Where Does the Origin of Evil Come From?
A proper understanding of this subject is a great asset in gaining a fuller understanding of the entire purpose and operation of God's Redemptive Plan. The following things will be included in this answer: God's gift of "free will", the origin of evil, the "fall" of mankind, and the sin nature.
A Perfect Creation:
Before we can understand the origin of evil, whether, it is in Lucifer or humanity, we must, first of all, understand that God’s initial creation of all things was “perfect”. Here are some important scripture verses with my added commentary relating to this subject:
Genesis 1:1–2 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth [became] without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep…
Isaiah 45:18 For thus says the Lord who created the heavens, God himself who formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord, and there is none else.
These verses reveal an important principle, often overlooked by casual readers of the Bible. The ‘original creation” was perfect—it became “formless and void”. Pastor Yandian has a series, titled “Creation” that deals with this subject in depth.
Without going into great detail, the transition from Genesis 1 verse 1 to verse 2 reveals a calamity that plunged the earth into the dark lifeless condition in which it existed until the process of “creation” began in verses 2 through Genesis 1:31. The passage in Isaiah tells us that God did not create the earth in that condition, and the use of the same words from Genesis 1 makes it clear that something happened to cause this desolation. As we search through scripture for hints that will help us understand this, we come to the 2 passages that deal with the rebellion of Lucifer and his fall from heaven, Isaiah 14:12–17 and Ezekiel 28:11–19.
As we study these passages, the first thing to which I want to draw attention is the condition of Lucifer at his creation.
Isaiah 14:12 How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
Ezekiel 28:12–15 (selected phrases) …you seal up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty
…you have been in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering
…in the day you were created
…You are the anointed cherub that covered, and I have set you so
…You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.
This “being”, named here as Lucifer, was created perfect! He was full of wisdom, beautiful beyond earthly description, covered in gleaming gemstones, and appointed to a position of authority just below that of the Godhead. Lucifer (Satan, the Devil) was not created with evil in his being. He wasn’t created to rebel, to lead the fall of the angels, nor to tempt yet uncreated mankind into sin. He was created perfect!
And, this is my emphasis. All of God’s creation was perfect in its creation. That, of course, includes man and woman:
Genesis 1:26–27 and 31 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the animals, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth."
27. So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.
31. God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.
That was the way it was, not the way it became. The earth, the angels, Lucifer, and mankind were created “perfect”. Now, with the angels and mankind, “perfection” implies the addition of another element. To these two classes of creation, God gave another quality—free will.
Because these are the classes that are given to serve God, to worship him, and to glorify him, they were given the ability to do so from their own volition. (Yes, the earth, the seas, the creatures, the trees, and even the rocks “glorify” God. But they do so as by instinct—a simple response to the God who created them and sustains them—not by volition, choice, or reverent service). God chose to give to the angels and mankind this opportunity to choose to give Him reverence, to yield to His service, and to offer Him praise. This is part of their “perfection”—to use their free will to return to God the worship due Him as their creator, source, and sustainer.
That was the way God created it to be—in the beginning. And even after the fall of Lucifer, when God “re-created” the earth, and created mankind, He gave them free will—fully knowing that man could, and indeed would use his free will to rebel against His plan. Man’s “fall” was not a surprise, neither was it pre-determined. But, it was foreknown—and “fore-atoned”. More on this subject, later.
The Origin of Evil:
With the above truths in view, where then is the origin of evil—sin? If God did not create it in Lucifer, or Adam/Eve, where did begin? Since mankind was created in God’s image and likeness (Gen. 1:26–27), and God is absolutely holy, how could man sin? The answer: free will! Both angels and mankind have the volition to serve, to yield, to offer. We were not created to “automatically” serve God, yield to His direction, or offer Him worship. God’s desire was to have a form of creation that would choose Him—knowing that these same creatures could choose NOT to serve, yield, or offer themselves to His will and being. To make them anything less would not have been to create them in His image.
And, so it was.
When you read the remainder of the story of Lucifer from Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, you find that his sin was the pride that was a result of his position and possession. God didn’t create it “to” happen, but he created him with the quality of a free will that would “allow” it to happen. Notice the following:
Ezekiel 28:15–17 (selected phrases)
…till iniquity was found in you
…by the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within
…you have sinned
…your heart was lifted up because of your beauty
…you have corrupted your beauty by reason of your brightness…
In all these “indictments” against Lucifer, the reference continually refers to the “arising” of these sins from “within the midst” of his being (you have…you have…you have). The lust, arrogance, pride, violence were all an outworking of his own “perverted” desires. Instead of desiring to use his abilities, wisdom, possessions for the good of, and in accordance with God’s plan, he directed them inward. We have no time reference as to “when” in eternity past this occurred, but it seems clear that he did fulfill God’s plan for a time—until…
Isaiah 14:13–14 For you have said in your heart, “I will ascend…I will exalt…I will sit…I will ascend…I will be like the Most High God.”
Lucifer’s perversion came from within. He had been given the “volition” to serve God—and he had done so. But at a time unrecorded, he turned his will from serving to ruling—from giving to taking—from worshiping to being worshiped.
