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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, February 24 2022

Does Isaiah 45:7 imply God creates evil?

Isaiah 45:7 tells us: "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things".

Isaiah 45:7 in the King James Version says, "I make peace, and create evil." One of the fundamental rules about understanding the Bible accurately is to read a difficult-to-understand verse in its immediate context, as well as in the broader context of the rest of the Scripture. Another rule is to consider other possible translations of the verse.

Many Hebrew words have a broad range of meanings. While the Hebrew word translated "evil" in the King James Version usually refers to unethical or immoral activity, it can also mean times of distress (Amos 6:3) and is sometimes contrasted with shalom (peace). The New International Version renders the passage, "I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster." Similarly, the New Living Translation offers, "I am the one who creates the light and makes the darkness. I am the one who sends good times and bad times." Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures: The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text confirms this understanding with, "I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe—I the Lord do all these things."

Barnes' Notes, a Bible commentary, has this helpful additional comment: "The parallelism here shows that this is not to be understood in the sense of all evil, but of that which is the opposite of peace and prosperity. That is, God directs judgments, disappointments, trials, and calamities; he has power to suffer the mad passions of people to rage, and to afflict nations with war; he presides over adverse as well as prosperous events. The passage does not prove that God is the author of moral evil, or sin, and such a sentiment is abhorrent to the general strain of the Bible, and to all just views of the character of a holy God" (notes on Isaiah 45:7).

Although God allows moral evil and sin, He does not create this kind of evil. The rest of the Bible is replete with evidence of His goodness and His marvelous plans for mankind. James 1:17 assures us that "every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (NIV).

Satan is responsible for much of the evil of this present world. And unfortunately, people have brought many evil things on themselves by their own actions.

For more information, please read our booklets Who is God? and Is There Really a Devil?