Now think about this a moment. You don’t get up in the morning and think about how to disobey the Lord or do something rotten to someone else, do you? When you stub your toe, do you force yourself to shout out some profanity? On New Year’s Eve, you do not catch yourself making resolutions never to be good again, and then suddenly find yourself breaking your word, and being good again when you really did not intend to. No. You simply expressed the life that was in you, the life of Adam. You didn’t learn how to disobey, it is who you are and has become so widespread around you that it seems perfectly natural.
This is how Paul explains it to the Roman church:
This, then, is what happened. Sin made its entry into the world through one man (referring to Adam), and through sin, death came. The entail of sin and death passed on to the whole human race, and no one could break it for no one was himself free from sin —Romans 5:12
When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. His sin nature spread throughout the entire world, so everything began to grow old and die, for all sinned. Once sin got a toehold in the world, death infected the human race. So sin was in the world even before the Bible, but it was not chalked up as sin since there was no Bible around.
Sin was in the world long before the Law, though I suppose, technically speaking, it was not “sin” where there was no law to define it. Nevertheless death, the complement of sin, held its sway over mankind from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sin was quite unlike Adam’s —Romans 5:13-14
That is a rather interesting statement, don’t you think? “Sin was in the world before the Law . . .” Okay, where did it come from? Well, Hebrew scholars believe that we were created with both a good and an evil inclination. In other words, man had the capability of choosing one or the other. They also hold that God created good and evil.
Now wait, before you send off some angry emails to me, hear me out, because it is important that you understand what I mean by the concept of God creating evil along with good. You see, I have often said that we simply do not have words that can describe things of the spirit world. We do not have words that can fully communicate the mind of God. This certainly applies to the discussion of the origin of evil: how it got here; what it is; how it operates.
It would take far too long to get into it now, I mean that is an entire lesson in itself, but let me give you a “Readers Digest” version.
When YHWH made our Universe, its natural state was darkness (we’re told that in Genesis 1). “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light;’ and there was light.”
The Universe was dark, and then from somewhere outside of our Universe God brought light to this darkness. Now, the reason I know that this light of Genesis 1:3 came from outside of our Universe, is because this light of Genesis.1:3 wasn’t “light” as in the sense of a light bulb or a lamp. This was light in the sense of spiritual enlightenment, spiritual illumination. The reason I say that is because the Hebrew word is owr, which means truth, goodness—a spirit of truth and goodness. The Hebrew word for darkness, or the original state of the Universe, is choshek—which means obscurity, falsehood, blindness—a spirit of wickedness; the absence of spiritual enlightenment. It does not mean darkness like in nighttime.
So, what God created on the first day was enlightenment—a spirit of truth—of good. But then look at what the prophet Isaiah said:
The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these —Isaiah 45:7.
That sounds OK; it really does not bother us much that the Lord who created light and darkness, also causes well-being and creates calamity. I mean, as much as we might wish Scripture did not say that God creates calamity (of which we might be affected) we accept that pretty easily. Oh, if were just that easy.
That verse above is taken from The New American Standard Bible and this is from a translation method that is called “dynamic translation.” Now look at that same verse in a more literal, direct, word for word, translation: JPS or Jewish Publication Society renders it this way:
I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am the LORD, that doeth all these things —Isaiah 45:7
Now this one does hurt our sensibilities. It says bluntly that the Lord creates Evil. Is that possible? Look at the King James Version: “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
There are 4 key Hebrew words used here: owr, choshek, shalom and rah. So, by substituting those words in English with the original Hebrew, the verse reads: “I form the owr and create choshek; I made shalom and create rah.” Above I introduced you to the words owr and choshek, and explained that they are words denoting two categories of spiritual nature: good and evil. Now Shalom is a very interesting Hebrew word that we could take up the whole study talking about; but, for now just know that its essence is of describing a sense of well-being, peace, good, godliness and grace that comes from God—it is a spiritual source that produces shalom. The Hebrew word rah, has a similar, but opposite sense. Rah means evil or bad.
Now there is an important principle in our Universe that says that everything has an opposite—no exceptions—and I will explain this in a moment, when apply this principal to this last verse, if God forms light, then darkness comes into existence; if the Lord makes shalom, then evil is also created. More importantly, God is behind it all, and controls it all, and uses it all.
See, it is only with our more modern translations that we even find the word “evil” oddly replaced with words like disaster and calamity and woe. The Hebrew word “rah” means evil. No exceptions. Now, calamity and disaster and woe can be the result of evil—but rah directly refers to the spiritual sense of evil—it is the opposite of shalom. Don’t think this is some isolated verse; this phrase directly showing the Lord causing evil to exist and to happen is scattered throughout the Old Testament.
Shall the horn be blown in a city, and the people not tremble? Shall evil befall a city, and the LORD hath not done it? —Amos 3:6
Out of the mouth of the Most High proceedeth not evil and good? —Lamentations 3:38
So, why does evil exist in our Universe? Because God created good; and therefore evil came as its natural opposite. This isn’t accidental—God ordered it all that way. Now—and here comes an important concept—God did not create evil in the sense of God manufacturing or speaking evil into existence. God did not turn to His right, and create a pile of good; and then turn to His left and create a pile of evil. Evil was a result of His creating good, transporting that good, that owr, from another dimension and putting that spirit of good into our Universe (a Universe where everything must have an opposite).
Allow me to quote someone who has a pretty good idea of the operation of our physical universe:
“Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.”
This is a quote from Albert Einstein.
Maybe an easier way to think about all of this is when we can envision that evil is everything that God does not command or instruct. It is the opposite of what is called good by God. Allow me to draw an admittedly imperfect (but I think reasonable) analogy for you—expanding on Professor Einstein’s thought. When we go into a room, and turn on a light; we flip a switch, electricity flows to a filament in a light bulb, it glows, and presto, we add light to the room. However, when we turn the switch the other way, it goes off, and the room goes dark. Did we add darkness to the room? Did the current in the light bulb reverse, and now it sucked the light out of the room? Or, was the darkness manufactured just like the light was manufactured? No, because darkness is simply the opposite of light. If light is not produced and present, then the result is its opposite—darkness. Darkness is not something that is made, per se, it is simply the absence of light. In the same way, evil is simply the absence of good.
I hope I did not confuse you more, but we will let Paul continue on with this thought.
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome