[b-hebrew] Is.45:7 God created evil?

Jim West jwest at highland.net
Thu Aug 4 13:23:46 EDT 2005

Here's the Vulgate of the verse-
formans lucem et creans tenebras, faciens pacem et creans malum : ego 
Dominus faciens omnia hæc.

In spite of what has already been said- the Hebrew Bible cannot be 
forced into a uni-vocal instrument on this concept.  In some places it 
is indeed Yahweh who "creates weal and woe"!  Or, as here, "faciens 
pacem et creans malum".  But there are also- later passages, where 
HaSatan is responsible.  If you will remember, in the matter of the 
Census (which David got in such big trouble for) in the Deuteronomic 
history it is Yahweh who makes David do it- whilst in the Chronicler it 
is HaSatan.  Thus- there was, in Hebrew thought, a development where at 
the early stages God is responsible for EVERYTHING.  Later, this became 
a bit much to take- so that the persian notion of a counter deity was 
adopted and this counter deity (fallen angel, etc) becomes the source of 
woe and ill.  See the pseudepigraphal material.  See, for a very 
excellent treatment of the whole issue- Rainer Albertz's brilliant 
History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period (and don't 
worry with what some on list may protest).

As to Eckhart- he's a bit outside the scope here (and a bit outside my 
own interests too as he was a mystic and I don't have much tolerance for 
such).  ;-)



Evgeny Ivanov wrote:

>Another note on the subject. The reason I'm asking is that this verse was a basis of Meister Ekchart's claim that God created evil (see his "Commentaries on Genesis" C.36), and this statemen of course was condemned by Roman Pontificat. Probably Vulgata really has "evil" in this verse (I don't have Vugata text , so I'm just guessing), and it looks like Ekchart interpreted this verse of Isaiah literally.
>Evgeny Ivanov <evi7538 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>Is.45:7 says "I (God) make peace and create evil" - BoRe Ra. LXX translates Ra here as ���� (kaka) - "bad". English NIV translates "I bring prosperity and create disaster". I guess the "correct" translation really depends on exegesis. But from the linguistic point of viev, is Ra always means "evil", or it is legitimate to translate it also as "disaster" for example? Another note - the verb here is BaRa that usually applies to God creating something that didn't exist before. The translation echoes to theology - did God created evil, or He just allowed the creatures with free will to do evil?

D. Jim West

Biblical Studies Resources -  http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
Biblical Theology Weblog -  http://biblical-studies.blogspot.com

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