May 30, 2008
God 'Causes' us to sin?
Anyway, I have a question that I am sure you have been asked before - and the answer is probably somewhere on your site - but I just cannot seem to find it...
Does God cause sin? Or does He allow sin in a Believer - and then cause it to work to His glory?
I find that some hold to the belief that God caused/allowed their sin - therefore they are happy for the sin, for it produced something good.
I guess I am struggling in regards to ever being "happy" for a sin, for I look to my past sins and grieve. I HATE that I ever committed them - but I am thankful for God's grace and forgiveness, but I cannot bring myself to that way of understanding - being OK with the sin because of what came of it. NEVER!
14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lusts and enticed.
15 Then, when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.
16 Do not be led astray, my beloved brethren.
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no change or shadow of turning.
29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
2 For the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.
In other words: It doesn't matter; God accepts us "just as we are"; we don't need to change; we don't need to regulate our lives into a holy fashion in conformity to Jesus Christ (Ro8:29)...there is "no condemnation" because we "love Jesus"....and everything turns out all right.
No! Paul, in answer to the question: Shall we continue sinning? says LET IT NOT BE! Yes, we are "justified freely" by His grace (Rom3:24). But we do NOT CONTINUE in sin..!! The state of "no condemnation" is
1) a declaration of God's grace (Rom5:19)
As Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go and SIN NO MORE." (Jn8:11)
Yes....God works everything for the good to those who love Him. But it is not for the purpose to remain in sin; but when God works things "for good" (vs28), we are to be "conformed to the image of His Son" (vs29)
Everybody just luuuuuvs vs28 (grace) but conveniently ignores vs29 (responsibility, indebtedness and conformity)
They love the bit about "no condemnation", but want nothing to do with "not [walking] according to the flesh"....because in truth, they have never repented of sin and received the cleansing of Jesus' blood; which is also why they preach a "gospel" of "graaeeesss" sans repentance. They want the benefits of Heaven, without the repudiation of the sin that keeps us from God's holy presence.
Yes, God takes a broken life and 'fixes' it. But if it is truly fixed, we don't go back to the old (broken) ways.
To share a bit of my own testimony (again):
HOWEVER: If I had not submitted to compromise, had not switched to the perversion those years, had not become unequally yoked...where -COULD- my life have been today? I will never know, because I failed the Lord those years; and allowed people into my life that further led me down the apostate path.
Yes...I -am- today where God wants, taking into account my failures that He fixed. And in that, I rejoice. But what would those 20 years have produced if they had been in total faithfulness? How much -more- rejoicing might there be today?
No! No! No! To be sinning is NEVER something to desire or rejoice over!
It's like the common understanding: If a vehicle is involved in a wreck, it can be fixed up "like new". But there is also often an understanding that the vehicle is never again -quite- "like new"...as if it had never been wrecked.
Like that other story told, about the boy who was to pound a nail into this board everytime he did something naughty. Then, as he righted those wrongs he would pull out the nails. Trouble was, the nail -holes- remained. The board was never again "like new"...smooth and hole-less.
Where does Evil come from?
Last week we addressed the above Q/A. In the past we have also addressed "Does Evil Exist?" [link]
All of these follow similar themes. But some just are not satisfied, nor (apparently?) convinced. A subscriber sent me a lengthy promulgation by somebody-or-other, pontificating that God -created- evil. God created the devil. And wanted my reaction to it. I am not going to respond to it, other than to repeat a generic observation about false prophets. And this observation, I have noticed over time, applies to just about every false teaching you will find out there.
They do not support their promulgations with Scripture. Yes, you will find a few Scriptures scattered here and there, related to unrelated or out-of-context concepts; or as they lay an erroneous foundation leading into their primary dogma. (And of course, if the foundation or elements thereof are in error, the primary dogma cannot help -but- be in error!) But when they get into the nitty gritty of their lengthy diatribes, extensively proclaiming their primary agenda, there will be not a shred of contextually correct Scripture to support it. It is a most deceptive scheme. It is like framing a piece of garbage in a very pretty frame, but the focus is garbage. With their peripheral introductory foundational sub-topics, usually out-of-context, they quote Scripture.
Such a tactic throws the hearer off-guard: See? They are proclaiming FROM SCRIPTURE. They are a "Bible teacher". And because a few miscellaneous Scriptures have been quoted, the hearer then assumes -everything- they are now proclaiming is similarly Scripture-based... when, due to their "well-turned" (2Pt2:3) and "smooth" (Rom16:18) words, it is not.
Satan even tried this with Jesus,
First of all, we need to make sure we understand the Scriptures. What is our Bible? What does it tell us? What period of history does it cover?
