I have been troubled for some time about Isaiah 45:7, which says, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these [things].” Can you help me understand what this is talking about?
This is one of those texts that, if taken out of context, can be confusing. Isaiah 45 begins with God’s call to Cyrus. Cyrus was the king who invaded Babylon and took the empire from the control of Belshazzar. Although Cyrus was a heathen king, practicing a heathen religion, he was used of God to fulfill His Word. God used this king in spite of his belief structure to accomplish His will in overthrowing Babylon.
The heathen faith of Cyrus was centered in a concept called dualism. That is a belief in which two equal gods—one good, one evil—struggle for the supremacy of the world. This theory is still prevalent today, in many forms, around the world. Many non-Christians still practice the ying/yang, good/evil, and light/darkness as a religion. God, in addressing Cyrus, makes this statement (Isaiah 45:7) about light and darkness and good and evil to let him know that there were not two equal gods warring but that Jehovah was the only God, and He was in charge of the universe.
Jehovah God is responsible for everything that takes place, in the same way that a parent is responsible for what their child does. The parent does not do the evil that the child does, but the ultimate responsibility rests with the parent, by virtue of creation. God created all of His creatures with free will. It was a risk, but that is the only way that freedom could exist. When sin entered, through Adam’s disobedience, God took the responsibility and made possible a way of escape. (See John 3:16.)
As the plan of salvation is fulfilled, it will be shown that God is indeed love. He made Himself vulnerable by taking responsibility for the evil that came into the world. The mind of the Hebrew saw God in this way. Jehovah God was the power and force behind everything that happened.
In the process of all this, Cyrus needed to understand that the false gods of his kingdom were responsible for nothing. God was responsible for everything. The worlds hung in space by His Word. The light and the darkness were not the result of a war between rival gods, but God was responsible for it all. God took the blame for the evil as well as the good, but He was not the author of evil. Evil existed because of freedom gone awry.
God wanted Cyrus to understand that Someone greater than the gods of his kingdom was in control, and it was God’s plan that good should prevail, not evil. Notice verse 8 of this chapter: “Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it.”
The Bible holds all the answers, which will clarify any questions, if we will just study things through by first starting with the immediate context and then incorporating our understanding of the plan of salvation. I hope that this has helped you in your quest for greater understanding of God’s Word.
Pastor Mike Baugher is Associate Speaker for Steps to Life Ministry. If you have a question you would like Pastor Mike to answer, e-mail it to: email@example.com, or mail it to: LandMarks, P. O. Box 782828, Wichita, KS 67278.