Did God create evil?

No, God did not create evil. Evil is an attribute opposed to the qualities of God. It is no doubt that God knew of the concept before any of his creations were formed, but evil is only manifest by his creations who turn to their own desires and fall from his grace. Therefore, evil is not a created thing, but a quality of those things created by God which have fallen from good-standing with him due to their own disobedience.

        "Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground -- trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
        ....The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.' "
(Genesis 2:8-17)

The tree itself was not evil, but possessed the knowledge of evil. The Bible tells us that evil is born of men's hearts (Job 15:14-16, Isaiah 59:4, Matthew 12:35, 15:19, Mark 7:23, Luke 6:45, Romans 1:30), and that from evil doers come evil deeds (1 Samuel 24:13). There are accounts where God employs evil spirits to either test or torment man (Judges 9:23, 1 Samuel 16:14-16, Job 1:12, 2:6) and sets his eyes on men for evil (Amos 9:4), but God does not tempt, nor is he himself tempted by evil (Job 34:10, Habakkuk 1:13, James 1:13-15).

        "When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." (James 1:13-15)

Although the Bible teaches that all things were created by God (John 1:3, Ephesians 3:9, Colossians 1:16, Revelation 4:11), it also reveals that all these were created for good (1 Timothy 4:4). It is not a valid argument that God created evil just to contrast good (Romans 3:5-8). So it must remain that evil is either an attribute of these created things -- specifically men and spirits who have the knowledge of good and evil -- or it is a creation of these things as a result of sin. For we are admonished to love what is good and hate what is evil (Amos 5:14-15, Romans 12:9), and God is not evil that evil should come from him.

        "But if our unrighteousness brings out God's righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? Someone might argue, "If my falsehood enhances God's truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?" Why not say -- as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say -- 'Let us do evil that good may result?' Their condemnation is deserved." (Romans 3:5-8)

Note: The King James Version renders Isaiah 45:7 as God making peace and creating evil (Hebrew ra) -- however, most Bibles render this passage as God created prosperity and disaster (NIV), well-being and calamity (NASV), weal and woe (RSV), or good times and bad (TLB).

For more insight on this topic and alternative viewpoints, visit the following websites:

Ancient Hebrew Research Center

"The Hebrew word for evil in Isaiah 45:7 is "ra" and literally means "bad" and is used consistently as the opposite of "good" (tov in Hebrew). While this sounds odd to most christians, God did create bad as well as good. Our western perspective of good and bad is not the same as the eastern/Hebrew perspective. We see everything as good or bad, we desire good and reject bad. The eastern mind sees both as positive or negative. If your whole life was filled with good, you would never know it as you can only know good if it is contrasted with bad. If you love ice cream and were able to eat ice cream your whole life never tasting anything else, you would not know ice cream tasted good because you have never tasted anything bad. All things have a negative and a positive without and one cannot exist without the other. We usually see light as good and darkness as bad. But if I filled your room with pure light you would be blind, and if I filled your room with pure darkness you would again be blind. In order to see, you must have a balance between light and darkness. In order to have a healthy life you must have a balance between good and bad."

Apologetics Press, Inc.

"The text of Isaiah 45:7 seems to indicate that God �creates evil.� Is this correct? In Isaiah 45:7, the prophet wrote of God: �I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am Jehovah, that doeth all these things.� On occasion, unbelievers appeal to this verse in an attempt to involve the Bible in a moral difficulty, since the text seems to suggest that God �created� evil. How should a Christian respond to such a charge?"

All About God

"The potential for love out weighs the existence of evil, especially if evil can only exist for a time. Evil is a side effect of love. Suffering and death are a side effect of evil (Romans 5:12). God says in His Bible that this side effect is only for a time. Evil serves the limited purpose of establishing real love relationships between creation and the Creator, and evil will be done away with after that purpose is achieved."


"The fourth-century saint ponders the nature of evil and its cause. By Augustine of Hippo (excerpts compiled by Mary Wilk)... Augustine's short answer to: Did God create evil? And it seemed to me better to believe Thee to have created no evil (to whom Thy mercies confess out of my mouth), than to believe the nature of evil, such as I conceived it, could come from Thee. (5.10.20)"


"From a human viewpoint there are degrees of evil, but the truth is that "evil" is simply the decision to be "without God." As one continues to exercise this decision in one's life, it may well manifest itself in degenerative acts of unspeakable degree that may indeed impact one's eternal state in hell should one die "spiritually" in that state of being. But no matter the degree, as man so judges the outward forms of evil, any person who is "without God" and thereby in a spiritual state of evil at the time of physical death will face an eternity in this condition apart from God in the lake of fire."

Blue Letter Bible

"Unlike many religions, Christianity recognizes that evil does exist. The Bible, in both testaments, acknowledges that the world is presently in an evil state. However, the origin of evil lies not with God but with humanity. When God created human beings He gave them a choice to obey or disobey. When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God they brought evil into the universe. Evil is an action or relationship, not a created substance... God did not create evil and neither is He to blame for the evil in the universe. God could have made people in such a way that they would be robots who would react when God made them do so. But that would not give humanity any significance. God decided to make people in such a way that they could choose whether or not to obey Him... The Bible recognizes that evil does exist but God did not create evil. Evil came as a result of humanity�s choice. Natural disasters are a result of humanity�s original sin. Therefore God cannot be blamed for the evil that continues. Humanity is directly or indirectly responsible for evil."

Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry

"Is God really the one who created evil? To answer the question we must first look at how the word for evil "rah" is used in the Bible, examine the context of the Isaiah 45:7 passage, and look at other passages on the same subject... We can see that the Bible teaches that God is pure and does not approve of evil, that the word "rah" (evil) in Hebrew can mean many things, and that contextually, the verse is speaking calamity and distress. Therefore, God does not create evil in the moral sense, but in the sense of disaster, of calamity."

Christian Courier

"A reader wishes to know: �How can God be viewed as good, when the Bible suggests that he created evil?� The question fails to recognize the various ways in which words may be used in human communication. Study this topic with us."

Christian Think Tank

"No, 'acts' and 'events' are not 'made'--they are 'done'. God made and created 'things' and 'agents', not their 'acts' or 'events'...He 'did' His own 'acts' (of course), but other agents 'do' their own 'acts'. So God did not 'make evil' (the phrase is meaningless and nonsensical)... Here's a comment. In regard to the "Did God create evil?" question in the "tough questions" section, your answer is just plain wrong. Isaiah 45:7: "Who fashions light and creates darkness, who makes peace and creates evil, I am HaShem who does all this." This is often mistranslated in English Bibles, but in the Hebrew it is absolutely unmistakable. God states that He creates evil. Now whether what you mean by "evil" is what God meant by "evil" is open to discussion, but unless you reject Isaiah, the answer to the question is very clear."

Come Let Us Reason Together

"The problem here is that you have a faulty premise. Evil and sins are not "things" in and of themselves. They do not exist autonomously. Rather, they are the absence of the perfect which God did make. This becomes complicated, so let me give you a couple of examples. I have the ability to create a vacuum of space. Now I do this not by making something out of materials, but by removing all the air and particles out of that space. The void that remains is what we choose to label a vacuum. It isn�t a thing in itself, but it is a term we use to state that everything else is gone. Likewise we use the term cold to describe a lower temperature. Any air conditioner man can tell you that to cool something down you don�t put cold in, but you have to take heat out! Cold is the absence of energy that causes heat."

Equipping Faithful Disciples

"Your argument almost sounds like the Hindu idea that good and evil are both necessary for balance. I think where you got off track was in your first assumption, namely that God created everything. Did god really create everything? For instance, did God created the computer? Or the automobile? Or the nuclear power plant? True, God create the materials and the principles on which all of these are based. But man invented the actual things. In a similar way, God created beings (angels and later man), but these beings committed evil (first Satan, later Adam and Eve). This is why at the end of the creation narrative, the Bible says �Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good� (Genesis 1:31). But we can make an even finer distinction. Evil is not really a �thing�--it is an action and an attitude. God did not create all actions and attitudes. So God created all original chemical elements and out of them created living beings and certain inanimate objects. But He did not create the objects later invented by man and He did not create the attitudes and actions of His created beings."


"Look at the example of Job in Job chapters 1-2. Satan wanted to destroy Job, and God allowed Satan to do everything but kill Job. God allowed this to happen to prove to Satan that Job was righteous because he loved God, not because God had blessed him so richly. God is sovereign and ultimately in control of everything that happens. Satan cannot do anything unless he has God's "permission". God did not create evil, but He allows evil. If God had not allowed for the possibility of evil, both mankind and angels would be serving God out of obligation, not choice. He did not want �robots� that simply did what He wanted them to do because of their "programming". God allowed for the possibility of evil so that we could genuinely have a free will and choose whether we wanted to serve Him or not."

Heaven Net

"Jesus told us that the Devil who is Satan is the Father of Lies and a murderer from the beginning. So sin started in Satan and he spread his lies and deception and corrupted one third of the Angels. He also deceived man in the beginning which meant that he sowed sin into all of humanity and brought death to us all. We can see in Genesis 3 (English-NIV) that the serpent deceived mankind in the beginning and in Revelation 12:9 we see that Satan is that ancient serpent that lead the whole world astray. The reason that Jesus came to earth was to redeem man back to God and save us from death birthed by sin. This disobedience originated in the Devil's lies... As we can see it is the Devil who sowed evil and all evil will be collected and burned."

His Remnant

"Again the question is, "Can a holy and righteous God, Who never sins, create evil?" The first thing we need to consider is the distinction between "sin" and "evil." In many religious minds the words "sin" and "evil" are synonymous. That is, they are interchangeable because they mean the same thing. However, in God's chosen language this simply is not so. Much misunderstanding has resulted from viewing these two words as identical in meaning. Learning to distinguish between words that differ is important. Understanding the difference that exists between "sin" and "evil" is very important to the serious minded student. Recognizing this distinction causes the interplay of "good" and "evil" to become evident. "God created evil" (Isa. 45:7). This statement is simply a quotation from the scripture. However, some conclude such a statement is nothing less than a "doctrine of devils." Some have said, "Declaring God creates evil is blasphemous." Many of these same people use misquotations in an attempt to prove their charges. Those who say "God created evil," become misrepresented as having said, "God is the Originator of sin." It is such twisting of words that causes us to consider this area of teaching. In doing so we found it essential to present an important, yet, neglected principle used to understand God's word. "When God inspired the writer to use TWO DISTINCT TERMS, He had TWO DISTINCT MEANINGS in mind." Note: The Scripture never says that God created sin. Moreover, we should not be presumptuous and must refrain from making such a statement."

