Rabbi Schneider - Did God Create the Darkness?
Beloved, we know that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. But I want to ask you a simple, but profound question. We know that darkness exists. It's all over the universe. We can see the physical manifestations of darkness. But darkness essentially is a spirit. My question is this, where does darkness come from? Many Christians today want to wash God's hands of having anything to do with anything that happens in the world that brings pain. But the reality is, is that when we do a deep study of the Word of God we have to come to recognize that God Himself, the One that has no beginning and has no end, the One that created all things, that God the Creator, listen to me church, also created the darkness and He did it for a reason.
I want to go back to the very beginning of the Bible. I want to go back to the owner's manual if you will. I'm going to the first chapter of the book of Genesis. I'm gonna read verses 1 and 2. Now I've taught on this before in a series called, "The Mysteries of Creation". But there were things that I didn't cover in that series that I think were important for you and I to hear about today. Hear the Word of God. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void". And the Hebrew speaks of a wasteland and emptiness. Continuing on, "And darkness was over the surface of the deep".
So we see then in the very beginning as God is bringing forth the world, as He's bringing forth the plants and the animals, what was there first was this darkness. The question is, where did the darkness come from? Was it always there, just like God has always been? We know beloved, that's impossible. God alone has always been. Listen what the Lord says about Himself in the book of Isaiah chapter 45. I'm reading from verses 5 through 7. Remember the grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of the Lord abides forever. Hear the Word of God. "I am the Lord". This is the eternal One here. The One that is the I am that I am. The One who will be what He's going to be. "I am the Lord and there is no other, besides me there is no God. There is no one besides Me. I am the Lord and there is no other. The one forming light and creating darkness". Listen to that again church. "The one forming light and creating darkness, causing well being and creating calamity. I am the Lord who does all these things".
You see it's unfortunate to me that few Christian preachers, teachers and evangelists will ever recognize that when something bad happens on earth God could possibly be behind it. They say that God would never bring suffering, that God would never bring pain, that God would never cause sickness. But church, when we study the Hebrew Bible we find that God at times does all these things. God is the one that opened up the earth to swallow Korah and the rebellious tribe that was with him. God was the one that caused the serpents to kill thousands of Israelites in the wilderness. God was the one that caused Miriam to get leprosy, because she blasphemed Moses. In the New Testament we read in the book of Revelation, God was the one that cast Jezebel onto a bed of sickness, because she would not repent of her sins.
You see, we have to recognize that God alone is the Lord. Let me read some other scriptures for you. I'm going out of the Gospel of John and actually let me go to the book of Colossians first. Colossians chapter 1 verse number 16. Hear the Word of God. "For by Him," meaning through Yeshua, through Jesus. "For by Him all things were created. All things both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions, or rulers, or authorities, all things have been created by Him and for Him". God is taking responsibility for creating everything visible and everything invisible, both in heaven and on earth.
So let's get back to our original question. If God alone is self existent. If God alone has no first cause. If God alone is the one that has always been and He created all things, didn't He also create the darkness? Doesn't He also take responsibility for creating the devil, even Satan? In fact we read in the book of 2 Corinthians chapter 12 that Paul was given the scripture says, "A messenger of Satan". I'm going to read it for you. 2 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 7 through 10. Paul says, "Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh," listen, "a messenger of Satan to torment me-to keep me from exalting myself"! In other words, Paul said, "That to keep me from exalting myself, because I received so much revelation, God sent me a messenger of Satan to keep me humble". This text goes on to say that Paul cried, "Lord take it away, take this messenger of Satan away". Three times he prayed. Finally the Lord speaks back to him. He says, "No Paul, My grace is sufficient for My power will be perfected in your weakness".
You see God used this messenger of Satan to bring about weakness in Paul's life, so that Paul would cling to God in a deeper way, to keep Paul from exalting himself, in order to perfect His power in Paul. God uses evil to accomplish a higher good. You see the Lord knew that when He created you and I as His sons and daughters, in order to fully mature, in order to fully be made strong, we needed an enemy. We needed an adversary. This is why the first thing that the Spirit of the Lord did in Jesus' life after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, was to lead Him into the wilderness for forty days, where Jesus was in conflict with the forces of darkness, with the devil. And after that experience Jesus, the scripture says, came out of the darkness, listen now, in the power of the Ruach Hakodesh. You see that forty day battle with the devil in the wilderness is what the Spirit of the Lord used to strengthen Jesus. Jesus had to rely so powerfully on the Father during that time there, that when the battle was over He came out and He was ready for His ministry.
So let's now apply some of these principles, that I just covered, to our lives today. The Bible tells us in the book of James that God actually brings us through, listen now, many trials, listen, in order to perfect our faith. Now trials are times when we're encountering adverse circumstances; circumstances that are unpleasant, circumstances that are often times coming from the realm of darkness, whether somebody's persecuting us, whether we lack funds, whether we got mistreated by somebody, whether we're even struggling with something physically. God allows us sometimes to go through difficulties in order to strengthen our faith. The scripture speaks of this, "Count it all joy when you go through various trials. It's the testing of your faith".
Now I realize that there's a balance, beloved, to this. There's times when we need to rise up and take authority over the powers of darkness. There's times that we need to rise up and take authority over the devil. I believe in divine healing. I believe in divine help. But I also see from scripture that God uses difficulty. Consider even the life of Job, how it was God's design that Satan would come and conflict Job with so many challenges, his family, his health, his finances. And after Job got through that test, Job said this. He said, "God before I had heard of Thee with the hearing of my ear, but after having gone through this tremendous trial and looking for understanding, clinging to You, praying to You, seeking for understanding". Job said, "Now that I've come out the other end of this thing". "Now," Job said, "I know You for myself. I know you in my heart". In other words, Job says, "I know you so much more now God that I had to go through this trial".
