Article of Faith: Necessary Evil, By Femi Aribisala

Femi Aribisala, Ph.D
Femi Aribisala

God will not short-change us in the evil we have to face but will make sure we have just the right amount we need.

Where is God when bad things happen? The psalmist says: “Our God is in heaven.” (Psalm 115:3). He has always been in heaven and he will always be in heaven. Solomon says: “God is in heaven, and you on earth.” (Ecclesiastes 5:2). Over and over again, Jesus gives us the precise location of God. He is our Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:11).

Sinful love of life

Heaven is the kingdom of God. In heaven, the will of God is always done. On earth, it is not always done. God is not the ruler of this world. Dominion was given to man, but we surrendered it to the devil. According to Jesus, the devil is the ruler of this world. (John 16:11). Therefore, this world is evil and bad things always happen on earth. Thus, Jesus warns his disciples: “In the world you will have tribulation. (John 16:33). This is inevitable because, while in the world, we are in the devil’s territory.

God hates the life we lead in this world. According to Jesus, life in this world is absolutely evil to God. We know this for sure because the Father only grants eternal life to those who hate the life in this world. Jesus says: “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:25). The person who loves the life in this world does so in opposition to God.

All men are evil because we love life. Jesus says: “what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15). That which is most highly esteemed among men, which is abomination to God, is life in this world. This explains why the worst thing that can happen to a man is to die or be killed, and the worst injury man can inflict on an enemy is to kill him or her.

Living dead

However, those not belonging to the kingdom of God are actually dead, as far as God is concerned. If you want to view the most graphic image of the Father’s view of the world, carefully study Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son. Where was the Father? He was not in the far country. The far country was to the Father the realm of the dead. The Prodigal Son died when he left the Father. He only rose from the dead when he returned. (Luke 15:24).

Jesus took the same position when one of his disciples sought permission to go and bury his father before following him. He said to him: “let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:22). The dead are those not in the presence of the father. Can a dead man be killed? No; he is already dead. How do you protect a dead man from death? You cannot; he is already dead. The only protection you can give to a dead man is to raise him from the dead. Therefore, Jesus offers no more and no less. The Father has one will that he has entrusted to his Son, Jesus. That will of God is not the person we marry, or the job we do, or where we live. That singular will of God is that we should be resurrected from the dead.

Jesus says: “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me. This is the will of the Father who sent me, that of all He has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:38-40).

Bread of life

Jesus raises the dead back to life by bringing the kingdom of God down to earth. He draws men into the kingdom NOT by washing us in his blood (an entirely pagan construct), but by giving us his word; the bread of life. Jesus says: “A time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” (John 5:25).

But even after we receive this new life, we remain in the domain of Satan. Jesus said to the Father concerning the redeemed: “I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:15). Since we remain in enemy territory, the devil will not leave us alone. Therefore, “many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19).

However, the devil can do nothing to us without God’s permission unless we sin and break the hedge of protection he builds around us. Thus, God said to Satan concerning Job: “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” (Job 1:12). Jesus reveals that Satan even asked for God’s permission to tempt Peter. He said to him: “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail.” (Luke 22:31-32). Why would God grant permission to Satan to afflict his beloved?

Necessary evil

In one of his hard sayings, Jesus reveals that evil is necessary in the life of his people. He says: “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34). But why would God allow and tolerate this? Why do the redeemed need trouble every day in this miserable world? We need trouble so that the power of Christ in deliverance and salvation may be revealed to us and in us. (John 9:1-3). We need evil, in order to partake of God’s divine nature in overcoming it.

Indeed, the man who is not confronted with evil is at a disadvantage and cannot develop into a perfect man. Therefore, God will not short-change us in the evil we have to face but will make sure we have just the right amount we need.

The evil that confronts a child of God is by God’s permission. Jesus said to those who came to arrest him: “You could have no power at all against me unless it had been given you from above.” (John 19:11). God furnished the power and without his permission it could never have been done. Similarly, child of God, no one can hurt you, rob you, jilt you, injure you or abuse you without God’s permission.

It is God himself, and not the enemy, that sets good and evil before us. (Deuteronomy 30:19). He does this, not for our injury, but for our benefit. To be overcomers like Jesus, we must overcome this evil world. (Revelation 21:7). Evil constitutes mere hurdles in our way in the steeplechase race of life. When the race is run and the books are tallied, we will then fully understand God’s grand design and know that he allowed evil for noble reasons. Thereafter, all evil will be abolished.

Femi Aribisala is the fellowship coordinator of Healing Wings. Healing Wings is a pentecostal Christian fellowship which meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He blogs at Femi Aribisala . E-mail: faribisala@yahoo.com


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  • Lanre

    I agree that we face challenges in Life, Dr. Aribisala. But I also believe that some of them are due to choices we make and some not of our own doing. For example, will the Duke of Cambridge – Prince William face the same challenges or obstacles as an ordinary English man? If I decide to marry two wives and my brother decides to marry one, when I wake up with headache in the morning, is that not my choice? How can God be responsible for a man drinking alcohol every night and ending up with Liver Cirrhosis? I narrow your thought-provoking article down to Choice, Challenges and Change in attitudinal behavior. Jesus Christ is the guide to proper behavior and with application of God-Given reason, evil should reduce in our lives.

