Sources of evil

About the origin or source of evil there are many discussions. In this article I look at the time where badness entered in the world of man and where we have to look for the source of evil or badness.

There are many people who say God is the Divine Source of life, of comfort, of information, of knowledge and wisdom, of joy, of compassion, of love, good and evil (Ra’ah) as well as the Source of Salvation and the Source to re-source.

English: Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil עב...
Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil עברית: חטא עץ הדעת – ד”ר לידיה קוזניצקי (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For sure the world has to know the Most Almighty High Elohim is the Founder of the universe the Source of everything and as such one could say He is also the source of the bad things. But that is to go shortly through the bend. The Divine Creator, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah, made the world and placed the man whom he had made in the Gan Eden towards the east, in which He also had planted the Tree of knowledge of good and evil or knowledge of badness. God Who warned the first ish and isha what that tree could give to them when they would et from the tree. But God asked them even not to touch it, and to leave it for what it was.

The Elohim had given the Adam and his chava a free will. The mannin seemed very interested in that particular tree, whilst there where so many trees in the woods in the rest of the garden. Her eyes went on the Etz HaChayyim and on the Etz HaDa’as Tov v’Rah (Tree of moral) and deep in her she started building up some bad thoughts. It was not the Elohim Who brought up those bad or evil thoughts. She herself was responsible for letting her mind wander in the wrong direction. And there we should look for the source of evil, deep in ourselves, not by some one else, like so many people love to do. In many religious groups we can find lots of people who take on the same attitude like Eve after she had eaten from the forbidden fruit. She first accused the ‘temptation‘ or a Hasatan, and then she accused Adam of having brought her into this perilous situation.

Many try to make of the Nachash or Nahash a character, a sort of devilish figure, the devil Satan or Heilel Ben Shachar or Lucifer. Lots of people do find it easy to make him guilty of their wrong deeds.

The Em kol chai had made her own wrong choice. She was the guilty one, and no one else. But by her act and her temptation of the 1st Adam she brought knowledge of evil in the world but also evil itself. Now man could differentiate between good and bad. Therefore, in a way Eve also could be called the source of evil, though we must know that in each of us we bear the source of evil, our own wrong going in our mind, our own deviant thoughts. In our deeper self we can have different thoughts developing in different directions, going either the good way or the bad way, bringing up thoughts which are not ethically and morally right [hence the Etz HaDa’as Tov v’Rah (Tree of moral)]. Allowing bad ideas grow in our mind and giving in to them is our own choice. We can create all sorts of very intriguing detectives in our head, having all sorts of criminal acts taking place, but not doing those criminal acts and as such that would not deliver much problems, but when following the bad ideas and carrying them out, doing bad thing would bring us in serious problems.

In many Bible fragments we can see it where the thoughts of a person’s heart are which are evil. The bible speaks in many cases that it where thoughts of man’s heart which are evil from his earliest days.

Genesis 6:11-12 OJB Ha’aretz also was corrupt before HaElohim, and ha’aretz was filled with chamas. (12) And Elohim looked upon ha’aretz, and, hinei, it was corrupt; for kol basar had corrupted his derech upon ha’aretz.

In some cases we even can see that badness happened but in the end turned to tovah or good , like with Joseph.

Genesis 50:20 OJB But as for you, ye intended ra’ah against me; but Elohim intended it for tovah, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save Am Rav (much people) alive.

For many people the Elohim was the saviour from evil, either by direct intervention or by a sending of a messenger, a malach or angel or by a prophet.

Genesis 48:16 OJB The Malach which redeemed me from kol rah, may he make a berakhah on the ne’arim, and let my shem be named on them, and the shem of my Avot Avraham and Yitzchak; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of ha’aretz.

When God brought people out of a situation, like Him delivering the People of Israel from Egypt by mischief it was not so much to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth. (Exodus 32:12 ) God does not want evil to come over His people, but promises it peace in the land where all of God’s lovers shall be able to lie down in a land where none shall make them afraid: and God will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through that Land God has promised.

Leviticus 26:6 OJB And I will give shalom in HaAretz, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid the savage beast out of HaAretz, neither shall the cherev pass through your land.

After listened to Jeshua his teachings very carefully the talmidim James had a good idea from where evil might come and warned his pupils for that source.