So we learned number one, that God uses challenges, He uses darkness. He even uses the messenger of Satan, we read about in the Apostle Paul's life in 2 Corinthians, to produce humility and to cause us to become more dependent on Him to strengthen us. We've read in the book of James, I didn't quote it for you, but James chapter 1 verse 12. We also read about it in 1 Peter, that God brings us through adverse trials in order to deepen our faith and to strengthen our faith. God also, beloved, allows us to encounter darkness and hard times in order to reward us when we pass the test of faith as we come out of those times. In other words, in the scripture a test is not something that's designed when the scripture says, "God's testing us". When the Lord uses that word He often times is not referring to something so that He can see whether we're gonna pass or fail, but He means it to bring us up to the next level. He puts us in a difficult situation where we encounter adversary or adverse circumstances, adversaries, so that we'll have to force our spiritual muscles to keep on pressing on through it. And then when we come out the other side successfully God rewards us for our effort. "He that overcomes," Jesus said, "Will inherit these things".
Continuing on, why would God create darkness? Hopefully you've seen from the scriptures that I show you today that we can't say that God never has anything to do with hard times. We can't say, "Well no, God would never cause something hard to happen in someone's life. God would never cause that terrible thing to happen". But I've shown you from the Word of God, beloved, that God is God. There is no other. He causes well being. He creates calamity. He's the creator of all things, both things visible and invisible. He's Adon Olam. He's the Master of the Universe. He is God. There is no other. We have to have faith in Him alone. The Lord said, "Don't call conspiracy what the world calls a conspiracy and don't fear what the world fears, but I alone am to be your fear. I alone am to be your dread. Connect to Me alone and I will become a sanctuary for you".
God doesn't want us to be afraid of the devil. God doesn't want us to be afraid of adverse circumstances. God wants us to understand that He alone is God. Sh'ma Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad. "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, He alone is God and He is One". We need to be able to process life. We need to be able to process our thinking, looking directly to God to understand everything that happens in the earth and everything that happens in our own lives. God is showing us now in His Word that He allows evil, that He created darkness, because He brings about a higher good from it. Just like the woman that was a former prostitute, that anointed Jesus' feet with the costly bottle of perfume that was worth approximately a whole year worth of wages during that time period in history. And the people that saw her do it, they were just aghast. They thought it was a tremendous waste. But Jesus said, "You guys don't understand what's going on. He that's been forgiven much loves much. He that's been forgiven little loves little. What this woman has done will be remembered for all time".
In other words, that woman had come out of such deep darkness, such deep bondage. She was such a captive to the devil that when Jesus saved her she loved Him more than all the other people that He saved, that were fairly moral people. In other words, God used the darkness to bring about an even higher good. "He that's been forgiven much," Jesus said, "Loves much". Sometimes God uses the darkness, sometimes God uses evil as a tool to cause people to repent. For example we read about this in the book of Revelation, where there was the prostitute Jezebel. She was the immoral woman I should say Jezebel. She was leading people into immorality. She was a false prophetess. And Jesus said, "I gave her time to repent, but she wouldn't". He said, "Now I'm gonna cast her onto a bed of sickness".
Hear me, Jesus Himself said that He was going to cast her onto a bed of sickness. He didn't blame it all on the devil. Jesus was the one that took responsibility for casting her onto a bed of sickness. Why? Because He wanted to force her to repent. Sometimes God releases evil into our lives in order to bring us to our knees, so that we'll repent. God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. But He uses evil as a tool to accomplish, beloved, His purposes. We read for example in the life of Pharaoh, that God said concerning Pharaoh that He was gonna harden Pharaoh's heart in order that God could display His power and make His glory known. Some people like to say, "Yeah, but Pharaoh hardened his heart". But when we do a careful study in the book of Exodus we find that God was the one that first said to Moses, "I'm gonna harden his heart".
When someone hardens their heart against God, we would say that's Satanic. But you know what? It was part of God's plan that Pharaoh's heart would be hardened, because every time Pharaoh's heart was hardened God did a miracle. And God's name was proclaimed throughout that entire portion of the world, because of the miracles that He performed in Egypt and He used Pharaoh's hardened heart as the means by which He would do the miracles. In other words, every time Pharaoh's heart was hardened God responded by doing a miracle and that was God's plan. This is why the Bible tells us in the book of Romans chapter 9 through 11 that God said for this very purpose He hardened Pharaoh's heart, in order that His name might be proclaimed, beloved, in the whole earth.
Lastly, I want us to understand that God again, has a purpose for all things, that He causes all things to work together for good. All things, He causes all things to work together for good. The things that feel pleasant to us and the things that are hard. He blesses us with times of refreshing. He sends us south winds, but he also sends the north winds, difficulties, adversaries, even as Paul described messengers of Satan; In order that the garden of His spirit fully bloom from our hearts and bring forth the fragrance of Messiah Jesus from our lives. I want you to know beloved, God loves you. He's got you. Jesus said, "Not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from the Father". You don't have to be afraid of anything. No matter what happens in your life you can look to God, know that He loves you and thank Him, because He's causing all things to work together for good in your life. Baruch Hashem, praise the Lord and shalom.