Article: Does God Create Evil? Isaiah 45:7 by Will Kinney

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Isaiah 45:7 Does God create evil? Is the King James Bible wrong or outdated?


There are many out there today on the internet and in the pulpits and seminaries (in fact, most Christians today fall into this category) who do not believe that ANY Bible in ANY language is the complete, inspired and 100% true Holy Bible. Instead, each one becomes his own final authority as he rummages through five or six different and contradictory versions picking out a phrase here or a verse there that he happens to “prefer” and then pieces together for himself his own peculiar version of his “Bible”.


It’s not that he believes that ANY of these conflicting “bibles” are the complete and infallible words of God. He doesn’t. But he has made his own mind and understanding his final authority and he feels free to “correct, change, alter, add to, omit from and retranslate” any Bible at any time, and they especially love to “correct” the Authorized King James Holy Bible.


In Isaiah 45:7 we read the LORD God of Israel saying: “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create EVIL: I the LORD do all these things.”


The Bible critic then goes on to tell us that the King James Bible is either wrong or misleading when it says that God creates “evil”. They then refer us to any number of modern versions (none of which they believe is the complete and 100% true words of God), which say something like “I bring prosperity and create DISASTER” (NIV), or “causing well-being and creating CALAMITY” (NASB) or “I make peace and create CALAMITY” (NKJV).


Along with the verse in Isaiah 45:7 they also criticize a couple other verses in the King James Bible that directly tie into this topic. In Lamentations 3:38 we read: “Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not EVIL and good?” and in Amos 3:6 we read: “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be EVIL in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?”


Instead of assuming that the King James Bible translation is wrong, the typical Bible Corrector would be much better served by merely looking up the word “evil” in any good English dictionary to learn more about his own native language. I have often found that simply learning a bit more about our own language goes a long way in clearing up many an alleged “error” in the King James Bible.


The various meanings of the word EVIL.


The American Heritage Dictionary of the English language defines evil in this way.



e·vil


ADJECTIVE:

e·vil·er, e·vil·est


1. Morally bad or wrong; wicked: an evil tyrant.


2. CAUSING RUIN, INJURY, OR PAIN; harmful: the evil effects of a poor diet.


3. Characterized by or indicating future MISFORTUNE; ominous: evil omens.


4. Bad or blameworthy by report; infamous: an evil reputation.


5. Characterized by anger or spite; malicious: an evil temper.


NOUN:


1. The quality of being morally bad or wrong; wickedness.


2. THAT WHICH CAUSES HARM, MISFORTUNE, OR DESTRUCTION: a leader's power to do both good and evil.


3. An evil force, power, or personification.


4. SOMETHING THAT IS A CAUSE OR SOURCE OF SUFFERING, INJURY, OR DESTRUCTION: the social evils of poverty and injustice.


The King James Bible itself has variously translated the underlying Hebrew word as “evil, wickedness, affliction, mischief, troubles, harm, adversity, sorrow, bad, ill and distress.


The NASB has translated this same word as “evil (136 times), bad, deadly, great, harm, miserable, misfortune, sore, trouble, ugly, wild, disaster and wretched”.


Likewise the NIV translates it as: “evil (190 times), wicked (24 times) bad, wrong, trouble, disaster, malice, wild, ugly, deadly, painful, ruin, ferocious, grievous, terrible, harm, great, sorrows, severe, unjust, vile, worse and wretched.”


You should take note of the significant fact that none of these Bible versions translates this Hebrew word as SIN.


God does in fact create and bring EVIL upon this world, either for punishment, judgment or correction. In the book of Job we read: “What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive EVIL? (Job 2:10). And in Job 42:11 we read: “Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over ALL THE EVIL THAT THE LORD HAD BROUGHT UPON HIM...” (So too read the NASBs of 1971, 1973 and 1977.)


God brings judgment upon His disobedient people in the book of Ezekiel saying: “And they shall know that I am the LORD, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this EVIL unto them.” (Ezekiel 6:10).


Again, in Jeremiah 15:7-9 we read: “Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward; therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting...I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people, since they return not from their ways, Their widows are increased to me...I have brought against them..a spoiler at noonday: I have caused him to fall upon it suddenly, and terrors upon the city...and the residue of them will I deliver to the sword before their enemies, saith the LORD.”


And once more in 2 Samuel 12:11 we read God pronouncing evil upon David for his sins of murder and adultery: “Thus saith the LORD, Behold I will raise up EVIL against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.” (So too reads the NASB)


The verses in Isaiah 45:7, Lamentations 3:38 and Amos 3:6 are correct and theologically sound. God does in fact create and bring evil upon this world or an individual whether for judgment, discipline or correction.



1 Kings 14:10 - "Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone."

1 Kings 21:21 - "Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel"

2 Kings 22:16 - "Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read"

2 Chronicles 34:24 - "Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah"


As Bible commentator John Gill remarks on Isaiah 45:7 - "evil" is also from him; not the evil of sin; this is of men, though suffered by the Lord, and overruled by him for good: but the evil of punishment for sin, God's sore judgments, famine, pestilence, evil beasts, and the sword, or war, which latter may more especially be intended, as it is opposed to peace; this usually is the effect of sin... all afflictions, adversities, and calamities, come under this name, and are of God.”


Likewise John Calvin translates the passage into Latin with the same meaning found in the King James Bible - “faciens pacem, et creans malum” and then comments: “Fanatics torture this word evil, as if God were the author of evil, that is, of sin; but it is very obvious how ridiculously they abuse this passage of the Prophet. This is sufficiently explained by the contrast, the parts of which must agree with each other; for he contrasts “peace” with “evil,” that is, with afflictions, wars, and other adverse occurrences. If he contrasted “righteousness” with “evil,” there would be some plausibility in their reasonings, but this is a manifest contrast of things that are opposite to each other. Consequently, we ought not to reject the ordinary distinction, that God is the author of the “evil” of punishment, but not of the “evil” of guilt.”


Not only does the King James Bible correctly read “I make peace, and CREATE EVIL, I the LORD do all these things.” in Isaiah 45:7 but so also do the following Bible translations: the Wycliffe bible of 1395, the Geneva Bible 1587, 1599, Brenton’s Translation 1851, the Calvin Bible 1855, the Lesser Bible 1853, the 1881 Revised Version, the 1902 American Standard Version, Websters 1833 translation, the Amplified Bible, the JPS (Jewish Publication Society) 1917 translation, the 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company version, the Hebrew Names Version, the Judaic Press Tanach translation, Green’s 2000 literal translation, Darby, Youngs, the Douay-Rheims, the World English Bible, the 2004 Updated Bible Version, the 1994 KJV 21st Century version and the 1998 Third Millenium Bible.


Among foreign language translations that also have the LORD saying “I make peace and create EVIL” are the Latin Vulgate of 425 A.D. the Greek Septuagint (LXX ), Luther’s German translation of 1545, the modern Portuguese Almeida - “eu faço a paz, e crio o mal”, the Modern Greek translation -- (ο ποιων ειρηνην και κτιζων κακον)- the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras, the Spanish Reina Valera 1909 - “que hago la paz y crío el mal” and the Italian Diodati of 1649 - “che fo la pace, e creo il male”.


The King James Bible is absolutely correct and theologically accurate AS ALWAYS for translating this passage in Isaiah 45:7 as “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”


Will Kinney


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