Someone who believes God created even evil

A friend posted a comment that the world would be better off without religion. I remarked that this is the same as saying we are better off without “relationship with our Creator”. “Rather, the world would be better off without people choosing to sin.”

To which he replied that God, Himself, created the sin.

Perfect answer, the world would be safer, brighter, happier, etc, if God did not create sin…

[Me]: God didn’t create sin, He created people with the gift of free will, such that our love and devotion to Him would be genuine and of our own choosing rather than forced.
-Are you saying the world would be better off without freewill? That would make no sense because you would necessarily have to admit that “choice” is bad for humanity and we are better off as slaves who cannot think for ourselves.
-Or are you saying we are better off without “us” in the first place? That makes even less sense,because you have just contended against your own right to exist.

**1. We are off topic. I was just saying in general Religion (All Religion not just one) should be abolished. This is from someone who does believe in God by the way.

  1. Yes, I whole heartedly, 100%, without a shadow of a doubt believe that God created everything. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. I can debate this all day in another thread if you like.

  2. Freewill – yes we have free will, since the dawn of time we have had free will, since the first words were spoken we have had free will, since the first words were written we have had free will. And corruption, liars, cheats, you know, politician types. . And that is the Fundamental reason I do not and will never believe in the Bible. Divinely written does not over write free will. Free will does not Divinely chose what was Divinely written to go into one work.

  3. No we are not better off without us, but everything on and around the plant would be better off without the Human race. Yes, if there was a button that would cut off all the power in the world, and take away half the human population, maybe even 3/4th. I would hit it. Maybe even twice because I can be a butt sometime, and I don’t like crowds.**

I’ve decided to take him up on the offer to debate. I have a couple resources, but would like to hear from others. Thoughts?

One thing I am thinking, which I don’t know how strong an argument this is, is this:

If God created ALL, including what we call “sin” or “evil”, then we have no basis to call ANYTHING “sin” or “evil” because there is consequently no objective standard to measure “good” or “evil”. This assumes that “evil” or “sin” is only evil or sinful insofar as it is contrary to God’s purpose or Creation.
[But if God created evil, that means He intended to, and therefore even the “evil” cannot be contrary to His purpose or Creation because it IS part of His Creation.]

Does that make sense?

Anyone who can contradict themselves that much in a short span of time, yet still believe that their view make any logical sense is (imho) not worth debating. No matter what you say or do they will manage to fabricate some ridiculous alternative.

Who can believe in God-- whom our greatest knowledge of comes from the Bible, the works of the saints, and the traditions of the Church-- yet state that the very religion that made God known to them should be abolished?

Who can believe in God, yet deny the concept of sin which is given by His prophets/apostles/teachers.

Sounds a little too squirrely for my tastes.

ASk him, “Does light create darkness, or is darkness simply the absence of light?”

God does not create sin or evil, it is just the result of people choosing to reject Him.

On my part, I’d say there’s very little point in debating your friend. Someone who genuinely believes that he’d prefer not to exist (as indicated by his fourth statement) is never going to be able to comprehend a rational argument because they are naturally irrational (after all, isn’t the wish to do oneself harm irrational?).

You are both right, even in my own experience. My first goal is going to see if I can pin him down on what he means by “religion”. If I can get just that far I will feel I have succeeded in planting a seed, or rather God planting one through me.

Then I want to see if he sees the obvious logical contradiction in his statements about God creating something contrary to God, and the impossibility of reconciling “not better off without us” and “better off without the human race”.

Thank you both for your helpful questions, also. I will be using them. :slight_smile:

Be aware, if you are not already, of a couple of factors. First, the Bible does say that God creates evil:

Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Amo 3:6 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?

This is because the Bible uses “evil” here for “suffering”, not discriminating between moral evil and natural evil. That could be influencing your correspondent’s thinking.

Second, if God is omnipotent, then God is necessarily involved in everything, whether by commission (making it happen) or by omission (failing to stop it from happening). In that sense, God does “create (moral) evil” by creating the conditions in which moral evil can occur, rather than creating conditions in which it could not occur. Your correspondent could be thinking along those lines, in which case you are going to have to tackle the terribly-complicated argument about whether it is better for God to allow both free will and consequent moral evil or better for God to deny both or whether God could allow the first without the second occurring (which runs into a secondary tangle about the precise definition of “omnipotence”).

