Where did "evil" came from?

I had a conversation with my family about original sin and the topic of God and evil. There was one interesting statement that my family member mentioned. If I were to remember correctly, it was related to the idea that we humans are the one that causes to do what is evil and that made me wonder, since we have the ability to create, could we have created evil as well?

However, some flaws that I have about this is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the Satan’s original sin. So my alternate question is, did man contribute to the creation of greater evil as Romans 1:30 states, “slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; *they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;”. But then again, Paul said “doing evil”, so its not the essence of evil itself.

Gotquestions answer on the question, “Did God create sin?” provided some great insights and it convinced me. I remembered that sin in itself is “khata” or “to miss the mark”. Mark of what? Mark of God’s standard. They said, " But He does not chain us. God did not put a fence around the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had freedom to choose obedience or disobedience. When they chose sin, they also chose the consequences that went with it (Genesis 3:16–24)."

But still, it didn’t answer who or what created evil. John Piper, concluded however that Satan’s first desire to do evil is a mystery. We just do not know! (See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECPCLhe3UQo) And while writing this, lead me to be reminded of this verse, Deutronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” Maybe it’s not meant for us to know or not yet.

I’m not wholly sure about this so I ask, what are your thoughts about this topic?

Many believe that Isaiah 14:12-15 describes the first cosmic/heavenly/spiritual rebellion against God. Essentially, it is about the desire and intent to “dethrone God,” preferably by taking his place, but at the very least deciding ourselves who our god will be (and of course if we are the “god-maker” we are greater than the god we make or choose.) It was, and always will be a serious miscalculation!

Isaiah 14:12-15 (New International Version)

12 How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,
to the depths of the pit (Death Hole).

(“The character in the piece above became Lucifer in Jerome’s Latin version, and has remained so ever since.” S.K. Tonstad, Revelation, 2019. Paidea, Baker Academic Grand Rapids, MI. pg. 149.)

The Serpent in the Garden of Eden recruited Adam and Eve with the same lure - “don’t you realize that God is forbidding you from eating that fruit because he knows that then you will be just like him?” (hint…hint - “wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?!”)

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Hi @davidjblazo,

Good question. Here are some of my thoughts on the nature of evil. These were posted in another forum when we were pondering about the differences between evil and sin. However, it may help with your question as well.

Here are some initial thoughts on the two - similarities and differences.

  1. Sin and evil are both heart issues (inner man), they both reside there. Jeremiah 17:9 and Mark 7:21-23

  2. Evil is transmitted (like an infectious disease) from an outside source, sin is inborn - we are born with it. If we look at the origin story of the temptation (Genesis 3), Adam and Eve were sinless; they had no sin in their hearts. When the temptation was offered, what caused them to give in to it and disobey if there was no sin within? Difficult question to answer, but I believe the evil that was in the evil one (serpent) influenced them - in other words the evil was transmitted from an external source to man. Jesus too, was like Adam, without sin in his heart. Yet he did not allow himself to be influenced by the evil of the evil one (Luke 4:1-13). Today, we are born with a sinful nature within but are still influenced by evil to put our sinful nature into action.

3. Sin is a systemic disease, evil is personal

Why do I say this? Because (and this is just my opinion) sin is a broken system, a diseased system that has missed the mark and that is prone to do what is wrong, but Evil is altogether different. Evil is not just an unhealthy state of mind or soul, it is a powerful force or an entity that actively seeks to influence others to do works of wickedness. I cannot prove this, but from my personal experience, even though there are several overlapping similarities, evil is personal (originates from the Evil one), frightening even to sinful people and we sinful people should do all we can to keep ourselves safe from its influence.

Matthew 6:13 - Deliver us from the evil one.

4. Sin is pleasurable but evil is frightening

Sin is pleasurable; every person indulges in sin. Even followers of Christ may sin, whether they derive pleasure from it or not. Evil however is personal – and it is frightening. Both non-believing individuals and followers of Christ will find it frightening. Personally evil sends a chill down my spine when I encounter it. There is something different about it when compared to sin.

5. Everybody is a sinner, not everyone does what is evil.
Sin is common. Evil, true evil, is not as commonplace and when we see it, we often recognise it. Evil is not just a matter of degree i.e., a greater sinfulness, but a totally different beast altogether. It is influenced by the evil one and even when hardened criminal investigators and judges come face to face with it, they shudder.

Luke 17:1 - Jesus said to his disciples, "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come.

In short, evil is personal, it comes from the evil one (and his minions) and influences us to do acts of sin.

But if we were to try to dig deeper and ask where the evil of the evil one originated, I think I will agree with John Piper - that it is a mystery. We can only surmise and presume on this issue, this side of eternity. Personally, I am skeptical about the common narrative that Isaiah 14 is talking about the origin of Satan.

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Hi David,

One of the scriptures that comes to mind as I was reading your piece and question.
Ezekiel 28:15 “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created. Till iniquity was found in you”. Makes me wonder if heavenly beings have free will also.
I believe once that path of disobedience was taken. Enemy can convince humans to do all kinds of evil and there is no bounds until we take what God has made available to us through Christ.

Blessings.

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Thank you all so much for your replies for I learned a lot and my understanding increased! :smile: I pray that we may continue to grow in our faith, love, and hope, in and through the perfect unity of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.