Does God Give People Evil Spirits?

QAQuestionEvery time a person in the Old Testament receives an “evil spirits,” it says the evil spirit was sent from God. So, does God give people evil spirits?

Answer: Yes, God is the source of these evil spirits. However, this circumstance is often confused with a person being demon possessed. This is not what’s happening in the case in question.

To begin, we need to establish that “darkness” is synonymous with evil, and that “light” is representative of God and His Truth. “Darkness” is not the “opposite” of light, but is instead the “absence” of light. Similarly, “evil” is not the “opposite” of God, but is instead the “absence” of God. This is why, just as darkness is created by removing light, God is said to “create evil” in His absence (Isa 45:7). You can always add more light and make a light brighter, but once you remove all the light, you cannot add anything to darkness to make it darker. If a man or woman walks in God’s ways they have light. If they reject God’s light, they then walk in darkness (see 1Jo 1:5-7; 2:9-10; Psa 97:11; Isa 2:5; Joh 12:35; Rom 13:12; Eph 5:8; 2Jo 1:4; 3Jo 1:4).

The “spirit” being spoken of in these verses does not refer to a spirit-being i.e. devil. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions describe “spirit” (ruach H7307) as “wind, breath, mind, spirit.” Depending on a verse’s context, ruach could mean any of these. In the verses where an “evil spirit” is said to be “sent from God,” the preferred meaning would be “mind.” Of the seven times an evil spirit being sent from God are found, six of these deal with King Saul (see Jdg 9:23; 1Sa 16:14,15,16,23; 18:10; 19:9). In those cases, the evil spirit occurred when Saul strayed from God and His ways. In judgment, God lifted His anointing from Saul. This lack of God turned Saul’s mind over to chaos, hence, over to a mind absent of God.


Copyright © 2011 TK Burk. All Rights Reserved.


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