What does God create? He is not evil, yet the people he created are now filled up with evil. Adam and Eve were created innocent, but that is just one fact among many. When I ask about what God creates, I am not just asking about material mater, or the original estate of man. I want to know: What does he create relative to conditions and situations?
I will content myself for now to list verses that cause me to ask the question. This is part two of a three part series where I list verses that make me ask such questions.
In this installment, I am using various translations, and as is my habit, where I see “the LORD” in an English translation, I replace it with Yahweh (to match the original Hebrew). My choice of any given translation is to prefer the ESV and to switch to another version when the translation of the Greek or Hebrew word is more consistent. I have made an examination of the underlying Greek or Hebrew to insure that the key word of interest merits the translation I have selected. That is, I am not simply picking my favorite English translations.
Each of the following passages say something about what God is like in relationship to what he creates, decides, does and ordains. I begin with an obvious verse from Genesis where we learn that it was God himself who made the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It’s an obvious fact, but note well: the first reference we have to evil in the bible is about the tree that God himself made.
Gen 2:9 (ESV)
And out of the ground Yahweh God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Exodus 9:12-16 (ESV)
But Yahweh hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them, as Yahweh had spoken to Moses. 13 Then Yahweh said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 14 For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself, and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth. 15 For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth.
16 But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”‘”
Deuteronomy 13:1-3 (ESV)
If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, “Let us go after other gods,” which you have not known, “and let us serve them,” 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For Yahweh your God is testing you, to know whether you love Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Judges 9:23-24 (ESV)
And God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem, and the leaders of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, 24 that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers.
1 Sam 2:23-25 (ESV)
And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. 24 No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of Yahweh spreading abroad. 25 If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against Yahweh, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of Yahweh to put them to death.
2 Sam 17:14 (ESV)
And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For Yahweh had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that Yahweh might bring harm upon Absalom.
1 Kings 22:17-23 (ESV)
And he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd.” And Yahweh said, “These have no master; let each return to his home in peace.” 18 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?” 19 And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of Yahweh: I saw Yahweh sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left
20 and Yahweh said, “Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?” And one said one thing, and another said another. 21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before Yahweh, saying, “I will entice him.” 22 And Yahweh said to him, “By what means?” And he said, “I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” And he said, “You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.”
23 Now therefore behold, Yahweh has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; Yahweh has declared disaster for you.”
Job 2:10 (ESV)
But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
Proverbs 16:4,9 (NASB)
Yahweh has made everything for its own purpose,
Even the wicked for the day of evil.
9 The mind of man plans his way,
But Yahweh directs his steps.
Isaiah 6:9 (KJV)
And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
Note well: In this text, “do not understand” and “do not perceive” are both commands. See also Matthew 13.
Isaiah 45:7 (KJV)
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I Yahweh do all these things.
The KJV has not mistranslated the word for evil. God makes peace and creates evil. The word for evil is the same one used in the Job text above.
Daniel 4:17 (KJV)
This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever he will, and sets up over it the basest of men.
Amos 3:6 (KJV)
Shall the trumpet be blown in a city, and the people not be afraid? shall evil befall a city, and Yahweh hath not done it?
See also Amos 9:4 and Ezekiel 14:17-20.
Hosea 9:16 (ESV)
Ephraim is stricken; their root is dried up; they shall bear no fruit.
Even though they give birth, I will put their beloved children to death.
Note well: God is here speaking of his own people, Ephraim.
Matthew 18:6-7 (ESV)
but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come [cf. also 1 Peter 1:6-7], but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!
John 13:27 (Lexham English Bible)
And after the piece of bread, then Satan entered into him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you are doing, do quickly!”
Acts 2:23 (ESV)
…this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
Acts 4:27-28 (ESV)
…for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.
Romans 9:13-21 (ESV)
As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!
15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”
20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?
2 Thess 2:11-12 (KJV)
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
1 Peter 2:7-8 (NKJV)
Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,
“The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone,”
“A stone of stumbling
And a rock of offense.”
They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.
Revelation 13:13-14 (ESV)
It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived.
Revelation 17:16-18 (NASB)
And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. 17 For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God should be fulfilled. 18 And the woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.
Revelation 22:11 (From the Greek) — I made my own translation since there is no syntactical force to necessitate the subjunctive sense of “let” in these imperative verbs (despite what the English translations say):
He that is unrighteous, be unrighteous still. And he which is filthy, be filthy still. And he that is righteous, be righteous still. And he that is holy, be holy still.