So, depending upon how articulate he is, it could be a very long discussion.

I’m really not sure what you’re looking for but to suggest that God created evil or sin is further from the truth then our physical location to the center of the universe. God’s creation was said to be good. [Genesis 1:31]. God went to the extent of saying, “Blessed be Abram by the most high God, who created heaven and earth. [Genesis 14:19] This means because of God’s good “we exist; and so far as we truly exist we are good.”[St. Augustine, De Doctrine of Christ I, 32]. Good is said of those things that reflect the God’s form and order. Evil therefore can be said to be disorder in God’s good. Hence, sin is nothing more than a voluntary immoral act of thought, word or deed. Sin therefore is caused by our rebellion causing disorder in His moral order.

For us, as the progeny of Adam after he fell to sin, judgment stands in the way, we are deprived of a just worthiness and honor. Justification, “the sanctification of the whole being” [CCC 1995] must now be received in Baptism.

To say that sin was created by God makes our God perverse; it’s illogical and untrue conclusions. As sin is voluntary one must have knowledge his act is disordered. As sin is an act with knowledge we can’t suggest that Adam was created for the purpose of sin. Thus, we are left an illogical statement that God created Adam dead, i.e. sin. Had God punished Adam having an invincible ignorance, it would have been an unjust act of God’s - which causes a conflict, God is unjust; which we know not to be true, God is not unjust. As sin is a voluntary act, if Adam’s flesh ‘made’ him sin, then this also would have been an involuntary act and we must concluded that God unjustly condemned Adam. So we see sin cannot originate in the mind as ‘knowing’ or in a flesh that is evil. Sin originates in the will through the intellect to ‘rebel’ against God’s will. So, God created the good, it is the bad and ugly that is created in schism, disorder in God’s good.

The Protestant/reformer’s view is quite different; man, because of Adam’s sin, was “re-created” evil as punishment, something is added to the nature of men. In reality our propensity to sin is nothing more than concupiscence, a disordered desire resulting from a privation of our original justice, i.e. a lack of grace to rationalize God’s will. In the Protestant view, the progeny of Adam are created with an evil nature; hence God has created us ‘evil’. This is often heard in the adage “sin nature”. Making god a pernicious creator of evil - indeed this god is not Catholic.

Sin is not a part of human nature, rather it is a result of human activity. The difference is that we are not born evil, rather we become evil. If we were to adopt the adage “sin itself dwelling in his flesh” then rightly, standing before judgment we can claim the ‘flesh made me do it’ – no ‘act of sin’ will be committed because the act was compelled by the flesh because it is a voluntary act. Catholics believe that John the Baptist was ‘baptized’ by the presence of the Spirit in the womb of his mother, receiving redemption at that very moment; the evidence is that the child leaped in the presence of Christ while still in the womb. (Luke 1:41). This is different from Mary’s Immaculate Conception in that Mary never knew sin as a result of her salvation, John, however was believed to have been born with original sin which was then removed in his first spiritual meeting with Christ while still in the womb. Mary gave birth to a ‘spotless’ lamb.

The best evidence that man is not created with sin are our own infant children. What infant that you know has sinned? I do not suggest anybody who holds the philosophy that man is sin incarnate walk into a crowded room of mothers saying their infant is sin; it’s likely they won’t get out alive.

Judgment stands in the way, being the progeny of Adam we are deprived of a just worthiness and honor, injustice is not injected into the human nature. This is why we find justification, “the sanctification of the whole being” [CCC 1995] is received in Baptism as an effect of grace, re-introducing man to the mercy of God, weakening of the original privation of justice whereby a new man is ‘born again’ into the rectitude of divine love. [CCC 1991] If not, then God would need to ‘make us good to be saved’ making us God’s automatons; undeserving of merit. Every good would be done because of good, not for the love of God, robots aren’t rewarded for their acts. The effect of ‘justification’ does not ‘recreate us righteous’, rather Christ merited for us an atonement conforming us in righteousness to become inwardly just; that is having that moral quality or habit that perfectly joins the will man to the will of God.

The most important argument against God creating man evil is Jesus Christ Himself. Christ is a Divine Person with two natures, wholly Divine, and wholly man, Christ is both God and man. If the flesh is sin then Jesus Christ becomes both divine and sin, a holy sin. A contradiction that can’t stand.

