Old Doxoblogy

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Origin Of Sin: Part One

Many times when we want to talk about the origins of sin we will refer to Isaiah 14, or, Ezekiel 28. Although many, perhaps the majority, of scholars agree that at least one of these texts affirm the rebellion of Satan, the passages are less than clear in doing so. A better passage, in my opinion, for seeing the rebellion of Satan is in Revelation 12:3-4.

In any case, a rebellion did happen, Satan and his angels were cast out of Heaven, and they are warring against God's rule in the created order. The origin of Satan's sin may be an interesting topic, but there is simply no evidence for us to go on other than the facts listed above.

That being the case, we will look at the origins of sin among humanity. The single most important fact that we must consider in this context is that our sin originates with Satan. As such, all sin is satanic. From the secret anger to the act of murder, the fleeting glance to adultery, the covetous look to idolatry, it is sin.

We all know the Biblical account of how sin came into this world. God gave Adam and Eve all of the fruit of the Garden of Eden for food. Except for the fruit of one solitary tree that stood in the center of the Garden. And as Bill Cosby so succinctly put it, "Adam asked, 'Now which tree was that?'"

Actually, that is not what happened. Adam and Eve were not looking for an opportunity to disobey their Creator. They had the ability to obey Him and the ability to not obey him, yet they were not looking for a way to exercise their freedom to disobey. They were tricked. And yet they were tricked in such a way that they knew exactly what they were doing. There was no slipping into sin. Through the serpent's deceitful words they were seduced and then knowingly disobeyed the very words of God.

Similarly, there really is no slipping or stumbling into sin today. Rather, "... each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. " (Jam 1:14) Two things about our desires,
1) We know what we desire. We do not desire that which we do not know. I do not desire anything that I do not know exists.
2) We do not desire that which is unpleasant. We do not desire torture for ourselves. "Why do some people desire death? Death is unpleasant" you say.
Yet for the person who desires death, death seems preferable to them. They think, "Why continue living under such hostile conditions? It would be better for me if I were dead." I do not want to offend anyone with this language, but want to make the point that we all do exactly what we want to do. We explore our options and then do what seems preferable to each and every situation.

So it was with Adam and Eve. At first it seemed preferable to them to abstain from the fruit of the tree of the 'knowledge of good and evil'. They associated the tree with death and punishment. Then the serpent arrived. Through enticing words he made the tree seem preferable to whatever punishments God had imposed. He made disobedience to God seem preferable to obedience. And with eyes wide open, Eve took of the fruit and ate. She then gave the fruit to Adam, who also knew that this was disobedience to God's command, and he ate. As they ate they came under the judgment of God.

Thankfully, that is not 'the end'. God did not leave Adam and Eve to die alone. Instead, he already had a plan in place for the salvation of mankind. In fact, the temptation, the fall, the judgment, all was God's plan.
Adam and Eve at this time begin to see God's plan coming to light. God has something better for them and for us. Something better than Eden? Absolutely!!! Something better than innocence? Yes!!! The beginnings of the this something better are revealed to them in and imperfect light, but clear for us to see:

The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." (Gen 3:14-15)

It is the Gospel.


bluecollar said...


Joe said...

Good post!

Some people think God will receive them into Heaven because "they keep the Ten Commandments."

They couldn't even keep the "One Commandment," DON'T EAT THE FRUIT OF THE TREE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GARDEN.

ResponsiveReader said...

Think about this: What if Satan's fall and Adam's were concurrent. That Satan's rebellion was in fact the tempting of Adam and Eve. That the snake's curse: "on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life", is parallel language to "he was thrown down to the earth." This removes the strange time specualtions, sin entering or killing earlier, etc..

Just a thought.

Waiting to read the rest.

Bhedr said...

Looks pretty biblical to me. You won't find me splicing any hairs here. Amen!

Put me a tie-pin on order please.

Jeremy Weaver said...

One tie pin, coming right up!

bluecollar said...

Responsivereader is my pastor- was hoping you guys would "meet".

Pastor Reid: Very profound! Hmmm!

Jeremy Weaver said...

