Is God capable of evil?

Almost all of Christianity will claim that God is good. But is He capable of evil?

I have no idea. Probably by definition no.

However, we know that Christ was tempted yet didn’t succumb to the temptation. The existence of temptation implies the existence of the choice, and the capability, to do good or evil. This line of logic would imply the capability to do so exists, but the righteous course of action is always taken.

No. Note that this does not contradict omnipotence, as God’s inability to perform a negative is actually a positive.

I agree, no… but I think there’s a better explanation out there that hasn’t made it to this thread yet…

No. God doesn’t just love, He IS love. Also, God does not change. Therefore He was, is, and always will be LOVE.

Evil is a lack of or perversion of love or any of the virtues. It is not possible for God, who IS love, to lack Himself or be a perversion of Himself.

I wonder what it means for Christ to have been tempted. What exactly is meant by this? Does it mean that He suffered all the negative feelings associated with temptation, because He was in a human body suffering the corrupting effects of nature after the Fall (all of this, somehow, without Original Sin), even though it was logically impossible for Him to sin?

Also, how was the process for temptations to Mary different?

Evil is incompatible with God because He is the Creator. Evil is dysteleological, i.e. it conflicts with the purposes for which He created everything.

If someone had the opportunity and ability to prevent a piano from falling on someone else and killing them, yet they chose to stand by and do nothing in the certain knowledge of the result, would you consider them evil, or loving and benevolent?

It beggars belief how theists can sit there and claim their god is both loving and omnipotent, when a quick look in the newspapers demonstrates the falsity of such a claim.

Of course, if one insists on the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent, undetectable sky-fairy, then one is forced to fabricate an increasingly elaborate and inefficient framework of unsubstantiated reasoning to explain away the irrefutable fact that one’s belief does not correlate with reality.

No doubt such laughable exculpation will unfold in this thread.

The simple fact is we exist and we don’t have to, evil exists and it doesn’t have to, so for whatever reason evil is permitted, in all probability to bring a greater good out of it. Plus we have free will and we don’t have to; and for a choice to be truly free there must be two options at least- evil and good.

to the op, what jpjd said.


Are you capable of something of which God is not?


In a sense, yes. However, once God did the act, it would no longer be evil, since the definition of evil is something that goes against God.

This is the point I was addressing. What is the point of temptation if the capacity to do evil doesn’t exist in the first place? I’d argue that if that capacity doesn’t exist, then there can be no temptation.

How about this, Wans. You provide a logical deductive form of the problem of evil and I’ll respond to it. This post above is just an argument from outrage.

Yes, but as I made clear, being incapable of a negative is actually a positive.

God cannot contradict His own nature. The philosophy 101 example is: Can God create a rock that is so heavy that even He cannot lift?

This question is a double whammy in that it questions God’s omnipotence - can He create this “rock” - and God’s omniscience or knowing all things.

So the answer is no, God is incapable of committing an evil act because God is all good and this would go against His nature.

Evil is not a “thing” in the general sense. It is comprised of a privation of an essential component. For example, starvation is a lack of sufficient food for a person. Evil occurs because something is meant to exist or act as a whole but is somehow prevented from doing so. As God has no lack, there is no associated evil with him, which would be contrary to his nature.


I challenge you to read some of Thomas Aquinas, then come back here with a refutation of (some of) his work. Show me where it is "unsubstantiated"in real terms, not just in a third-grade mentality “Yes it is! No it isn’t!” argument.

Tell us what you mean by “ineffecient framework”, please, you lost me there.

And perhaps you can “prove”, through the example of even one single news story, that the God that Christians believe in is not loving and omnipotent.

In other words, how about showing us some philosophical “meat” behind your claims?

God is not capable of evil… he can’t even look upon it.
(Paraphrase of a Bishop Fulton Sheen tape I heard yrs ago)
God knows evil like you typhoid fever, you’ve never had it/ experienced it but you know its bad.

God deosn’t punish man, but in our sin we punish ourselves wisdom 1:12,

When we disobey God He withdraws His Favor!

Baltimore catechism #3 lesson #2

Q. 162. What is a perfection?

A. A perfection is any good quality a thing should have. A thing is perfect when it has all the good qualities it should have.

Q. 163. What is God?

A. God is a spirit infinitely perfect.

Q. 164. What do we mean when we say God is “infinitely perfect”?

A. When we say God is “infinitely perfect” we mean there is no limit or bounds to His perfection; for He possesses all good qualities in the highest possible degree and He alone is “infinitely perfect.”

and then try this:

If God, Why Evil?
Most Reverend Fabian W. Bruskewitz, D.D., S.T.D.
Bishop of Lincoln May 12, 1997

Seems as though Aquinas would say that evil does not exist as real force or thing in the universe; it is only the privation or lack of good with respect to a given thing. To “do evil” is just to fail to do good to some degree. For God to “do evil” would simply mean that he failed to “do good,” and that would mean that his goodness was lacking or deficient in some respect. Since God is pure goodness itself, to propose that God could “do evil” would be to propose that he lacks omni-benevolence, and thus is not God. To be able “to do evil” does actually not demonstrate an increase in power (potence) but a decrease in goodness (benevolence) – because it is a lack of willingness to do good. The “power to do evil” is thus merely the lack of power to do good, and thus actually a logical foil to omni-benevolence, which is why such a “power” (really a lack of power) is not an attributable to God. God does not “lack” the “power to do evil,” because evil does not exist–thus this is not a demonstration of lack of omnipotence. There is thus no contradiction between omnipotence and omni-benevolence. Atheists love to try to define the two terms differently than classical theists and Christian theologists in order to try to create a contradiction. But as usual, Thomas Aquinas has dispelled the nonsense. If you’re having a problem with refuting infantile arguments against God from the “existence” of evil, ite ad Thomam (Go to Thomas).

didn’t get to edit in time to add this Scripture:

Wisdom 1:
12 Court not death by your erring way of life, nor draw to yourselves destruction by the works of your hands.
Because God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.

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