JoeT

Isaiah 45:7 - I form the light, and create darkness, I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord that do all these things. (Douay-Rheims)

The KJV has a similar wording, if that is what your friend is using.

rossum

No, that isn’t what he’s using, nor is it quite his point. He believes that all humanity would be better off without religion (ALL religion) and ANY belief system. It appears that his belief is that, left to man’s own devices and without any God, religion, or other system of belief, man would be happier, more fulfilled, more loving, etc.

I believe this to be a ridiculous concept. Were it not for God, man would not exist in the first place. And history shows us time and again that man, left to his own devices, does NOT always choose to be loving. If fact, when men choose hatred/evil, it is in opposition the “belief system” of their cultures. In other words, evil comes about when men choose to reject “a belief system”.

One question I posed to him was, “by what objective moral standard, that isn’t already part of a “belief system”, do you call something good or evil? Do you not see that, without a “belief system” or “religion”, you have absolutely no basis to call ANYTHING good or bad?”

[quote=ahs;12882881[Me]: God didn’t create sin, He created people with the gift of free will, such that our love and devotion to Him would be genuine and of our own choosing rather than forced.
[/quote]

Unless you’re going to argue that God didn’t know ahead of time what we would choose, this defense has always sounded to me like:

God didn’t create the explosions, he just designed and dropped the bombs.

Then how do you contend with a pernicious god who chooses to creates evil? With a god that creates sin in us and applies guilt for sinning then is he not only pernicious but also unjust?

JoeT

It’s not a good comparison, but to stick with your same example: you would have to admit that He did NOT drop the bombs. The bombs would have been created with the ability to either know, love, and serve Him, or to reject and disobey Him, thereby cutting themselves loose from their bond [to Him] and effectively dropping themselves.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
Romans 8, 22

If God had intentionally created evil, then God could not be good. And if God were not good, there could be nothing good in His creation. I think the problem lies with focusing too much on all the evil in the world while ignoring not only all the good things in life, but also all the good that triumphantly arises out of evil situations. I agree with Augustine that evil isn’t a positive force that exists in its own right, but rather a negation of what is good in varying degrees. All that God created is good. The less something is good, the more evil it is. Only God is absolutely good. Thus we mustn’t expect to find perfect goodness in our world. Finally, if God has permitted an evil thing to happen, although He does not desire it, He does so for the sake of a greater good. Everything that occurs in real time is immediately present to God, who alone sees the full picture unconstrained by the three dimensions of time. So it’s futile for us to speculate how much better things would be in life if it weren’t for this or that evil event. We don’t live in a prefect world, so we mustn’t expect it to be perfect. And instead of complaining and pointing our fingers at God for all the apparent evil that does occasionally transpire, we should fulfill His divine purpose by attempting to remedy the world of all its evil. What God has intended is that we help make our world a better place to live in than it was before.

“Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.”
John 16, 21

PAX
:heaven:

In order to have the ability to choose, free will, there must be options to choose from.

If evil is an option, and NOTHING exists that is not created by God, then God did indeed create evil, if only as an option, hoping, even though he knew it wouldn’t pan out, that humans wouldn’t choose it.

If God is the standard by which we know good and evil, for God to be known to be good (or so I am told) then evil must exist so we can notice the difference…and thus have the free will to choose. So again, God had to have created evil, if only so we could see, and thus choose, how good He is.

God must also have created temptation, otherwise we would again, not really have the option of choosing because we wouldn’t see any option other than to go happily about the garden of Eden.

Where did the snake come from? Where did Satan come from? How could they choose evil if God hadn’t given them the choice AND the temptation to opt for that choice?

I understand that people are uncomfortable with a God that created evil and temptation, but we don’t get to choose the attributes or choices God makes. If we did, most of us would create a different sort of God.

God never denied creating evil (which, due to it’s apparent necessity can be considered a good) it is his fans that insist He did not create evil.

A quote from the Bible has already been shared where God says He created evil.

What is evil for us to do, may not be evil for God, the parameters are very different. We see it as evil, and perhaps God sees it as a “necessary evil” and thus, to our chagrin, good.