All people have the problem to sit with their own pride and lusts, their own aspirations often bringing them on wrong ideas. It was no different for the followers of rabbi Jeshua (Christ Jesus). In their community the talmidim James the younger one could also notice their disagreements and covert intrigues, fights and quarrels. It might have come to internal battles and coveting. The apostles even talks about ‘kill’ probably referring to killing with words rather than literal murder, but the whole picture is familiar to anyone who knows the modern church. James writes of those difficulties in the first century church just as they are in God’s eyes. He traces the origin of these conflicts, not to his readers’ love of God, but to their desires, the evil impulse that he spoke about in 1:14-15.

We must know that every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth that what makes him to do something against the Wish of God, which is an act of adversary or sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth mavet (death with decay or deterioration –  rot, breakdown, disintegration – until one becomes dust again), we saw by the first human beings their false act in Gan Eden.

James 1:14-15 OJB But each one is tempted by his own ta’avah (lust, yetzer hara), being dragged off by it and being allured. [Mishle 19:3] (15) Then after her conception Ta’avah gives birth to Averah (Transgression) and Averah, once she has fully developed, gives birth to Mavet. [Bereshis 3:6; Iyov 15:35; Tehillim 7:14; Yeshayah 59:4]

Considering who may become a teacher the apostle looks at the problem of man who keeps stumbling in many matters. All the time we use words to communicate and with them we express our thoughts. From those words many may come to know how we think and how our own personality is. They shall make a picture from us by the words they hear from us. He warns us that though the lashon (or tongue) may be a little member, yet it can boasts greatly. The lashon, we are warned can be an outlet for internal influences, some of which are tainted with defilement. It is a little member which brought many biblical figures in problems. Several characters in the Bible were unmasked by what came out form their mouth, clearly their words showing that they had badness in them. We should know that from the inner site of man thoughts are uttered by that little member which can be sharp as a two wedged sword and can be like a little fire that may kindle the moorland or a great forest!

James wants us to know that the tongue as a fire can be a world of unrighteousness able to  defile the entire body, and

“setting on fire the wheel of life”. (James 3:6)

We must be aware of the power of inner thoughts which incite to unruly, evil, filled with deadly poison. (James 3:9) He mentions good things our tongue may do but also the bad things.

James 3:1-12 OJB Not many of you, Achim b’Moshiach, should be Morim for Moshiach, als (since), as far as concerns Mishpat Hashem, you have da’as that we Messianic morim will have the chomer haDin (rigor of the Law) fall on us more severely. (2) For all of us stumble variously. If anyone as far as lashon hora is concerned, does not stumble, this one is an ish tamim able to bridle also the entire guf (body). [1Kgs 8:46; Ps 39:1; Prov 10:19] (3) And if we put bits into the mouths of susim (horses) to bring them into mishma’at (obedience), in just this way we direct their whole gufot (bodies). (4) Hinei, also the oniyot (ships), even though gedolot and driven by gales, are guided by a very small rudder wherever the impulse of the one steering directs. (5) So also the lashon (tongue), an evar katon (small member) speaks of Ravrevan (“boastful things” Daniel 7:8,20). Hinei, an eish ketanah (small fire) and yet how great a forest it can set ablaze! [Ps 12:3,4; 73:8,9] (6) And the lashon is an Eish, the lashon is made an Olam HaAvel (World of Iniquity) among our evarim (members), defiling with a stain kol haGuf (whole body), and setting ablaze the course of life, and is itself set by eish in Gehinnom. [Mishle 16:27] (7) For every species both of wild animals and birds, reptiles and marine creatures is tamed and has been tamed by humankind. (8) But the Lashon no one of Bnei Adam is able to tame, an uncontrollable ra’ah (evil), full of deadly zuhamah (contamination). (9) With this we say a bracha to Hashem, Adoneinu and Avoteynu, and with this we put a kelalah (curse) on Bnei Adam, who have been created according to the demut Elohim [Gn 1:26,27). (10) Out of the same PEH comes forth bracha and also kelalah. My Achim b’Moshiach, these things ought not to be. (11) Surely not out of the same makor (fountain) pours forth mayim both sweet and bitter? (12) Surely an etz te’enah (fig tree) cannot yield olives, my Achim b’Moshiach, or a grape vine figs? Neither can salt water yield sweet water.

