merely the absence of light? You can study light, measure the weight and speed of the particles of light. You can use a prism to break light apart and study the wave lengths of its various colors, but you can’t study darkness, because it is simply the absence of light. In the same way, isn’t evil simply the absence of God? Is it not just like darkness and cold, a word that we have created to describe the absence of God? God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God present in his heart and does not want him in the world. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat, or the darkness that comes when there is no light.”

It is an interesting illustration, and it does have some truth in it, but it can also be misleading. For this reason: evil is not a negative or passive force. It does not exist in a vacuum. Evil is real, as we have been seeing in the headlines this week.

When God created the world, he stepped back and looked at it all and the Bible says, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:3). The creation which God made was good, but something has spoiled it. As the Scripture today said, the creation was subjected to frustration; it is in bondage to decay, and it is groaning as if it were experiencing the pain of childbirth. And we are groaning too as we wait for God to give the final answer and deliver the world from evil.

It was not something passive that spoiled the world, but something that was actively at work to spoil it. It was not the absence of God, for God has never been absent from the world — therefore evil cannot be just the absence of God. It was something else. We call that something “evil.” The Bible speaks of evil as being a personal force. It talks of the Satan or devil. So, the question is: “Since the devil exists, didn’t God create the devil and therefore create evil?”

This leads to the second point: Evil exists because God created moral beings. Both men and angels were given free will — that is, the ability and freedom to choose between good and evil. In the beginning Satan was an angel. In fact, he was the greatest and most glorious of all the angels. But it was not enough for him to be the highest of all created beings. He wanted to take God’s place. The Bible describes what happened next: “And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down — that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him” (Revelation 12:7-9). The greatest created being became the lowest created being because of his rebellion against God. God did not create Satan as evil; he created a good and great angel of light who had moral freedom and will. Satan is not another god