How did evil get started?

Has evil always existed, or did God create evil to see if we’d choose it, or not?

Scripture is vague on the subject. It doesn’t explain the origin of evil. It does, however, explain the origin of all goodness. God is good (Exodus 33:19, Psalm 33:5), and whatever God made was good (Genesis 1:31). God made us humans good too, stamping us with an impress of his own image so we could enjoy a paradise existence with him forever. God’s all grace and loveliness. On that point Scripture is clear: God’s into goodness, not evil.

But evil exists too, so where did it come from? Scripture hints, without stating it outright, that evil first appeared in an angel, whose attitude then infected other angels. But how did evil get a foothold in the angels’ minds in the first place? Well, God made that possible because he gave the angels a will of their own, which meant they could choose either good or evil, and whether to follow God or reject him.

But why would they reject God when it was obvious, surely, that God loved them and that everything he did was for their good? He’d given them brilliant minds and amazing beauty, so why choose evil instead? Was it because of pride, or envy? Scripture hints at both. Whatever the cause, evil was “out of the bag” and it was deadly, because it could twist even a brilliant mind into rejecting the love and goodness of God.

God then created humans with a will of their own too, and they also experienced a lovely, open, innocent relationship with God in a paradise of his making, which was theirs to enjoy forever so long as they didn’t eat the fruit off one tree. Obey that one prohibition and paradise was theirs for eternity. Disobey and they could kiss paradise goodbye and live in a world where they’d have to cope with evil.

So why did they disobey? It made no sense at all. If they’d simply obeyed God’s instructions they would now be “gods and sons of the Highest,” Psalm 82:6, living in a permanent paradise. But the serpent convinced Adam and Eve they could be gods without obeying God, and they believed him. But why? Why believe the serpent and not God? And why didn’t they consult God first before deciding, too?

Because evil can twist a mind into rejecting the goodness of God. It can even make God seem evil. Wherever evil came from, therefore, we are left in no doubt what it does. The question we’re really faced with, then, is not “How did evil get started?” but “How do you make it stop?”


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