Is God Evil?
The word itself has the power to bring certain images to your mind. It has many associations. What comes to mind when I say it? Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Mohammed Ata, Jeffery Dahmer, genocide, killing, torture, infanticide, destruction, abuse of the elderly, slavery, etc. etc. etc. But may I contend that you should add God to that list? Yes, when you think of evil, you should think God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
Let us first examine what the word “evil” really means. I take the following from the definition given by entering “evil” into the search at dictionary.com.
adj. e·vil·er, e·vil·est
-Morally bad or wrong; wicked: an evil tyrant.
-Causing ruin, injury, or pain; harmful: the evil effects of a poor diet.
-Characterized by or indicating future misfortune; ominous: evil omens.
-Bad or blameworthy by report; infamous: an evil reputation.
-Characterized by anger or spite; malicious: an evil temper.
-The quality of being morally bad or wrong; wickedness.
-That which causes harm, misfortune, or destruction: a leader's power to do both good and evil.
-An evil force, power, or personification.
-Something that is a cause or source of suffering, injury, or destruction: the social evils of poverty and injustice.”
So, evil is “Something that is a cause or source of suffering, injury, or destruction…” Something is evil if it is “Causing ruin, injury, or pain…” I contend that by definition, the God of the bible is evil. I will go about asserting this contention in the following article.
Can We be Moral Without God?
This is one argument I always seem to end up facing. Christians say we cannot be moral without god. This is ridiculous. Some of the most immoral people in history have been Christian. Sure, atheists such as Stalin have committed horrendous atrocities, but this just makes the argument moot. Both theists and atheists commit atrocities. Which man has more honor: The one who kills and blames God, or the one who kills and takes the blame himself?
A Christian friend of mine said that we are all immoral without God. He said you can see little children and see the inherent selfishness in them when they yell, “Mine” before snatching something from another child. This is ridiculous. The reason this happens is that children have a limited ability to reason and have no impulse control. It’s not because they don’t know about God yet. They don’t see consequences for actions yet, so taking something is the easiest way to get something. As we grow, we learn that this is not the best way if we are to live in a society of other people.
Also, what about the billions of people in the world who are not Christians? Do they not care for their children? Do they not oppose murder? Yes, they do. They are moral just as Christians are. They live as we all do, under the intrinsic moral principles of humanity. The bible has taught us nothing about morals that is not self-evident to any living human being. We all know killing, stealing, raping, injuring, etc. is wrong. It is only through beliefs in gods and philosophies that we are able to ignore these moralities.
That Which Causes Evil, is Evil
Per definition, something that causes evil has to be evil itself. No good, moral person would purposefully cause evil acts to be committed. The God of the bible causes so many evil atrocities it is amazing to me that anyone could worship him. The most blatant example of this is hell. I’m reminded of the analogy that goes as follows.
Imagine a father were to tell his son that by the time he is twelve, he must decide whether or not to love his dad. The father says the child is free to choose whatever he wants, but if he chooses to not love his father, then the father will put his son in the oven and cook him. What sort of freedom of choice is this? I don’t think it is any choice. Surely a man who did this would be considered one of the most insane, sick, twisted, and evil person you could meet. He would be thrown in prison for child abuse, neglect, and infanticide. Even the criminals in prison would look down on this child murderer, most likely taking out revenge in the child’s name. How ironic is it then that when God does this, we worship him, say “God is Love”, and build churches in his honor.
Yet this is the choice God gives us in the bible. Either love him, and choose him, or we will face the fires of hell. In fact, I think the God of the bible to be a much more sadistic, unjust, malevolent, and cruel than the man who puts his son in an oven. This is because the God of the bible punishes us eternally. The young boy will burn and die. Mankind will suffer the pains of hell for eternity. Some descriptions of how we can begin to fathom eternity are found around the web. Interestingly enough, when I typed “How long is eternity” into google.com, nine out of ten results were Christian sites warning about hell, such as this one. The quote at the end is especially poignant, “Let the sum total represent centuries and only then would eternity have begun. Only then would the sinner in hell have a small part of the suffering of that awful place.” This site states, “You’ll exist in a terrible place God calls hell, separated from him and all that is good.” Well isn’t that kind.
What is Evil? How Can a Man Judge God?
Exactly what is “good”? To examine this we must talk about what many Christians I have talked to say when I tell them I don’t think God is good. Many say that we cannot judge God. I beg to differ, and the bible, as usual, is what makes me have this different opinion from a Christian. Irony at it’s best. Let us examine the book of Genesis.
Genesis 3: 4-5
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.”
