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

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at ont.com
Thu Aug 4 19:04:57 EDT 2005

Dear Chris,

>In the quotation below and the longer text of your post, you are 
>making theological claims, not exegetical or linguistic ones. I don't 
>in any way wish to be insulting, and I ask that this next statement 
>not be taken as either agreeing or disagreeing with your theological 
>views, but your theological views (and the same goes for mine or 
>anyone else) about what God is or is not capable of do not illuminate 
>the Chronicler's use of language, _unless_ you (or I or whoever) can
>_demonstrate_ that the Chronicler shared those views.

HH: We cannot know in detail all the things that the Chronicler 
believed. That does not prevent us from making interpretative 
decisions about what he wrote. If there are only two interpretative 
schemes about a biblical passage (and I have heard the theory you 
raise before, or one like it), I feel a responsibility to choose the 
one that makes the most sense to me. There are a lot of decisions we 
make in life without being able to or needing to prove all the 
details about it.

HH: We know that the Chronicler accepted the authority of the 
materials in 1 & 2 Samuel because he reproduced them. So he had to 
reckon with what was stated in 2 Samuel. We cannot verify all the 
theological beliefs of every OT writer, but we assume that they are 
consonant with the OT in general. The Bible teaches that God hates 
sin, He does not tempt people to sin, and He does not want people to 
sin. So He would not directly command people to sin. The sin was 
numbering the people. David knew it was a sin when he succumbed to 
the temptation. God agreed with David that it was a sin, and Joab had 
warned that it was a bad thing to do. God saw a need to judge Israel 
for its sin, of which David's census was one expression. So He 
allowed Satan to tempt David.

HH: 2 Samuel 24:1 says that it was the anger of the Lord that incited 
David. One can understand that it was the anger of the Lord that 
incited him, saying . . . . So the Lord's anger had a force acting 
like a message to David, a command. But the Chronicler clarifies that 
it was really a temptation: "Go, number Israel and Judah." Satan 
incited David, evidently through the permission granted by the Lord's 
anger. The Chronicler clarifies that the direct speaker was Satan. 
David could have resisted the idea but did not. God knew he wouldn't 
and used the occasion to judge the sinful nation.

HH: A lot of reading is interpretative. All the facts are not given, 
and you make sense on the basis of the data provided, which are 
assumed to be sufficient. You can't always demand that people be able 
to substantiate each claim that they make for an interpretation if 
they have good general grounds for making it. Context makes some 
conclusions the most likely. We have the whole OT or the whole Bible 
to provide a framework for interpretation. That framework applies to 
individual passages. In fact, it is a standard rule of interpretation 
that one be guided by the analogy of the rest of Scripture. Not every 
interpretative issue is grammatical and lexical.

					Harold Holmyard

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