God – The Creator Of All! (Isaiah 45:7)
I recently found myself on a backpacking trip in the High Sierra just a few days after the massacre in Las Vegas. I was hiking with one of my oldest Christian friends and throughout the trip neither of us could keep from remarking on the awe-inspiring landscape surrounding us; jagged granite peaks, enormous towering pines, and crystalline glacier streams winding through lush alpine meadows. While dangling our legs over a granite cliff after sunset, the moon began to rise when he asked in a voice of tragic sincerity, “Can you believe that some people actually think that all of this happened randomly? By accident?”
“No, actually – I just think most folks haven’t bothered to take the time to attempt to understand the incredibly complex phenomena that are increasingly explained by cosmology, biology, anthropology, geology, astronomy, physics, and even meteorology.”
“Oh, please – science doesn’t have all the answers. None of that explains how it all came to be in the first place. Something can’t come for nothing.” Ahh… and we’re off to the races!
“You mean, unless magic is involved? An invisible bearded man in white robes waves his hands and… poof – the Milky Way? But, actually, the latest discoveries in quantum mechanics and particle physics appear to suggest that something is always inevitably required to come from nothing. That is, unless Christian ‘scientists’ keep changing the definition of what ‘nothing’ is.” I should admit that I was a little excited about all of this because I was in the middle of finally reading Lawrence Krauss’s excellent A Universe From Nothing. “I mean, come on – our ancestors used to believe that earthquakes and volcanoes were the work of the god’s angry hands. Now we have a little better understanding of geology and plate tectonics.”
“Laugh all you want, but you can’t have creation without a creator.”
“Except, well… what did the creator use to create everything in the first place? I can’t remember the last time I saw a potter make a vase without starting with lumps of clay, a wheel, glazes, and a kiln.”
“He’s God! He CREATED it all to begin with!”
I couldn’t help myself from laughing, even snorting a little. “Oh, so it is perfectly acceptable that HE created everything from nothing?”
“Of course… He’s God!” He was getting a little… excited. “He created EVERYTHING!”
“So, you’d rather believe in a wickedly capricious God, the creator of good AND evil who creates countless mutations of cancers to test the resolve of his own followers and created the geo-political landscape to spawn ISIS to chop off their heads?”
“God doesn’t create evil!” His excitement turned to annoyance.
“Then who does?” I asked. “Even God himself brags about creating evil.”
“No He doesn’t. Evil is the result of sin! Why would God create evil? That doesn’t make any sense!”
“Dude,” I took a moment to pull out my phone and open my Bible app to Isaiah 45:7 and handed it to him.”You need to read your Bible.”
I form the light and the darkness.
I make peace and create evil.
I, the Lord do all these things.
– God (Isaiah 45:7)
He read it to himself and paused for a moment before stating, “But that’s from the Old Testament and it’s about creating THINGS,” he asserted “not sin!”
“Then, what is sin, exactly? Can it be weighed, measured? Who defines it, using what criteria?”
“Oh, don’t play dumb with me – sin is simply the result of our own brokenness.”
“So… an invisible god not only creates everything from nothing, but he also creates this mysteriously invisible sin that somehow produces evil.”
“God didn’t create sin!” he was getting a little angry now. “It is the result of our wickedness.”
“Ahh, so even through God explicitly says that He is the creator of all things, good and evil, and evil is the result of sin, you aren’t willing to accept and give Him credit for creating sin? Or, wait – are you calling the Biblical God, the creator of the universe, a… liar?”
“Oh, give it up already. God didn’t create sin! Man did!”
“Funny, I kind of feel like if man ate an apple, it would just be an apple, right? That is, if it weren’t for the mysterious ways of God forbidding it as a sin. If a man wore a cotton wool blend he’d never know it was a sin unless God told him so. What exactly about the Sabbath is so self evident that a man would know to not pick up sticks without offending the Lord?”
“Fine, but God didn’t actually create sin – it’s just always been!”
“Always? Since before man? Sine before God? So, sin came from…,” I paused, “nothing?”
“Oh, bite me,” he laughed and acted like he was going to push me off the cliff.
On, and on it went and I must admit that it was a thoroughly enjoyable trip. But, back to the original point – if the Bible is to be believed, you can thank the Creator for His endless list of creations good and evil, light and dark. You know, all the things – cancer, famine, diarrhea, mayonnaise, and, of course, mass shootings (and Alex Jones). How confusingly capricious of this devilish little deity, eh?
I should, however, point out that not all Christians reject this idea of “evil” coming from the hand of God. In fact, some Christians downright welcome it, as exhibited in this article following the latest mass shooting in Texas: When The Saints Of First Baptist Church Were Murdered, God Was Answering Their Prayers Sometimes.
As always, folks – don’t blame me, it’s in the Bible! (Isaiah 45:7)
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This illustration will be used in a slightly different context in the latest book. For information on pre-orders, come hang out over on Patreon and get a special discount code.