Q & A with Dr. Craig: Does God Cause People to Do Evil?

Reasonable Faith

Dr. Craig, thank you for all that you do to help us understand the God of the Bible in face of the difficult issues we all face. As a follower of Christ, I am troubled by some passages in Scripture which seem to indicate that God not only allows evil (the treatment of which you have addressed many times) but even more troubling, that God actually CAUSES evil. I am referring to the accounts both in the OT and NT: from the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart in Genesis, to John 13:27b when Jesus tells Judas “What you do, do quickly” (seems to be no choice in the matter for poor Judas), to the account in Revelation 17:15 – 17 – in particular, the first part of vs 16-17: “And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. FOR GOD HAS PUT IT IN THEIR HEARTS (my emphasis) to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.” Does “it” in that verse refer to all the horrific things they do – hating, making desolate, eating flesh, burning with fire?

How do I reconcile a GOOD God (good in the sense of moral perfection and the standard for all morality) with His intentional acts of causing evil – or causing others to do evil things? What am I missing? When I discuss this with other believers, some think He is able to do in His Sovereign will anything that serves His purposes, and that includes doing evil things directly, or causing others to do those evil things. I am horrified at this prospect and cannot reconcile the words of Scripture I have quoted above with the character of God I have so long embraced.

I do not want to put my head in the sand and ignore these things – I want to have a more robust answer for these very difficult verses and concepts. I would appreciate your thoughts on this…


Q & A with Dr. Craig: Does God Cause People to Do Evil? | Reasonable Faith