The key words here are, “…knowing good and evil.” According to this, Satan says we will know what good is and know what evil is. So it stands to reason from this that we can judge right from wrong, and can know when God does something good or bad.
“But Satan is the prince of lies and evil”, I can hear you exclaiming.
Ahh…well then let us look at the following passage.
Genesis 3: 22
“And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever”
Well, well, well. It appears here that what the devil said was true. God himself says that mankind can now judge right and wrong, knowing good and evil. It seems to me here that Satan was just trying to wake us up from the ignorance God had us in. Which begs the question: Why does god now punish mankind for committing a sin when we don’t know what good or evil is? Sure, he may have told us not to eat the apple, but how could we have understood the implications of this action, since we had no notion of good or evil? If we don’t know how to be good, then we wouldn’t recognize something as evil. Again, evil is defined as something “that is a cause or source of suffering, injury, or destruction”. Well according to the punishment God deals out in the following passages as the result of tasting the apple, that taste could definitely be defined as evil. I’ve added emphasis in places.
Genesis 3: 16-19
“Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
Well that certainly sounds like suffering to me, and this is just the tip of the iceberg of God’s cruelty to those who sin against him. So because Eve and Adam ate the fruit of the tree, without knowing the difference between right (good) and wrong (evil), Eve’s sorrow will be greatly multiplied, and have sorrowful conception, and serve her husband, and Adam has all of the ground cursed and it will be hard labor for him to grow food.
So to return to our main point of whether or not we can judge God as good or evil, I think it is obvious that we can. All you have to do is read the scripture in which God himself says we know good and evil as he does, “…the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil…” Genesis 3: 22. As a human who knows good and evil, I judge the biblical god to be evil by definition.
Well if God is evil, then what is Satan? Why did God cast Satan out, and what is his punishment? Satan was proud, and rose up against God (Isaiah 15: 13-14, Ezekiel 28: 14-19). Therefore, he is judged, bruised, chained in darkness, and sent to Hell (John 12: 31, John 16: 11, Romans 16:20, Jude 6, 2 Peter 2: 4, Matthew 25: 41). It’s interesting to note that Satan was an angel (Isaiah 14: 12) who was perfect (Ezekiel 29: 15) and beautiful (Ezekiel 28: 17). The angels had free will, as is indicated by the fact that Satan chose to go against God. If he had known the punishment, he would not have had true free will. However, it says nowhere that Satan knew he would be sent to hell for his actions. It is only after he rebels that he is punished. The angels were created before man, and as free moral agents, some revolted against God. Therefore, God made mankind, and made him ignorant of good and evil. We didn’t gain the ability to judge good or evil until after the fall, and then God punished us for doing what he knew we would do(he’s omniscient, remember?). It’s as if God knew that once we realized the difference between good and evil as the angel’s did, we would see him for what he truly is.
Satan led a rebellion against God in Heaven and was cast out for it. Well, since we’ve established that God is evil by definition, wouldn’t fighting against God be considered an act of goodness? As a human who knows good and evil, I judge Satan, who fought to overthrow the evil biblical god, to be good.
On something of a side-note, some have said to me, the human definition of good isn’t what good really is. They say that the definition of good is what God wills. This is absurd to the nth degree. If what God wills is defined as good, then to say, “God is good”, is to say, “What God wills what he wills.”
The Story of Job
Job is perhaps one of the best examples of the biblical god’s evil. Here, he has a faithful servant, who had not sinned, feared God (who wouldn’t?), and avoided evil. Job had a number of sons and daughters, thousands of sheep, camels, oxen, asses, and also had a large home. He even went so far as to offer sacrifices to God after feasts, just in case one of his sons had ever sinned (Job 1: 1-5). It seems unlikely to me that you would find a man in the Old Testament who loved God more than Job. So what was his reward? Did God multiply Job’s household and give him everything a man of great faith would require? Did God make his seed the rulers of great kingdoms? No. Quite the opposite, in fact.
There came a time when Satan and the “…sons of God…” came to before the Lord. God asks Satan where he has been (wait…isn’t God omniscient?), and Satan says he has been walking around the earth. God asks Satan if he has “…considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man…” Satan says that he has met Job, and that he only loves God because he has so many great things and has been blessed so much. The Devil tells God that if God were to “…put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath…” that Job would curse God to his face (wait again…I thought no man has seen God face to face? John 1: 18, Exodus 33: 10, 1 John 4: 12). Basically, if God messes with Job’s stuff, Satan says, Job would hate God. The Lord already knows the answer (remember that whole omniscience thing), but for some reason decides he needs to basically destroy Job’s life through suffering, pain, ruin, and destruction in order to show Satan he is wrong. This would be a good time to go back to the start of the article and re-read what the definition of evil is. God knows Job would repent and come back to God after cursing him, but it’s not enough to know this. Instead, he has to prove Satan wrong, no matter what the cost. Sounds like pride to me when you can’t just be satisfied knowing you’re wrong, but have to be able to say, “Told you so!” Wasn’t pride the reason Satan became a fallen angel and was cast into Hell?
