Why did God create evil?
Where did the Devil, or Satan, come from?

The question of "why did God create evil?" is asked repeatedly in various forms. Before answering this "why?" question, which presupposes that He did, the more fundamental question is "did God create evil?" Arriving at an answer to both of these questions requires an examination of God's nature plus that of the evil one, Satan.

We know from scriptures that God created everything -- "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)". As each step of creation is unfolded in the early part of Genesis, God clearly reveals that everything He made was perfect. Genesis 1:4, 1:10, 1:12, 1:18, 1:21, and 1:25 all proclaim God's view of everything -- "it was good". (The Hebrew word translated as "good" encompasses a full meaning for goodness, equally implying "best"). In case the fullness of how good and perfect everything was hadn't been gathered by the reader, God leaves nothing to the imagination in verse 31, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (And the Hebrew word for "very" conveys intensity and such superlatives as "wholly" and "exceedingly"). The bottom line is that everything God created was perfectly good. Which makes sense since God is good, and can be nothing but. Psalms 100:5 echoes numerous other verses throughout the Bible... "For the LORD is good..."

But what about the devil (or Satan)? He's not good and God created Him!? Or so many many additional questions go. Once again, the Bible gives us insight into the devil's origins (and the origins of all other demons as well).

Ezekiel 28:12-17 "Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. (13) You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. (14) "You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. (15) You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. (16) "By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. (17) "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.

Some have claimed that this passage pertained only to the earthly ruler of the ancient kingdom of Tyre, but the clear sense of this passage reaches far beyond into the spiritual realm. Earlier, at the beginning of chapter 28, God had already spoken about the earthly ruler. Verse 2... "Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "'In the pride of your heart you say, "I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas." But you are a man and not a god, though you think you are as wise as a god." This godless kingdom had a ruler who considered himself a god, but God clearly rebukes him and says he was merely "a man" -- one who had bought wholeheartedly the lies of Satan. When the "king of Tyre" is addressed, immediately following, it is the spiritual "king" who is in view, the one empowering the earthly ruler. It is this spiritual king who was said to have been in the garden of Eden. Process of elimination tells us that since it wasn't referencing God, Adam or Eve, it was the only other intelligent participant in the garden... the devil (see Genesis 3:1-15).

Revelation 12:9 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.

Having established that Ezekiel 28:12-17 references Satan, we need to note that his original perfection (how he was created) is clearly pointed out. Sometime following, something happened... "You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. (v. 15)"

Another passage tells us more about what happened. This one is addressed to the king of Babylon, but again reflects the spiritual power behind that evil kingdom.

Isaiah 14:12-15

"How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer1, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.

Some translations render "Lucifer" as "morning star" or "day star", the very meaning of the traditional name Lucifer1. The sense of the word Lucifer implies "brightness". As we could see in Ezekiel, this being had been a powerful and beautiful angel, one that was the brightest star. And using stars to symbolize angels is not unique to just one passage in scriptures. The book of Revelation uses it for both God's angels and Satan's followers (demons)...

Regarding God's angels...

Revelation 1:20 "The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches..."

Regarding the Devil's demons...

Revelation 12:3-4 "Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon (the Devil) with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child (Jesus) the moment it was born.

All angels viewing the finale of creation, having themselves been created in the beginning, are referred to as morning stars, an expression that is synonymous with the word "angel". This event, recorded in Job, obviously took place while all angels rejoiced in the work of God, prior to the fall of some.

Job 38:4-7 "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. 5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? 6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— 7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? (NIV)

One perfectly created angelic being succumbed to pride and rebelled against His creator. From Revelation 12:3-4 we know that a third of the angels followed after him. Revelation 12:9 repeats exactly what Jesus said in Luke 10:18, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." This rebellious being was cast out of heaven and it is he "who leads the whole world astray".

All sin, all evil, has come from this source... the once perfect, but now fallen angel, often referred to as Lucifer. Evil did not originate with God, but rather with Satan. God created him with a perfect free will, capable of making choices -- and Lucifer freely (spontaneously) chose to sin. (The same choice our first parents also made, albeit with temptation placed before them). As John 8:44 tells us, the Devil is the father of lies. Lying was (and is) his baby, and he's being doing it from the beginning (check out Genesis chapter 3).

Remember, God is only good -- perfect (Matthew 5:48) -- and that can never change (see Malachi 3:6 and Hebrews 13:8). He can't be tempted, nor does He tempt anyone else (James 1:13-14). You see, by Scriptures, God is not the author of evil.

The next logical question is usually, "But why would God create the devil (or Lucifer) if He knew he was going to sin?" Immediately we need to set aside the "if" in that statement. God knew that Lucifer was going to sin before He created him, even as He knew that Adam and Eve would sin before He created them (and had even made provision for salvation before creation, see 1 Peter 1:20 and Ephesians 1:4!). Our God knows everything, past and present...

Isaiah 46:10 "I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please." (Also Isaiah 45:21)

Psalms 147:5 "Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite."

I John 3:20 "... and He knows everything." (Also Hebrews 4:13).

So, knowing that God knew what would happen, why? Perhaps it would be good to refer back three verses and read Isaiah 46:10 again. It was ultimately for God's purposes and His alone. We must trust that any and every plan God has is of His choosing and always for good (because, once again, God is only good!).

This being said, we are given a hint of God's overall reasoning though. In Romans 9:22-24 we've been given a glimpse of the big picture...

"What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath-- prepared for destruction? (23) What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory-- even us..." (Read the entire chapter!)

Consider for a moment that all that has happened clearly displays God's attributes. In God's dealing with sin we can see His Holiness and His Justice, and in His plan of salvation we can clearly see His Love, Grace, Mercy and Patience. In the perfection of God's plan, He alone is to be praised!

Proverbs 16:4 "The LORD has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom."

Psalms 145:3 "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable."

End Note:

1. Some argue against ever using the name Lucifer in regards to the Devil, or Satan. While it is true that the term sometimes translated Lucifer (especially in the KJV) is better rendered as "morning star", and only appears in English due to traditional usage, the name is not the issue. We regularly use names, in English, that are not original to the character being referenced. In in regards to God, the name Jehovah was a poor (German influenced) rendering of Yahweh. Jesus would have been better rendered as Yeshua or even Joshua. The list goes on and on. The name, as translated, or transliterated, is not the focus, rather who is it that you are referring to? God, in regards to Himself, is more concerned that you are worshipping Him as he has revealed Himself to be. On the contrary, many worshipped false gods, opposed to the revelation of the one true God, still calling him Yahweh. Whatever you call him, the Devil, or Satan, or Lucifer, or El Diablo, the Adversary, Belial (2 Corinthians 6:15), the Serpent, Leviathan (Isaiah 27:1), or Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24), or any other name that is commonly used to refer to the fallen angel who is in rebellion against God, it really doesn't matter -- just don't be deceived by him.