QUESTION: It is claimed that it
is immoral to teach that God can do what is not allowed to man, and that
Paul repudiated any such teaching. Is there any definite passage in
which God directly does evil in order to produce good? Does He not
In making evil a moral
question we not only turn our back on the Word of God but defy it by
appealing to the philosophy of men. Paul, in quoting this saying, uses the
first person plural -- we -- and we are not God (Rom.3:8).
There are many passages in which God is said
to do evil, and it always is done for a good end. There are nearly two dozen
such passages in Jeremiah alone (Jer.4:6; 6:19; 11:11,17,23; 14:16; 18:11;
19:3,15; 21:10; 23:12; 24:9; 32:23,42; 36:31; 40:2; 42:17; 44:2,11,27; 45:5;
49:37; 51:64). But there is one passage which shows that evil is one of His
principal means of dealing with mankind. In Ecclesiastes 1:12,13, we have
the very opposite of the philosophy to which you refer. Here is real wisdom:
I, the gatherer, come to be king over Israel,
in Jerusalem, and I apply my heart to inquire and to explore by wisdom,
concerning all which is done under the heavens. It is the experience of
evil God gives to the sons of Adam, to humble them by it.
Here evil is a gift from God, and its effect
is good. It applies to all men at all times, a universal
"principle." One who does not receive evil at the hand of God, but
only good, knows but little about Him, and indeed, cannot be said to glorify
Him as God.
Nowhere in God's Word do we read that God overrules.
It is with pain that we confess that we once taught this. Job well knew that
evil comes from God. Even Nebuchadnezzar was humbled by evil until he
acknowledged that the Supreme is in authority among mortals. But, alas, how
few today have learned this humbling lesson!