Questions & Answers

Harold S. Paisley

Question: Will you kindly explain the words "I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things?" (Isa. 45:7)

Answer: This question has its answer in the Word of God. Two Scriptures, one in the Old Testament and one in the New, should suffice. "Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?" (Amos 3:6). "For God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man" (James 1:13). Evil in the sense of sin or wickedness is absolutely abhorrent to God whose nature is infinitely holy. It is therefore impossible that such a thing would ever emanate from Him or it be said in any true sense that He would have created evil.

The word in Isaiah 45:7 and Amos 3:6 does not mean 'sin" but calamity." When, therefore we read "God creates evil" we are to understand that He it is who has sovereign right and power to disturb the peace of men and bring deserved judgment upon them. "Evil" in Scripture may be understood in three ways: 1) Moral Evil - (Gen. 6:5); 2) Physical Evil - (Ex. 10:10); 3) Penal Evil - (Isa 31:2).

Question: What is the sin unto death and the sin not unto death? (1 John 5:16-17).

Answer: Those who study God's precious word have differed in the understanding of these two verses. One thing is evident to any reader, each believer should have a prayerful interest in one who is called a "brother." An erring or sinning brother may through the prayers of others be restored or "given life."

John, however, states that there is sin of such a nature that we should make no request concerning it. The reason is that this sin will issue in death. It is our belief that the death spoken of here is eternal death.

What then is this sin unto death? To arrive at a satisfactory conclusion, the context of this great epistle must be carefully studied. One of the great themes of john's first epistle is the Deity of the Lord Jesus who had come in flesh in perfect humanity (ch. 4:1-4).

The sin unto death is apostasy concerning the glorious person of Christ. Throughout his epistle, the beloved apostle warns against such as deny the truth of Christ's person. Some had "gone out from us" because they were not of us. These were earlier associated with the Lord's people but their final apostasy showed the unreality of their conversion and confession. No child of God sins unto death.

"We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not" (v. 18). He may sin, for which Divine provision for cleansing is available (1 John 1:8-9; 2:1-2). For the sin unto death, which we believe is apostasy, there is no remedy but a fearful looking forward to of eternal judgment.