  • Gfada

    GOD IS ABSOLUTE GOODNESS; SATAN IS THE SOURCE OF ALL EVIL

    (This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. — 1 John 1:5)

    I am going to put up a few relevant scriptures that address the opinions of this writer:

    1. GOD IS NOT ‘IMPRISONED’ IN HEAVEN.

    Jer. 23:23-24

    Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

    (Also Psa. 139:7-10; Matt 18:20; Matt 28:20)

    2. THE SOVEREIGN GOD’S WILL IS ALWAYS DONE, BE IT HIS PERMISSIVE WILL OR PERFECT WILL

    Because God is Sovereign, NOTHING can happen on earth without being allowed by God. If it did, He would no longer be sovereign. The devil cannot move a muscle without God’s sanction:

    Matt 10:29

    Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. (Also, Matt. 5:26-32)

    3. WHAT GOD ALLOWS OR PERMITS, IS ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FROM WHAT GOD DESIRES.

    Ezek. 18:32

    For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!

    Also Jer. 29:11

    For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

    4. HOWEVER, EVEN THE EVIL IN THIS WORLD IS

    WORKING TOWARDS FULFILLING A SUPREME, OVER-ARCHING MASTER-PLAN OF GOD:

    Rom. 8:28

    And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

    5. ALL MEN ARE NOT EVIL BECAUSE THEY LOVE LIFE; THIS THEORY IS NONSENSICAL.

    Not all men love life. Suicide bombers are very evil and they do not love life.

    6. SATAN HAS BEEN ENGAGED IN EVIL ON EARTH FROM THE BEGINNING AND CONTINUES TO DO SO.

    When the Bible speaks about God creating evil, death, sickness, etc., it doesn’t mean that God is directly involved in sickness or death. He only permits Satan, (and men who yield themselves to his control), to perform these evil acts. This is clearly seen in the story of Job. At the beginning of the book we read that Satan afflicts Job. However, toward the end of the book, it says that God did it:

    Job 2:6-7

    And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.

    Job 42:11

    and they consoled him [Job] and comforted him for all the adversity that the LORD had brought upon him.

    This is a clear example of the Bible saying that God does something, that He didn’t actually do. It clearly means that God permitted it to happen. God’s supremacy over the devil and his ability to use him is also seen in the battle of Ramoth-Gilead. (1 Kings 22:19-23)

    In conclusion, God knows and cares about EVERY minute and intricate detail of our lives! This is so reassuring for genuine believers. Hear how the blessed apostle Paul describes this all-encompassing love of God:

    Romans 8:35,37-39

    Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Have a victorious week!

    • GFADA: There are fundamental contradictions in your doctrine, showing that you have not really thought it through. You say Satan is the source of all evil. But at the same time, you claim to believe God has created a hell in which he will roast human-beings eternally. Is your hell evil or is it good? Why would God, “the source of all good,” create something so evil?

      You claim Satan is the source of all evil, yet you refer in passing to a scripture that contradicts you:

      “Then Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left. And the LORD said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead ?’ So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ The LORD said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the LORD said,’You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’ Therefore look! The LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the LORD has declared disaster against you.” (2 Kings 22:19-23).

      According to this scripture, who sent the lying spirit to the prophets of Ahab? Was it God or the devil? It appears to be God from this scripture.

      When confronted with this kind of thing, you decide to put your own spin on scripture. You say: “When the Bible speaks about God creating evil, death, sickness, etc., it doesn’t mean that God is directly involved.” Or you say: “This is a clear example of the Bible saying that God does something, that He didn’t actually do.”

      If that is the case, then the bible is not infallible. If that is the case, the bible is sometimes in error. Some of your friends on this blog have not jumped on you for writing these things simply because you are on their side.

      You say the bible sometimes says God does something that he does not do. But, according to the bible, is it the bible that says God does something which you claim he does not do, or is it God himself?

      Take a look at this. This is supposed to be a direct quote from God himself. You guys call it the word of God. In this quote, God says categorically:

      “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7).

      Are we to believe the bible that this is a direct quote from God, or are we to believe you that it is the bible saying God does something he does not do? If we are to believe you, can the bible still be said to be infallible? If the bible cannot be said to be infallible, are you still in the same league as your other friends; “the usual suspects,” who insist the bible is infallible?

