Can a Good God Do Evil?
"But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people [Israelite slaves] go."1 "But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses."2
A pastor asked the question: "Please help me unravel this question I was asked at our last Bible study. Can a good God do evil? For example, the Bible says that an evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and also that God created Pharaoh for purpose of destroying him. I am yet to find a good explanation myself and need your help to share with my congregation."
"Dear Pastor, regarding questions like these I go back to Pharaoh in Moses day when he refused to let God's people leave their slavery in Egypt. In spite of the many plagues God sent on the Egyptian people, the Bible says that Pharaoh kept hardening his heart. Time and again Pharaoh hardened his heart against God, Moses and the children of Israel. In other words it was Pharaoh who hardened his own heart and then God gave up on him and confirmed the hardening of his heart.
Also, when the Bible says that God will send unsaved sinners to hell, it is really sinners who send themselves to hell because they have chosen not to, or failed to, confess their sins and ask God for his forgiveness.
Where it says that an evil spirit from God came upon Saul, because Saul rejected God's plan for him, God didn't stop this evil spirit from coming on Saul. I'm sure that an evil spirit would like to come upon every Christian who is faithfully serving the Lord, but God blocks it because we are trusting and serving him.
It's the same here in the U.S.A., the more we as a people reject God, the Bible, and Christianity, the more we will further accelerate the moral decay that is happening throughout the land. In so doing, we remove ourselves from God's blessing and protection. It's not that God sends the catastrophes that come upon us, but rather, that we remove ourselves from his protection and blessings, and as a consequence we reap the natural consequences of going against God's will.
The same principle applies to individuals—if we reject God and go against his will—we will remove ourselves from God's blessings and protection and will reap the natural consequences of our sinful behaviors.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that all of your laws, rules and principles are for my safety, protection and well-being. Please help me always to live in harmony with all of your ways and, in so doing, reap the rewards of your blessing on my life. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus name, amen."
1. Exodus 8:32 (NIV).
2. Exodus 9:12 (NIV).