As I'm writing the Old Testament survey lectures for The Discipleship Center, I'm reminded of a conversation I had online with a friend of mine who asked "Who Created Sin"?
Sounds like such a simple question doesn't it? But if you take a moment to think the question through, you could come up with all kinds of heresies like "God created everything so he must have created sin", or "Someone else created sin, so God didn't create everything", or "God is not powerful enough to stop someone from creating sin"... and the list spirals further downward in implications.
Anytime we come to a dilemma in the Bible, we need to use our rules of interpretation, and the one I want you to remember for this study is that Scripture always interprets Scripture.
Who created evil?
It says in Genesis 2:9 that this tree of the knowledge of good and evil was created and in the midst of the garden along with the tree of life.
We know from the Bible in James 1:2-18 that God does not tempt us to sin. We see in Ephesians 6:12 that our struggle is with spiritual forces of evil.
So the real questions are,
“what is evil”
“what is sin”
and “is there a difference”
The answer is difficult, but the first place we should look is in the references to the first sin chronologically, which is not the first mention of sin in the Bible.
In Ezekiel chapter 28:1-10 we see this King of Tyre which was an anti-christ type or possibly even a king empowered by Satan himself, but then starting in verse 11 the tone changes to a lament for this king which is actually talking about both Satan and this King of Tyre and describes in some detail the splendor and the fall of Satan.
Similarly in Isaiah 14:4-11 we see how God has called the remnant of Israel to taunt the king of Babylon but then it changes tone again in verse 12-21 and it is talking about this literal king of Babylon and Satan at the same time.
From what little we can gather, there was a supreme angel named Lucifer who was more beautiful than anything else created. We can speculate that Lucifer may have been in charge of leading all the angels in worship to God, and in his fallen state he uses music to direct worship away from God, but that is only my speculation. This is where the question of who actually created evil at its beginning. We see that Lucifer decided in his heart that he would ascend on high, or higher than he was created for to take the position of God. The question is, how did he make this choice? It doesn’t appear that God created evil and evil tempted Satan to be prideful. It doesn’t appear that God created pride either. All we can say is that God must have created some type of choice so that Angels had some variation or ability to worship God with some creative fluctuation and within this fluctuation was the ability to choose not to worship God and that is how the first sin was conceived.
My summation, in the mind that I have been given even though it is tainted by sin, but still looking through the Bible as my guide, is that Evil is not a force unto itself and Sin is falling short of the glory of God through our rebellion against him. I support this idea through the following passages, Isaiah 14:12-15, Genesis 3:1, Deuteronomy 9:7, Joshua 1:18, 1st John 3:4, Psalm 51:5, Romans 6:23.
So to answer the question of who created evil, nobody did. Evil is a state of being generated by sin, we are evil from the moment of our birth because of our inherited sin from Adam, and by our own personal sins that we commit.
To answer the question of who created sin, nobody did. Sin is either a state of being in that we have fallen short of God’s glory, or a descriptive category of the things we do to fall short of God’s glory.
To answer the question of who committed the first sin and who, along with his agents tempts us to sin, that would be Lucifer or the Satan. The fall of Satan had to have happened sometime after Genesis 1:31 when everything was good, but before Genesis 3:1 where the serpent tempted Eve.
Finally, to answer the question of how was it possible for that first sin to be committed, God allowed the freedom of choice to be made. While He didn’t cause the first sinful choice to be made, he made provision for it to be made.
Why did God allow that choice to be made? That is where my mind reaches the furthest limitations and is blank. I have no idea why, but I know it’s true. There are many times when our minds come to their limit and we are left wondering why or how and we cannot fully satisfy the answer. It’s at these times when we must take what we know to be true from Gods word and leave the rest in the category of speculation or continual wonderment.
In regards to humankind, we did not invent sin, but in the same way there was an ability for Lucifer to choose not to worship God, that same type of choice was built in for Adam and Eve with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The temptation was that God was only giving us part of the knowledge that was available and that we could attain all knowledge by simply disobeying God and taking that forbidden fruit. The tree wasn’t sin, the temptation wasn’t sin, the contemplation of knowledge wasn’t sin, it was disobeying God and eating that fruit that was sin. The sin was in not trusting God, was going outside the parameters he set up, the turning from God’s plan and making a new plan.
So the next time you are thinking about why is there Evil in the world, think about how you contribute to or diminish the Evil influence around you.