I visit Responsive Reading every once in a while and am in the process of updating my links to include both him and you along with some others.
But not right now. I'm trying to pass a kidney stone. I'll try to get back to blogging 'asap'.

Antonio said...

"God wills all things that come to pass...God desired for man to fall into sin... I am suggesting that God created sin." (R.C. Sproul).

"I will not hesitate... to confess with Augustine that the will of God is necessity, and that everything is necessary which he has willed...The first man fell because the Lord deemed it meet that he should" (John Calvin)

"...the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined...[w]e also exclude the contingency which depends on human will, ... that no cause must be sought for but the will of God... I say then, that... the order, method, end and necessity of events, are, for the most part, hidden in the counsel of God, though it is certain that they are produced by the will of God." (John Calvin)

"...not only ...did his omniscient eye see Adam eating of the forbidden fruit, but He decreed beforehand that he should do so. (A.W. Pink)

"Nothing comes to pass contrary to his decree. Nothing happens by chance. Even moral evil, which he abhors and forbids, occurs 'by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.'" (W.G.T. Shedd)

"God is in back of everything. He decides and causes all things to happen that do happen ... He has foreordained everything 'after the counsel of his will': the moving of a finger, the beating of a heart, the laughter of a girl, the mistake of a typist - even sin" (Edwin Palmer)

Where did sin come from?

Answer (Reformed Theology):
God created sin. God causes all men to sin. How?

1) Nothing happens save God wills it.
2) The will of God is NECESSITY.

Therefore, each sin act I commit was not only decreed by God, but was necessitated by His will.


forgiven said...

I'm praying for you.
Been there done that.
Drink my Friend

Good posting
Thank you Dox

ResponsiveReader said...

Dear Antonio, thanks so much for sharing your ignorance.

Your first quote - is from RC Jr. I believe, and he has been roundly castigated in Reformed circles for it.

The classical Refomred view has AWLAYS been that God is not the author of sin.

You also treat sin as though it is a created substance which has never been the majority report on it.

You quote Shedd regarding God's sovereignty but nothing from him regarding his extensive arguments for man's responsibility and especially his detailed analysis of the origin of sin being man's will.

Laslty, you disregard the way Scripture (and classic Reformed theology I might add)always posits God's sovereignty and man's responsibility side by side. Scripturally - even in the very same events. Thus: Acts 2:23 - "this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men."

Acts 3:17"And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled."

Acts 4:27 "for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place."

Isa. 10:5 Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger; the staff in their hands is my fury! 6 Against a godless nation I send him, and against the people of my wrath I command him, to take spoil and seize plunder, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. 7 But he does not so intend, and his heart does not so think; but it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few; 8 for he says: "Are not my commanders all kings? 9 Is not Calno like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad? Is not Samaria like Damascus? 10 As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols, whose carved images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria, 11 shall I not do to Jerusalem and her idols as I have done to Samaria and her images?" 12 When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes."

God calls Assyria the rod of HIS anger, and yet they are punished for what they do because they "did not so intend", but were acting according to their own sinfulness. God's sovereignty does not negate the fact that men still act volitionally in their own wickedness and are thus morally responsible. This has always been the stance of Reformed theology. Man's will is incapable of making righteous choices, and all are predestined, but do not confuse predestination with coercion. Because you DO confound the two, you wind up with a view of predestination that is fatalistic. But Scripture affirms BOTH - God's sovereignty AND man's responsibility - get over it.

Yes, we've read ZH. A man so committed to his unbiblical view of grace that he absolutely mutilates 1 John. I have no doubt of his sincerity - but he is dead wrong and the wake of his views often leaves men comfortable in their sins. Pity. Hope you won't remain there.


Reformer said...

Adam was created in the image of God (Gen 1.26,27). This includes, among many other things, the very fact of living (Acts 17.28,29), possessing a physical body (GEn 9.6), and the rights and responsibilities of dominion (Gen 1.28). Among all these aspects of being in the image of God, we must also consluce that part of what this meant for Adam was having the right of Freewill, choice, freedom. He was commanded not to touch the tree (Gen 2.15-17) and in his freedom of will chose what all subsequent humanity chooses, namely, rebellion (Gen 3.1-7).

