Did God or Satan Create Evil and Freewill?

Corrupting the Image 2: Angels Created with Freewill

The origin of evil is a question many people have. Some assume the devil is responsible for evil. Evil in its simplest form is simply the ability to choose contrary to the desire of our Creator. To appreciate that ability we need to go back before anything was, before the blackness of space, when there was only the Most High who existed within and as His own dimension.

Imagining God in and of Himself is a challenging mental exercise, for we should not imagine God was floating around in the darkness of space in eternity past, (which I used to imagine as a boy). Neither space nor darkness had yet been invented! We cannot speak of where God existed, as “where” had not yet been created. God does not exist in a place nor in a dimension. There is no space, dimension or reality outside of who God intrinsically is. This hurts our heads a bit, but it necessarily must be true since to suggest otherwise would mean that something existed apart from Him creating it, and Scripture is replete with verses saying that all things have been created by Him.

According to the study of higher dimensions, the tenth dimension is both timeless and space-less.[1] It is pure information. Such a mathematical description of reality closely parallels biblical theology. God is both timeless and space-less. He is the mind from which all matter emanates. Mathematically, He is the tenth dimension from which all others proceed. Interestingly, the Big Bang theory has come to a similar conclusion—all matter, including space itself, was tightly packed in a dot smaller than a period on this page. Some have postulated that the dot was not actually there. Nevertheless, if all matter AND space itself was within the dot, where was the dot? The answer is hyperspace: a dimension beyond our own.

The best minds of quantum physics over the last one hundred years have concluded that behind the matter of the universe is a mind. Max Planck, often considered the father of quantum physics, stated matter comes from a Mind:

As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear-headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.[2]

Einstein’s famous equation, E=MC2 essentially states that energy and mass (matter) are interchangeable; they are simply alternate forms of the same thing and under the right conditions, mass can become energy, and energy can become mass.[3] Indeed, Einstein stated there is no matter: Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.[4]

Thus, before Creation there was no differentiation (outside of God Himself and His indescribable tri-unity). On that first day, God created things that were not. The first day was the beginning of differentiations. He created a space outside of Himself; He created darkness which had never been (Isa 45:7), for God is light and there is no darkness in Him whatsoever (I John 1:5). Thus, the absence of His glorious light in the newly created void was new and different. For the first time ever, there was darkness. God revealed this to the prophet Isaiah:

I form the light, and create (בֹורֵ֣א) darkness: I make peace, and create (בֹורֵ֣א) evil (ra’ רָ֑ע): I the LORD do all these things (Isaiah 45:7 KJV).

Until that moment, darkness (the absence of light) did not exist. Therefore, before day one (or Genesis 1:1–3) when He created the void, which is space, it initially was devoid of God’s light and did not even have photons. Until God conceived of the absence of light, there was no such thing as darkness; it was His idea. When God decided to create a space / dimension outside of Himself, which was not automatically filled with His light, He then by necessity, created the potential of the absence of light which God called darkness. God then created physical light, photons as waves and / or particles, in order to fill the space.

In the same way, God is good (Exodus 34:6), and no evil or sin or imperfection is in Him. We might say that God has the corner on the market when it comes to good. Good, according to the Bible is defined as what is in accord with God’s will, desire or plan. Therefore, any deviation from that is by definition not good and is therefore “evil”. Thus, when God desired to give the angels, including Satan, and man the option to follow Him or to disobey, He must have by default, created the potential for them to completely exercise their own will by not choosing the good (that is God’s will, desire or plan). It is self-evident that no one can choose that which does not exist. Henry Ford once said that people could choose any color Model T, so long as it was black. It is also similar to the infamous communist regimes where the people are allowed to vote, but there is only one candidate. In reality, having only one candidate (or one color to choose from) is no choice at all.

What is Evil?

Isaiah 45 states that God is in fact the very One who created evil: “I form the light, and create (בֹורֵ֣א) darkness: I make peace, and create (בֹורֵ֣א boreh) evil (רָ֑ע ra’): I the LORD do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7 KJV).

Some translations render the word evil (ra רָ֔ע)[5] as “calamity”, which is an option in the context of Isaiah 45:7. Nevertheless, the word is the same in which we are first introduced in Genesis 2:17, where God commands man to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (ra רָ֔ע).

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (ra רָ֔ע) you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen 2:16–17).

God is also the essence of all that is good. Following God involves doing what is right and good. Thus, if Adam could only choose from all the “good” things that God had made, then there really was not free choice at all. That, in a nutshell, is why God created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; there had to be a way for Adam to exercise his own will independently, even if it meant it would be contrary to God’s will.

God defines evil in Isaiah saying they “did evil before My eyes, And chose that in which I do not delight” (Isaiah 65:12; 66:4). This gives us an amazingly simple definition of evil: “doing something in which God does not take pleasure.” God, the master programmer, had to code into this reality the potential to choose contrary to His wishes. He had to create the potential for His creatures to exercise their own will and choose something in which He does not delight. Just as there was no darkness until He made it possible, so too was it impossible to choose something besides His desire.

The creation of evil[6] is what made choosing contrary to His wishes possible, and it is what makes choosing to follow, obey and love Him meaningful. For God’s creatures to genuinely love Him, the option to reject Him had to be available. Satan, the angels, Adam and Eve—all had to have the opportunity to choose against His will to be able to truly choose Him and hence,

have true love for Him. Therefore, it is true that God created evil; yet, He never caused any one to choose evil. Giving individuals the choice between two real and viable options is not the same as making us choose the bad option.

The creation of evil is analogous to a large rock on a cliff. The rock has potential energy; a tiny nudge will turn the potential energy into kinetic energy. The rock’s potential energy need never be triggered, or made kinetic; so too, mankind’s choosing contrary to God’s desire need not have been actualized. God, in a sense, told Adam not to push the rock and warned him of the consequences if he did, but Adam, of his own free will, pushed it and suffered the consequence when the rock’s energy became kinetic and killed him.

God created two options: one in accordance with His desires, which leads to life; and, one contrary to His wishes, which leads to death. Angels and humans have the ability to determine their paths. Satan chose the path contrary to God’s wishes.

Learn more in this video: https://youtu.be/XDv_rM8nuYs


[1] Rob Bryanton, Imagining the Tenth Dimension: A New Way of Thinking About Time and Space Paperback, 2007

[2] Das Wesen der Materie [The Nature of Matter], speech at Florence, Italy (1944) (from Archiv zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Abt. Va, RePg. 11 Planck, Nr. 1797)

[3] http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/einstein/lrk-hand-emc2expl.html. Not surprisingly, the Bible is millennia ahead of both Planck and Einstein. In Genesis 1:2 the Spirit of God is fluttering (merachefet מרחפת) over the face of the waters. The Hebrew term is the same action as a bird brooding, fluttering, or hovering over its nest.

[4] http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/einstein/lrk-hand-emc2expl.html

[5] The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) notes the noun “evil” is defined as “being that condition or action which in his (God’s) sight is unacceptable (Jer 52:2; Mal 2:17; cf. Neh 9:28),” (TWOT רָ֔ע ra).

[6] Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology defines evil in the following manner: “what is right was what was ordained by God, and what is wrong was what was proscribed by him, deviation from this paradigm constitutes what is evil.” Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology (1996): Evil.

The Angelic Domain: Created Before Genesis 1:1 or After?

Many have suggested that God created the angels before the creation of the heavens and earth. Did He create them outside of time and space? The simple answer is no and here is why. Before anything was, before the blackness of space, before the void, there was the King, the Almighty, the Self-Existent, the One who was, and is and is to come. He existed in and of his own domain. God wasn’t “anywhere” because there was no “where”. There was only God. Nevertheless, He created from nothing a space, a domain outside of Himself that was not. This expanse, dimension, He called shamaim (or heavens). He filled this domain with substance, material called eretz (earth). We can think of the heavens like a water bottle filled with water (eretz).  Imagine God by Himself, of Himself, bringing forth from Himself a dimension, a void, filled with only eretz also called ‘tehom’ the ‘depth’ which had not been before. However, on that first day, the earth was only in the process of being formed. This is why God paused and explained what He meant by ‘water’. [1] He did not mean the ball of soil, dirt, land, that Adam stood on when his eyes opened and beheld God. Eretz – earth on the first day was in fact water. [2]

From that water God formed the light to fill the darkness which He also created (Isa 45:7). The first day was the beginning of differentiations. Before the creation there was no differentiation (outside of God Himself and His indescribable tri-unity). On that first day God created things that were not. He created a space outside of Himself; He created darkness which had never been (Isa 45:7) for God is light and there is no darkness in Him whatsoever (I John 1:5). Thus the absence of His glorious light in the newly created void was new and different which is why the King revealed by the prophet Isaiah ‘I form the light and create darkness’. Until that moment darkness, (the absence of light) did not exist.

Therefore before day one (or Genesis 1:1) there was God and because He is light there was no such thing as darkness. When He created the void, space, it initially was devoid of God’s light and did not even have created photons. When God said ‘let there be light’ is the moment when God created the particle-waves known as photons.

We can see, therefore, that before the creation of a domain and substance, there was no place even for the angels. Their creation is not clearly detailed like the creation of Adam, however we can piece together some clues from the book of Job: “Where were you when I laid the

foundations of the earth?…Who determined its measurements? …Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7). Job 38 has day two in mind because the line had been stretched out upon it. The line (was pointed out to me, by a brother whose name I forget), is where day and night meet on the earth as seen from space – there literally is a line passing over it. The angels were obviously there and were observers of what God was doing while not dependent on the earth (like man would be). This is the earliest evidence we have of the angels. We hear nothing of them before this.

The next thing we have to consider is that before the fall of man there was only one domain in which the spiritual (angels, God) would exist with the physical (Adam). The one domain was split in two because of the fall of man. We know this because there is currently a veil between the heavenly domain/realm and the earthly. We learn this from Isaiah 25:7 which states that the veil, which covers all nations, is going to be removed. “And He will destroy on this mountain the surface of the covering cast over all people, And the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces…” (Isa 25:7-8). Isaiah also says “oh that you would rend the heavens and come down.” (Isa 64:1) We hear of the sky receding like a scroll in Isaiah 34 and Revelation 6. The prophets also saw the heavens open on occasion (Ezekiel 1, Revelation 4, 19). Stephen also saw the heavens open when he was being stoned (Acts 7).

We also know that Satan was in Eden, the garden of God, which was associated with the mountain of God (Ezekiel 28:12-18). That mountain is the same mountain that we read about in Isaiah 14, which Satan attempted to climb and sit upon the “mountain of the congregation.” It is also the same that is spoken of in Hebrews “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels.” (Heb 12:22). The mountain of God is in fact the heavenly Jerusalem according to this verse and others.

Therefore, the mountain of God was created when He created everything else and also that abode was in a common domain/dimension before the fall. God walked in the cool of the evening in the Garden of Eden, which is the same place where Satan was – the mountain of God. Eden and the mountain of God are closely connected.  This means that God’s abode and man’s were in the same domain and only split after the sentencing and casting out from the Garden with the way blocked to the tree of life. In other words, the casting out was not simply a spatial removal but a dimensional shift. The spiritual domain was divorced from the natural/physical at that point and those two will be recombined when the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven and remains on the earth forever.

With all that in view we see that before the creation of the heavens and earth there was only God who existed in and of His own dimension. There was no other space out there, no black emptiness, no void –just God. There was only light for even darkness is something that He created (Isaiah 45:7). We also conclude that the traditional view of God dwelling “up there” and Adam being “down here” is not accurate. Nor is the belief that we will dwell “up there” in heaven for eternity.  What we understand to be “heaven” in the Scriptures is in fact the Holy Mountain/Heavenly Jerusalem – which comes down to the earth in the age to come.  So we conclude that only God existed before Genesis 1:1; the angels did not exist before then. The current separation of God’s domain from man’s is only a temporary condition which was not in place when God declared everything to be very good. As for the angels, they were therefore created after the heavens and earth of Genesis 1:1 (day two appears to be when they were created) and they were dwelling in the same domain as man until the separation of the two domains. God’s original intent was to dwell with His creatures on the earth. Corruption (sin) and death impeded that intent for several thousand years. Nevertheless, God will bring His original intent to pass and will dwell with mankind forever from His holy mountain, which will be on the earth – a place in which God, angels, and man will all dwell together.

Many of the proofs are discussed in my course on the Messianic Age which you can listen to here.


