4.1 Evil–the powers opposed to God

The origin of evil within the order of creation cannot be rationally grasped or explained. Paul speaks of evil as a mystery (2 Thessalonians 2: 7). Evil cannot always be clearly recognised. Sometimes it disguises itself and takes on the appearance of something good or divine (2 Corinthians 11: 14). Only through faith in the gospel do the ultimate nature of evil, its power, strength, and effects, become clear.

Only God is absolutely good. In God's words, both the invisible and the visible creation was "very good" in the beginning (Genesis 1: 1-31), and thus evil had no place within it originally. God did not create evil as such. It is thus not among the things that were expressly created, but has rather been permitted.

When God created man, He made him according to His own likeness (Genesis 1: 26 et seq.). This means that man has been endowed with a free will. He has the ability to decide between obedience and disobedience to God (Genesis 2: 16-17; 3: 1-7). The ability to do evil is also rooted in this free will. Evil manifests itself when human beings knowingly and intentionally oppose that which is good by distancing themselves from God and His will. Thus the evil in man was not created by God, but was at first only an alternative which man chose by violating the divine commandment. God neither wanted nor created evil, but nevertheless permitted it in that He did not prevent human beings from exercising choice.

Since the fall into sin, evil has affected both mankind and the entire creation (Romans 8: 18-22).

Evil began to unfold when the created (man) began to oppose the Creator. As a consequence of disobedience, of the fall into sin, evil gained a foothold and led to a state of remoteness from God, estrangement from God, and ultimately godlessness.

See also