Isn’t God the absolute goodness? How then is it said about Him that He is the maker of peace and creator of evil (Is. 45:7) while evil doesn’t agree with God’s nature.
We should know first the meaning of the word “good” and the word “evil” in the biblical terminology for they have more than one meaning.
The word “evil” could mean sin which is not the case in the verse “creator of evil” in (Is. 45:7).
“Evil” meaning sin doesn’t agree with the goodness of the Lord for He is the absolute goodness. But it comes also in the Bible to mean tribulations and hardships.
The word “good” has also two contradicting meanings: it could mean righteousness – opposite of sin, and it could mean opposite of tribulations – richness, blessing, abundance and various kinds gifts.
* This is very clear in the story of Job the Righteous, when the tribulations befell him and his wife grumbled, he rebuked her saying ” “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job. 2:10).
Job did not mean by the word “evil” here “sin”; for no sin befell him from the Lord but he meant by evil the tribulations he underwent.
As for the death of his children, the destruction of his house and the plundering of his oxen, donkeys, sheep and camels, all these tribulations and calamities commonly known as evil, the Bible says ” when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place; to mourn with him and to comfort him.” (Job.2:11)
With the same concept the Lord had spoken about His punishment for the people of Israel saying “‘Behold, I will bring calamity on this place and on its inhabitants, all the curses that are written in the book” (2 Chr. 34:24). Surely the Lord here did not mean by evil the sin.
What He meant by evil was the captivity of the children of Israel, their defeat before their enemies and the other afflictions that He brought upon them to punish them.
* Another example is the saying of the Lord about Jerusalem
“Behold, I will bring such a catastrophe on this place, that whoever hears of it, his ears will tingle ” (Jer. 19:3) The Lord mentioned the details of that evil saying “I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies… their corpses I will give as meat for the birds of the heavens and for the beasts of the earth. I will make this city desolate and a hissing… even so I will break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter’s vessel, which can not be made whole again” (Jer. 19:7-11).
* The same meaning is given in the Book of Amos. (Amos 9:4).
* In the promises of the Lord to rescue the people of Israel from captivity, difficulties and defeat “For thus says the LORD: ‘Just as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them.” (Jer. 32:42) the word evil meant captivity and the promise was to return them from captivity.
The word “good” here does not mean righteousness or godliness as it is also clear that the word “evil” here did not mean sin.
The word good means also blessings, wealth, and prosperity.
The Psalm says “Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Ps. 103:5) and the Lord says in (Jer. 5:25) “Your iniquities have turned these things away, And your sins have withheld good from you.”
In the same meaning also it is said about the Lord that He is “the maker of good and creator of evil” which means He gives the blessings and prosperity and also He allows afflictions and adversities.
If the word evil means afflictions, then it can be from God. He wants or allows it as a discipline for people or to urge them to repent or for any spiritual benefit that might be gained from these afflictions (James 1:2-4).
The phrase “creator of evil” or “maker of evil” means whatever the people regard as evil or trouble or tribulation which also might be for good.
Examples for good in the sense of righteousness, and for evil in the sense of sin:
+ ” for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.” (1 Pet. 2:14).
+ Also “Depart from evil, and do good. ” (Ps. 34:14).
+ And the saying of the Lord ” your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil” (Deut. 1:39) and also the verse “the tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2:9).
Accordingly the verse “He treated him well” means helped him, aided, rescued, had mercy and gave him good gifts and presents.
On the other hand the verse “you meant evil against me” means to harm him.
When the Lord brings evil on a nation, it means put them under the rod of correction by tribulations and plagues which are considered evil.