Sunday, April 14, 2013

Responsibility for Evil

There is plenty of evil in the world, but the scriptures explain who is responsible.

  • The spiritual forces of evil have immediate responsibility for all evil on earth. They are opposed to God and exercise their powers of evil whenever they get a chance. Job did not realise it, but he was under attack by evil spiritual forces.

  • Humans have judicial responsibility, because we gave the powers of evil the opportunity to intervene on earth. God created humans and gave them authority over the world. When humans disobeyed God, they passed their authority onto the forces of evil. Humans invited evil into the world, so we are legally responsible for the consequences. Jesus defeated evil on our behalf, but when people reject him, they nullify the effects of that victory. When God’s people reject the blessings of the covenant and move under the curse, they give power to the enemy. Humans give evil permission to be active on earth, so we are judicially responsible for it. We cannot shift the blame back to God.

  • God is strategically responsible for evil being on earth. He created a world and gave control of it to humans. He also gave them freedom to lose their authority on earth to the powers of evil. Giving this freedom to humans was a huge risk, and God must have known we would fail. His choice led to a situation where he was shut out of the world, and had to wait for some humans to invite him back. He could not intervene again until that happened, and while he was waiting, for the powers of evil would be free to wreak havoc (see Gods Big Strategy).

God does not shirk his responsibility for creating the world in this way (Isaiah 45:7 is an example). He has the big picture. I presume he decided that in the long-term (eternity), the good he could achieve would far outweigh the harm done by sin and evil. We cannot see the full picture, so we cannot judge him for choosing the set the world with potential for evil. He is a good God, so we have to trust that he knew what he was doing. God has made the world the way it is, so he is strategically responsible.

Creating the potential for evil is not evil. God is innocent on that count. Choosing to be evil is evil. That is what the devil and his spiritual forces did. Inviting evil into the world is what human did. That created a terrible mess of God’s good world. Humans are responsible for that mess.

See Problem of Evil.

No comments: