Posts Tagged ‘God as the Author of Sin’

Dr. James A, PhD


The first man fell because the Lord deemed it meet that he should” John Calvin, Institutes, III.23.8.

In Genesis 2:16-17, the Scripture says, “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

According to the Calvinist Westminster Confession, God predetermined some to be saved, and other men and angels to be predestined for hell. WC III, 3. Yet in God’s decrees, the WC states that while God has determined from eternity all things whatsoever comes to pass, it adds a preemptive clause that follows “but that God is not the author of sin”. I don’t believe Calvinists can get away with this clause.

In order for God to have reprobated anyone, there had to be someone to reprobate. God only created ONE human, and He created that human perfect. God COULD HAVE created two men, one perfect and the other sinful (which would make God the author of sin, but as we will see, that’s what He does anyway when the implications of Calvinism on this are laid out). But, God created only one. God told Adam to be fruitful and multiply. Since Adam was created perfect, it would be logical to affirm that all of Adam’s progeny would have been expected to be as perfect as he was.

If one man was created perfect, and that man was expected to be fruitful and multiply, the only way that God could have reprobated any human being is that if He purposely intended for Adam to fall when He created him. Otherwise He could not possibly be said to have made any determination from eternity to reprobate any humans. In order for God to have planned the reprobation of any, HE HAD TO GUARANTEE THAT ADAM WOULD SIN. For if Adam does not sin, then nobody could ever be reprobated. Mankind being judged for sin is due to Adams fall (Romans 5:1-12). Therefore, For God to eternally decree reprobation, He must guarantee that men become sinful, otherwise without sin, God would cause the reprobation of perfect humans.

Thus, for Calvinism’s theology of reprobation and preterition to be valid, God MUST be the author of sin because Adam’s federal headship over sinners can not be possible without Adam sinning, so Adam MUST sin in order for God to bring to pass the condemnation of those He reprobated from eternity. If Adam fails to sin, then those whom God reprobated would have to be judged for something other than sin.

Now there are some Calvinists that actually affirm God caused Adam’s sin. However, Genesis 2:17 God specifically told Adam that of all the other trees in the garden he could freely eat, but commanded him with a hearty “thou shalt not” to refrain from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This imperative shows clearly that God did not intend nor desire for Adam to sin. Some Calvinists will argue that there was a purpose in God “allowing” sin (Calvinists fancy way of exonerating God as the author of evil), but if God’s intention for sin was its prospective qualities toward accomplishing His will (as if He needs sin to be sovereign), then why didn’t God just make Satan evil from the beginning?

Therefore Calvinism can not escape that theological implications that reprobation makes God the author of sin.

 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” Ecclesiastes 7:29

He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works” Psalm 33:15