we can’t make excuses because God made us perfect.

God has ingrained some of His Laws into mankind, “for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel” (Romans 2:14-16).

But God also made with free will to choose whether to serve Him. "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15).

God made men righteous, but men have sought out ways to do evil. “Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes." (Ecclesiastes 7:29).

Thus, we are responsible for our choices. “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:20).

For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one"” (Romans 3:9-12).

Therefore, we learn:

  • God cannot lie,
  • God cannot do evil or encourage evil,
  • God made mankind good,
  • God made mankind with free will,
  • By having free will, man is given a choice to either follow God or not.
  • In the end people will choose to not follow God because of the influence of sin in the world (Psalm 51:5),
  • They will all turn away from God.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures” (James 1:13-18).

It is important to note that there is no variation in God. God has always been merciful, forgiving, loving, just, righteous, impartial, etc. His character, the attributes of God, have always been and will always be forever. God does not change His character. God is not fickle. He is not like a teenager whose emotions are up and down. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them” (Hebrews 13:8-9).

You question is essentially: Since God made us and He is the source of everything good, then since God made us and we all eventually do evil, is it not God’s fault that we do evil because He made us? Therefore, is He the source of the evil?

Mankind decided to add a corruption to the nature God has given us (Ecclesiastes 7:29). God created mankind, but sin started on earth with the devil, and we become like him by choice. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others" (Ephesians 2:1-3).

We are created to do good, but when we choose Satan's side, we corrupted our nature, God’s creation. We become sons of disobedience and children of wrath by our own freewill to go against God. God is not held responsible for what mankind does, just as you are not responsible for what your father did, neither are you held responsible for your children do. “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:20).

We have changed from our original design by sinning, but God has not changed at all.

"God is perfectly good. "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (I John 1:5-7). God's nature, then, defines for us what good.

As an example. We know that God is love and that the reason we know about love is because God has loved us. "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. ... We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:7-10, 19). How do we know what love is or how to express it to another? We learned it from God who first loved us. We see perfect love in the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf and, thus, we have the goal set before us. Therefore it is proper to say that when anyone loves another, they are reflecting back the love that God first gave to us. It is not that God made a person love another, but that God is ultimately the source who instructed the "lover" in how to love another. Thus, it is proper to say that when my wife loves me, I can thank God for His gift of her in my life and the love that we have for one another because she and I learned it from Him.” [Jeff Hamilton, Can a person do good without God allowing him to do so?].

God is the source of all good because He was the first to do good. He is our example. He created us in His image, and when He was done with all creation He said it was very good.

When we individually decide to go against God’s will, then we add another nature to ourselves, a nature of sin. But sadly with it comes death. Sin and spiritual death was not part of God’s creation, but because we transgressed the law (Genesis 3:1-19; I John 3:4), we brought death upon ourselves. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned" (Romans 5:12). It is possible that man could choose to never sin, as Jesus did (Hebrews 4:14-16). It is because of that possibility and because we are made good, we are, therefore, condemned because Christ lived a perfect life. He showed us that we could have done the same. We see that no evil comes from God. God is good and not evil. However, we with the same opportunities and less temptations than Jesus failed to follow God (Romans 7:7-12).

Hence, all good comes from God. Evil comes when people go against God because anything not of God is evil.

Alan Feaster

It took me a while to build the courage to respond, but the analogy doesn't make much sense, mainly because God is technically the one who is letting Satan accomplish His will, is all-knowing, and created Satan in the first place.

I'm a bit puzzled myself since an analogy is to use a story to illustrate a point and that wasn't done in Alan's answer.

One concept you missed is that since God is righteous, He did not create Satan as an evil being. Satan chose to become evil -- to go against God. Satan was among "the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode" (Jude 6). They were not made evil; they left by becoming evil. Therefore, angels were given free will, just as men.

That God can make use of even the evil to accomplish His ends shows His power, but it doesn't cause a conclusion that God Himself is evil. Habakkuk asked this question: "You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, and hold Your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he?" (Habakkuk 1:13). God takes no pleasure in wickedness. "For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You" (Psalms 5:4).

However, too often we see things on too short of a time scale. While God is making use of the wicked, we don't realize that He is setting up the wicked for a downfall. "Behold, these are the ungodly, who are always at ease; they increase in riches. Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning. If I had said, "I will speak thus," Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children. When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me - until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end. Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors" (Psalms 73:12-19).