Is God the author of evil?

19 Nov

Every time you plug into the news you learn of another incident where someoneChrist on the cross consumed by evil perpetrating that evil on another human being. This week outside a Walmart in Putnam, Conn. two armed men attempted to rob folks waiting in line to purchase the newly released PlayStation 3 gaming system. In the attempt one man was shot because he refused to give up his money. Locally, last night (Friday) a man was shot and killed in North Omaha. Most of the world lives in fear that they will be the next victim in a evil terrorist attack.

God’s law says that “you shall not murder” and yet this evil act is done more and more in our world today than any other time in history. Seeing the evil in the world and trying to reconcile it with the sovereignty of God. If you are a believer then you know that God created all things. But did that include the creation of evil? Well this conclusion would be very contradictory to His holy Word. The context of scripture indicates that God is not associated with evil nor does he tempt man (James 1:13) with evil. This is an age old question that comes up in conversations about God. It is a very difficult question to try and reason out. After listening to this same question posed on Dr. Albert Mohler’s radio program this week I moved much closer to reconciling this controversial and difficult question. (Dr. R. Albert Mohler, the President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and host of The Albert Mohler Radio Program) Dr. Mohler’s response to this was to use one word and that word is permission. God gives permission to evil, he allows it and permits it according to His own will and yet He is not the author of it. Dr. Mohler also stated that this is because God shows His love and glory more comprehensively than if evil had never existed. I loved the way Dr. Mohler defines it in the following statement, “God supremely shows His own grace, His own mercy by both demanding a sacrifice for our sin and then providing the sacrifice for our sin.” God provided the sacrifice for our sin by pouring out the wrath rightly meant for us onto His son Jesus Christ. Thus providing the necessary sacrifice for those that God predestined for salvation before the foundation of the earth.

So, is God the author of evil? Some have said yes, but it is clear in scripture that God has no relation to evil but chooses to permit it to perform His holy and good will.

Soli Deo Gloria (only for the glory of God)


Posted by on November 19, 2006 in Theology


8 responses to “Is God the author of evil?

  1. Adeline [ France ]

    February 29, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    good theory … I agree with …
    It makes me think about a book from Voltaire
    in his book ” L’ingénu ” his character L’Ingénu said : ” And what delivers us in evil is not he the author of evil? “

  2. barrydean

    February 29, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Thank you for the comment Adeline. I remember Voltaire from studying him in college. I believe that if God removed His grace from this world the people would experience unimaginable horror. It is by His grace and mercy that it is held together.

  3. javaguy

    March 16, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Hey Barry,
    It’s been a while. I have some thoughts on this, but I want to make sure you don’t think that I am just trying to stir things up. This has actually been something that I have been thinking about recently and we could chalk it up as coincidence or the guidance of God that I came across this post. Personally, I don’t believe in coincidence.

    I believe this is where the Reformed view falters. I think we can agree that there are consequences to our sin, not just for ourselves, but for other people who are affected by our sin. So, what is God’s plan for that other person? If God’s plan for that person is based on events caused by our sin, then simple “permission” to sin is not adequate. It would mean that His plan was contingent on us sinning. If that is the case, it would mean that He would have to make sure that we sinned in order for His will to be done. But that flies in the face of 1 Corinthians 10:13 –

    “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

    There is NO temptation that God does not promise to provide a way to stand up under it. How could he make that promise if He plans for us to sin? The obvious answer is that He knew we would sin and planned accordingly. Sound like Arminianism? God doesn’t give us permission to sin. He forbids us to sin and tells us that He provides a way for us to stand up under any temptation.
    per·mis·sion /pərˈmɪʃən/
    1. authorization granted to do something; formal consent: to ask permission to leave the room.
    2. the act of permitting.

    American Heritage Dictionary:
    per·mis·sion (pər-mĭsh’ən) n.
    1. The act of permitting.
    2. Consent, especially formal consent; authorization.

    1. approval to do something; “he asked permission to leave”
    2. the act of giving a formal (usually written) authorization


    1. Approval to do something; “he asked permission to leave”.

    2. The act of giving a formal (usually written) authorization.

    Does God give us approval to sin? Arminianism allows for God to plan for our sin, yet doesn’t mean that He causes us to sin. Calvinism must dance around technicalities to explain this and I honestly don’t think “permission” is a very good explanation.

    Please, again, I am not trying to stir up trouble. Like I said, this has been on my mind recently and I don’t think it was coincidence that I came across your post. You have been very encouraging to me in the past and I am so grateful for your discussions and encouragement. I am just trying to speak the truth as God has laid it on my heart.

    much respect,


  4. barrydean

    March 17, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Hey JavaGuy,

    It has been a long time. Well, you know I don’t believe in coincidence.

    As far as the posting goes, I believe what the article I mentioned by Dr. Mohler was referring to the evil events like the one here in Omaha at the Westroads mall where someone pointlessly kills others. His thought process was that God gives permission to these evil persons and allows the evil to occur. The scripural example would be found in the life of Job. God gives Satan permission to inflict evil on Job and his famliy. Why would God do that? Actually the better question would be. Since God is the creator, who are we, the creation, to question the creator and what he does with His creation? We need only trust that His good will is accompished.

  5. Javaguy

    March 17, 2008 at 2:33 pm


    That makes sense as it relates to the non-Christian, but I am still curious what you think about what I said about the sin of the saved.

  6. barrydean

    March 17, 2008 at 3:15 pm


    I think you are mixing the subject of this post which is evil perpetrated upon anyone, with sin which is the behavior of not loving God but loving self. You used the word permission which is the word Dr. Mohler used to describe God’s relation to evil. I do not believe that God permits sin especially in the believer. In the unbeliever that is his nature. How else would we expect the unbeliever to act? But when a believer sins I believe it grieves God’s heart. He freed us from sin by causing us to be alive to life, freed from death. This has everything to do with salvation. Which is the work of God. We are still free to sin, but the difference is we now have the Holy Spirit to convict us of it. We also have God working to sanctify us.

  7. javaguy

    March 18, 2008 at 4:25 am


    So, back to my original comment – “I think we can agree that there are consequences to our sin, not just for ourselves, but for other people who are affected by our sin. So, what is God’s plan for that other person? If God’s plan for that person is based on events caused by our sin, then simple “permission” to sin is not adequate. It would mean that His plan was contingent on us sinning. If that is the case, it would mean that He would have to make sure that we sinned in order for His will to be done.” – that’s the short version. Please re-read that post if more clarity is needed. Thanks!

  8. barrydean

    March 19, 2008 at 3:07 pm


    I do not know the answer you are looking for but I do know of an example in the bible where this very scenario takes place. In Genesis 50:19-20 Joseph shares with his brothers that what they meant for evil God meant for the good. This was done to keep many people alive. When Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery and lied to their father about it, was that sin? I believe it was. But God’s plan to save many came about because of Joseph residing in Eygpt and having the authority and resources to provide food for many nations. Did God sovereignly cause Joseph’s brothers to sin? I doubt it, but in the end I just don’t know. I do know and believe God to be sovereign over all things. How He works it all out in His plan is a mystery to me.


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