      • Gfada

        I have NO doctrine. I only espouse Christian doctrine. Satan is indeed the source of all evil; right from heaven where he once was, to Eden. The scriptures are clear on this. Satan presented man’s first wrong (sinful) choice to him as an enticing alternative to obeying God’s word. Otherwise, man, though a free-willed agent, would have kept on making righteous choices since he was created perfect in God’s image. It is satan that has provided the corrupting agent (Rev. 12, emph. vs. 9&17), while man has corrupted himself on earth (Gen. 6:12) by accepting sin and evil from him. God’s righteous wrath abides in perpetuity on all those who reject Jesus (John.3:36). This judgement was not created for man but for the devil and his demons (Matt. 25:41).

        God sent a lying spirit on Ahab’s prophets, just like he sent the angel of death during the Passover. However, Jesus makes it unambiguously clear that it is the devil that kills, while He gives life (John 8:44; 10:10). Do you think Jesus is “contradicting” God or is it the devil that rescued the Israelites from Egypt? I’m sure if you think on this, you will come to the logical conclusion that God is absolutely good and cannot commit evil or wickedness. However, when in His grand design, (which out puny minds cannot entirely grasp or comprehend Isa. 55:9), there is need for evil to be done, then the devil is ever so willing to oblige as that is his nature.

        Jesus says: “…and from now on you know Him (the Father) and have seen Him.” – John 14:7. However, how can one see God who is Spirit? (John 4:24) more so, when the same Jesus told us the Father is in heaven?? It is either Jesus’ words “are not infallible” and are contradicting themselves, or not every scripture should be taken literally. Thus when God says “I create evil (calamity)”, and from studying the scriptures, we know that a good God cannot create evil, we must then ask what He is really saying. In Isa. 45:7, the Hebrew word for evil, “rah,” (Strong H7451) is used in many different ways in the Bible. In the KJV Bible it occurs 663 times. 431 times it is translated as “evil.” The other 232 times it is translated as “wicked, bad, hurt, harm, ill, sorrow, mischief, displeased, adversity, affliction, trouble, calamity, grievous, misery, and trouble.” So the word does not NECESSARILY mean moral evil and definitely does not, in this CONTEXT. It is more accurately translated as the opposite of prosperity or “calamity” like the NASB or NKJV translates it.

        Finally, below are a few scriptures that make it UNEQUIVOCALLY clear that God is good and neither creates, nor condones evil:
        Matt 7:11
        If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
        Luke 18:19
        “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone.
        Deut. 32:4
        “The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.
        Habakkuk. 1:13
        “Thine eyes are too pure to approve evil, and Thou canst not look on wickedness with favor,”

        • GFADA: You conveniently failed to address the questions I posed and went off on your own tangents. Let me repeat some of them:

          Who created your version of hell? Is burning a man in a fiery flame for eternity good or evil? Who sent the lying spirits into the mouths of Ahab’s prophets?

          Jesus’ words are infallible. The problem is that you don’t understand his words. Take the example you cite saying no one can see God, yet Jesus says his disciples have seen God. Wittingly or unwittingly, you cited this partially and thereby messed up the meaning. Jesus said:

          “If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? ANYONE WHO HAS SEEN ME HAS SEEN THE FATHER. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?” (John 14:7-10).

          The disciples of Jesus have seen Jesus. Jesus’ position is that anyone who has seen him has seen God, the Father.

          Nobody here is disputing the goodness of God. So I don’t know why you have quoted all these scriptures about the goodness of God.

          • Gfada

            I answered all your questions. Hell was created for the devil and his angels according to Jesus. I believe God created it since he created everything else; we are not explicitly told. If God determines that burning in hell is a just punishment, then since He is the source through whom a puny creature like myself even gains a modicum of understanding of the concept of justice, I will have no choice but to agree with him. I don’t have to like it, and that is why “we persuade men.” He also allowed his only Son to come on earth in this tabernacle of clay, live like me, and die a horrible death. To throw back your question, do you think this is “good or evil” for an innocent man? The lying spirit were sent by God because Justice needed to be meted out on Ahab. If God were evil or created evil, he could have simply killed him while he slept. God does not kill or lie or cause sickness etc. The devil and his demons serve that purpose which is still incorporated into God’s overarching plan. Your insistence that everything God does must make sense to you right now is wrong. If it did, he would no longer be a God whose ways and thoughts are higher than ours.
            My earlier question stands: is God a Spirit and does he live in heaven? How can Jesus say that seeing him is seeing God? This statement taken literally contradicts the earlier one and frankly makes no sense. Of course, I do not believe Jesus contradicts himself neither do I believe a good God creates evil. Rather, he permits it. That was my reason for all the scriptures on God’s goodness. Scriptural exegesis must be consistent with the established character of God.

  • Frank

    Femi I can tell by reading your articles (this is the third one so far but after posting this I’ll surely be reading more) that you are a true man of God. Please save your energy to write more great articles and stop wasting it on irrelevant arguements/debates. The message and motive behind this article is clear “don’t think because you serve God you are exempt from evil, trials etc”..Which is very true, thanks.