The Cause of Evil

“All have sinned and fallen short…” (Romans 3:23)

The Bible is clear on the one cause of sin and evil: Wrong moral choice. Sin is not a disease or chemical imbalance, it’s not society’s fault, and it can’t be blamed on others The ONLY cause is the human will. No one makes me do evil—I choose to do it for a variety of reasons.

The Bible is so clear on this subject that it uses nineteen different words in the Hebrew and Greek languages to teach the concept. Here are the meanings of those words:

  • Hebrew: to miss or error from the mark; to act perversely; to break away from authority; to refuse to obey or listen; to refuse to serve God; to act treacherously; to act rebelliously; to be stubbornly disobedient; to act wickedly; to live worthlessly or in vain; and to live a life of evil.
  • Greek: to miss or error from the mark; to deviate from the right path; to depart from the way of truth; to refuse to conform; to disobey or refuse to believe; to refuse to do what’s right; to act irreverently or ungodly; to live wickedly or evil.

Every single word in this list implies the voluntariness, viciousness, and increasing severity of wrong moral choices. Thus the Bible rightly defines evil as selfishness (Jude 12), lawlessness (1 John 3:4), disobedience (James 4:17), and moral insanity (Ecclesiastes 9:3).  I am the cause of my own sin should be the slogan of every ethics class. No excuses or rationalizations are accepted. That’s why we all need to repent, and call on God for his forgiveness and grace.


Lord, help me to not rationalize but repent of my sin. I am to blame and am in need of your grace. Amen.”

Ron Boehme, Director, US Renewal,

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