"For truly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law till all is fulfilled." (Mt5:18)
"And the heavens separated as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places." (Rev6:14)
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away." (Re21:1)
"Thus says Jehovah, Heaven is My throne" (Is66:1)
"do not swear at all: neither by Heaven, for it is God’s throne" (Mt5:34)
Paul "was caught up to the third Heaven." (2Co12:2)
Thus, if the Scriptures are a record of -this- "heavens and earth", and there was a "beginning" to -this- creation, what was happening during eternity -past-? What happened -before- Genesis 1:1? Other than a few little quips, the Bible does not tell us. And it is not the purpose of the Bible to do so. Thus, we are left with many unanswered questions; which we aren't meant to know yet, either.
But we do know that God created them. Regarding the "anointed cherub that covers" it says...
1) He was a created being
The false teachers proclaim that God created the devil 'evil'. This passage right here says He did NOT. God created him perfect. Sinless. He was the anointed cherub that covers. Please see "Treason", to see exactly his original place in creation, from which he fell [link]
Let us understand clearly. This cherub was perfect "till" iniquity was found. The word "till" is a word indicating conditional 'time'. His original condition was in perfection -till- something else was the case. Iniquity. How long did he remain in perfection? We don't know. "Till" doesn't tell us that. But at some point he rebelled. -Till- that point, he was perfect... -as- God created him. And -then- he 'became' fallen.
What were the 'rules' in Heaven before Gen1:1? We are not told. But apparently, when satan rebelled, and took a third of the angels with him (Rev12:4), there was no such thing available to them as "grace". When grace and mercy is extended to mankind, that concept is something the angels "desire to look into" (1Pt1:12) The word "desire" here carries with it a "longing" regarding something that is "forbidden" to them. They wish for it, but can't have it. In other words, when they rebelled, that was it. No second chances. They are now "wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever." (Ju1:13)
That's Heaven, and the angels.
So, God creates earth and puts man on it. Since the Garden of Eden had the tree of the knowledge of "good and evil" (Ge2:9), the false teachers proclaim that God -created- evil; otherwise, why did He make that tree?
And in this line of thinking they also quote Is45:7 out-of-context where God says "...creating evil. I, Jehovah, do all these things" But what is the 'context' of that statement? What is the 'other half' of "evil" in that sentence? The part that fits where I just typed "..." says, "making peace and creating evil" God also says, "There is no peace, says Jehovah, unto the wicked" (Is48:22) God is also a "man of war" (Ex15:3) to mete out retribution to the wicked. Is not such retribution "evil", by definition. But is it the same evil that satan and mankind perpetrate against God's holy standards when they commit wickeness, immorality, idolatry....sin? It's a different -kind- of "evil", that God metes out in punishment -because- of sin; KEEPING HIS PROMISE.
However, the fact that evil -existed- prior to Gen1:1 is probably true. When Ezk28:13 says that the Cherub had been in Eden, it doesn't necessarily say 'when' he was there. (before or after his fall?) But also, if the Tree of Life was in the Garden of Eden in Genesis, but it is also in the Paradise of God (Rev2:7), is it possible that the "Garden of God" was/is also in Heaven, and that's where the Anointed Cherub was? Just as Moses was exhorted to follow the pattern of things in Heaven (Heb8:5, Ex25:40), is it possible that God took "Eden" (presumably from Heaven) and made the earthly one after the Heavenly pattern? Thus, the original "Heaven on earth"?
After the creation, when God pronounces everything "extremely good" (Ge1:31), did that mean there was no evil lurking? I used to assume so. Or, what did "good" mean? One of the definitions of "good" is "agreeable". Agreeable for/to what?
Perhaps: the test? What test?
Satan, when tempting, and Jesus did not disagree, says:
You see, when the Anointed Cherub became satan, he was not immediately thrown down from Heaven and totally banished. That is yet to come in the future. (Re12:9) Yes, we do have Jesus' comment: "I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven." (Lk10:18) But satan still has access to God's throne, seeing as how he is the "accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night" (Rev12:10) And what is the possibility that that statement by Jesus was 'prophetic'? He "saw" it prophetically, since God "[declares] the end from the beginning" (Is46:10) ?
Many who deny man's sin nature at conception and birth posit this argument: If babies were taken -immediately- at birth and separated from all adult human contact, and allowed to grow in an idyllic environment, without all the hang-ups and disfunction of family, that they would grow up perfect (sinless). That the rebellion that we call "sin" is a result of baby not getting all his desires and needs met, so he squalls...and thus...SIN.
Isn't that what God already did with Eden? Adam and Eve did not come to their union with prior family dysfunction. They were created with a clean slate. And... how well did that turn out?
Perhaps when the angels rebelled and learned their fate, perhaps they whined at God about "no second chances"? Perhaps they whined that God's 'rules' were "too restrictive"? Perhaps, in the same way Satan argued with God about Job, perhaps he challenged God to create an idyllic environment with NO RULES?