Jesus People Information Center

" "The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." Proverbs 16:4... Response to a Calvinist claim God predestined particular individuals to heaven and others to hell. All their "proof text" arguments are fallacious. Many Calvinists have used this verse to support Predestination -- even though Calvin himself said "Predestination to evil would be a horrible dogma." Delitzsch comments that "The wickedness of free agents is contemplated in this plan in this verse" (O.T. Commentary Keil and Delitzsch). God does not create evil. -- Isaiah 45:7 says "I make peace and create evil." This clearly does not mean moral evil, but calamity. (Wycliffe Commentary on the Bible.) "In studying this subject of "God making and creating evil" you will find this often refers to his judgments against free agents, individuals or nations, that freely do evil and the making or creating He does is calamity that comes finally upon them by natural catastrophes or destruction by other nations. -- A thought all Americans should seriously consider." (Tom Adcock)"

John Mark Ministries

"Evil is simply the absence of God. Evil is a term man developed to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. It isn't like truth, or love, which exist as virtues... like heat or light. Evil is simply the state where God is not present, like cold without heat or darkness without light."


"Maimonides then moves on to demonstrate what "evil" is. He shows all evils as privations, and not positive entities. Evil is termed as that which is lacking - it is not positive. For example, it is an evil that man is poor, or hungry, or blind, or ignorant. And in all these cases, the evil is where man has not achieved financial success, he has not eaten, he lost his sight, or he never became wise. The evil in all these cases is the deprivation of some real, positive object. Therefore, these evils were not created, because evils are not really in existence. They are terms denoting the lack of real positive entities as food, wisdom, or wealth. For this very reason, Maimonides teaches that the term "and it was good" is used in Genesis in reference to creation on each day. God only produces real existence, and all existence is good. All God's ways are good. God cannot create evil, as it cannot possibly be created. I assume many might have expected the answer to take a much different course, perhaps more debative of the possibility of viciousness in God. However, we are guided by Maimonides' truthful analysis of the very terms "create" and "evil", and the passage noted, until he elucidates their true meanings. We conclude that God cannot be the creator of evil. The problematic theory that God creates evil vanishes, leaving a void - a void not "created", but descriptive of a place where there once stood our question."

Rapture Ready

"Did God create evil? The best answer is yes and no. Evil, by definition, is that which is contrary to God's nature or character. These are revealed to us in His law; thus that which does not conform to God's moral laws is evil. One can say, yes, because evil is not possible unless God makes it possible through the creation of a moral being. Evil, though, is not a direct creation of God. God created beings that could choose to reflect His nature and character or not. Evil is the description of that character and nature which is other than God. It has no existence until someone chooses to display it in his life. Though it would probably be incorrect to say that Satan created evil, he is the first known being to choose to display evil in his life. It would perhaps be better to say he fathered evil (Jas. 1:13-15)."

Stand To Reason

"The first step in answering the problem of evil is this: We've got to get clear on what this thing "evil" actually is. It does seem to follow that if God created all things, and evil is a thing, then God created evil. This is a valid syllogism. If the premises are true, then the conclusion would be true as well. The problem with that line of reasoning is that the second premise is not true. Evil is not a thing. The person who probably explained it best was St. Augustine, and then Thomas Aquinas picked up on his solution. Others since them have argued that evil has no ontological status in itself. The word ontology deals with the nature of existence. When I say that evil has no ontological status, I mean that evil, as a thing in itself, does not exist."

What Do The Scriptures Say?

"What we do know about Satan is this. He was a created being, an angel, who was judged because of his rebellion, which the New Testament hints was sparked by his pride (1Tim.3:6). He is the one responsible for introducing evil to this world. Now he desires to devour God's creation by tempting man to reject his Creator. This is then the lesson we must learn. Satan--an angel created by God--was given the free will to choose whether or not he would obey God. He disobeyed, and that disobedience was evil. Satan made himself evil by choosing to do evil. In the same way, humans may choose to do right or wrong, and through their choices, evil flourishes. So. . . it was choice that caused Satan to be evil, not an act of Creation."

The Whole Truth

"God is not evil, but he created it. When God created law, punishment for transgression is the penalty we pay whether ethically or spiritually. The apostle Paul says, whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap, Gal.6:7. We say, it is evil to transgress or sin against his law and if not forgiven, punishment will follow. The afore mentioned might be properly called the "the knowledge of good and evil", which is no different from other institutions God created such as marriage, kingdoms and governments for self rule and the law of sin and death. It is for certain God created the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" and without any controversy, he is the author of both good and evil. So far as we can tell, this is where it all started."

        "I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things." (Isaiah 45:7)