According to the Authorized King James Bible, Isaiah 45:7 should be translated as saying:
‘I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil.’
This particular translation is where some people get the idea that men have no choice in their destiny. For if evil comes from God, then He predestines the outcome for everyone, and we are what we are because it’s His Will.
But was God really saying that He is responsible for all that is evil?
You don’t get that impression if you understand ancient Hebrew Poetry, which is what this is.
In classical Hebrew poetry, one statement is made, which is thereafter mirrored in the statement that follows. And in this case, note that the second statement as it is translated it in English doesn’t seem to follow the first. For the first part of the statement makes the contrast between the opposites of light and darkness, while the second seems to speak of two things that are not thought of as direct opposites, peace and evil. So, something seems to have been lost either in the copying or in the translating of this section of the verse.
What word is the antonym of peace (gr. eirenen)?
Most would say it is war.
But is war the only thing that takes away peace?
No, we’re sure you would agree that anything that is bad and/or unsettling removes peace from our lives.
And this is what we believe is the point of this verse.
For the Greek word that is translated as evil (gr. kaka) here doesn’t necessarily mean something that is done for bad reasons.
Rather, we (and other translators) have consistently translated it as just bad.
But, does this really make a difference, for isn’t God still saying that He’s responsible for all that is bad (or evil)? No! What He’s saying is that whenever He creates something, this also brings the opposite into existences… it’s the natural law of action and reaction.
Take for example the first part of the verse, ‘I prepared light and I made the darkness.’
Understand that there was no darkness (absence of light) before God created light.
Nor was there cold (the absence of heat) before He created heat, and there was no silence before He created sound. So when He created peace, He also created the absence of peace, for one can’t exist without the other, since there would be no frame of reference by which we could measure the absence of something before it actually exists. And the point God is making is that EVERYTHING came into existence through him, for even when he creates good things, the possibility of the opposite comes into existence.
Our Bible uses older manuscripts than most Bibles do. Check us out!