Isaiah 45:7 affirms that God creates darkness and disaster. It is not a creation of mankind, nor of fallen beings or Satan. The Hebrew word here that is translated as "disaster" could also mean "wickedness", "hurt", "affliction" or "adversity". God creates these things directly. Any argument that asserts that evil is a result of Human free will must first get over the fact that the Christian Bible states that God creates evil and disaster itself. Not only does this God create darkness and disaster, but it actively "does" them too. For example in Job 42:11 God is described as doing evil to Job as part of its test of Job even though Job is described as holy and blameless. In other words, the evil done by God on Job was not the result of Job's free will. Also, his children and animals are all slaughtered too, as collateral damage1. God doesn't merely create evil and suffering as possibilities, it actively chooses to do them itself.
Psalm 104:27-30 notes that God sometimes makes animals happy and sometimes "terrifies them" as part of the daily rhythm of life as described in general by Psalm 104, although the King James Version nicely tones this down to "troubles" them.
The Book of Lamentations confirms that free will cannot stop evil, when evil comes from God, nor can man stop goodness, when goodness comes from God:
Who is he that can speak, and it happens, when the Lord command it not?37
Out of the mouth of the Most High proceedeth not both evil and good?38
As various authors copied copies of the Hebrew Scriptures, changes accumulated in the stories. Sometimes, the same story appears twice. There are even two accounts of the Creation that contradict each other in the details. One such doubled story shows us clearly that the Old Testament God is evil, and Satan itself is not a separate being, but is actually part of God, a face of God. There is one occasion when David took a census of his men in order to count how many could fight in the armies of Israel. 1 Chronicles 21:2 and 2 Samuel 24:2 both contain a copy of the exact same text:
“So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, "Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are."”
1 Chronicles 21:2
“So the king said to Joab and the army commanders with him, "Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are."”
2 Samuel 24:2
What had happened is that God had a rule: That David was not allowed to 'number' Israel. But, for some reason, David went ahead and did so. As a result, God punished them all for breaking his rule. But, it is very telling when we examine the preceding verse: Who inspired David to count Israel's fighting men?
“Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.”
1 Chronicles 21:1
“The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, "Go and take a census of Israel and Judah."”
2 Samuel 24:1
In one copy of the story, we are told Satan told David to do so. In the other, it was God. How can this be? It is because in the Old Testament, Satan and God are the same being. Satan in the Old Testament is merely the face that God puts on when it is testing its people. "The anger of the Lord" is Satan. It was common in old religions (Hinduism, Roman religions, etc) for gods to have multiple faces, each associated with different emotions. In the Christian Bible, Satan is God.
A similar confusion of roles happens in the Book of Job. In Job 1:8-12 Satan approaches God and asks to test Job's loyalty to God. In Job 1:11 it is God who is asked "put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face". Satan's idea is that if God demolishes Job's good life, then Job will no longer be faithful to God. But Satan can't do this itself as it is God that has the power to do evil. In the next verse God gives that power to Satan:
“And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.”
Job 1:12 [KJV]
So, Satan acts only when God gives it power to do so. Once again, we see that God and Satan are merely two facets of the same being. One final verse seals this idea. Who, when it comes to the concluding of the story in chapter 42, is given the credit for bringing evil against Job? It is God itself:
“[Job's friends and family] comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him.”
Job 42:11 [KJV]
Other translations such as Young's Literal Translation phrase it in the same way. God and Satan are intertwined. Satan can't do anything except by the will of God. Psalms 139:12, 1 Chronicles 21:1-2 and 2 Samuel 24:1-2, and Job 1:8-12, 42:11 all confuse good and evil, God and Satan into one single creative force, with God being described as not only the source of evil, but as its actual instigator. God cannot be benevolent.
"And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people."
"The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name."
"For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God."
"Blessed is everyone that feareth the Lord."
The Old Testament describes God as angry, fearsome, destructive and vengeful. In continual deviance from what a good god would do, and feel, the God of the Old Testament sometimes repents of its own actions and thoughts. How can a god that knows everything, and is never wrong, repent? How can a good god even have evil thoughts, let alone do evil actions?
