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Purer Eyes

Posted by Matt Postiff November 24, 2017 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Bible Texts  Theology 

Today's question:

What does the Bible mean when it says in Habakkuk 1:13, "You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness"?

This does not mean that God does not see evil events and people, for he most certain does. For example, Genesis 6:5-7 states that God observed the continual wickedness of mankind, and decided to wipe out the human race. The same occurred around the judgment of Babel Genesis 11:5) and of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:21).

What Habakkuk means is that God's holiness does not permit Him to look on evil or wickedness with approval. He cannot approve of the wicked acts of people; nor can He approve the people who do those wicked acts. He cannot tolerate evil or put up with evil people.

This is a true truth. Habakkuk's understanding of this truth is the basis or reason for his perplexity at why the wicked Chaldeans are being permitted by God to judge the people of Israel. How can God do that?

Habakkuk soon realizes that God will also judge the Chaldeans, and in part that judgement will be for the evil done against the people of Israel (most of chapter 2).

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