"All Evil/Sin Is From God?"

Did I hear what I think I just heard the pastor say? Did he just say that all sin and evil is from God? Yes and no. Yes, I did say Sunday morning that "all things are from God" and the "all things" includes sin, suffering, and evil. I gave the examples of Job and Joseph both commenting that God had taken away and that God meant evil for good. There is never enough time on Sunday morning to say all that needs to be said and sometimes even a statement like "Evil/sin is from God" gets said without the needed clarification and explanation.

I did make the statement that all evil/sin is from God in this sense. The Bible clearly presents the truth that God has ordained that sin and evil exist but not in such a way that He is guilty of sin and evil. There is a definite sense in Scripture that God wills what He hates for a greater purpose. There are more references to mention here, but let me just mention two.

2 Chronicles 10:15 says,

"So the king did not listen to the people, for it was a turn of affairs brought about by God that the LORD might fulfill his word..."

If you read the entire chapter you see that the wise and good thing for Rehoboam to do was to listen to the counsel of the old men, but instead he did the wrong or evil thing and followed the counsel of the young men. The writer of Chronicles says that the decision to do this was a turn of affairs that God brought about. So we have an account of God willing something that He hates.

The best example is Acts 2:23:

"...this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men."

Here we see the greatest act of evil and sin of all time and it is according to the definite plan of God, but everyone would agree that crucifying Jesus was against God's clear and revealed command to those of that day. Crucifying him was clear disobedience and sin on their part.

The question that screams out to be answered his why? Why does God will to bring about what He clearly hates and despises? The answer is in relation to His ultimate purpose in all things--the glory of His Name.

2 Timothy 2:9 says,

"...who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began..."

God gave to His people, those whom Christ came to redeem, grace in Jesus Christ before the beginning of this world. God had in his mind before this world began a purpose. That purpose involved pouring out grace to sinners in Jesus Christ. God purposed from before the ages began to pour out his grace on sinners through Jesus Christ--through His death and resurrection. He freely and lovingly did this to make Himself (His glory) known for this people and not only known, but enjoyed forever and ever. God ordained that this world be with all its evil and suffering so that there could be a world in which the greatest act of evil and suffering could be played out--the crucifixion of the Son of God for sinners, through which the glory of God could be seen and savored in the greatest possible way for His people forever and ever.

Jonathan Edwards put it this way...

It is a proper and excellent thing for infinite glory to shine forth; and for the same reason, it is proper that the shining forth of God's glory should be complete; that is, that all parts of his glory should shine forth, that every beauty should be proportionably effulgent, that the beholder may have a proper notion of God. It is not proper that one glory should be exceedingly manifested, and another not at all.

Thus it is necessary, that God's awful majesty, his authority and dreadful greatness, justice, and holiness, should be manifested. But this could not be, unless sin and punishment had been decreed; so that the shining forth of God's glory would be very imperfect, both because these parts of divine glory would not shine forth as the others do, and also the glory of his goodness, love, and holiness would be faint without them; nay, they could scarcely shine forth at all.

If it were not right that God should decree and permit and punish sin, there could be no manifestation of God's holiness in hatred of sin, or in showing any preference, in his providence, of godliness before it. There would be no manifestation of God's grace or true goodness, if there was no sin to be pardoned, no misery to be saved from. How much happiness soever he bestowed, his goodness would not be so much prized and admired. . . .

So evil is necessary, in order to the highest happiness of the creature, and the completeness of that communication of God, for which he made the world; because the creature's happiness consists in the knowledge of God, and the sense of his love. And if the knowledge of him be imperfect, the happiness of the creature must be proportionably imperfect.'

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