It seems one thing that Old Testament gets right is its assertions that we should fear god. See Lev. 25:17; Deut. 6:2, 6:13, 10:12, 10:20, 31:12-13; Joshua 4:24; 1 Sam. 12:14; 2 Kings 17:39; Job 28:28; Psalms 19:9, 25:14, 33:8, 33:18, 34:9, 96:4, 103:11, 103:17, 111:10, 112:1, 115:13, 128:1, 147:11; Proverbs 1:7, 22:4, 24:21; Ecc. 5:7, 12:13; Jer. 5:22. We should definitely fear such a god as this!
In Old Testament times, people were exposed to many different Gods. Frequently, people would simply have to be scared into worshipping one god over another. By representing it as powerful, destructive, jealous and harsh, the Jews who wrote the Old Testament were affirming that they believed their God should be worshipped, and other Gods should be abandoned.
"The third century Church Father, Tertullian, could not imagine how God could not demand fear":
“But how are you going to love, without some fear that you do not love? Surely [an unfeared God] is neither your Father, towards whom your love for duty's sake should be consistent with fear because of His power; nor your proper Lord, whom you should love for His humanity and fear as your teacher.”
The immoral doctrine of original sin, where children are punished for the sins of their parents is hardly the scheme of a moral god. Adam and Eve were punished with death, pain, suffering and caused the evil of all mankind... yet they themselves 'sinned' before they knew the difference between Good and Evil. God must be immoral, if it punishes innocent people for sins they do not understand and could not resist.
The Hebrew Scriptures, which the Christians adopted as their Old Testament, are infamously violent. The endorsements of violence, mass murder and rape & pillage are dramatic, and are conducted under the direct commands of God for the betterment of the believer's religion. The worry is that this gives justification for anyone who hears voices in their head telling them to murder for their religion that actually they should do so. Many Jewish terrorists have followed this line of logic, and for hundreds of years Europe fell into the barbaric and ignorant dark ages under the terrible machinations of Christian institutions that embraced and used all of the Bible's endorsements of violence.
Exodus 15:3 states that God loves war, but it is not just enemy combatants that are the target. Exodus 22:18 has been used as the basis for murdering women accused of all manner of daft superstitious things ("thou shalt not suffer a witch to live"). Exodus 32:27-29 has the God of Israel command the army to murder sons, brothers, friends and neighbours and they are then blessed for doing so. In Numbers 31:17 they are told to murder all the children amongst the enemies and any woman who might be pregnant. Deuteronomy 7:1 tells the Israelites to occupy their future land and exterminate the original inhabitants because they are infidels: "you're to make no compromise with them or show them any mercy". Deuteronomy 13:6-9 says that if your relatives or friends try to get you to worship other gods, you must kill them "without mercy" - a deed that Abraham attempts in Genesis 22:1-18. In Deuteronomy 20:16-18 they are told to exterminate "everything that breaths". Joshua 6:21-24 and Judges 20 tell stories where God wants them to kill "everyone in the city, men, women, young and old. They also killed the cattle, sheep and donkeys. ... And they burnt the city with fire" and looted all they could. All with no morality nor sense of loss at all. 1 Samuel 15:1-8 has it that because the indigenous people of Amalek opposed God's murderous army, they killed all the men, women, children, babies, cattle, camels and donkeys there6. Not all the slaughter is on God's chosen land: In Esther 9:12-16 the Israelites slaughter over 75,000 enemies in an internal strife in the Persian empire. In Hosea 13:16 the infants of Samaria will be "dashed in pieces" because the people no longer follow Israel's bloody God. If you are in any doubt that God commands bloodshed in his name then Jeremiah 48:10 declares that you will be cursed if you refrain from bloodshed. These examples are where it is Humans carrying out God's will and don't include the many times where God leads by murderous example.
The author of the Gospel of Luke wrote that Jesus said that 'a tree is known by its fruit' (Luke 6:43-44): "Good trees do not produce rotten fruit, and rotten trees do not produce good fruit". The Old Testament God, who says that he "creates evil" (Amos. 3:6, Isaiah 45:7), cannot therefore be a 'good tree', but must be a rotten one. Luke 12:5 warns us to fear God above anything else in life. An ancient form of Christianity was preached by Marcion, who realized that the God of the Old Testament must be Evil. As Marcion believed that the Good News of the New Testament was the plan of salvation from a good God, he believed that through Jesus the evil god the Old Testament had been defeated.