[1] “The disjunctive clause (conjunction + subject + verb) at the beginning of v. 2 gives background information for the following narrative, explaining the state of things when “God said…” (v. 3)…. Some translate 1:2a “and the earth became,” arguing that v. 1 describes the original creation of the earth, while v. 2 refers to a judgment that reduced it to a chaotic condition. Verses 3ff. then describe the re-creation of the earth. However, the disjunctive clause at the beginning of v. 2 cannot be translated as if it were relating the next event in a sequence. If v. 2 were sequential to v. 1, the author would have used the vav consecutive followed by a prefixed verbal form and the subject.” NET Bible Notes on Genesis 1:2.

[2] “That is, what we now call “the earth.” The creation of the earth as we know it is described in vv. 9-10. Prior to this the substance which became the earth (= dry land) lay dormant under the water.” NET Bible Notes on Genesis 1:2.

 

The Creation of Evil, Free Will, and the Image of God

Why did God place the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden when eating from it would result in our first parents experiencing death and separation? Being created in the image of God appears to entail one more aspect: the ability to choose. While God created everything good (that is without any defect whatsoever) and the day that man was created was declared to be “very good,” a decision had to be made on Adam’s part – would he choose, of his own free will, to follow God or not? In order to accomplish this, God had to give Adam something to choose so that he could exercise his free will. The choice was to obey God or disobey God by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

 

Isaiah 45:7 states that God is in fact the very one who created evil. However, we will see that the verse really speaks of God’s creating of this ability to choose. Notice the parallelism between the forming/making of light/peace and also creating darkness/evil. Thus according to the verse, God is in fact the one who created “evil”.

 

I form the light, and create (בֹורֵ֣א) darkness:

I make peace, and create (בֹורֵ֣א) evil (ra’ רָ֑ע):

I the LORD do all these things, (Isaiah 45:7 KJV).

 

To grasp the full impact of this we must go back before God created anything, even before God created the vast black emptiness of space: there was only God, who existed in His own dimension, (though we might say as His own dimension). In other words, God was not floating around in space for eternity past, which I used to imagine as a boy. There was no space, no dimension, or reality outside of who God intrinsically is. This hurts our heads a bit, but it necessarily must be true since to suggest otherwise would mean that something existed before He created it and Scripture is replete with verses saying that all things have been created by Him.

 

We need also to consider that God is light (1 John 1:5). Therefore, light, as it pertains to God, is not something that was created (we are not referring to the light of Genesis 1:3, but God’s intrinsic light). Because Scripture tells us that God is light, then we understand that the quality of light that emanates from Him is intrinsically and inseparably part of His essence. Therefore, when God decided to create a space/dimension outside of Himself, which was not automatically filled with His light, He then by default, created the potential of the absence of light which God called darkness. God then created physical light (photons as waves and/or particles) in order to fill the space.

 

In the same way, God is good (Exodus 34:6) and no evil or sin or imperfection is in Him. We might say that God has the corner on the market when it comes to good. Good, according to the Bible is defined as what is in accord with God’s will, desire, or plan. Therefore, any deviation from that is by definition not good or therefore “evil”. Thus, when God desired to give the angels and man the option to follow Him or to disobey, He must have by default created the potential for them to completely exercise their own will by not choosing the good (that is God’s will, desire or plan). Man cannot choose what does not exist, which is self-evident. Henry Ford once said that people could choose any color Model T they liked so long as it was black. It is also similar to the infamous communist regimes where the people are allowed to vote but there is only one candidate. In reality, having only one candidate (or one color to choose from) is no choice at all. Therefore, God had to create “evil” (the “other candidate” or the “other color”) in order for angels and man to have a real choice.

 

Giving man the choice between two real and viable options, however, is not the same as making us choose the bad option. It is in choosing where we are afforded the opportunity to determine our own path. The two paths are clearly set before us with the consequences of each explained and then it is up to the individual to determine his path. Nevertheless, God created the possibility of letting his creatures choose something that would be contrary to His desires.

The Word Evil (Ra רָ֔ע)

Some translations render the word (ra רָ֔ע) as calamity which seems to be an option in the context of Isaiah 45:7. Nevertheless, the word is the same that we are first introduced to in Genesis 2:17 where God commands man to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (ra רָ֔ע).

 

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (ra רָ֔ע) you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die,” (Gen 2:16-17).

