Bad situations, usually involving pain and suffering, attributed to disobedience to God's will, or to natural calamities. Much of the Bible is about the cause, nature, and consequences of sin, and God's reaction to it. Evil began according to the myth in Genesis in an act of calculated rebellion against God and it continued wherever the human race acted in conflict with the will of God. As a result by way of punishment God sent evil disasters (Jer. 26:19; Amos 3:6). He is responsible both for good and for evil (Ps. 78:49), though fundamentally God's creation is good (Gen. 1:32) and his intention to do good (Jer. 18:8) is only frustrated by human sin (Jer. 18:10).
However, the power of evil came to be seen as concentrated in particular beings within a system and controlled by a leader, sometimes called Satan. These rebels against God were bent on defying his will and could even take over the lives of people by ‘possession’. Evil is also to be found in the human will (Mark 7:20–2) and may manifest itself in overwhelming desire for money (1 Tim. 6:10). The tendency to evil is recognized as fundamental in the human scene and is given various explanations in addition to that of Gen. 3 (and accepted by Ben Sirach and other rabbinic authorities, Ecclus.=Sir. 25:24). By some, it was attributed to the machinations of Satan; by others among the rabbis to an evil impulse or inclination located within each human being. The evil erupts in people in the form of specific deeds, thoughts, and diseases, and Jesus attacked the whole apparatus by his healings and exorcisms and by words of forgiveness. Evils continue within the Church (Rom. 7:15) and suffering too, but they can be turned to good by God, as, in Christian belief, did the great evil of the Cross [[➝ cross]]. At the End there will be a total destruction of all that is evil (Matt. 25:41; 2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:20–1).

Dictionary of the Bible.

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  • evil — evil; evil·ly; evil·ness; …   English syllables

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