GOOD AND EVIL
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
Question: Do Isaiah 45: 7 and Amos 3: 6 prove that God is the instigator of all the good and
evil, including sin, crime and wickedness?
Isaiah 45: 7: “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD
do all these things.”
Amos 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?”
Answer: To interpret, or teach that the foregoing passages prove that God instigates all of the
evil as well as the good, contradicts all of the plain statements in the Bible regarding the
character of God. The Scriptures teach that God possesses a righteous attitude toward evil – He
abhors, abstains from and opposes evil. Please note the following:
Deuteronomy 32: 4: “All his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and
right is he.”
Psalm 92: 15: “The LORD is upright: . . . there is no unrighteousness in him.”
Jeremiah 2: 5: “What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me?”
Habakkuk 1: 13: “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.”
How then can we explain Isaiah 45: 7 and Amos 3: 6? First, let us note the definition of evil.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, the primary meaning of evil is “Anything that causes
displeasure, injury, pain or suffering” or “That which produces unhappiness; anything that
directly or remotely causes suffering of any kind.” Its synonyms are injury, mischief, harm and
calamity. A secondary meaning of evil is “Moral depravity or badness.”
In Isaiah 45: 7 the word “evil” stands opposite to the word “peace,” so it carries the thought of
trouble, war or some similar evil opposed to peace. If moral badness were meant, the contrasting
word might be “righteousness” or “goodness.”
God and Israel in Covenant Relationship
Second, we need to recognize that God and Israel were in covenant relationship with each other
under the terms of the Law Covenant. God promised them that if they as a nation would observe
the laws which He gave them, He would be their God, and would shield and defend them from
all evils, such as wars, pestilences, famines, etc., and would bless them with peace, prosperity
and plenty. But if they would neglect His laws, and become idolaters and promoters of evil like
the surrounding nations, God declared that they would be afflicted with sicknesses, famines and
pestilences, and be delivered into the hand of their enemies. For the particular description of the
blessings promised and the evils threatened please see: (Leviticus 26: 3-25)
(Deuteronomy 11: 13-28) and (Deuteronomy 28: 1-8, 15-23, 36-49).
Although God had particularly warned Israel as what to expect, they seemed to have the idea
that their blessings and calamities were matters of chance and circumstance as with the godless
nations about them. In Isaiah 45: 7, which is addressed to Israel, God had chastised Israel by
sending them into captivity in Babylon, but He points out that when the time for Israel’s
deliverance came, God permitted the hosts of the Medes and Persians to come against Babylon.
He prospered the way of the heathen, but more noble and benevolent, warrior Cyrus to the seat
of power at the proper time to permit him to decree the restoration of Israel to their own land at
the end of the predicted 70 years of desolation.
Amos 3: 6 teaches a similar lesson. God points out to them that, according to His covenant with
them, their calamities could not come without His knowledge and permission. This is clear also
from the context (verses 1, 2): “Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O
children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying,
You only have I known [recognized, covenanted with] of all the families of the earth: therefore I
will punish you for all your iniquities.”
We assert that the foregoing evidence from God’s Word, including the texts in question,
completely vindicate God’s character and contradict any blasphemous theory that would teach
that God is the instigator and author of evil, such as crime, sin and wickedness. Let God be true
though it make “every man a liar.” (Romans 3: 4).