ESV - 7 I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.
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Why does Isaiah 45:7 say that God created evil? To answer this question we require to take a number exegetical steps. First we examine the root word in the original language. The Hebrew language is rich in meaning and a single word often means more than one single thing. We then consider the root meaning of the word used and the number of possible translation variants. To simplify this process we can simply look at a number of common Bible translations but a Hebrew concordance would be more useful. The Strong's concordance data for the Hebrew word "rah" for "evil" carries the following variants - bad, evil, distress, misery, injury and calamity. The editorial decision for the KJV was to render the word as "evil" and this is basically where the problem or confusion lies. The NIV and NJB render it as "disaster" while NAS translates it as "calamity". The NRS chooses "woe" while the NLT (a paraphrase) translates the word as "good times and bad times". The next step is to identify the passage context of Isaiah 45:7. This will give us an idea about how the verse fits into the larger passage and to determine the main idea that emerges from the teaching of the passage. This is a critical stage that many readers overlook yet the rules of Bible interpretation demand that we pay careful attention to this process. Several faulty interpretations have led to strange teachings in the church community as a result poor exegesis of scripture. For example there is a popular but unbiblical notion that Isaiah 6:1 teaches that it was necessary for King Uzziah to die so that Isaiah could receive his prophetic revelation. The passage context of Isaiah 6 nowhere supports that conclusion. This verse is just a historical record of the period when Isaiah was called by God so that the Jewish readers who knew Judah's royal history would figure out the period when Isaiah was called to ministry. The common phrase "Uzziah must die" is therefore a misplaced sermon title because its interpretation is unbiblical and is not informed by sound exegesis of the passage of Isaiah 6. In our above case of Isaiah 45:7, when we examine the larger passage context of Isaiah 45:1-19 we notice that the passage speaks about the appointmet of Cyrus whom God would use to punish the wicked people of Israel who turned to Idolatry and had forsaken their true God. In exercise of His sovereign power, God appoints King Cyrus 150 years before his birth to carry out this divine mandate. He would bring calamity or disaster upon Judah through deportation to a foreign land where they will remain for a long period. This is what practically happened in 586 BC when the Babylonians razed down Jerusalem and took the people into exile. Knowing the Hebrew variants of the word "rah" and the meaning conveyed by the passage context of Isaiah 45:1-19 leads us to draw an exegetical conclusion that the word evil in Isaiah 4:7 should best be translated calamity or distress. We can therefore surmise that God permits disaster, calamity or unpleasant circumstances to punish his people for evil or disobedience (1 Kings 9:9; Daniel 9:14) and to cause His divine purposes to be accomplished (Romans 8:28) but God is certainly not the author of evil (1 John 1:5, James 1:13). We also learn from separate parts of scripture that God can and does permit painful trials on His saints to refine their faith (1 Peter 1:7). Job was innocent (but certainly not sinless) yet God chose to permit his suffering to prove His point to Satan (Job 1:12). Even though God's ways are often incomprehensible and mysterious (Isaiah 55:9), He does not contradict His revealed will or moral nature (James1:17).
Read the verse very well and you will see that God is not saying He created (past tense) evil, which would have meant that He created evil in the beginning along with other things He originally created, but rather He said "creates" (present tense at that time) 'evil' - which in this case is all about the punishment that will come on His misbehaving chosen nation at the hand of king Cyrus of Babylon. God did not create evil, but can allow it to teach us a lesson for a season and if we repent He is just and merciful to forgive and restore us wholly.
We must read the verse carefully. First, there is the opposition of light to darkness. Then there is the opposition of peace to evil. But are peace and evil opposites? No, therefore, the translation is somewhat misleading and defective. In fact, translating spiritual books from one language to another is always quite difficult. As others have said above, the true word for 'evil' should be thought of as adversity, affliction, calamity, distress, misery, disaster, or woe. All these are characteristics of the "day of the LORD' where divine judgment and wrath are unleased. For Israel, instead of wrath, there is only chastisement, or nothing of Israel would remain. Peace in this verse isn't only a political matter, it is primarily spiritual, implying violations of the Mosaic Law are not occurring. The opposite of peace is overwhelming sin or violation of the Law. Normally, peace comes after divine judgment has been satisfied. So this verse tells us that the LORD can create peace - and he specifically tells us how it is done - by unleashing his wrath resulting in the adversity, calamity, etc., experienced by his people.