The New Testament makes a few references to this issue also:
1 Timothy 3:6 He must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the Devil.
A person placed into a position of authority before he has matured may find the “power” of the position too much to handle. They may become filled with pride, become arrogant, and begin to use their position to satisfy selfish desires, instead of serving God and the people.
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.
These verses and others, repeat the indictment of Satan’s arrogance, pride, and love of possessions. And, we know from other references that his rebellion spread to one-third of the angels which joined with him and were subsequently cast into the earth to await eternal judgment.
This, of course, was the occasion of the judgment that caused the original creation to “become formless and void”. The cataclysmic destruction endured upon the earth for an unspecified time, until, as the Spirit brooded upon the face of the deep, God began the “re-creation” of the earth of Genesis 1:2-31.
What about “iniquity” in heaven.
These passages show that the iniquity was not there as some “inanimate form”, it was in Lucifer. He entered into the “throne of heaven” with the arrogant idea of overthrowing the rule of God himself. Iniquity was in him, so much so, that he is, from that time, considered the very embodiment of sin. Jesus spoke of observing his fall in Luke 10:18. He called him the father of lies (John 8:44), a murderer (John 8:44), the thief (John 10:10), the ruler of this world (John 14:30), and the devil for whom everlasting hell was prepared (Matt 25:41).
The “Fall” of Man:
Now, what about the fall of mankind? When God had finished with the creation of all the elements of the heaven and earth, he concluded with the creation of man. This was not a final act, nor an afterthought. Man had forever been in His heart. The earth was created FOR man, not man for the earth. I am convinced that Lucifer even knew about this before his rebellion—that the earth he was given to “watch over” was itself being prepared for a creation to whom God would give the dominion. Consider:
Psalm 8:3–6 When I observe Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You set in place, what is man that You remember him, the son of man that You look after him? You made him little less than God and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him lord over the works of Your hands; You put everything under his feet:
That is an awesome declaration! Man was created to have dominion here. True, that is not the way we see it yet, but that is the way God intended. Paul, in Hebrews 2:5–8 echoes these words adding the question of its present condition. But, he continues in verses 9–18 to show that the restoration of all that was lost is to be obtained through the great work of redemption in Jesus Christ.
So, what happened? The “fall of man”, from the freedom of God’s intended purpose to the bondage of sin and death. This was orchestrated by Lucifer appearing to Eve as the serpent, and through deception convincing her that what God had intended for her and Adam was a lie—she needed to make a choice that was against God’s purpose. Once deceived, Eve then convinced Adam, and although he was not deceived (1 Tim 2:14), he took the forbidden fruit and made his choice against the will of God. This action immediately brought forth the spiritual death of Adam and Eve and introduced death, corruption, calamity, fear, and bondage—not just to the human race, but to all of creation. Mankind now used the free will God had given them to rebel against their Creator—they had followed the very path of Lucifer. But with mankind, there would be a very great difference. They would be redeemed to God.
When we use our free will to rebel against God that is called sin / iniquity / unrighteousness / evil. This always leads to destruction, bondage, and death.
When, instead, we use our free will to accept God and His promise/word that is called faith / walking in the spirit / trust. This leads to wholeness, life, peace, and salvation.
The Eternal Plan of Redemption:
Now, without reviewing the entire work of redemption, let me state that this was not a surprise to God. Before He had even created the earth, or Lucifer and the angels, God had intended to create a man who would serve, honor, and worship him—by free will. Knowing that giving him free will would result in man’s rebellion, God designed a plan of redemption that would require the offering of the eternal Son for the lives of sinful man. This plan would be revealed as man’s need required, building until the “fullness of time” when the Son would be revealed, and redemption secured. Then in a time yet undisclosed, God himself would bring all things to consummation: He would “glorify” those who had by their free will accepted by faith His plan of redemption; he would remove from the very presence of this dimension the source of all rebellion and iniquity; and he would “re-create” the heaven and the earth to their glorious state.
This has always been God’s intention.
2 Timothy 1:9–10 [God] who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.
10. but has now been made evident through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
John 17:4–5 I have glorified You on the earth by completing the work You gave Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with that glory I had with You before the world existed.
Titus 1:2–3 in the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, and has in His own time revealed His message in the proclamation that I was entrusted with by the command of God our Savior.
1 Corinthians 2:7 On the contrary, we speak God's hidden wisdom in a mystery, which God predestined before the ages for our glory.
1 Peter 1:18–21 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things, like silver or gold,
19. but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.
20. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was revealed at the end of the times for you
21. who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Thank God, our salvation was never in question. We cannot say why God chose not to redeem Lucifer and the fallen angels—but, it is a fact that man was created with redemption in mind. God made him perfect, knowing that his free will would not only be the agency that would bring him death but that it would also be the agency that would bring him salvation—when he accepted the eternal gift of redemption through Jesus Christ. God would have a creation that chose Him!
In conclusion, the fall and consequent redemption did not only affect mankind. All of the earth is “under the curse of sin and death” through the action of Adam. But, all the earth will also be restored!
Romans 8:19–23 For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God's sons to be revealed.
20. For the creation was subjected to futility--not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it--in the hope
21. that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God's children.
22. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now.
23. And not only that but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits--we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
Don’t you just love this passage? All creation will be restored/redeemed when that yet future Hope is revealed—the 2nd Coming of Christ. God will make it all right!