What Is the Bible’s View?
Is God Trying You with Evil?
IT IS common among people to refuse to take the responsibility for wrongs. A man may drink heavily and gamble, reducing himself to a state of poverty, and thereafter blame God for his troubles. Proverbs 19:3 realistically describes the situation: “It is the foolishness of an earthling man that distorts his way, and so his heart becomes enraged against Jehovah himself.”
But it might be asked: Are there exceptions to this? Does God ever tempt anyone to commit wrongs?
The Christian disciple James gives us real insight regarding this. He wrote: “When under trial, let no one say: ‘I am being tried by God.’ For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone.” (Jas. 1:13) These words point up the fact that it is contrary to Jehovah God’s personality to try any of his intelligent creatures with evil.
The Most High is holy, pure or clean in the absolute sense. He is never the source of anything bad. Lamentations 3:38 tells us: “From the mouth of the Most High bad things and what is good do not go forth.” Jehovah also is the supreme standard of all that is good. The Scriptures depict angelic creatures, seraphs, as saying: “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah.” (Isa. 6:3) Even Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, refused to accept the designation “good” as part of a title. This showed that he, too, recognized his Father as the ultimate standard of what is good.—Mark 10:17, 18.
Since the Almighty is good through and through, without the slightest defect, he simply cannot be induced to commit evil. So he ‘cannot be tried with evil.’ Evil has no appeal to him. ‘He loathes it. The prophet Habakkuk wrote of Jehovah: “You are too pure in eyes to see what is bad; and to look [that is, look approvingly] on trouble you are not able.” (Hab. 1:13) Because the Most High is absolutely free from even the minutest taint of evil, he cannot try anyone with evil. He never puts anything before humans to induce them to turn from a righteous course to the doing of wrong.
Of course, some persons may argue that, if God had not created such a strong attraction between the sexes, there would be less immorality. Similarly, if humans had not been created with such keen senses of sight, smell, touch and taste, many things would be far less attractive and so the desire for alcoholic beverages, material possessions, entertainment and the like would be less likely to plunge a person into a wrong course.
But is such reasoning sound? An automobile, for instance, can cover considerable distance in a short time. Yet, should its manufacturer be held accountable when an accident occurs because the driver greatly exceeded the speed limit when going around a sharp curve? Surely, no one can rightly accuse the manufacturer of having induced the driver to violate a safety regulation because of having built an automobile capable of moving at a speed higher than road conditions allow.
Likewise, the fact that God empowered humans with the ability to reproduce does not mean that he has provided an inducement to commit fornication. Nor is the body’s being designed to take in food and drink an inducement to give in to drunkenness or gluttony. Fornication, drunkenness, gluttony and the like constitute a misuse of the body. The Christian apostle Paul made this clear to the Corinthians: “Foods for the belly, and the belly for foods; but God will bring both it [the belly] and them [the foods] to nothing. Now the body is not for fornication.”—1 Cor. 6:13.
In reality, people commit badness because of yielding to their own wrong desires and not because of being tried by God with evil. The disciple James continues: “Each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death.” (Jas. 1:14, 15) Hence, if a person yields to wrong desire, he has no basis for blaming God for the bitter consequences of his sinful course. He should take to heart the reproof implied in the Scriptural question: “Why should any living man complain, any mortal, in the face of his sins?”—Lam. 3:39, The New American Bible.
True, Jehovah God does permit various kinds of circumstances to arise that prove trialsome to a Christian. But the Most High is not making wrong look enticing. His Word, the Bible, unmistakably condemns all badness and clearly sets forth the undesirable results. Accordingly, it is the individual’s reaction to the particular circumstance that determines the outcome of this trial. To illustrate, a Christian may be subjected to physical abuse on account of his faith. His desire for relief may build up to the point where he starts to think about compromising. If he yields to that desire, he will sin. But he cannot blame Jehovah God for his ignoring the Bible’s admonition and committing transgression.
Actually, the Almighty is very willing, yes, happy to help his servants to cope successfully with trials. Regarding the wisdom needed to deal with trials, the disciple James wrote: “If any one of you is lacking in wisdom, let him keep on asking God, for he gives generously to all and without reproaching; and it will be given him.” (Jas. 1:5) By means of his spirit, Jehovah God will recall to the mind of the individual what he needs to know and also how to apply what is brought to remembrance so as to bear up under difficulty. This is in harmony with what Jesus Christ said to his disciples about the operation of God’s spirit: “The helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in my name, that one will teach you all things and bring back to your minds all the things I told you.”—John 14:26.
So, regardless of what might face us, we should guard against wrong thinking about our Maker. The disciple James counseled: “Do not be misled, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect present is from above, for it comes down from the Father of the celestial lights, and with him there is not a variation of the turning of the shadow.”—Jas. 1:16, 17.
Because Jehovah is the unchangeable God of goodness, you can be confident that he will never try you with evil. He is the source of only good things, not bad. Therefore, when faced with trials, look to Jehovah God to help you. He will not fail to give you the needed wisdom to succeed in coping with difficulty. Also, never permit yourself to blame God for problems that you may bring upon yourself. Instead, repentantly turn to him, and he will forgive you in a large way. (Isa. 1:18) Yes, it is by sticking close to our Creator that we will continue to receive his ‘good gifts’ for all eternity.