I don't know if it happened this way. Paul reminds us that Scripture history is written for an "example" (1Co10:6) to us, so that we don't follow the same examples of evil as our ancestors. If Job is given as an example, what are the chances that God and satan have similar conversations about every Believer? And if such challenges have been made on individual bases; well, do you see where I come up with this outlandish speculation about our current creation being God's answer to satan's challenge.
We do see that satan was given earth as his sphere of authority. With mankind on it...why? If satan was fallen, what other reason would there be for God to put him "in charge" of an otherwise 'perfect' earth? When we have the record of Job, this doesn't seem all that far-fetched to me.
Many people wish to put God in a test tube to 'prove' His existence. Perhaps -we- are actually the ones in the test tube? To see how we will respond? Will we respond to God, or follow satan?
The scoffers say that God -sends- evil on people; that He -does- all these bad things to people. They speak of the "evil spirit from Jehovah" that troubled Saul. (1Sa16:14) See? God was just setting Saul up for a fall. Like a child catching a fly, tearing its wings off, and then taunting and prodding it to "fly! fly! C'mon fly!"
Saul had already rejected God. (1Sa15:23) Just as Paul commands to turn the sinning person over "to Satan for the destruction of the flesh" (1Co5:5) Whan Ahab had already turned away from God, and it was now time to kill him in battle, God sends the "lying spirit" (1Ch18:21-22) so he would be deceived and go to battle, and be killed.
These spirits came from around God's throne; thus: "-from- God" But the evil spirits have not yet been banished from God's presence. Just because they came "from" God didn't mean they were God's "righteous" angels.
God does not lie. (Nu23:19) It is "impossible" for Him to do so. (Heb6:18) One of Jesus' attributes is "truth" (Jn14:6) And God gives only "good and perfect" things (Ja1:17)
But it seems that, in the present climate of sin, that God uses these fallen angels that still appear before His throne, to go out and carry out missions of punishment and testing. Since the person is following satan, God sends one of Satan's demons to do according to the person's wickedness. The fulness of this knowledge is yet a mystery. But this is what it appears to be.
Mankind thinks of himself as being the "big enchilada". But there is SO MUCH MORE going on. As Paul says, our warfare is against the "wiles of the devil" as the enemy is comprised of "rulers...authorities, the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies." (Eph6:11-12)
Who are the world's rulers? President Bush, Ahmadinajad, Kim Jong Il, NATO or the UN? No. They are all small potatoes! Pawns, all of them. It is Satan and his deputies.
However, also, satan and his deputies cannot do anything without God's permission. As Paul says, "For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are ordained by God." (Rom13:1)
You see...world politics is not as simple as the difference between democracy and totalitarianism. When "free" people go to the polls and vote, that is not the end of it. Whatever is going on down here has already been 'discussed' around God's throne.
So you see... When God proclaimed the creation "extremely good" at creation; in light of the demonic arguments, (and the way we use the expression about a "starting gun" regarding the Rapture), perhaps He was saying, in effect: "The stage is set. Let the games begin!"? After all, when man sinned, God's provision of Salvation through Jesus Christ had already been accounted for "-before- the foundation of the world" (1Pt1:20) And those who believe, in His "foreknowledge" (Rom8:29) He also "chose.. before the foundation of the world" (Eph1:4) Thus, all the preparations were made, in place, and ready-to-go.
The thing that most don't understand is that there are two realms. Awhile ago somebody asked about the definitions of "Kingdom of God", "Kingdom of Heaven", and such things. [link] But for many, there is a confusion because, while there are two realms, those two realms are also one. And they try to understand the "two" as if they were "one". But there are differences.
For this discussion it is the difference between the angels and man. Angels and man originated differently, have seemingly somewhat different rules, but ultimately end up in the same places.
Evil seems to have begun with the Anointed Cherub who became the devil, a third of the angels followed him, and he introduced sin to man with the same enticement as his own sin... to be "as God" (Is14:14, Gen3:5) Sin may have begun in the angelic realms, and then man was deceived and followed suit on earth; but both end up in the same place. The two different realms sharing in the same (one) judgment.
Of course, of the righteous angels that did not sin? What do we know about them? Not a whole lot. Besides being more powerful than man at present (2Pt2:11); they also are "ministering spirits" sent on behalf of those who "inherit salvation" (Heb1:14)
(As a side note, seeing as how angels minister on behalf of Believers, does it not seem realistic, the other observation made above, that evil angels are sent to measure out evil to unbelievers?)
Righteous angels are already in God's presence. Believing humans, once changed to incorruption (1Co15:51-53), have access to Heaven, the Tree of Life, and all the joys of God's presence. (Re22:14)
And the angel says to John:
It's like that old song that states...
that our salvation brings..."