 

Why would God place such a tree in the midst of the garden when Adam and Eve just might eat of it? Why not just leave the whole thing out of the garden? How can God declare everything to be very good when he put such a ruinous and abominable tree there? It is like leaving a nuclear bomb in one’s living room and telling the kids not to touch the detonator! Do we know for sure that God actually created this tree? We know that God had to be the creator of that tree for Scripture says that plainly:

The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, (Genesis 2:8,9).

The truth is that having the tree in the garden was necessary for man to choose to follow God and therefore good. It was having an option to really choose evil (with all of its consequences) that gave man any choice at all. Let’s consider just what evil is in its broadest sense. The Bible states that God is light and in Him is no darkness whatsoever. God is also the essence of all that is good. Following God is to do what is right and good. Thus, if Adam only had all the “good” things that God had made to choose from, then there really was not free choice at all. There had to be a way for Adam to exercise his own will independently, even if it meant it would be contrary to God’s. And since everything good was of God, then there needed to be something that would truly allow man to follow his own path and not something that was in accord with God’s desire or what God would choose. Thus evil could be defined as any action (choice) that is contrary to God’s desire. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology defines evil in the following manner: “what is right was what was ordained by God, and what is wrong was what was proscribed by him, deviation from this paradigm constitutes what is evil.”[i] The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) notes the noun “evil” is defined as “being that condition or action which in his (God’s) sight is unacceptable (Jer 52:2; Mal 2:17; cf. Neh 9:28),” (TWOT רָ֔ע ra).

 

Potential Evil vs. Kinetic Evil

We might think of God creating evil analogous to a large rock on the edge of a cliff. The rock in that position has a tremendous amount of potential energy. It is just waiting for someone to give it a little tap to turn the potential energy into kinetic energy. Just as the rock’s potential energy might never be triggered (made kinetic), so too was the evil (a choice contrary to God’s) potential and not kinetic. God in a sense told Adam not to push the rock (and the consequences if he did), but Adam of his own free will pushed it and suffered the consequence when the rock’s energy became kinetic.

 

The serpent, that is Satan, understood the purpose and the potential of the tree and therein was the cunning of his deception. Satan was once in the very presence of God acting as a covering cherub (Ezekiel 28:14) as well as the chief of all the angels (Ezekiel 28:14). At some point Satan became self-deluded, thinking that he could ascend up to the very throne and importance of God (Isaiah 14:13-14). Iniquity was found in his heart (Ezekiel 28:15); he was cast out of God’s presence (Ezekiel 28:16) to become the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), which he remains until this day. He then set out to trick Adam and Eve, whom God had created in His image and had placed in the Garden of Eden.

 

Satan told Eve the truth about the purpose of the tree (to be like God) but lied about the potential consequence of eating it “You will not surely die,” (Genesis 3:4). God clearly said “the day that you eat of it you shall surely die,” (Genesis 2:17). Eve was deceived because of the truth that the serpent told: “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (ra רָ֔ע),” (Genesis 3:4-5). We know that his statement concerning the intent of the tree was true because after God pronounced judgment on the three of them, God Himself confirmed it: “And the LORD God said, behold, the man is become as one of us (k’akhad mimenu מִמֶּ֔נּוּ כְּאַחַ֣ד), to know good (tov טֹ֣וב) and evil (ra רָ֔ע) […],” (Genesis 3:22, KJV).

 

Certainly, being like God is a good thing; in fact, Scripture is replete with passages that tell us that we shall be in His likeness (Psalm 17:15), “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) “we shall be like Him,” (1 John 3:2) and many others. God also commands us to be like Him:

  • You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. […] You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy (Leviticus 11:44-45).
  • You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy, (Leviticus 19:2).
  • Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God, (Leviticus 20:7)
  • And you shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, (Leviticus 20:26).
  • Because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy,” (1 Peter 1:16).

Therefore, we conclude that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was good, just as God declared, because it was through that agent that man could exercise his own will – which was something that man had to do in order to be more fully like God. However, it must be stressed that man could have (freely) chosen to obey God (and resist the serpent), and thereby become “like one of us” – yet without corruption (sin)! In this way, Jesus had to come as the second Adam (in the form of a servant) and through obedience (even to the point of death cf. Philippians 2:8) he was able to reconcile the sons of Adam with God (Colossians 1:22).

 


[i] Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology (1996): Evil.