I have been discussing God with several atheists. They brought up a verse I was unaware of. The passage comes from Isaias 45:7: I form the light, and create darkness, I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord that do all these things. Well I know that we are born with original sin and it needs to be removed through water baptism and I realize that we have free will. Apostasy, heresy and other things keep us from good and cause sin. Brothers, how do I explain this verse to refute them, and tell them they are wrong? God does not create evil! But I know that even some of these dummy Protestants believe that God created evil…
MHFM: The answer is that Isaias 45:7 (as well as a similar statement in Amos 3:6) refers to the evil of punishments: persecutions, war, calamities, famines and afflictions that God sends as a consequence of man’s sin. God is saying that He frequently creates or brings those ‘evils’ upon people who rebel against Him. The passage does not mean that God creates evil or sin in the first place. This is clear from the context.
God endows men with free will and the ability to choose good or evil. If men choose evil, He often punishes them with afflictions. Those afflictions are sometimes characterized as ‘evils.’ In fact, the first verse in Isaias 45 demonstrates that God is speaking about His power to bring down rulers and nations which oppose Him or someone He favors.
Isaias 45:1- “Thus saith the Lord to my anointed Cyrus, whose right hand I have taken hold of, to subdue nations before his face, and to turn the backs of kings, and to open the doors before him, and the gates shall not be shut.”
It is in that context that God declares He can “make peace, and create evil” (Isaias 45:7). Peace (the absence of afflictions and persecutions) is here contrasted with evil (the presence of afflictions and persecutions). God will make peace or evil, depending upon the conduct He sees. Thus, evil in this passage refers to the afflictions God creates or sends as a consequence of sin. It does not refer to God causing people to commit sin or evil.
The same is true in Amos chapter 3, as the context likewise confirms. In Amos 3:2 God refers to the punishments He will administer to the children of Israel for their iniquities. We read:
“You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore will I visit upon you all your iniquities.”
This obviously deals with what God will send as a consequence of their evil choices and conduct. God then says:
“Shall the trumpet sound in a city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, which the Lord hath not done?” (Amos 3:6)
As the context demonstrates, God is here referring to the ‘evil’ of punishments: the famines, persecutions, etc. He will send for Israel’s iniquities.
The atheists are wrong. Scripture does not teach that God is the cause of sin or the evil of fault.
Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215, Chap. 1 on the Catholic Faith: “For the devil and other demons were created by God good in nature, but they themselves through themselves have become wicked. But man sinned at the suggestion of the devil.”