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God created the potential for evil, but not evil itself. God's desire with His creation was to allow it freedom in choices. God wanted His creation to have a will of its own and to freely love and worship Him. Well, the only way that a creature can be free to love something is if it is equally free not to love that same thing. Love cannot be love if it is forced. Thus, the potential for evil was a necessary element in the creation of free agents.
Evil is the condition when good is absent. Good is the evidence of Gods presense Matt.19:17 ….No one is good but One, that is, God. The idea of free will as it is commonly presented and understood or the idea that love is only true if it flows freely "not out of obligation" sounds very logical. The possibility of this kind of freedom presupposes the possibility of an independent act. This kind of independent act can only ultimately happen independent of God. If the only possible condition is evil in the absence of God then it is the creation of the possibility of this freedom itself that when exercised is the condition of evil. If it is possible for a creature to make an autonomous choice that is good then the ultimate source of that good is not God. Therefore you have good where God is not which is the very definition of evil. The biblical alternative to this is the truth that there is no incompatibility between obligation and freedom. It seems that the motivation to construct the scenario that man was originally created with a morally neutral autonomous capability to make an independent choice to love God is thought to be necessary to exonerate God from the charge of being the creator of evil and somehow keep man from being viewed as a robot. God brought about the fall of man as the display ground for the impossibility of an autonomous choice ever resulting in anything but evil and to show how those evil choices will redound to His glory. Rom. 9:22,23 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, God cannot do evil because He can never be absent from himself and man cannot be a robot because he is created in the image of God. How we relate to our obligation with reference to God tells us the real story about ourselves because Prov.1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. Prov.8:13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; This does not mean that we are afraid of God in the sense that Adam was when he hid from Him in the garden after he sinned. It does mean that a person has a deepening understanding that God is God and His Word are not to trifled with. Deut.6:4-6 “ Hear, O Israel:The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. Lev.19:18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself:I am the Lord. Was Jesus obligated to go to the cross? He did it because He loved his father and He loved the people the Father had given Him. Man isn't free to love God if he wants to. (even Adam) Man is freed to love God by being loved by Him. 1 John 4:19 We love Him because He first loved us. Choosing to do what God commands out of love to Him is the demonstration of His presence and love for us in the operation of His grace. Feeling obligation with a desire to please the God you love turns obligation into a labor of love. Feeling and even attempting to fulfill obligation without a desire to please Him displays the need for grace which He promises to grant if we return to Him by faith for rest in His finished work and refreshment in His love and presence. Feeling no sense of obligation to do the good He commands is the evidence of the lack of His presence the absence of His grace or a best a woefully backslides condition. Thinking we have the capability to do the good independent of Him is the evidence of the dominion of evil regardless of whatever good we think we are doing. If we believe in Jesus Col.1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His lo
My answer will be yes using Isaiah 45:7: "I form light and create darkness: I make peace and create EVIL: I, the lord, do all these things." Be that as it sounds, it will be well to add some explanations. I would like to look at evil from two different angles. The first angle is the angle of moral evil. God did not create moral evil according to James 1:13: "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted by evil, neither tempts He any man." This is the evil that I would liken to darkness, which cannot come near God because God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5) The second angle, I would say, is that God uses evil to execute judgements. At creation, God saw everything He created as good (Gen. 1). But God knew that the devil and man would disobey him before the foundation of the earth; hence He created evil according to Isaiah 45:7 as an instrument of judgement on the one who disobeys Him. To buttress this, if you look at the Old Testament, you will find that any time ISRAEL was in obedience, there was peace, but any time they rebelled against God, He would raise an adversary to use in punishing them. Nebuchadnezzar is a vivid example.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And by the Word of God all things have come into being and apart from Him nothing has come into being that has come into being. Therefore, what the Word of God calls good, is good. And what the Word of God calls evil, is evil. It is the Word of God that is true.
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