The picture he is painting is his mistaken notion about our world…being a heaven on earth. Jesus said my kingdom is not of this world. This world is a training ground for the next. So we will always have a mixture of good and bad. Doing away with religion will not necessarily do away with the bad, and doing away with people will do away with the good as well as the bad. Religion teaches to overcome the evil with good, and to love those who are our enemies. But this doesn’t always mean that this will be followed. But if we do away with the idea of loving everyone as Jesus taught, then the world will just become more evil.

The big question that is never answered is “what would happen if those who practised religion quit?”
It seems that those who practise religion are sinners and that religion has not effect. But then maybe those very people would be so much worse off that they are right now by not using their religious values.

As someone said on CAF in forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=955592&page=3

I knew a “fallen away” friend that kept saying she didn’t go to Church because it was full of hypocrites. I told her to just come on anyway and join the crowd and maybe she could help us over it.

[quote=ahs]One question I posed to him was, “by what objective moral standard, that isn’t already part of a “belief system”, do you call something good or evil? Do you not see that, without a “belief system” or “religion”, you have absolutely no basis to call ANYTHING good or bad?”
[/quote]

I don’t think that this is a sensible approach. Most people have more or less objective moral standards based on empathy and justice. Without them, how would you decide that God was the good one and Satan was the bad one? If your moral standards only come from your belief system, then you would have no standard by which to judge if your belief system was good.

There are options because of free will - not free will because there are options. The very things that we might find optional do not exist as options - at least not conceptually - in the animal kingdom. So without free will there cannot ever be any options that are conceptually based. Meanwhile we have the ability to choose even when there aren’t any choices to be made. Options merely provide an opportunity for us to exercise our free will ability which we already possess before they actually present themselves.

If evil is an option, and NOTHING exists that is not created by God, then God did indeed create evil, if only as an option, hoping, even though he knew it wouldn’t pan out, that humans wouldn’t choose it.

God is omniscient, or else He isn’t God, as we perceive Him to be. And since God knows all things that shall happen in real time, He is not in any position to hope for anything. Hope is a consolation for finite beings like ourselves who are prone to being uncertain. Surely God foresaw the fall of man, but He did not will that mankind should fall from His grace or that creation itself should be plagued by an inordinate self-interest among things. He has simply permitted freedom in the created order in view of a greater good.

If God is the standard by which we know good and evil, for God to be known to be good (or so I am told) then evil must exist so we can notice the difference…and thus have the free will to choose. So again, God had to have created evil, if only so we could see, and thus choose, how good He is.

Obviously if we know the difference between right and wrong, then we are in a position to choose either of them in our actions. Perhaps God permitted the fall to happen in order for us to demonstrate our genuine love for Him above all created things. But He made sure that it would not be impossible for us to resist evil - that which isn’t good - by giving us sufficient grace to be able to direct our wills to what is good and pleasing to Him. If we notice a difference between what is good and evil, it is not so much that God had created a duality of positive forces in order to test us, but rather we simply acknowledge that which isn’t good and might be more appealing to us. We couldn’t perceive anything as evil unless we first knew what is good in its proper measure according to our conscience. Love is good and originates from God who is love, but an inordinate self-love isn’t. Selfishness is an evil, but it is something that arises from within ourselves. God expects us to love ourselves, but in proper measure. Certainly we cannot hold God morally culpable for our own selfishness.

God must also have created temptation, otherwise we would again, not really have the option of choosing because we wouldn’t see any option other than to go happily about the garden of Eden.

Temptations arise from the order of creation. And they are more difficult to overcome because of Satan’s involvement in it. God blamed the devil for what he had told Eve (cf. Gen 3:14). But He let it happen for a good purpose. God intervenes only if something will thwart His final good purpose, which isn’t that we should offend Him by doing something that isn’t good.

Where did the snake come from? Where did Satan come from? How could they choose evil if God hadn’t given them the choice AND the temptation to opt for that choice?

God has given us the freedom to choose between right and wrong - nothing more.

  • No one, when tempted, should say, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one.
    James 1, 13*

A quote from the Bible has already been shared where God says He created evil.

Permitting evil is not creating it. God knew what Jack the Ripper would do to those poor prostitutes when he created him, but He didn’t create the man to be a serial killer. God is responsible for having created a man who turned out to be a grizzly murderer, but He is not morally responsible for that man’s wicked deeds. Moral responsibility lies with us, or else there can’t be any justice or cause for the divine wrath.