In God's complete Sovereignty he gave Adam the right to choose. Adam chose Rebellion - which God used for His own glory.

Did God CAUSE Adam to CHOOSE rebellion? Or did God ALLOW Adam to CHOOSE rebellion?

Antonio said...


Not a good response. You dodge every clear implication of John Calvin's theology. Let him speak for his position:

"...the will of God is necessity..."
"...everything is necessary which he has willed..."
"...the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined..."
"...[w]e also exclude the contingency which depends on human will"
"...no cause must be sought for but the will of God... "
"...the order, method, end and necessity of events...are produced by the will of God."

These are quotes from John Calvin himself.

He makes a sharp, air-tight case for God necessitating every sinful act of every person.

Finally, he also says the will of man is excluded as a contingency whatsoever. This is the nail in the coffin for man's supposed responsiblity for his sin.

Only lip service can really be given to it by Reformed advocates.

One can preach all day until he is blue in the face concerning man's supposed responsibility for sin. But as long as he holds to his reformed theology, as expressed by John Calvin himself (and numerous others), those who have half a brain to listen to him understand that it is merely smoke and mirrors; a charade.


delete said...

Great blog! (I took the test. I'm a Calvinist! Is there any hope!)


marc said...

Very Solid Jeremy. If you've got Antonio disagreeing with you, I'm guessing you're on the right track.

Jeremy Weaver said...

Did you agree or disagree with anything in this post? Did you even read it?
One question for you. Can God create anything to be His own equal? If He does, He ceases to be God.
We all agree that all created things must be of lesser glory than the one who creates. Therefore, God did create beings of lesser glory than Himself. Those of lesser glory are lesser in their perfection. They are imperfect when compared to their Creator.
So God did create knowing that His creatures would be imperfect and capable of sin.
The great gospel truth of the history of redemption is that God is making us unable to sin.

BTW, Please try to interact with what is actually being written here. If you want to debate something someone else has said, debate them. I will not add my ignorance to their genius.

ResponsiveReader said...

Antonio wrote: "Not a good response."

I disagree. Because you might not have LIKED my response doesn't negate it. But the fact that you didn't interact with my response confirms it as a good one.

You see Antonio, your problem isn't with Calvin or Calvinism or Reformed Theology - your problem is with the Biblical doctrine of predesintation. The Bible uses the word in at least 6 contexts in the NT, all of which - if you were to negate our view - you would need to exegete. Instead, you rely on only one species of quote from Calvin, without either contexualizing them nor seeking to see if that was all he had to say on the subject.

So, if you want to discuss the topic, you need to go back and interact with the Biblical texts quoted, and somehow show your argument as doing those texts justice, wherein God's predeterimend will is worked out even, by the sinful and willful acts of men.

One caution again which I believe is central to your difficulty is the inability to distinguish between necessity and compulsion. Though an event necessarily must come to pass (like Christ's birth in a specific place) you can see how the outward events are providentially orchestrated (from Rome is over Israel, to the government requires a tax and registration) to bring about the precise fulfillemt without coercion.

If you do not believe in predestination at all - you must reject any prophecy in the Bible as absolutely necessary to come to pass.

Your rejection of predestination is the same one that drove Arminius and though it seems on the surface to be a reasonable objection - the implications are far reaching.

So, as a point of discussion, how about interacting with some of the Biblical texts cited and then we have something to talk about.

Merry Christmas!

mxu said...


What's wrong with R.C. Sproul Jr.'s views?

In all honesty, I see no reason to shy away from God being the author and ultimate originator of sin.

After all, if God created everything with a full knowledge of what he would, in His sovereignty lead them to do, then He created Satan as well, with the full knowledge that Satan would lead Adam into sin.

I do affirm completely the responsibility of humans and believe that free will is unbiblical, but I see nothing wrong with also affirming that God is completely sovereign, so much so that one could claim that everything ultimately finds it's source in God.

Dox - Thank you for this post and this series, I'm looking foward to the rest of it.