The question then is: Where did evil come from? And the answer to that is that we only know what we know from the Bible. ( by John MacArthur )

Let me put it to you simply: God is not responsible for evil. His creatures are. God is not responsible for evil. His creatures are. Everything -- listen to this carefully -- that God created was "very" what? "Good." Everything. This is affirmed throughout the scripture. In Habakkuk Chapter 1: "God is of purer eyes than to" approve evil or "behold evil. He cannot look on wickedness." Habakkuk Chapter 1, Verse 13. 1st Corinthians 14:33 says: "God is not the author of confusion." Confusion is a product of sin. 1st John 1:5 says: "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all." James 1:13 says: "God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man." 1st John 2:16 says: "All that is in the world," all evil categorically, "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, is not of the Father." Psalm 5:4: "You are not a God who has pleasure in wickedness; neither will evil dwell with You." Psalm 5:4. In fact, on a positive note, Isaiah 6, the antiphonal cry of the angels was that God was "Holy, holy, holy." We see a glimpse of that, of course, when Jesus came into the world; God in human flesh. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. God is not evil. God does not do evil. He cannot be tempted to do evil. He never tempts anybody else to do evil. God is not responsible for evil.

The source of evil, the source of sin, is outside God. When God created angels and God created humans, he gave them intelligence. He gave them reason, and he gave them choice. And there is a sequence. I put those words in that order for a purpose. Intelligence gave them the ability to understand things. Reason gave them the ability to process that understanding toward behavior. And choice gave them the freedom to determine that behavior. Intelligence, reason, and choice. Bottom line: With what they knew, and with the ability they had to process that information, they would be brought to a choice. And whether angels or men, they would have the choice either to obey God or not to obey God.

Listen to this: To disobey God was to initiate evil. Evil is not the presence of something. Evil is the absence of righteousness. You can't create evil, because evil doesn't exist as a created entity. It doesn't exist as a created reality. Evil is a negative. Evil is the absence of perfection. It's the absence of holiness. It's the absence of goodness. It's the absence of righteousness. Evil became a reality only when creatures chose to disobey. Evil came into existence initially then in the fall of angels. And then next, in the fall of Adam and Eve.

Just put it this way in your mind. Evil is not a created thing. Evil is not a substance. Evil is not an entity. Evil is not a being. Evil is not a force. Evil is not some floating spirit. Evil is a lack of moral perfection. God created absolute perfection. Wherever a lack of that exists, sin exists. And that cannot exist in the nature of God or in anything that God makes. Evil comes into existence when God's creatures fall short of the standard of moral perfection.

Now, let me take it a step further. God did not create evil. He did not author evil. He did not make evil. But listen carefully, very important: God did decree to use evil as a part of his eternal plan, okay? He will not be culpable for it. He did not bring it into existence. That would be impossible because God is good, all good and only good. Therefore, whatever comes out of Him is all good and only good. God can, therefore, produce only good. And what is evil but the absence of that good, which is a choice made by the reasonings based upon the information revealed to his creatures? But, God was not caught off guard. In fact, God decreed that evil would be part of his plan. He is not the creator of evil, and He is not the cause of evil. He did not bring evil into existence in a cosmic sense, and he did not and does not bring evil into existence in a personal sense. He is not the cause of sin, nor is he the cause of sins in the lives of people. But he does use it for his purposes. And that's why in Isaiah 45:7 -- just write this down; you may run across it. It says God creates "calamity." Some older translations say He "creates evil." That is a really poor translation, and not true. God does create "calamity." And if you read the context of Isaiah 45:7, it is clear that judgment is the issue. God does not create evil, but God does bring judgment on evil, creating therefore the calamity by which evil is judged. Now, listen carefully: Scripture written by God always assigns the guilt and responsibility for all sin to creatures; never to God. Never to God. Folks, that's all we know. Okay?

Now the question then comes up: Why? Why would God allow sin? Well, come on, now. I -- I can only speculate. There's no specific statement. But I think you can make a fairly reasonable speculation beyond which I cannot go, and don't find any value in attempting to go. And it is this: What did sin -- what did sin coming into the world bring about? Well, it brought about, I would say, three things. And these are the three reasons why I believe God allowed evil.

Number one, it brought about the salvation of sinners, right? God had to allow sin. God had to decree sin in the plan, though never the author of it, in order that he might save sinners. Well, why did God want to save sinners? To put on display attributes that otherwise never would have been manifest, right? How is God going to show grace if there aren't any sinners? How is God going to show mercy if there aren't any sinners? That was a part of God's nature that God wanted to display for his own glory throughout all eternity. So God provided a means in which he could demonstrate grace and demonstrate mercy. He also wanted to show love; love that is so far-reaching that it can reach even his own enemies who hate him. How's He going to show that if he doesn't have any enemies? So God allows evil in order that He might demonstrate grace and mercy and forgiveness and salvation.

Secondly, He allows evil in order that He might display his wrath; in order that he might put his wrath on display, his anger on display, his judgment on display. How would God ever reveal that part of His true and eternal nature if there were not an opportunity to judge sinners? And so all you can do is look at redemptive history, and you see the salvation of sinners and the damnation of sinners, and that is what goes on. And you see, ultimately, a place prepared for those who were damned and a place prepared for those who were saved. And you must conclude then that the eternal purpose of God was to save some and judge some in order that he might demonstrate both his grace and his wrath.

And then I'd like to throw a third thought in there. I believe that God allowed sin in order that he might forever destroy it. As long as His creatures have any measure of freedom, as long as his creatures have intelligence; that is, they can know and reason; that is, they can process that knowledge toward behavior and choice; that is, they can choose what to do. As long as they have that capacity, there is a potential for them to fall short of the standard, right? To make the wrong choice.

Summing it up, there is no external cause of sin, okay, outside the creature. There's no force floating out there that God created. It is the absence of perfection. There is no deterministic cause and effect; that is to say, some fatalism. It's just choice. Within God's decree, he allowed for that choice, knew those choices would be made the way they were made, planned that into the decree in order to display both his grace, his wrath, and to put a final and eternal end to sin.