Notice the context; "I form the light and create darkness." These are together for a reason. Darkness is merely am absence of light, just as evil is the inevitable product of the absence of goodness. Evil is there for not created, but made through the removal if goodness, just as darkness forms where there is no light. This is an important concept to grasp, because it has practical application. Just as one does not fight darkness with darkness, so it is foolish to fight evil with evil. This we know; however, what I see so often is people obsess about their shortcomings, only to see them get more pronounced. Why? Because we try to fight the sin rather than shedding light on the truth that overcomes the sin. "What good can I do to defeat this sinful thought or temptation?" All things exist and have come into being according to God's purpose. His purpose is for His children to be like Him. This world is the foundation of that process. From what tree where our ancestors commanded not to partake of, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They partook of their own free will, but now, we are also partakers as their offspring, by their error and by our own, for none is able to overcome the desires of the flesh apart from submission to God. And how can we submit unless we are witnessed to concerning whom we are submitting to? So yes, God created both good and evil; however, evil is merely a byproduct of the separation from goodness which is the result of the exertion of the will to sin. And through sin death(the absence of life) reigns. But thanks be to God, I am made alive again through Christ by the power of his completed work which has torn away the veil of separation by which I can cry out Abba, Father with confidence amd assurance of my salvation to the Glory of God.
Please let people remember that the devil's original name was Lucifer[Angel of Light] that exists in heaven. Suddenly, he rebelled in his mind against God. Is that evil or good? Who created Lucifer? God knows the beginning and the end of all things.[Alpha and Omega]. That was why He created hell [evil] for evil people and heaven[good] for good people. Devil cant create anything, he did not has the power to form or create. God did not give the devil that power. I really believe in Isaiah 45: 7 as inspired by God.
From my humbled, unbiased perspective, through Biblical research and personal traumatic experiences, through my own faith in God, the Father, and The Anointed Christ Jesus as our and my personal and collective savior, there IS an answer: God always intended well, good, wholesomely, and genuinely in a grand nature. God intended well for one of his own creations, which includes the earlier version of Lucifer (before "The Betrayal Towards God"), yet the entity of Lucifer was secretly sinning against God though jealousy, or so the devil thought. The Almighty God, whom Art in Heaven, DID allow Lucifer to have a special free will, a truly free arc-angel, and the devil CHOSE to be thrown from Heaven from his actions whilst there right before the "Cast from Heaven". I truly believe it was to attempt to be unappreciative and really disrespect the Creator of All things, which made Lucifer simply no longer himself, a good individual with grand potential, and changed the devil's attitude to a point where that being felt they were greater than The Creator Himself, which in itself is the betrayal, and the source of the sin. This includes the taking of the name "Satan", or "The Main Accuser". It was most likely the only unprecedented happening for God in all of any existence, for one of His own creations to practically say that they created Him, so many can claim God made evil, yet the events that took place were as such: God made Lucifer, Lucifer Unprecedentedly Betrayed God, seeing as God intended well for the devil, the devil's intentions (put throne above heavens, rebel against The Heavenly Father, etc., simultaneously created evil. Therefore, It was Lucifer's free-will decision(s) after being created and reaching maturity and granted a free will that created the evil. That's absolutely the best way I can put it.
Isaiah 45:7 'EVIL' (RAH) is the Strong's Concordance Hebrew #7451-7455, and Gesenius Hebrew-Lexicon, has many more definitions than provided. In Deuteronomy 30:15 it is also used and you are given a choice to choose between good and evil. And in 31:29 it says God will bring it upon them in the latter days. In I Corinthians 10:11 tells us that 'all things that have happened in the past are examples of those things that are to happen in the ends of the world (end days).' The statement in Isaiah 45:7 are prophetic in nature and followed by a list of WOE's. In 45:18 The LORD God follows up by giving a reason for CREATION. EVIL is coming and his name is Lucifer, The Devil, Satan, Dragon, Serpent, Beast, Accuser, etc and has a title of the King of Babylon as spoken by Jesus and Daniel (Matthew 24:15), and God kicks him out of heaven in Revelations 12:7-17 and again it says WOE to you on earth for he comes in great wrath. But believers overcome by the shed blood. AMEN.
According to me, Isaiah was clear about what he claimed in (Is 45:7) (God "creating" "evil" & "darkness". He specified the word "CREATED". Can't be any more clearer than that! Can't by-pass his word's written black on white! Can we? Paul confirms this verse of Isaiah by saying to the congregation of Rome : "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience." (Rm 13:1-5) This is why Jesus says : “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s..." (Mk 12:17) Even if those Elites-rulers of the world are ABUSIVE in their authority-power (given to them by God Himself) in this "Jungle of God", where "All this I saw, as I applied my mind to everything done under the sun. There is a time when a man lords it over others to his own hurt." (Ec 8:9). If God is "omniscient" (allknowing) & knew in advance that Adam-Eve & Lucifer would've disobeyed; why would God still create man with animals where only the "strong" (predator) survives or take's the "power" in this "jungle" (creation of God)?
Why does Isaiah 45:7 say that God created evil/calamity? God created all things, and the scriptures here is emphasizing that God created both the good and evil, and also want us to appreciate what is good from those that are evil, it is a logical comparison, and with the sincere knowledge that evil will hurt and dangerous for human relationship. This can better be understood by considering Isaiah 45: 6-9, "That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it. Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? Or thy work, He hath no hands?
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