As a trained Christian, I was taught that God was not the author of evil and darkness, that He only created goodness in the world, and that His archenemy, Satan, was the one who ‘created’ evil. This Satan that I learned about was sure powerful. powerful enough to get his own divine title, “the god of this world.” And, he even seemed to even be able to be everywhere at once and doing great damage to all of human life. How did I not see this was found no where in the Torah? Maybe because I spent way too much time focusing on the New Testament and didn’t understand the importance of the Tanach.
I had often read this verse in Isaiah and wondered greatly about it:
“7 I form light, I create darkness; I make well-being, I create woe (evil); I, Adonai, do all these things.” Isaiah 45:7
When I read this verse, I did a “stop, drop, and roll.” What was this saying? Yes, it was saying that God was the author of both darkness, evil, and calamity, and that all that God created, He said was good. This went against all of the Christian teachings I’d ever been apart of. How could God say that He created evil, and that evil was good? What did this mean?
God had to create both good and evil and both of these two opposing forces is what God calls as “good.” In order for God to truly create free will, He had to establish opposite ends of the spectrum for us so that we had an unfiltered freewill choice. God made a way for us to be able to choose to be righteous and steer away from evil. God didn’t want robots (that is what He made angels for). He desired for humans to be able to want to serve Him and want to please Him…. or not, as the case would be.
A person has the potential to obtain righteousness only when he has the opposite force staring him right in the face, and he makes his own choice to be righteous and deny the temptation to go down the wrong path and sin. Temptation is not the sin itself, but only when one chooses to act upon it. The righteous person will see temptation, will recognize it, and will chose to turn and go the other way. This is why there must be both good and evil forces and that both are good. If there was no evil, what virtue would there be if we had only the choice to do good? But, instead, we can be righteous, because there is the choice to flee evil.
“15 “Look! I am presenting you today with, on the one hand, life and good; and on the other, death and evil — 16 in that I am ordering you today to love Adonai your God, to follow his ways, and to obey his mitzvot, regulations and rulings ; for if you do, you will live and increase your numbers; and Adonai your God will bless you in the land you are entering in order to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, if you refuse to listen, if you are drawn away to prostrate yourselves before other gods and serve them; (LY: Maftir) 18 I am announcing to you today that you will certainly perish; you will not live long in the land you are crossing the Yarden to enter and possess. 19 “I call on heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have presented you with life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life, so that you will live, you and your descendants, 20 loving Adonai your God, paying attention to what he says and clinging to him — for that is the purpose of your life! On this depends the length of time you will live in the land Adonai swore he would give to your ancestors Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov.”” Deut 30:15-19
God tells us that we can rule over sin and that it will not overtake us if we stand firm in God’s truth. God is confident that He has already given us the ability to choose the good way over the evil.
“6 Adonai said to Kayin (Cain), “Why are you angry? Why so downcast? 7 If you are doing what is good, shouldn’t you hold your head high? And if you don’t do what is good, sin is crouching at the door — it wants you, but you can rule over it.” ” Genesis 4:6
Once I realized that the Christian “Satan” or “Devil” was not the archenemy of God, but rather, a subservient angel only doing the will of God when God chooses to use him to bring about repentance and obedience, I seriously felt so much more relaxed and at ease. I had been taught that the “Devil” and all of his demons were out just tormenting and torturing people and attacking them like a lion. This is quite a scary concept and doesn’t really leave you with a sense of peace. But, now that I know that is totally NOT the case, that God uses this one adversary angel, and some others too, to do His own bidding, I’m not frightened anymore. I don’t have to worry about demons hanging around me watching what I’m doing and ready to attack me when my guard is down. I don’t have to worry about the “enemy” inflicting me with sickness, pain, or problems, because it’s truly not a separate force. The God of Israel is completely in charge of everything, and there is no other god’s besides Him, that is, this Satan is definitely not another god. Everything that happens to me is allowed by God and not caused by demons.
This is freeing for me!
For more info on the differences between the Tanach and the NT “Satan’s” CLICK HERE