He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
Deuteronomy 32, 4

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace,
1 Corinthians 14, 33

What is evil for us to do, may not be evil for God, the parameters are very different. We see it as evil, and perhaps God sees it as a “necessary evil” and thus, to our chagrin, good.

It’s because something is evil for God, that what we do might be evil in His sight.

Against you, you only, I have sinned and done what is evil in your sight.
Psalm 51, 4

PAX*
:heaven:

No, they don’t. They only have opinions which clash with other people’s opinions of what “justice” means, or when it applies. Empathy is completely subjective, and “justice” is meaningless without a “belief system”. Empathy doesn’t tell you right from wrong, it only gives you a “feel” for something. But someone else may not “feel” that [behavior ‘x’] is wrong. So it means nothing as far as an objective moral standard.

If your moral standards only come from your belief system, then you would have no standard by which to judge if your belief system was good.

There it is…you just introduced religion with an objective Truth. You can judge whether your belief system’s moral standards are good (or bad) by an objective truth…comparing them with the objective Truth of the One Who gave us a moral standard. He made it possible for us to know His Truth. All that remains is to decide whether there really is a God, or not.

A good point. We know that killing people is bad, so all we have to do is to count up how many people God kills in the Bible, and count up how many people Satan kills in the Bible.

(Swiftly looks through the Bible)

Ermm… That didn’t come out quite the way I expected it to.

rossum

Yes, in these passages the word evil (ra) does not refer to sin and unrighteousness. The Hebrew word ra can also mean calamity, distress, or misfortune outside of a moral context. We should note that in Isaiah there is a pattern of opposites: light - darkness, peace - evil. And there appears to be a contradiction in the idea of the author of light and peace (prosperity) being equally responsible for the creation of darkness and evil (calamity/disaster). To understand what is meant by the idea of God having created darkness and ‘calamity’ as well as having formed the light and made peace, we have to put this verse into its proper historical context. The general subject of Chapter 45 is the deliverance of the Jews from their captivity in Babylon by Cyrus who overthrows the city in his wage of war against it. God used the Persian leader to free His chosen people from slavery. However, Cyrus was still free to act as he chose. God simply permitted what had happened for the sake of a greater good. Peace was sacrificed for the cause of justice. The time for His people’s chastisement, directly brought about through free human agency, had come to an end with a renewal of their covenant with God. Hence, the word evil here in verse 7 stands for the calamity of war and its ensuing miseries. Human beings start wars. And if war exists, it is only because peace has originally existed beforehand. War is the absence of peace, which God desires should exist in the world despite His allowance of it for a just cause. God is tolerating us the best He can, for He has freely willed to honor our freedom of will. Similarly, God is responsible for darkness insofar He has created light, since darkness is the absence of light. God created light to overcome darkness, just as He willed to create a peaceful world rather than a calamitous one which we ourselves have actually made in our deviation from God’s original purpose.

Amos 3:6 is no different other than God has indicted the kingdoms of Israel and Judah for their lack of moral responsibility and conformity to His will. The Hebrew word for evil (ra) refers to trouble and distress. God permitted what happened to His chosen people to punish them for their wickedness and to discipline them by learning humility. By this time the Jews had reached a point in their covenant with God where they actually believed that he would never chastise them no matter how wicked they were. In their arrogance they could not perceive themselves to be as wicked as their pagan neighbors. And so they rejected the words of the prophets sent by God who warned them of impending doom unless they reformed their lives and turned back to God collectively as whole. Unfortunately, the prophecies were fulfilled because of the people’s obstinacy. In 586-7 B.C., God permitted the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem and the Temple because of His people’s wickedness. In this way it could be said that the Lord had brought trouble and distress upon the city’s inhabitants. Amos’ point is that the troubles we create ourselves are ultimately under God’s control and within His sovereign providence. He can exercise His mercy and prevent whatever evil does emerge out of peace and prosperity if He so wills, but not at the negation of His justice. The Israelites were blessed as long as they pleased God. If he withheld His protection from them, it was so that they would return to pleasing Him by learning humility. The trouble and distress they experienced served as a means to restore them to their former state of peace and prosperity which God originally intended for them when establishing His covenant.

*See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.*
Deuteronomy 30, 15-20

PAX
:heaven:

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