Quick question here in case you have confusion as to who’s at fault here. Who’s responsible for a murder? A robot, or the scientist who created the robot and programmed it to kill? Remember, God made Satan and saw all the things he would do.
In the first chapter of Job, God lets Satan go and mess up Job’s life a little bit, with the stipulation that he does not harm Job physically. First, every one of Job’s servants that watch his oxen, save for one, is slain. Secondly, great fire burns up all his thousands of sheep and the servants that watch them as well, save one. Next, his camels and servants that watch the camels are all slain, save for one. Ouch. Oh wait, to top it off a building collapses, killing all of his sons. This all happens on the first day that Satan is messing with Job, per God’s orders, remember. What does Job do? He shaves his head, and falls down and praises the Lord. (Job 1: 14-22)
So the next time that Satan and the “…sons of God…” come to see the Lord, God again asks Satan where he has been (anyone else beginning to be confused about God’s omniscience?), and Satan says he has been traveling the world. God asks Satan about Job again, and Satan says (paraphrasing Job 2: 4-5), “Yeah, yeah. So you took what he had. A man will give everything he has for his life. If you torture him physically though, he’ll curse you.” God, again knowing what will happen, still tells Satan to go out and do what he will with Job, short of killing him. So Satan goes and infects Job with horrendous boils from the top of his head to the sole of his feet. At this point, even Job’s wife realizes how horrible God is being to Job, and says, “…curse God, and die.” (Job 2: 9). It’s understandable that she would be a little upset with Job, as his worship of this God has caused the death of her children.
Job suffers for a long time, and his friends come to his house and the rest of the story is about Job suffering, and debating with his friends about God and his purposes. In the end, Job never curses God, and God gives the things back to Job twofold.
So what is the moral of the story? That if you are faithful, God will double what you have. Oh, and if you’re faithful, God will destroy one of your homes, kill your children, kill your animals, kill your servants, and strike you with sores and boils from head to toe, so he can tell Satan, “Told you so!”
Why is There Evil in the World?
Further support for my argument that God is evil is found in the scripture. If evil is something that causes suffering, and something is described as being evil if said thing causes ruin, then it can be said that whatever is the source of evil (suffering, pain, etc.) is evil, as the source is the original cause. What does the bible have to say about evil? Where did it come from? Man? No. Satan? No. Angels? No. God? Yes.
Surprised? Yes, according to the bible, God is the source and creator of evil.
Isaiah 45: 7
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.”
When looking through my bible, I laughed when I looked in the topical index, and found that under the word “Evil”, was the subject “Origins of…”, followed by references where it comes from Satan (Isaiah 14: 12-14 which doesn’t even say the word “Evil”), and from Man (Matthew 15: 18-19). Both these passages state that bad things come from Satan and Man, but they don’t say that Satan and Man are the sources of evil, as Isaiah 45: 7 says about God.
So to answer our question, the reason there is evil in the world is because God created it. When he did this, being omniscient, he knew it would enter the world, and he is therefore responsible. Evil is causing suffering and pain, and all pain and suffering in the world is the result of God’s choices. Therefore, by definition, God is evil.
Why do We Suffer?
This one is simple. And it’s not because we sinned, which is the standard knee-jerk reaction you will get when you ask a Christian, “Why do we suffer?” While it’s nice for Christians to believe that we only suffer because of original sin, the truth goes back further than that. The real reason we suffer is so that God can be glorified. We were made to please and glorify God (Isaiah 43:7, Revelation 4: 11). All the suffering, pain, sorrow, and terror we experience in our lives is because of God, for he knew we would go through these things when he made us, as he is omniscient (1 John 3: 20). Seems a little selfish, doesn’t it? God created us, knowing we would suffer, but did it anyways just for his pleasure.
It seems simple to me that God is the cause of suffering. Isn’t that the definition of evil? Yes, it is. This would be another good time to go back to the start of the article and re-read what the definition of evil is. You may feel differently, but I have a hard time seeing how anyone can see the god of the bible as anything but evil.
A Study of Satan
Since You Asked