Q.

Please explain Isaiah 45:7. It sounds as though God is responsible for evil. Also, I have a question about Acts 27:35 and 36. Was this communion?

A.
Isaiah 45:7 reads, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”

The word “evil” here is better rendered “disaster” or “calamity.” God is able either to allow or to send natural disasters upon earth or parts of it. The great Noahic universal flood is an example. It shows that God is all-powerful.

When we think of the word “evil” today, we usually think of sin or that which falls short of God’s glory. Sin is not the thought in Isaiah 45, however. God allowed man to fall into sin for His purposes and glory. But He is sinless and absolutely perfect. Sin cannot emanate from Him.

Now we turn to the book of Acts. Verses 35 and 36 of chapter 27 relate something the apostle Paul did during his voyage to Rome amid a great storm and shipwreck: The men on the ship were very hungry, and Paul urged them to eat food:

And when [Paul] had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat. Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves (NKJV).

Some of the elements of this passage remind us of the Lord’s Supper (taking bread, giving thanks, breaking the bread), especially if we read passages such as Luke 22:19 or 1 Corinthians 11:23–34. However, when we consider the context and occasion, it is doubtful that Acts 27 is recording an observance of the Lord’s Table. It is more in keeping with Jesus’ example in Luke 24:30 of how He broke and blessed the food before a meal in the company of the men He met on the Emmaus Road. Or we remember how earlier in His ministry Jesus gave thanks before meals, such as when He fed the multitudes (Matt. 15:36).

We must remember that most, if not all, of the 276 people aboard the ship were pagans. The group was not a local church. Instead, Paul was giving an example of what all of us should do, even in front of unbelievers. We should publicly give thanks for our food without embarrassment, whether it be in a restaurant or in our homes. The old Jewish custom of blessing a meal carries on even into our lives. In fact, in our family we like to pray after our meals as well as before. Thanking God for a meal after we eat it is more than just a northern European custom we happen to follow. It is a good reminder of what we have and of Who gives us what we have.

Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to nolson@garbc.org or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.

Reprinted from the Baptist Bulletin (May 1997).
© 1997 Regular Baptist Press. All rights reserved.
Used by permission.