From several Messianic writings we can see that the apostles found many living according to their own desires and considered these people as adulterous people. When not living according the mitzvot of the Elohim danger exist the badness takes over and brings us even further away from God. Man often follows his own desires, which are the desires of the world and which is showing friendship with the world. The passion of man brings with his friendship with the world or being of the world, is hatred towards God (cf. Matthew 6:24; 1 John 3:15). It is not that it is hard or painful to serve both God and ‘desire’ or ‘the world’; it is impossible.

The Most High Elohim may be a jealous God, calling-to-account the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons, to the third and the fourth (generation) of those that hate Him,  but He showed throughout history that He was always prepared to be there for those who called on Him and who liked Him. In the 66 books contained in the book of books we can see how the Elohim was willing to offer the good to them who were opening their mind for Him. He showed and still shall show mercy, goodness and loyalty to those that love Him and to those that keep His mitzvot.

Exodus 20:5-6 OJB Thou shalt not tishtacheveh to them, nor serve them; for I Hashem Eloheicha am an El kanna, visiting the avon Avot upon the Banim unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; (6) But showing chesed unto thousands of them that love Me, and are shomer over My mitzvot.

Further in Scriptures we also can see how material elements may be the cause of lots of evil, people aiming for the goods or land of others. Even mattānōt (gifts) can cause jealousy and problems and can become bribes as well. But every time it turns back to the person him or herself aiming or wishing for something. Material goods are often used to lure others in a situation or to get them in a state or an instance of moral corruption. An important truth about depravity is that man can sin not merely from weakness but eagerly and ruthlessly. As human beings have their desires they have the free choice to follow them, which shall make them to do what they do – good or bad.

The badness as well as the goodness comes from within man.

Evil passions are the source of dissensions enabling man wanting to go to fight others, even to kill them and/or to take their goods or belongings. By following their bad inner thoughts lots of people covet what is not theirs and what they cannot obtain. They fight and wage war.

James 4:1-3 OJB From where do milchamot (wars) come? What is their goirem (driving force)? And from where come fights among you? Is it not from here, from the ta’avot (lusts) of you warring in your evarim (members)? (2) You lust for something and you do not have it; you kill and you envy and you are not able to obtain. You get involved in machalokot (divisions of dissensions) and fights. You do not have because you fail to daven with your request. (3) Or you make techinot (petitions) and you do not receive, because you ask wrongly, that on your ta’avot (lusts) you may spend what you receive. [Tehillim 18:41; 66:18]


Preceding articles

A Tool to shed light over the qualities in our life 1 Inner feelings

Orders for the first human beings and Rebellion against their Maker

Moment of getting knowledge and its consequence

Scattered, broken, thwarted reflection of God

For a Dutch version please look at Jesu-ists / Voor een Nederlandstalige versie zie op Jeshua-ists: Bron(nen) van kwaad


Additional reading

  1. Creator and Blogger God 1 Emptiness and mouvement
  2. Creation of the earth and man #16 Formation of man #8 Dust, flesh, blood,breathing and life
  3. Necessity of a revelation of creation 2 Organisation of a system of things
  4. Genesis – Story of creation 5 Genesis 3:1-12 Eating of the fruit-tree of knowledge
  5. Genesis – Story of creation 6 Genesis 3:13-24 Enmity and curse
  6. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #5 Temptation, assault and curse
  7. First mention of a solution against death 1 To divine, serpent, opposition, satan and adversary
  8. First mention of a solution against death 3 Tempter Satan and man’s problems
  9. First mention of a solution against death 4 A seed for mankind
  10. Messianic prophesies 2 Adversary – Root of the first prophecy
  11. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #8 Looking for the 2nd Adam
  12. What others think about the tree of knowledge of good and evil
  13. Challenging claim 2 Inspired by God 1 Simple words
  14. Necessity of a revelation of creation 6 Getting understanding by Word of God 4
  15. What is life?
  16. Dying or not
  17. Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #2 Psyche, the word
  18. Departed Souls Await Judgment
  19. God’s Comfort
  20. About a human being or not and life
  21. To come to live in the peace of fulfilment of our own Divine Identity
  22. First man’s task still counting today
  23. Souls and Religions with Nirvana and light
  24. The Field is the World #2 Church Union #2 Bible quotes
  25. The Tongue an Outlet
  26. A tongue to speak slowly and well-considered
  27. Careful not to have God’s wrath poured out upon us taking on the right attitude
  28. The works we have to do according to James



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