Did God cause sin? Hmmm. “Cause” is a very tricky term. It depends on what is the intent of using such term. If “cause” would imply that God can be blamed for it, then God didn’t “cause” sin in that sense. But if “cause” is simply used to mean ordaining it to be, then God “caused” sin. God did not directly create sin, but He permitted it to be brought about. Why? For His glory, of course.
This might be a controversial assertion on my part. But it’s what I believe in based on these presuppositions:
1.) The ultimate purpose of everything that God does is to bring glory to Himself (Exodus 14:4, 18; Isaiah 48:11; Romans 11:36; Habakkuk 2:14; John 7:18, 16:14, 17:24; etc.). This is not because God is a narcissist. It’s just that He’s the Supreme Being – nothing or no one is greater than Him. If God would choose to value anything or anyone above his own worth, then He would be committing idolatry. And, of course, that’s impossible for it would be contradictory to God’s holy nature.
2.) God has absolute supremacy in all things (Psalm 103:19, Isaiah 45:7). He is in control always. Everything that happens is in accordance to His will (Isaiah 14:24) – whether we perceive it as good or bad (Lamentations 3:38) – and nothing and no one will frustrate it (Job 42:2). Moreover, God is not a passive God. His omnipotence allows Him to hands-on direct every detail of His Creation to function in accordance to His will (Lamentations 3:37). Even if there’s such a thing as human free will, such thing is limited, for it can’t go against God’s sovereign will (Proverbs 16:9, 21:1), and God would even proceed to manipulate someone’s will for His own purpose (Exodus 9:12, Romans 9:17, Deuteronomy 30:6). Even the Devil is under God’s sovereignty, for he can’t make a move without God permitting it (Job 1-2). And God sometimes allow evil to happen because His omniscient wisdom know that good will come out of it (Genesis 50:20). Hence, whatever happens, it did happen because God ordained it to be so (either through permission or direct involvement).
3.) The second preposition is always actively working to bring the first preposition about (Psalm 115:3, 135:6).
Therefore, if these presuppositions are true – which I firmly believe to be so based on biblical axioms – I can conclude that since sin exists, then it’s only because God permitted it, so that this may become part of His overarching plan to ultimately bring glory to Himself. How? Consider this:
1.) God created Lucifer knowing fully that he would fall and become Satan.
2.) With Satan around, Adam and Even were tempted to sin. God knew what would happen, but He allowed it, so that sin would exist.
3.) With sin existing, there’s now a need for a Savior.
4.) And by becoming the Savior, Jesus Christ is glorified (Hebrews 1:3, 2:9).
For God’s grace to be fully realized in our reality, sin has to exist. According to Romans 5:20, “…where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” Of course, this doesn’t mean sin should be celebrated (Romans 6:1), but it tells us that there’s a correlation between sin and grace. The greater the sin, the more glorious grace is for overwhelming it. For us to appreciate Jesus as Savior, there must be first a terrible and desperate state to save us from. For us to appreciate grace, we must first know sin and its consequence. For us to appreciate being found, we must first have been lost. For us to appreciate seeing, we must first have been blind.
In other words, sin per se does not glorify God, but the existence of sin provides an opportunity to display His glory.
Of course, no matter how well it is logically explained, through an inadequate and humanistic perspective, it’s difficult to accept that, though God ordained sin, He can’t be blamed to it. For isn’t there fault in someone who allowed an evil to happen when he could have prevented it?
Let me use an illustration to explain how it can be. Let’s say a certain novelist wrote a story wherein Jack murdered Bob. We can say that both the novelist and Jack are responsible, at different planes of reality, of killing Bob. However, only Jack committed the murder, not the novelist, for the novelist only wrote the murder into the story and it happened in the story’s world, not the novelist’s world. Therefore, it would be tremendously unfair and stupid to try and convict the novelist for murder. In fact, if the murder story turns out to be good, the novelist will receive acclaim by being a terrific storyteller.
Of course, we aren’t fictional characters. But this analogy is to point out that the difference of levels between God’s Reality and our reality is so infinitely vast that ours is “fictional” in relation to God’s. Thus, in this context, sin is serving as a “plot device” to the “best-selling novel” being written by God to bring a glorious ending to the epic story of His “protagonists” (i.e. His chosen people) and to Himself as “Novelist.”
Now, the Bible didn’t use an “author and his story” analogy. But in Romans 9, the analogy of “potter and clay” is presented, which basically has the same main effect as “author and his story.”
You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory.
Indeed, God is God. He created us and this world we’re in, and He can do whatever He pleases. And we don’t have the right to question Him in what He does, and He isn’t obligated to defend Himself (Job 38-42; Daniel 4:35).
For the depraved humanistic mind, this will prove impossible to accept. Even Christian minds will have a hard time grasping this concept. This definitely requires, in a sense, an advanced kind of intellectual capacity, as well as a complete appreciation and conviction in regards to God’s absolute sovereignty in all things and God’s passionate zeal to bring glory to Himself.
And, of course, it is also possible that I have erred in delivering an appropriate explanation about it and has undermined God (forgive me, Lord, if ever). But, still, there’s no doubt in my heart that this is true – that God’s sovereignty is so gloriously absolute that it even extends over sin.